Bill Text For HB2329 - House Floor Version

 1|              HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES - FLOOR VERSION                 |
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 2|                          STATE OF OKLAHOMA                            |
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 3|             1st Session of the 57th Legislature (2019)                |
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 4|HOUSE BILL 2329                      By: McDugle                       |
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 7|                            AS INTRODUCED                              |
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 8|       An Act relating to child welfare; amending 10A O.S.             |
  |       2011, Sections 1-2-101, as last amended by Section 1,           |
 9|       Chapter 277, O.S.L. 2018 and 1-2-106 (10A O.S. Supp.            |
  |       2018, Section 1-2-101), which relate to the Oklahoma            |
10|       Children's Code; requiring person reporting child               |
  |       abuse or neglect to disclose name, telephone number             |
11|       and address; declaring information is confidential              |
  |       and disclosed only upon a court order; directing                |
12|       transfer of certain call to emergency number;                   |
  |       modifying information included in notice of                     |
13|       investigation; and providing an effective date.                 |
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16|BE IT ENACTED BY THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF OKLAHOMA:                  |
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17|    SECTION 1.     AMENDATORY     10A O.S. 2011, Section 1-2-101, as   |
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18|last amended by Section 1, Chapter 277, O.S.L. 2018 (10A O.S. Supp.    |
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19|2018, Section 1-2-101), is amended to read as follows:                 |
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20|    Section 1-2-101.  A.  1.  The Department of Human Services shall   |
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21|establish a statewide centralized hotline for the reporting of child   |
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22|abuse or neglect to the Department.                                    |
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23|    2.  The Department shall provide hotline-specific training         |
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24|including, but not limited to, interviewing skills, customer service   |
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arsid425525 HB2329 HFLR                                            Page 1
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 1|skills, narrative writing, necessary computer systems, making case     |
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 2|determinations, and identifying priority situations.                   |
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 3|    3.  The Department is authorized to contract with third parties    |
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 4|in order to train hotline workers.                                     |
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 5|    4.  The Department shall develop a system to track the number of   |
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 6|calls received, and of that number:                                    |
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 7|         a.    the number of calls screened out,                       |
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 8|         b.    the number of referrals assigned,                       |
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 9|         c.    the number of calls received by persons unwilling to    |
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10|              disclose basic personal information including, but not   |
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11|              limited to, first and last name, and                     |
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12|         d.    the number of calls in which the allegations were       |
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13|              later found to be unsubstantiated or ruled out.          |
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14|    5.  The Department shall electronically record each referral       |
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15|received by the hotline and establish a secure means of retaining      |
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16|the recordings for twelve (12) months.  Each referral shall include    |
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17|the name, telephone number and address of the person making the        |
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18|referral.  The Department shall inform the person making the           |
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19|referral that his or her name and identifying information shall be     |
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20|confidential and subject to disclosure only if a court orders the      |
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21|disclosure of the information.  If the person making the referral is   |
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22|unwilling to provide this information, the call shall be transferred   |
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23|to emergency telephone number nine-one-one (911).  The recordings      |
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24|shall be confidential and subject to disclosure only if a court        |
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arsid425525 HB2329 HFLR                                            Page 2
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 1|orders the disclosure of the referral.  The Department shall redact    |
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 2|any information identifying the reporting party unless otherwise       |
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 3|ordered by the court.                                                  |
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 4|    B.  1.  Every person having reason to believe that a child under   |
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 5|the age of eighteen (18) years is a victim of abuse or neglect shall   |
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 6|report the matter immediately to the Department of Human Services.     |
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 7|Reports shall be made to the hotline provided for in subsection A of   |
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 8|this section.  Any allegation of abuse or neglect reported in any      |
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 9|manner to a county office shall immediately be referred to the         |
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10|hotline by the Department.  Provided, however, that in actions for     |
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11|custody by abandonment, provided for in Section 2-117 of Title 30 of   |
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12|the Oklahoma Statutes, there shall be no reporting requirement.        |
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13|    2.   a.    Every teacher of any child under the age of eighteen    |
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14|              (18) years having reason to believe that a child under   |
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15|              the age of eighteen (18) years is a victim of abuse or   |
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16|              neglect shall report the matter immediately to the       |
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17|              Department of Human Services.  Reports shall be made     |
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18|              to the hotline provided for in subsection A of this      |
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19|              section.  Any allegation of abuse or neglect reported    |
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20|              in any manner to a county office shall immediately be    |
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21|              referred to the hotline by the Department.  Provided,    |
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22|              however, that in actions for custody by abandonment,     |
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23|              provided for in Section 2-117 of Title 30 of the         |
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arsid425525 HB2329 HFLR                                            Page 3
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 1|              Oklahoma Statutes, there shall be no reporting           |
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 2|              requirement, and                                         |
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 3|         b.    every teacher of a student age eighteen (18) years or   |
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 4|              older having reason to believe that a student age        |
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 5|              eighteen (18) years or older is a victim of abuse or     |
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 6|              neglect shall report the matter immediately to local     |
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 7|              law enforcement.                                         |
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 8|    3.  Every physician, surgeon, or other health care professional    |
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 9|including doctors of medicine, licensed osteopathic physicians,        |
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10|residents and interns, or any other health care professional           |
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11|attending the birth of a child who tests positive for alcohol or a     |
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12|controlled dangerous substance shall promptly report the matter to     |
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13|the Department.                                                        |
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14|    4.  No privilege or contract shall relieve any person from the     |
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15|requirement of reporting pursuant to this section.                     |
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16|    5.  The reporting obligations under this section are individual,   |
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17|and no employer, supervisor, administrator, governing body or entity   |
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18|shall interfere with the reporting obligations of any employee or      |
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19|other person or in any manner discriminate or retaliate against the    |
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20|employee or other person who in good faith reports suspected child     |
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21|abuse or neglect, or who provides testimony in any proceeding          |
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22|involving child abuse or neglect.  Any employer, supervisor,           |
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23|administrator, governing body or entity who discharges,                |
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24|discriminates or retaliates against the employee or other person       |
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arsid425525 HB2329 HFLR                                            Page 4
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 1|shall be liable for damages, costs and attorney fees.  If a child      |
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 2|who is the subject of the report or other child is harmed by the       |
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 3|discharge, discrimination or retaliation described in this             |
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 4|paragraph, the party harmed may file an action to recover damages,     |
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 5|costs and attorney fees.                                               |
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 6|    6.  Every physician, surgeon, or other health care professional    |
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 7|making a report of abuse or neglect as required by this subsection     |
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 8|or examining a child to determine the likelihood of abuse or neglect   |
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 9|and every hospital or related institution in which the child was       |
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10|examined or treated shall provide, upon request, copies of the         |
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11|results of the examination or copies of the examination on which the   |
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12|report was based and any other clinical notes, x-rays, photographs,    |
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13|and other previous or current records relevant to the case to law      |
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14|enforcement officers conducting a criminal investigation into the      |
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15|case and to employees of the Department of Human Services conducting   |
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16|an investigation of alleged abuse or neglect in the case.              |
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17|    C.  Any person who knowingly and willfully fails to promptly       |
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18|report suspected child abuse or neglect or who interferes with the     |
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19|prompt reporting of suspected child abuse or neglect may be reported   |
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20|to local law enforcement for criminal investigation and, upon          |
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21|conviction thereof, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor.  Any person      |
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22|with prolonged knowledge of ongoing child abuse or neglect who         |
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23|knowingly and willfully fails to promptly report such knowledge may    |
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24|be reported to local law enforcement for criminal investigation and,   |
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arsid425525 HB2329 HFLR                                            Page 5
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 1|upon conviction thereof, shall be guilty of a felony.  For the         |
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 2|purposes of this paragraph, "prolonged knowledge" shall mean           |
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 3|knowledge of at least six (6) months of child abuse or neglect.        |
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 4|    D.  1.  Any person who knowingly and willfully makes a false       |
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 5|report pursuant to the provisions of this section or a report that     |
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 6|the person knows lacks factual foundation may be reported to local     |
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 7|law enforcement for criminal investigation and, upon conviction        |
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 8|thereof, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor.                             |
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 9|    2.  If a court determines that an accusation of child abuse or     |
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10|neglect made during a child custody proceeding is false and the        |
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11|person making the accusation knew it to be false at the time the       |
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12|accusation was made, the court may impose a fine, not to exceed Five   |
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13|Thousand Dollars ($5,000.00) and reasonable attorney fees incurred     |
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14|in recovering the sanctions, against the person making the             |
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15|accusation.  The remedy provided by this paragraph is in addition to   |
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16|paragraph 1 of this subsection or to any other remedy provided by      |
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17|law.                                                                   |
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18|    E.  Nothing contained in this section shall be construed to        |
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19|exempt or prohibit any person from reporting any suspected child       |
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20|abuse or neglect pursuant to subsection B of this section.             |
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21|    SECTION 2.     AMENDATORY     10A O.S. 2011, Section 1-2-106, is   |
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22|amended to read as follows:                                            |
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23|    Section 1-2-106.  At the initial time of contact with a person     |
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24|responsible for the health, safety, or welfare of a child who is the   |
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arsid425525 HB2329 HFLR                                            Page 6
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 1|subject of an investigation pursuant to the Oklahoma Children's        |
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 2|Code, the Department of Human Services shall advise the person of      |
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 3|the specific complaint or allegation made against the person.  If      |
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 4|the Department is unable to locate the person, as soon as possible     |
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 5|after initiating the investigation of the person, the Department       |
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 6|shall provide to the person a brief and easily understood written      |
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 7|description of the investigation process.  Notice shall include:       |
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 8|    1.  A statement that the investigation is being undertaken by      |
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 9|the Department pursuant to the requirements of the Oklahoma            |
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10|Children's Code in response to a report of child abuse or neglect;     |
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11|    2.  A statement that the identity of the person who reported the   |
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12|incident of abuse or neglect is confidential and may not even be       |
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13|known to the Department since the report could have been made          |
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14|anonymously shall only be disclosed upon a court order;                |
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15|    3.  A statement that the investigation is required by law to be    |
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16|conducted in order to enable the Department to identify incidents of   |
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17|abuse or neglect in order to provide protective or preventive social   |
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18|services to families who are in need of such services;                 |
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19|    4.  A statement that, upon completion of the investigation, a      |
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20|letter will be sent from the Department which will inform the          |
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21|person:                                                                |
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22|         a.   that the Department has found insufficient evidence of   |
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23|              abuse or neglect, or                                     |
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arsid425525 HB2329 HFLR                                            Page 7
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 1|         b.   that there appears to be probable cause to suspect the   |
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 2|              existence of child abuse or neglect in the judgment of   |
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 3|              the Department;                                          |
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 4|    5.  An explanation of the procedures of the Department for         |
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 5|conducting an investigation of alleged child abuse or neglect,         |
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 6|including:                                                             |
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 7|         a.   a description of the circumstances under which the       |
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 8|              Department would seek to remove the child from the       |
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 9|              home through the judicial system, and                    |
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10|         b.   an explanation that the law requires the Department to   |
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11|              refer all reports of child abuse or neglect to a law     |
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12|              enforcement agency for a separate determination of       |
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13|              whether a criminal violation occurred;                   |
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14|    6.  The procedures to follow if there is a complaint regarding     |
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15|the actions of the Department or to request a review of the findings   |
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16|made by the Department during or at the conclusion of the              |
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17|investigation;                                                         |
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18|    7.  The right of the person to review records filed with the       |
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19|court in the event an action is filed;                                 |
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20|    8.  The right of the person to seek legal counsel;                 |
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21|    9.  References to the statutory and regulatory provisions          |
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22|governing child abuse and neglect and how the person may obtain        |
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23|copies of those provisions;                                            |
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arsid425525 HB2329 HFLR                                            Page 8
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 1|    10.  The process the person may use to acquire visitation with     |
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 2|the child if the child is removed from the home; and                   |
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 3|    11.  A statement that a failure to appear for court proceedings    |
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 4|may result in the termination of the person's parental rights to the   |
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 5|child.                                                                 |
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 6|    SECTION 3.  This act shall become effective November 1, 2019.      |
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 8|COMMITTEE REPORT BY: COMMITTEE ON JUDICIARY, dated 02/27/2019 - DO     |
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arsid425525 HB2329 HFLR                                            Page 9
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