This bill has been amended

Bill S3306A-2011

Requires investigating officials to investigate the homes of children and adults about whom reports have been filed

Enacts "Laura Cummings Law"; requires investigating officials of the department of social services or the office of children and family services to investigate the homes of adults about whom reports have been filed and requires such officials to apply for a court order allowing access to the home if two or more such reports have been filed regarding such adult and access thereto has been denied; makes failing to allow access to the subject of a report a misdemeanor; allows information sharing between protective services agencies.

Details

Actions

  • May 4, 2011: ADVANCED TO THIRD READING
  • May 3, 2011: 2ND REPORT CAL.
  • May 2, 2011: 1ST REPORT CAL.405
  • Apr 27, 2011: PRINT NUMBER 3306A
  • Apr 27, 2011: AMEND (T) AND RECOMMIT TO CHILDREN AND FAMILIES
  • Feb 16, 2011: REFERRED TO CHILDREN AND FAMILIES

Meetings

Calendars

Votes

VOTE: COMMITTEE VOTE: - Children and Families - May 2, 2011
Ayes (4): Johnson, Saland, Young, Savino
Ayes W/R (2): Montgomery, Duane

Memo

BILL NUMBER:S3306A

TITLE OF BILL: An act to amend the social services law, in relation to requiring investigating officials of the department of social services or the office of children and family services to investigate the homes of children and adults about whom reports have been filed and requiring such officials to obtain a supervisor's approval or otherwise requiring such to apply for a court order allowing access to the home if two or more such reports have been filed regarding such child or adult and access thereto has been denied; and to amend the penal law, in relation to criminalizing the act of denying access to an individual who is the subject of a report to child or adult protective services

PURPOSE: This bill would ensure that reports of serious abuse of children or of impaired adults are fully investigated including entry to the home and that those individuals who interfere with such a lawful investigation will be guilty of a class A misdemeanor. This legislation also ensures that Child and Adult protective services can share important information about reports of abuse and other relevant records.

SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS: Section 1 Short Title - "This Act shall be known as the "Laura Cummings Law"

Subdivision 3 of section 421 and Subdivision 6-a of section 424 of the Social Services Law are amended to mandate that after the second report of abuse, it is presumed that a court order will be sought by a child protective investigator to enter the home, and that any decision not to seek such an order must be reviewed by a supervisor and documented in the investigation file. A positive determination must be made that the factors required under Family Court Act Section 1034 do not exist.

Paragraph (a) of subdivision 1 of section 473 and section 473-c of the social services law are amended to require that when the second report of abuse of an impaired individual is received it is presumed that the department of social services will seek a court order to enter the home and that any decision not to seek such an order must be reviewed by a supervisor and documented in the investigation file. A positive determination must be made that the factors required under Family Court Act Section 1034 do not exist.

Subparagraphs (y), (z) and paragraph A of subdivision 4 of the section 422 of the social services law is amended to allow child protective services to share information in regard to abuse with the department of social services under certain circumstances and criteria.

Section 195.05 of the penal law is amended to include denying or attempting to deny access to a potential victim with intent to conceal abuse under the list of offenses that are defined as

obstructing governmental administration in the second degree, punishable by a class A misdemeanor

STATEMENT IN SUPPORT:

In January of 2010 the life of 23 year old Laura Cummings came to a tragic end when she was smothered to death by her own mother. Laura had endured years of physical, sexual and mental abuse and criminal neglect at the hands of her family. This case would be heartbreaking under any circumstances, but is made much worse by the fact that child and adult protective services could have saved her life and ended her suffering if they had responded appropriately. This legislation seeks to honor Laura's memory by ensuring that these same mistakes are never made again and that those that fail to cooperate with an investigation are held accountable. By requiring that adult or child protective services seek a court order to enter a residence on the second report of abuse and thereafter the bill seeks to make sure that a thorough investigation is conducted. The bill also seeks to assure that in the investigation phase, information regarding abuse is shared between child and adult protective services. Lastly, the bill seeks to punish individuals who deny access to a child or adult or interfere during an investigation of abuse with a class A misdemeanor.

Children and impaired adults are some of our state's most vulnerable citizens and this bill seeks to offer them the maximum protections possible against any who might abuse them, and to ensure that government agencies act in time to save others who may find themselves in the same situation as Laura Cummings.

LEGISLATIVE HISTORY: This is a new bill.

FISCAL IMPACT: None.

EFFECTIVE DATE: Immediately


Text

STATE OF NEW YORK ________________________________________________________________________ 3306--A 2011-2012 Regular Sessions IN SENATE February 16, 2011 ___________
Introduced by Sens. MAZIARZ, RANZENHOFER, ADDABBO, DeFRANCISCO, FUSCHIL- LO, GALLIVAN, GOLDEN, GRISANTI, KENNEDY, KRUEGER, LARKIN, LIBOUS, MARTINS, McDONALD, OPPENHEIMER, PERKINS, ZELDIN -- read twice and ordered printed, and when printed to be committed to the Committee on Children and Families -- committee discharged, bill amended, ordered reprinted as amended and recommitted to said committee AN ACT to amend the social services law, in relation to requiring inves- tigating officials of the department of social services or the office of children and family services to investigate the homes of children and adults about whom reports have been filed and requiring such offi- cials to obtain a supervisor's approval or otherwise requiring such to apply for a court order allowing access to the home if two or more such reports have been filed regarding such child or adult and access thereto has been denied; and to amend the penal law, in relation to criminalizing the act of denying access to an individual who is the subject of a report to child or adult protective services THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND ASSEM- BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS: Section 1. Short title. This act shall be known and may be cited as "Laura Cummings Law". S 2. The section heading and opening paragraph of section 421 of the social services law, as amended by chapter 718 of the laws of 1986, are amended to read as follows: Responsibility of the [department] OFFICE OF CHILDREN AND FAMILY SERVICES. The [department] OFFICE OF CHILDREN AND FAMILY SERVICES shall: S 3. Subdivision 3 of section 421 of the social services law, as amended by chapter 718 of the laws of 1986, paragraph (a) as amended by chapter 110 of the laws of 1989 and the closing paragraph as amended by chapter 320 of the laws of 1990, is amended to read as follows:
3. promulgate regulations setting forth requirements for the perform- ance by local social services departments of the duties and powers imposed and conferred upon them by the provisions of this title and of article ten of the family court act. Such regulations shall establish uniform requirements for the investigation of reports of child abuse or maltreatment under this title. The [department] OFFICE OF CHILDREN AND FAMILY SERVICES shall also issue guidelines which shall set forth the circumstances or conditions under which: (a) personal contact shall be made with the child named in the report and any other children in the same household, including interviewing such child or children absent the subject of the report whenever possi- ble and appropriate; (b) photographs of visible physical injuries or trauma of children who may be the victims of abuse or maltreatment shall be taken or arranged for; (c) medical examination of a child who may be a victim of abuse or maltreatment and documentation of findings of such examination, shall be required[.]; (D) INVESTIGATIONS SHALL BE MADE OF THE HOME OF THE CHILD NAMED IN THE REPORT, INCLUDING BY THE AUTHORITY OF IMMEDIATE COURT ORDERS OBTAINED FROM THE FAMILY COURT WHENEVER ACCESS THERETO IS DENIED; PROVIDED, HOWEVER, SUCH GUIDELINES SHALL PRESUME THAT SUCH AN IMMEDIATE COURT ORDER BE SOUGHT WHEN TWO OR MORE REPORTS ARE MADE IN REFERENCE TO THE SAME PERSON RELATING TO THE ABUSE OR MALTREATMENT OF A CHILD, INCLUDING UNFOUNDED AND/OR CLOSED CASES NOT FOUND TO BE MISTAKEN OR FALSE REPORTS, AND THE LOCAL CHILD PROTECTIVE SERVICES ARE NOT ABLE TO LOCATE THE SUBJECT CHILD OR HAS BEEN DENIED ACCESS TO THE HOME OR TO THE CHILD NAMED IN THE REPORT OR TO ANY CHILDREN IN THE HOUSEHOLD. ANY DECISION NOT TO SEEK SUCH AN ORDER MUST BE REVIEWED BY A SUPERVISOR OF THE SOCIAL SERVICES DISTRICT AND DOCUMENTED IN THE INVESTIGATION FILE TO DETERMINE THAT THE FACTORS REQUIRED UNDER SECTION ONE THOUSAND THIRTY-FOUR OF THE FAMILY COURT ACT DO NOT EXIST. The [department] OFFICE OF CHILDREN AND FAMILY SERVICES shall promul- gate regulations to establish standards for intervention, criteria for case closings, criteria for determining whether or not to initiate a child protective proceeding, and criteria for the formulation of treat- ment plans and for the delivery of child protective services including specification of the services to be classified as child protective services, which shall also apply to any society for the prevention of cruelty to children which has entered into a currently valid contract with a local department of social services to investigate child abuse or maltreatment reports. The [department] OFFICE OF CHILDREN AND FAMILY SERVICES shall promulgate regulations establishing minimum standards and practices for the delivery of child protective services in connection with monitoring and supervising respondents and their families as ordered by a family court pursuant to section ten hundred thirty-nine and paragraphs (i), (iii), (iv) and (v) of subdivision (a) of section ten hundred fifty-two of the family court act. Such regulations shall also require local child protective services to comply with notification requirements of the family court act in connection with such monitoring and supervisory responsibilities. S 4. Subdivision 6-a of section 424 of the social services law, as added by chapter 740 of the laws of 2006, is amended to read as follows: 6-a. upon receipt of such report and commencement of the appropriate investigation, where the child protective service is not able to locate the child or has been denied access to the home or denied access to the
child named in the report or to any children in the household, and where the child protective investigator has cause to believe a child or chil- dren's life or health may be in danger immediately advise the parent or person legally responsible for the child's care or with whom the child is residing that, when denied sufficient access to the child or other children in the home, the child protective investigator may contact the family court to seek an immediate court order to gain access to the home and/or the child named in the report or any children in the household without further notice and that while such request is being made to such court, law enforcement may be contacted and if contacted shall respond and shall remain where the child or children are or are believed to be present; PROVIDED, HOWEVER, THAT WHEN TWO OR MORE REPORTS ARE MADE IN REFERENCE TO THE SAME PERSON RELATING TO THE ABUSE OR MALTREATMENT OF A CHILD, INCLUDING UNFOUNDED AND/OR CLOSED CASES NOT FOUND TO BE MISTAKEN OR FALSE REPORTS, AND THE CHILD PROTECTIVE INVESTIGATOR IS NOT ABLE TO LOCATE THE SUBJECT CHILD OR HAS BEEN DENIED ACCESS TO THE HOME OR TO THE CHILD NAMED IN THE REPORT OR TO ANY CHILDREN IN THE HOUSEHOLD, THE CHILD PROTECTIVE INVESTIGATOR SHOULD CONTACT THE FAMILY COURT TO SEEK SUCH AN IMMEDIATE COURT ORDER, AND ANY DECISION NOT TO SEEK SUCH AN ORDER MUST BE REVIEWED BY A SUPERVISOR OF THE SOCIAL SERVICES DISTRICT AND DOCU- MENTED IN THE INVESTIGATION FILE TO DETERMINE THAT THE FACTORS REQUIRED UNDER SECTION ONE THOUSAND THIRTY-FOUR OF THE FAMILY COURT ACT DO NOT EXIST; S 5. Paragraph (a) of subdivision 1 of section 473 of the social services law, as amended by chapter 395 of the laws of 1995, is amended to read as follows: (a) receiving and investigating reports of seriously impaired individ- uals who may be in need of protection; WHICH INVESTIGATIONS SHALL INCLUDE INVESTIGATION OF THE HOME OF AN IMPAIRED INDIVIDUAL NAMED IN THE REPORT, INCLUDING BY THE AUTHORITY OF IMMEDIATE COURT ORDERS WHENEVER ACCESS THERETO IS DENIED AS SET FORTH IN SECTION FOUR HUNDRED SEVENTY-THREE-A OF THIS ARTICLE; S 6. Section 473-c of the social services law is amended by adding a new subdivision 3-a to read as follows: 3-A. WHEN TWO OR MORE REPORTS ARE MADE IN REFERENCE TO THE SAME PERSON RELATING TO THE ABUSE OR MALTREATMENT OF AN ADULT PURSUANT TO THIS ARTI- CLE, OR OF SUCH PERSON AS A CHILD PURSUANT TO ARTICLE SIX OF THIS CHAP- TER, INCLUDING UNFOUNDED AND/OR CLOSED CASES NOT FOUND TO BE MISTAKEN OR FALSE REPORTS, AND THE SOCIAL SERVICES OFFICIAL IS NOT ABLE TO LOCATE THE SUBJECT ADULT OR HAS BEEN DENIED ACCESS TO THE HOME OR TO THE ADULT NAMED IN THE REPORT, THE SOCIAL SERVICES OFFICIAL SHALL SEEK AN IMMEDI- ATE COURT ORDER AS DESCRIBED IN THIS SECTION. ANY DECISION NOT TO SEEK SUCH AN ORDER MUST BE REVIEWED BY A SUPERVISOR OF THE SOCIAL SERVICES DISTRICT AND DOCUMENTED IN THE INVESTIGATION FILE TO DETERMINE THAT THE FACTORS REQUIRED UNDER SECTION ONE THOUSAND THIRTY-FOUR OF THE FAMILY COURT ACT DO NOT EXIST. S 7. Subparagraphs (y) and (z) of paragraph (A) of subdivision 4 of section 422 of the social services law, subparagraph (y) as amended and subparagraph (z) as added by section 1 of part A of chapter 327 of the laws of 2007, are amended and a new subparagraph (aa) is added to read as follows: (y) members of a citizen review panel as established pursuant to section three hundred seventy-one-b of this article; provided, however, members of a citizen review panel shall not disclose to any person or government official any identifying information which the panel has been
provided and shall not make public other information unless otherwise authorized by statute; [and] (z) an entity with appropriate legal authority in another state to license, certify or otherwise approve prospective foster and adoptive parents where disclosure of information regarding the prospective foster or adoptive parents and other persons over the age of eighteen residing in the home of such prospective parents is required by paragraph twenty of subdivision (a) of section six hundred seventy-one of title forty-two of the United States code[.]; AND (AA) A SOCIAL SERVICES OFFICIAL WHO IS INVESTIGATING WHETHER AN ADULT IS IN NEED OF PROTECTIVE SERVICES IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE PROVISIONS OF SECTION FOUR HUNDRED SEVENTY-THREE OF THIS CHAPTER, AND WHEN SUCH OFFI- CIAL HAS REASONABLE CAUSE TO BELIEVE THAT SUCH PERSON MAY BE IN NEED OF PROTECTIVE SERVICES DUE TO THE ACTIONS OF AN INDIVIDUAL OR INDIVIDUALS THAT HAD ACCESS TO SUCH ADULT WHEN HE OR SHE WAS A CHILD, AND SUCH ADULT EITHER CURRENTLY RESIDES WITH SUCH INDIVIDUAL OR INDIVIDUALS, OR DID SO WITHIN THE LAST FIVE YEARS. UNDER THIS PARAGRAPH, INFORMATION IS LIMITED TO VERIFICATION BY THE CITY OR COUNTY SOCIAL SERVICES COMMISSIONER THAT THERE WAS OR WAS NOT AN INDICATED REPORT OF CHILD ABUSE OR NEGLECT INVOLVING SUCH ADULT AND SUCH INDIVIDUAL OR INDIVIDUALS. S 8. Paragraphs (B), (C) and (D) of subdivision 4 of section 422 of the social services law, as amended by chapter 677 of the laws of 1985, are amended to read as follows: (B) Notwithstanding any inconsistent provision of law to the contrary, a city or county social services commissioner may withhold, in whole or in part, the release of any information which he or she is authorized to make available to persons or agencies identified in subparagraphs (a), (k), [(l),] (m), (n)[,] AND (o)[, (p) and (q)] of paragraph (A) of this subdivision if such commissioner determines that such information is not related to the purposes for which such information is requested or when such disclosure will be detrimental to the child named in the report. (C) A city or county social services commissioner who denies access by persons or agencies identified in subparagraphs (a), (k), [(l),] (m), (n)[,] AND (o)[, (p) and (q)] of paragraph (A) of this subdivision to records, reports or other information or parts thereof maintained by such commissioner in accordance with this title shall, within ten days from the date of receipt of the request fully explain in writing to the person requesting the records, reports or other information the reasons for the denial. (D) A person or agency identified in subparagraphs (a), (k), [(l),] (m), (n)[,] AND (o)[, (p) and (q)] of paragraph (A) of this subdivision who is denied access to records, reports or other information or parts thereof maintained by a local department pursuant to this title may bring a proceeding for review of such denial pursuant to article seven- ty-eight of the civil practice law and rules. S 9. Section 195.05 of the penal law, as amended by chapter 269 of the laws of 1998, is amended to read as follows: S 195.05 Obstructing governmental administration in the second degree. A person is guilty of obstructing governmental administration IN THE SECOND DEGREE when he OR SHE intentionally obstructs, impairs or perverts the administration of law or other governmental function or prevents or attempts to prevent a public servant from performing an official function[,]: 1. by means of intimidation, physical force or interference, or by means of any independently unlawful act[, or];
2. by means of interfering, whether or not physical force is involved, with radio, telephone, television or other telecommunications systems owned or operated by the state, or a county, city, town, village, fire district or emergency medical service [or]; 3. by means of releasing a dangerous animal under circumstances evinc- ing the actor's intent that the animal obstruct governmental adminis- tration; OR 4. BY, WITH INTENT TO CONCEAL ABUSE AND/OR NEGLECT, DENYING OR ATTEMPTING TO DENY AN INVESTIGATION OF CHILD PROTECTIVE SERVICES OR OF ADULT PROTECTIVE SERVICES, ACCESS TO INTERVIEW AN ALLEGED VICTIM. Obstructing governmental administration IN THE SECOND DEGREE is a class A misdemeanor. S 10. This act shall take effect immediately.

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