The 2018 Legislative Session has been full of child welfare legislation intended to improve the outcomes of Maryland’s children! Legislation that ACY is keeping an eye on includes the following:
SB2/HB1: authorizes a court, under certain circumstances, to terminate the parental rights of an individual convicted of or found to have committed an act of nonconsensual sexual conduct against the other parent that resulted in the conception of a child. PASSED 2/18/18
SB 490/HB 454: requires a court to provide the Secretary of Health with identifying information regarding an individual who has been convicted of the murder, attempted murder, or manslaughter of a child; if the identified parent has a second child, the Department of Vital Statistics will notify the Department of Human Services (DHS), who will then conduct an assessment of the home and child (this process is called Birth Match). This bill also requires DHS in coordination with the Vital Statistics Administration to contract with an independent organization to develop a data collection process in order to assess the effectiveness of the Maryland Birth Match program in predicting and preventing child abuse and neglect. PASSED 4/7/18
SB 291/HB 524: Requires the Department of Human Services to place a portion of federal benefits- to include Social Security Disability Benefits and Social Security Survivors’ Benefits- in a savings account that can be accessed by the youth when they exit from the foster care system. This bill would require DHS to inform a youth and their counsel when benefits on behalf of the youth are applied for and how the funds are being used. PASSED 4/5/18
SB 85: alters the eligibility requirements for tuition waivers for foster care recipients to include individuals who resided in an out-of-home placement on or after the individual’s 13th birthday for at least 1 year and reunited with at least one of the individual’s parents; and altering the length of time from 5 to 10 years during which foster and unaccompanied homeless youth continue to be exempt from in-state tuition. PASSED 4/2/18
SB 308/HB 431: establishes the Fostering Employment Program to provide employment opportunities for foster and unaccompanied homeless youth through training leading, to certain credentials to include workforce development training and apprenticeships. PASSED 3/27/18
SB787: requires the Social Services Administration of the Department of Human Services to provide, at least one time each year, to a child who is at least 13 years old information regarding their rights while living in an out-of-home placement. PASSED 4/9/18
HB 1386: requires public schools to post conspicuously a sign in the school that contains the telephone number of the Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline. PASSED 4/5/18
HB1571: requires a county board of education and a certain contracting agency to require an applicant for a position involving direct contact with minors to provide information on prior allegations of child sexual abuse that resulted in disciplinary action; requires the county board or contracting agency to conduct a review of the employment history of applicant with an emphasis on being discharged due to alleged sexual abuse.
HB1425: reduces the time frame during which a person may revoke consent to guardianship or adoption of their child; increasing from 10 to 14 years old the age at which a minor’s consent is required for an adoption; increasing from 10 to 14 years old the age at which a minor may revoke consent to an adoption. Unfavorable report by the Judiciary committee on 3/15/18.
HB 1577: requires the Governor’s Office for Children to fund family navigation services to support parents and other caregivers of children or youth with behavioral health needs or developmental disabilities and to address certain other priorities concerning children and youth; requiring the Governor to include an appropriation of not less than $1,665,915 for the services in the annual budget each fiscal year. Unfavorable report by the Appropriations Committee on 4/7/18 and withdrawn.
HB 1582: establishes a State Medical Director for Children in Out-of-Home Placement in the Department of Human Services.
HB 1072: requires a county board of education to require each employee, student, and volunteer of a public school or a public school program to receive annual training on the prevention, identification, and reporting of child sexual abuse. PASSED 4/5/18
HB 49: requires the Governor to annually proclaim May as Foster Care Month and requiring the proclamation to urge residents of Maryland to volunteer their talents and energies on behalf of children in foster care, foster parents, and child welfare professionals. The Health and Government Operations Committee never voted on the bill.
HB 52: requires the Governor annually to proclaim the second Wednesday and Thursday in February as Foster Youth Legislative Shadow Days. The Health and Government Operations Committee never voted on the bill.