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Thursday, January 7, 2016

NH HB 1434-FN-AN ACT relative to out-of-home placements under the child protection act.

http://www.gencourt.state.nh.us/lsr_search/billText.aspx?id=326&type=4

State of New Hampshire HOUSE BILL 1434-FN has been introduced in the House and is being heard Jan. 12th,2016 at 10:30 AM. This is an extremely important Bill. Anyone in NH whose children were removed without instances of abuse or neglect, such as my grandchildren and I'm sure many more, it is of the utmost importance to attend this hearing in Concord.

AN ACT relative to out-of-home placements under the child protection act.

SPONSORS: Rep. Itse, Rock. 10; Rep. Ingbretson, Graf. 15; Rep. K. Rice, Hills. 37; Rep. Oligny, Rock. 34; Rep. Lachance, Hills. 8; Rep. Seidel, Hills. 28; Sen. Avard, Dist 12

This bill requires that an order to remove a child from his or her home under the child protection act to include written findings with regard to the need for the out-of-home placement.  Payment for a placement made in pursuant to an order that does not provide such findings shall be a misdemeanor.
 1  Statement of Findings.  The general court finds that the relationship between children and their parents is so fundamental to the wellbeing of society that unwarranted interference in that relationship is a criminal harm to children, parents, and society as a whole.  Furthermore, the failure to enumerate offenses is a violation of the Constitution of the State of New Hampshire Part 1, Article 15.
2  New Paragraphs; Child's Welfare and Findings Regarding Removal.  Amend RSA 169-C:6-b by inserting after paragraph II the following new paragraphs:
III.  If the court orders that a child be removed from his or her home at the preliminary hearing under RSA 169-C:15, the adjudicatory hearing under RSA 169-C:18, the dispositional hearing under RSA 169-C:19, or the final hearing under RSA 169-C:21, the court order for removal shall include specific written findings regarding the need for the out-of-home placement.  The order shall enumerate specific instances of abuse or neglect, including dates and descriptions of incidents, and summarize the evidence the court relied upon in ordering the placement.
IV.  If the removal order does not comply with the requirements of paragraph III, the department shall not authorize payment for the out-of-home placement.
V.  Payment or approval of payment for foster or institutional care of a child removed from the home in accordance with an order that does not meet the requirements of paragraph III shall be a misdemeanor A.
3  Effective Date.  This act shall take effect 60 days after its passage.
HB 1434-FN- FISCAL NOTE

AN ACT relative to out-of-home placements under the child protection act.


FISCAL IMPACT:
The Department of Health and Human Services, Judicial Branch, and Department of Justice state this bill, as introduced, will have an indeterminable impact on state expenditures in FY 2017 and each year thereafter. There will be no impact on county or local expenditures, or state, county, or local revenue.

METHODOLOGY:
The Department of Health and Human Services states this bill requires that an order to remove a child from his or her home under the Child Protection Act include written findings with regard to the need for out-of-home placement.  If the removal order does not include written findings, the bill stipulates that the Department shall not pay for said placement.  The Department states that the bill's fiscal impact is indeterminable, since any cost savings that would arise from the Department's refusal to pay for out-of-home placement would depend on the number of nonconforming court orders.  In addition, the Department observes that any cost savings would be offset by the costs of services and programs otherwise provided to the child and the child's family while the child remains at home.

The Judicial Branch states the bill has two potential impacts on the Branch.  First, section III requires the court to make specific written findings regarding the need for out-of-home placement.  The Branch estimates that this requirement will require an additional 30 to 60 minutes of work per applicable case.  Although the Branch does not provide information regarding the number of such cases that are expected to be heard, it does project that the hourly cost of a judge will be $141.60 in FY 2017 and $143.77 in FY 2018.  Second, section V makes it a class A misdemeanor for one to pay or approve payment for an out-of-home placement when the court order does not meet the requirements established by the bill.  Although the Branch is unable to estimate the number of prosecutions that will be brought pursuant to this section, it notes that the average cost of processing a class A misdemeanor is projected to be $70.33 in FY 2017 and $73.73 in FY 2018.

The Department of Justice states that because is unable to estimate the number of investigations and/or prosecutions that might result from this bill, the bill's fiscal impact is indeterminable.

The Judicial Council and the New Hampshire Association of Counties state this bill will have no fiscal impact.

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