Arizona Council of Human Service Providers
Overview of Legislation from 2013
Behavioral Health, Child Welfare, and Juvenile Justice
BILLS ENACTED: Effective 90 days after the end of the legislative session (9/12/13)
HB 2065: Community Based Residential Treatment; Placement sponsored by Representatives Carter and Brophy McGee allows the Department of Juvenile Corrections to move a child from a secure facility following rehabilitative services to a less restrictive environment (community placement or home) if that child is determined to no longer be a threat to public safety.
HB 2066: Definitions; Archaic Language; Removal sponsored by Representative Carter and Brophy-McGee removes the definition of mentally ill person, changes the term Oriental to Asian (with the exception in the Acupuncture statutes), and updated terminology relating to individuals with developmental disabilities.
HB 2067: CPS information; medical examiner; disclosure sponsored by Representatives Carter and Brophy McGee requires DES to disclose CPS information to a county medical or alternative medical examiner directing a death investigation.
HB 2074: Foster Homes; Licensure (originally Expedited Foster Home Approval) was sponsored by Representatives Peterson, Allen, Borelli, Boyer, Coleman, Dial, Kwasman, Lesko, Livingston, Mitchell, Montenegro, Orr, J Pierce, Sherwood, Shope, Steele, Stevens, Thorpe, and Townsend and Senators Biggs, Driggs, and Landrum Taylor. The Council opposed the bill in its introduced format, but supports the amendments to change foster home licensure from one to two years with a requirement of six hours per year of approved ongoing foster parent training each year to renew their license.
HB 2310: Administrative office of courts; evaluation sponsored by Representative Farnsworth requires the AOC to establish methods and standards to evaluate the effectiveness, efficiency, and accountability of mental health courts. It requires AOC to develop standards regarding data gathering and reporting to facilitate annual evaluations and audits to ensure comparative data statewide. Requires AOC to provide a report by 12/31/14 and allows them to employ consultants, experts, and specialists to conduct the evaluation and help in development of standards, training, and procedures. Funding for this was included in the state budget.
HB 2502 and SB 1249: Supplemental appropriation; CPS funding passed both Houses unanimously and provides $4.4 M and 50 FTE’s positions to DES for FY 2013 with additional monthly reporting requirements regarding meeting training requirements, CPS caseloads, number of new, open, and closed cases by month, ratio of CPS workers to immediate supervisor, employee turnover, and source and use of federal and state funds at CPS.
SB 1090: Dependent children; placement; grandparents; stipend failed at the very end of the session; however funding and approval for the stipends were included in the budget. The bill was sponsored by Senators Landrum Taylor, Barto, Bradley, Burges, Hobbs, Lopez, McGuire, Murphy, Tovar, and Yee and Representatives Miranda. It reinstates the grandparents stipend that was eliminated during past budget cuts. It allows for a $75/child stipend for grand/great-grandparents whose income is below 200% of federal poverty as documented by their most recent tax return, the grandparent cannot be a licensed foster parent, receive cash assistance through TANF, a subsidy through the permanent guardianship subsidy program, and the grandparent and child must be legally residing in the US. This bill passed the House COW committee in the final hours of the session, but did not go to third read because the authorization was in the budget.
SB 1108: Foster Home Licensure; Immunizations was sponsored by Senators Barto, Biggs, Bradley, Burges, Griffin, Landrum Taylor, Murphy, Shooter, Ward, Yarbrough, and Yee and Representative Lesko. The Council remained neutral on this bill which states that foster parents are not required to immunize their biological or adoptive children as a condition of licensure. It was signed by the Governor with a message that DES must develop a placement policy that restricts the placement of young children and infants in homes where foster parents have not immunized their children and to consider the immunization history of the child to be placed.
SB 1208: Pilot; Foster Care Tuition Waiver was sponsored by Senators Driggs, Barto, Crandal, Crandell, Landrum Taylor, Murphy, Tovar, Ward, Worsley, and Yarbrough and Representatives Alston, Carter, Foreses, and Olson. This legislation creates a 5 year pilot program providing community college and university tuition waivers to people who are currently in foster care, are at least 16 years old, and to those who were in foster when they were at least 16 years old. The tuition waiver covers the tuition balance after grants and scholarships are applied.
SB 1374: Behavioral Health Examiners Board was sponsored by Senators Barto, Biggs, Bradley, Driggs, Lopez, Melvin, Pancrazi, Ward, and Yee and Representatives Brophy McGee, Carter, Meyer, and Steele. This legislation continues the BBHE for four years, eliminates credentialing committees, establishes academic review committees, provides for licensure by endorsement, and modifies licensure requirements, Board membership, and Director duties.
SB 1375: Behavioral Health Services; Dependent children was sponsored by Senators Barto, Burges, Griffin, Hobbs, Melvin, Murphy, Ward, and Yarbrough. It was amended significantly after its introduction in the Senate. Currently, it requires DES, DHS, and AHCCCS to determine the most efficient and effective way to provide comprehensive medical, dental, and behavioral health services for children in foster, in the custody of DES or the probation department. It also makes changes to the CPS statutes including:
- Requires notification of reports of abuse or neglect go to the Office of Child Welfare Investigations (OCWI)
- Requires CPS investigate, unless the report contains a criminal conduct allegation being investigated by OCWI
- Requires DES to create an alternative response system for designated report
- Requires DES available information about child abuse/neglect cases that have resulted in a fatality or near fatality to the public with a detailed synopsis of prior and current reports and the actions taken by CPS
- Provides staff for the OCWI
- Creates the Child Protective Services Oversight Committee
- Adds child welfare investigator and child protective services worker to the list of people who are mandatory reporters under the duty to report statute
- Requires quarterly financial and program accountability reports including information on access to behavioral health services as well as monthly financial and program accountability reports detailing number of children in foster care, number of new cases, number of cases that remain open, and total number of children whose cases have been closed that month,
- Allows the court to consider the best interests of the siblings of children under the age 5, similar to the provisions in HB 2144
- Extends the rule making authority for DHS until 4/30/14 with public notice and comment required at least 30 days prior to rule implementation.
BILLS FAILED OR VETOED
HB 2144: CPS; Adoption Petitions; Foster Care (originally Child Protective Services) was sponsored by Representatives Brophy McGee, Carter, Goodale, and Miranda and was vetoed by Governor Brewer for being overly restrictive of CPS workers and with concerns about termination of parental rights appeals being overturned. Many of the components of HB2144 were incorporated into SB 1375. HB 2144 would have modified statutes relating to Child Protective Services by:
- Changes the primary purpose of CPS to protecting children by investigating reports of abuse/neglect, assessing, promoting, and supporting the safety of the child in a safe and stable family or other placement, work cooperatively with law enforcement and the Office of Child Welfare Investigations (OCWI), and coordinating services to achieve permanency for the child, strengthen the family, and provide prevention, intervention, and treatment for abused and neglected children without compromising child safety.
- Requires DES to develop an alternative response system for designated reports
- Limits maintenance of CPS reports in the Central Registry to NOT MORE than 25 years
- Requires reports of child abuse/neglect be made immediately via phone or electronically, not in person, and eliminates the need for a written report within 72 hours
- Allows adoptions of children who have been in out of home placement for at least 15 months and with a foster-adoptive family for at least 6 months to go forward even if the child’s parents have filed an appeal of termination of parental rights.
- Allows the Division or a licensed child welfare agency to place a child in excess of number of children the home is licensed for if the department feels the foster family is able to handle the additional children, there are no outstanding concerns, deficiencies, reports, or investigations, and the child is part of a sibling group currently in the home or part of a sibling group being considered for placement in the home, or the child is in a kinship placement in the foster home. When a child is placed under this situation the child welfare agency must submit an application for amendment within 5 calendar days after placement. The Division must approve or deny the application within 10 calendar days.
- Modifies the grounds for petitioning for termination of parental rights regarding children who have been in out of home placement for more than 6 months, are under the age of 5 at time the dependency petition was filed, the parents have not remediated their life situation or refused to participate in reunification services. It also allows for the siblings of children covered under this section who are over the age of five, have been removed from the home, to be adopted if the court finds it is in the best interests of that child.
HB 2570: Appropriation; Mental Health Services sponsored by Representatives Orr and Steele appropriated $250,000 from the General Fund to DHS for expansion of Mental Health First Aid. While the bill was held in the Health and Human Services committee in the Senate, funding for MHFA was included in the DHS budget.
SB 1062: Adoption Subsidy; Behavioral Health Services sponsored by Senator Murphy creates subsidies for behavioral health treatment for children adopted from foster care even if the subsidy was not in place at the time of the adoption. This legislation stalled in the House after passing in the Senate.
BILLS TO CONSIDER:
HB 2045: Health Care; direct Pay; AHCCCS rates (previously AHCCCS; hospital reimbursement methodology) was sponsored by Representative Carter and is similar to a bill introduced in the Senate by Senator Barto that was vetoed by the Governor. HB 2045 was signed by the Governor. This bill requires certain defined Health Care Providers and Health Care Facilities to make their direct pay prices for at least the 25 most common services available upon request or on line. Although behavioral health providers are not specifically included, there is a possibility that certain entities, based on their business model may be subject to the terms, in some instances. We suggest they seek their own counsel’s advice on any potential applicability of this statute.
Special Session Legislation
HB 2001/SB1010: Budget; General Appropriations; FY 2013-14 was sponsored by Representative Pratt in the House and Senator Steve Pierce in the Senate. Called the “feed bill”, it contains appropriations for state agencies and programs.
- Regarding Board of Behavioral Health Examiners, it includes additional funding to implement the reforms and restructuring of the Board found in SB 1374.Regarding DES, it includes DD rate increases, funding for emergency and residential placement, additional CPS casework and legal staff, grandparents stipends (in SB 1090), children’s support services and intensive family services, and some contingency funding. An expenditure plan for the Intensive Family Services funding must be submitted to JLBC for review prior to expenditure. The Contingency funding is specifically for CPS and Child Care. This funding is still inadequate to meet the explosion of growth in the foster care system and there is an anticipated need for a supplemental budget authorization later in the year.
- Regarding DHS, it includes funding for electronic medical records and mental health first aid which must be spent on MHFA instructors.
- Regarding Judiciary, Superior Court, it includes funding for the Mental Health Court Report in HB 2310.
Senate: Yes (13 D’s, 6 R’s), No (10 R’s), Not Voting (1 R)
House: Yes (24 D’s, 9 R’s), No (27 R’s), Not Voting (0)