97-S 0423 am
Approved Jul. 3, 1997


It is enacted by the General Assembly as follows

SECTION 1. Section 42-72-5 of the General Laws in Chapter 42-7 entitled "Department of Children, Youth & Families" is hereby amended to read as follows:

42-72-5. Powers and scope of activities. -- (a) The department shall be the principal agency of the state to mobilize the human, physical and financial resources available to plan, develop, and evaluate a comprehensive and integrated statewide program of services designed to ensure the opportunity for children to reach their full potential. The services shall include prevention, early intervention, out-reach, placement, care and treatment, and after-care programs. {ADD Provided however, that the department shall notify the state police and cooperate with local police departments when it receives and/or investigates a complaint of sexual assault on a minor and concludes that probable cause exists to support said allegations(s). ADD} The department shall also serve as an advocate for the needs of children.

(b) To accomplish the purposes and duties hereinbefore set forth, the director is hereby authorized and empowered:

(1) To establish such administrative and operational divisions of the department as the director determines is in the best interests of fulfilling the purposes and duties of this chapter;

(2) To assign different tasks to staff members as the director shall determine best suit the purposes of this chapter;

(3) To establish plans and facilities for emergency treatment, relocation and physical custody of abused or neglected children which may include but are not limited to homemaker/educator child case aides, specialized foster family programs, day care facilities, crisis teams, emergency parents, group homes for teenage parents, family centers within existing community agencies, and counselling services;

(4) To establish, monitor, and evaluate protective services for children including, but not limited to, purchase of services from private agencies and establishment of a policy and procedure manual to standardize protective services;

(5) To plan and initiate primary and secondary treatment programs for abused and neglected children;

(6) To evaluate the services of the department and to conduct periodic comprehensive needs assessment;

(7) To license, approve, monitor, and evaluate all residential and non-residential child care institutions, group homes, foster homes, and programs;

(8) To recruit and coordinate community resources, public and private;

(9) To promulgate rules and regulations concerning the confidentiality, disclosure and expungement of case records pertaining to matters under the jurisdiction of the department;

(10) To establish a minimum mandatory level of twenty (20) hours of training per year and provide ongoing staff development for all staff; provided, however, all social workers hired after June 15, 1991 within the department shall have a minimum of a bachelor's degree in social work or a closely related field, and must be appointed from a valid civil service list;

(11) To establish procedures for reporting suspected child abuse and neglect pursuant to chapter 11 of title 40;

(12) To promulgate all rules and regulations necessary for the execution of departmental powers pursuant to the Administrative Procedures Act, title 42, chapter 35;

(13) To provide and act as a clearinghouse for information, data and other materials relative to children;

(14) To initiate and carry out studies and analysis which will aid in solving local, regional and statewide problems concerning children;

(15) To represent and act on behalf of the state in connection with federal grant programs applicable to programs for children in the functional areas described in this chapter;

(16) To seek, accept, and otherwise take advantage of all federal aid available to the department, and to assist other agencies of the state, local agencies, and community groups in taking advantage of all federal grants and subventions available for children;

(17) To review and coordinate those activities of agencies of the state and of any political subdivision of the state which affect the full and fair utilization of community resources for programs for children, and initiate programs that will help assure such utilization;

(18) To administer the pilot juvenile restitution program including the overseeing and coordinating of all local community based restitution programs, and the establishment of procedures for the processing of payments to children performing community service; and

(19) To adopt rules and regulations which:

(A) for the twelve (12) month period beginning on October 1, 1983, and for each subsequent twelve (12) month period, establish specific goals as to the maximum number of children who will remain in foster care for a period in excess of two (2) years; and (B) are reasonably necessary to implement the child welfare services and foster care programs;

(20) May establish and conduct seminars for the purpose of educating children regarding sexual abuse;

(21) To establish fee schedules by regulation for the processing of requests from adoption placement agencies for adoption studies, adoption study updates, and supervision related to interstate and international adoptions. The fee shall equal the actual cost of the service(s) rendered but in no event shall the fee exceed two thousand dollars ($2,000.);

(22) To be responsible for the education of all children who are placed, assigned, or otherwise accommodated for residence by the department in a state operated or supported community residence licensed by a Rhode Island state agency. In fulfilling this responsibility the department is authorized to enroll and pay for the education of students in the public schools or, when necessary and appropriates, to itself provide education in accordance with the regulations of the board of regents for elementary and secondary education either directly or through contract;

(23) To develop multidisciplinary service plans, in conjunction with the department of health, at hospitals prior to the discharge of any drug exposed babies. The plan shall require development of a plan using all health care professionals.

(c) In order to assist in the discharge of his or her duties, the director may request from any agency of the state information pertinent to the affairs and problems of children.

SECTION 2. This act shall take effect upon passage.

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