FAMILY & JUVENILE LAW



CCS/HCS/SB 628 - Modifies provisions relating to the judiciary.

JOINT COMMITTEE ON CHILD ABUSE AND NEGLECT - Establishes and specifies the legislative membership of the Joint Committee on Child Abuse and Neglect.
 Among other duties, the Joint Committee is required to:
 (1) Study and analyze the state child abuse and neglect reporting and investigation system;
 (2) Devise a plan for improving the decision process for removal of a child from a home;
 (3) Determine the additional personnel and resources necessary to adequately protect children and improve their welfare; and
 (4) Address the need for additional foster care homes and to improve the quality of care provided to abused and neglected children in the custody of the state.

JUVENILE COURT JURISDICTION - HB 1171 (2012). Current law provides that the juvenile court shall have jurisdiction over any child up to 15 and 1/2 years of age who is involved in a state or local traffic violation. This act lowers such age so that the juvenile court would have jurisdiction over any child up to 15 years of age in such instances.

TERMINATION OF PARENTAL RIGHTS IN RAPE CASES - An automatic stay will be placed on paternity proceedings during the pendency of criminal charge alleging and act of rape by the putative father. Denial of visitation rights by this act cannot be used against the mother in determining which parent is most likely to allow meaningful contact with the other parent.

VULNERABLE PERSONS, DOMESTIC ASSAULT & CHILD ABUSE - Creates a hearsay exception for vulnerable persons similar to the exception for children under 14 used in certain criminal cases. There requirement that the offense be performed with or on the declarant is removed.
 The crime of domestic assault is modified to include acts involving a child who is a member of the family or household and not acts against persons in a romantic relationship with the actor.
 The crime of abuse of a child changed to abuse or neglect of a child. A person commits the crime if they cause a child under 18 to suffer physical or mental injury, to be placed in a situation which may result in physical or mental injury, or to suffer abusive head trauma. The crime is a class C felony. If the act involved serious physical or emotional injury or the person was previously found guilty of this crime, the person will be guilty of a class B felony. An act will be a class A felony if it involves a serious physical or emotional injury, the victim is less than 14 years old, and the injury is a result of sexual abuse.

SEXUAL MISCONDUCT INVOLVING A CHILD - The crime of sexual misconduct involving a child is modified to include when a person knowingly coerces or induces a female child who is known by the person to be younger than 15 years of age to expose the breasts of a female child through the internet or other electronic means for the purpose of arousing or gratifying the sexual desire of any person, including the child. See Judicial Administration for a summary of additional provisions of this omnibus bill. (Neither signed nor vetoed. Becomes law pursuant to Article III, Section 31, Missouri Constitution).

CCS/HCS/SB 636 - Modifies laws relating to the judiciary.

JOINT COMMITTEE ON CHILD ABUSE AND NEGLECT - HCS/SB 628 (2012). This act establishes the Joint Committee on Child Abuse and Neglect which shall be composed of specified legislators. The Committee will expire on January 15, 2018.
 Among other duties, the Joint Committee is required to:
 (1) Study and analyze the state child abuse and neglect reporting and investigation system;
 (2) Devise a plan for improving the decision process for removal of a child from a home;
 (3) Determine the additional personnel and resources necessary to adequately protect children and improve their welfare; and
 (4) Address the need for additional foster care homes and to improve the quality of care provided to abused and neglected children in the custody of the state.

JUVENILE COURT JURISDICTION - HB 1171 (2012) & HCS/SB 628 (2012). Current law provides that the juvenile court shall have jurisdiction over any child up to 15 and 1/2 years of age who is involved in a state or local traffic violation. This act lowers such age so that the juvenile court would have jurisdiction over any child up to 15 years of age in such instances. (See Criminal Law and Civil Practice & Procedure for a summary of other provisions of this omnibus bill). (Signed 7/12/12)

HCS/HB 1171 - Modifies provisions relating to courts. Current law provides that the juvenile court shall have jurisdiction over any child up to 15 and 1/2 years of age who is involved in a state or local traffic violation. This act lowers such age so that the juvenile court would have jurisdiction over any child up to 15 years of age in such instances. (See Judicial Administration for a summary of additional provisions). (Signed 7/9/12)

SCS/HCS#2/HB 1323 - Modifies provisions relating to child care services and establishes “Sam Pratt’s Law”.

LOW-WAGE TRAP ELIMINATION ACT - This act, to be known as the “Low-Wage Trap Elimination Act”, requires the Children’s Division within the Department of Social Services, subject to appropriations, to implement a child care subsidy benefit pilot program in at least one rural county and in at least one urban child care center that serves at least 300 families by January 1, 2013, to be known as the “Hand-Up Program”. This act contains a three-year sunset provision.

HOTLINE CALLS AND INVESTIGATIONS - In a case involving the death or serious injury of a child after a report has been made, the Children’s Division shall conduct a preliminary evaluation in order to determine whether a review of the ability of the circuit manager or case worker or workers to perform their duties competently is necessary. Any preliminary evaluation shall be completed no later than three days after the child’s death. If the division determines a review and assessment is necessary, it shall be completed no later than three days after the child’s death.
 The Children’s Division is also required to review a case when three or more calls regarding the same child are made to the hotline within a 72-hour time period to determine if the calls meet the criteria and statutory definition for a child abuse and neglect report to be accepted. A hotline worker is required to instruct an individual making a hotline call to call 911 when a child may be in immediate danger.

HOME VISITS BY CHILDREN’S DIVISION WORKERS - Division workers responding to a child abuse and neglect investigation are prohibited from calling prior to a home visit or leaving a business card, pamphlet, or other similar identifying information at a residence if the worker has a reasonable basis to believe (I) no person is present at the time of home visit and the alleged perpetrator resides in the home or the child’s safety may be compromised if the alleged perpetrator becomes aware of the visit; (2) the alleged perpetrator becomes aware of the attempted visit; or (3) the family has a history of domestic violence or fleeing the community.
 If the alleged perpetrator is present during the visit, a division worker responding to or investigating a child abuse and neglect report shall provide written material to the alleged perpetrator informing the person of his or her rights regarding the visit, including the right to contact an attorney. The alleged perpetrator shall be given a reasonable amount of time, not to exceed five minutes, to read the material or have the material read to him or her before the visit commences. This requirement shall not apply in a case where the child faces an immediate threat or danger or if the person responding to or investigating a report feels threatened or in danger or physical harm.

CHILD CARE PROVIDERS - Any child-care facility not exempt from licensure shall disclose the licensure status of the facility to the parents or guardians of children for which the facility provides care. No child care facility exempt from licensure shall represent to any parent or guardian of children for which the facility provides care that the facility is licensed when such facility is in fact not licensed.
 Increases the penalty for violations of child care licensure provisions to include a fine of up to two hundred dollars per day, not to exceed a total often thousand dollars for subsequent offenses.

SAM PRATT’S LAW - Provides that in any case involving abuse, neglect, or death of a child, any court of competent jurisdiction may impose as a condition of release of a defendant that such defendant be prohibited from providing child care services for compensation pending final disposition of the case. The court shall notify the department of health and senior services and the department of social services when it makes such a determination, as well as the final disposition of the case. (Signed 7/10/12)

SS/HCS/HB 1576 - Allows any specialized licensed foster parent of foster children with special needs due to a history of sexual abuse, serious physical abuse, or severe chronic neglect to purchase the same health insurance as state employees for himself or herself and his or her dependents from the Missouri Consolidated Health Care Plan at the actuarially determined rate of total premium for such health care coverage. Any such licensed foster parent as outlined above providing temporary foster care for children with a documented history of presenting behaviors or diagnoses that render the child unable to effectively function outside of a highly structured environment is eligible to purchase the state health insurance plan at his or her own expense. A foster parent who is seeking to adopt a foster child or who is related to the foster child shall not be eligible to purchase the plan.
 In order to be able to purchase such health insurance, the foster parents shall not have access to other health insurance coverage through an employer or spouse’s employer. (Signed 6/25/12)

HB 1577 -Requires the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education to ensure that school districts implement specific criteria relating to the enrollment of foster care children. (See Education & School Law for a more complete summary of this bill). (Signed 6/25/12)

SCS/HCS/HB 1758 - Modifies provisions relating to parental relationships.

CUSTODY AND VISITATION RIGHTS FOR PERSONS WITH A PARENT/CHILD RELATIONSHIP - This act modifies provisions relating to child custody and visitation rights of a person who is not the biological or legal parent of a child with whom he or she has a parent/child relationship. This act allows such person to petition a court for an order establishing custody and visitation rights. The provisions of this act shall not be construed to affect the procedure for the termination of parental rights or to revive the rights of a natural parent whose rights have previously been terminated.
 A petition may only be filed if at least one of the natural parents is deceased, at least one of the natural parents is unknown, the whereabouts of at least one of the natural parents is unknown and unascertainable for a period of one year, the parental rights of at least one biological parent have been terminated, or the remaining parent has not had an ongoing parent/child relationship with the minor child in question for a period of one year prior to the filing of the petition.
 The petitioner shall establish by a preponderance of the evidence that an ongoing parent/child relationship exists or did exist. There shall be a rebuttable presumption that the biological or legal parents act in the best interests of the minor child, and this presumption can be rebutted using the preponderance of the evidence or the clear and convincing evidence standard.
 If a court determines that a relationship exists between the minor child and the petitioner and the parental presumption has been rebutted, a court may grant a petitioner visitation or custody rights if it is in the child’s best interests and:
 -the natural parent is unfit, unsuitable, or unable to be a custodian;
 -the welfare of the child requires the granting of such rights; or
 -the natural parent is listed in the Child Abuse and Neglect Central Registry.
 This act prohibits the parental presumption from being used in any action to modify a judgment granted under these provisions.

CUSTODY OR VISITATION ORDERS FOR MILITARY PARENTS - Provides that if a military parent is required to be separated from a child due to deployment, a court shall not enter a final order under the provisions of this act relating to the parent/child relationship until 90 days after the deployment ends. Deployment or the potential for future deployment of a military parent cannot constitute grounds sufficient to support a custody or visitation order under these provisions. If a parent is required to be separated from his or her child due to employment and the parent provides ongoing support, the separation cannot constitute grounds sufficient to support a custody or visitation order under these provisions.

RACIAL CONSIDERATION IN ADOPTION PROCEEDINGS - This act provides that the race or ethnicity of the adoptive child, the child’s biological parents or the prospective adoptive parents shall not be a consideration when determining the best interests of the child, the welfare of the child, the suitability or assessment of prospective adoptive parents or the home of the prospective adoptive parents in adoptive placements. As to any Native American child placed in protective custody, the division shall comply with current federal placement requirements. (Vetoed 7/12/12)

Index of Bills by Subject Matter

Key
  • CCS - Conference Committee Substitute
  • HB - House Bill
  • HCS - House Committee Substitute
  • HS - House Substitute
  • HJR - House Joint Resolution
  • SB - Senate Bill
  • SCS - Senate Committee Substitute
  • SS - Senate Substitute
  • SJR - Senate Joint Resolution
  • * - Missouri Bar Committee-Drafted Legislation
 

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