An Act To Amend the Child and Family Services and Child Protection Act
Sec. 1. 22 MRSA §4002, sub-§9-D is enacted to read:
Sec. 2. 22 MRSA §4036-B, sub-§3-A is enacted to read:
Sec. 3. 22 MRSA §4037-A is enacted to read:
§ 4037-A. Extended care
A person who is 18, 19 or 20 years of age and who attained the age of 18 years while in the care and custody of the State may continue to receive care and support if the person:
A person who qualifies for care and support under this section may be placed in a supervised setting in which the person lives independently, in a foster home or in a group residential setting. The District Court shall hold a judicial review in accordance with the procedures under section 4038, subsections 5 and 6 for each person who qualifies for care and support under this section at least once every 12 months.
Sec. 4. 22 MRSA §4038, sub-§5, as amended by PL 2003, c. 408, §6, is further amended to read:
Sec. 5. 22 MRSA §4038-C, sub-§1, as enacted by PL 2005, c. 372, §6, is amended to read:
Sec. 6. 22 MRSA §4038-C, sub-§13 is enacted to read:
Sec. 7. 22 MRSA §4038-D, sub-§2, as enacted by PL 2005, c. 372, §6, is amended to read:
Sec. 8. 22 MRSA §4038-D, sub-§3, as enacted by PL 2005, c. 372, §6, is repealed.
Sec. 9. 22 MRSA §4038-D, sub-§4, as enacted by PL 2005, c. 372, §6, is amended to read:
Sec. 10. 22 MRSA §4038-D, sub-§5, as enacted by PL 2005, c. 372, §6, is amended to read:
Sec. 11. 22 MRSA §4038-D, sub-§8, as enacted by PL 2005, c. 372, §6, is repealed.
Sec. 12. 22 MRSA §4038-E is enacted to read:
§ 4038-E. Adoption from permanency guardianship
The District Court in a judicial review of a permanency guardianship appointment may accept a petition for the adoption of the subject of the permanency guardianship appointment. The District Court's decision regarding adoption must be guided by the best interest of the child, and an adoption is subject to the agreement of all parties to the review. The District Court is granted jurisdiction over adoptions under this section.
Sec. 13. 22 MRSA §4059 is enacted to read:
§ 4059. Reinstatement of parental rights
The department may petition the District Court to reinstate the parental rights of a parent who has an order terminating parental rights in effect. The child must have been in the custody of the department for at least 12 months after the termination of parental rights. The petition must indicate evidence of a material change in circumstances since the termination of parental rights that can be reasonably expected to provide for safety for the child, the initial reasons for termination of parental rights and verification of the willingness and capacity of the parent and child to have parental rights reinstated. The department shall develop and attach to the petition a permanency plan that provides transition services to the family, which may include a trial home visit by the child to the family. The department may assess the trial home visit and may dismiss the petition if it is in the child’s best interest without leave of the court. The court may hold a preliminary hearing and issue a temporary order in which the child may be conditionally placed with the parent for up to 3 months. The court shall hold a final hearing after the child has been placed with the parent for 3 months. At the final hearing, the court may issue an order of reinstatement of parental rights and terminate jurisdiction if the court finds that reinstatement is in the child’s best interest, taking into account whether the parent has remedied conditions, the age and maturity of the child, the child’s ability to express a preference and any likelihood of future risk to the child. Both the parent and child must consent to reinstatement. Reinstatement of parental rights may include both parents.
This bill makes the following changes to the Child and Family Services and Child Protection Act.
1. It requires that the Department of Health and Human Services, within 30 days of the removal of a child from the custody of the child's parents, exercise due diligence to identify and provide notice to all grandparents and other adult relatives of the child, except in cases of family or domestic violence. This legislation is required under the federal Fostering Connections to Success and Increasing Adoptions Act of 2008, Public Law 110-351.
2. It provides services for youth who are in foster care at 18 years of age and are at risk of leaving care without a permanent family or sufficient life skills and supports to manage independence. This legislation is consistent with provisions of the federal Fostering Connections to Success and Increasing Adoptions Act of 2008, Public Law 110-351 that allow states to draw federal funds to support older youth but require judicial oversight and support by a state agency.
3. It amends language in the statutes governing permanency guardianship. It removes the requirement that a child must be identified as a special needs child to receive a guardianship subsidy. It amends the law to allow permanency guardians the option of receiving nonrecurring reimbursement for expenses associated with becoming permanency guardians. It removes language that allows the guardianship subsidy to be transferred to a new permanency guardian upon death or disability of the original permanency guardian. It provides that a permanency guardian is subject to a fingerprint-based background check.
4. It establishes a new category of licensure in child welfare services, the resource family license. This license is for a person or persons who are foster parents, adoptive parents or members of a child's extended birth family who provide care to a child.
5 It provides for the adoption of a child who was previously in foster care and is the subject of a permanency guardianship order when the permanency guardian and the child determine adoption is in the best interest of the child.
6. It allows for the reinstatement of parental rights for a parent after a period of 12 months after a termination of parental rights upon a finding that there has been a material change in circumstances that indicate the parent is now able to provide a safe home and is willing to care for the child. The bill allows the court to hold a hearing to determine reinstatement in accordance with the best interest of the child, whether the parent has remedied conditions and the child’s wishes. The bill provides that only the department may petition to reinstate parental rights.