Provides that a child shall not be placed in the custody of the office of children and family services at the conclusion of a dispositional hearing unless the court finds that conditional discharge would not be appropriate and that the respondent poses a significant threat to public safety.
TITLE OF BILL: An act to amend the family court act, in relation to orders of disposition
PURPOSE OF BILL: To prevent the inappropriate placement of children in juvenile justice facilities.
SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS: Section 1 amends the Family Court Act to require that a youth for whom conditional discharge or probation is not appropriate to be placed in an alternative to placement program unless placement is necessary to protect the community, such placement is in the child's best interests, and no appropriate alternative to placement program are available.
Section 2 makes a corresponding change in the Family Court Act.
Section 3 contains the effective date.
EXISTING LAW: The Family Court Act currently requires family court judges to consider "the best interests of the respondent as well as the need for protection of the community" when deciding a disposition in a delinquency case. The law further directs, except for designated felony cases, "the court shall order the least restrictive available alternative...which is consistent with the needs and best interests of the respondent and the need for protection of the community." This bill clarifies that it is not in a youth's best interest or in the best interest of the public for a youth to be placed in a juvenile justice facility unless such placement is necessary to protect the community and there are no adequate means to rehabilitate the youth within their community.
PRIOR LEGISLATIVE HISTORY: Passed Senate 6/22/10; delivered to Assembly; referred to and died in Judiciary Committee.
STATEMENT IN SUPPORT: This bill is in response to the Governor's Task Force on Transforming Juvenile Justice recommendation to reduce the state's reliance on institutional placements for youth who pose no significant risk to public safety.
Over 53% of the youth who were placed in institutional facilities in 2007 were admitted for low level adjudications. The Task Force reports that many of these youth were placed because judges believed that the youth's community lacked necessary mental health and substance abuse resources. This punishes children for circumstances that are beyond their control. Moreover, an investigation released by the federal Department of Justice in August of 2009 revealed that these youth do not receive the mental health and substance abuse treatment that they need in these facilities, and that indeed the problems which youth suffer from become more severe when they are
uprooted from their communities and placed in these stressful environments.
If enacted, this bill would require that judges place youth within their community, unless there are not adequate services available to avert placement, or placement is needed to protect the community. It is time New York reserved placement in juvenile justice institutions for those youth who pose a risk to public safety.
BUDGET IMPLICATIONS: This legislation, if enacted, would significantly reduce juvenile justice placements. Each OCFS placement costs more than two hundred thousand dollars, for which the State reimburses the local government for fifty percent of the cost. Even a modest reduction in placements would save the State and local governments millions of dollars.
EFFECTIVE DATE: 60 days after enactment.
STATE OF NEW YORK ________________________________________________________________________ 66 2011-2012 Regular Sessions IN SENATE (PREFILED) January 5, 2011 ___________Introduced by Sens. MONTGOMERY, ADAMS, DUANE, HASSELL-THOMPSON, KRUEGER, PARKER, SAMPSON -- read twice and ordered printed, and when printed to be committed to the Committee on Children and Families AN ACT to amend the family court act, in relation to orders of disposi- tion THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND ASSEM- BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS: Section 1. Subdivision 1 of section 352.2 of the family court act, as added by chapter 920 of the laws of 1982, is amended to read as follows: 1. (A) Upon the conclusion of the dispositional hearing, the court shall enter an order of disposition:
[(a)](I) conditionally discharging the respondent in accord with section 353.1 OF THIS PART; or [(b)](II) putting the respondent on probation in accord with section 353.2 OF THIS PART; or [(c)](III) continuing the proceeding and placing the respondent in accord with section 353.3 OF THIS PART; or [(d)](IV) placing the respondent in accord with section 353.4 OF THIS PART; or [(e)](V) continuing the proceeding and placing the respondent under a restrictive placement in accord with section 353.5 OF THIS PART. (B) NOTWITHSTANDING THE PROVISIONS OF PARAGRAPH (A) OF THIS SUBDIVI- SION, THE COURT SHALL NOT PLACE A RESPONDENT IN THE CUSTODY OF THE COMMISSIONER OF THE OFFICE OF CHILDREN AND FAMILY SERVICES PURSUANT TO EITHER SUBPARAGRAPHS (III) OR (IV) OF PARAGRAPH (A) OF THIS SUBDIVISION UNLESS THE COURT DETERMINES THAT: (I) CONDITIONAL DISCHARGE OF THE RESPONDENT IN ACCORD WITH SECTION 351.1 OF THIS PART, OR PUTTING THE RESPONDENT ON PROBATION IN ACCORD WITH SECTION 353.2 OF THIS PART, WOULD NOT BE APPROPRIATE; ANDEXPLANATION--Matter in ITALICS (underscored) is new; matter in brackets [ ] is old law to be omitted. LBD01548-02-1 S. 66 2
(II) THAT PLACEMENT OF THE RESPONDENT IS CONSISTENT WITH THE NEED FOR THE PROTECTION OF THE COMMUNITY AND THE BEST INTERESTS OF THE CHILD, AND THAT NO AVAILABLE ALTERNATIVES TO PLACEMENT COULD ADEQUATELY MITIGATE SUCH NEED. S 2. Paragraph (a) of subdivision 2 and subdivision 3 of section 352.2 of the family court act, paragraph (a) of subdivision 2 as amended by chapter 880 of the laws of 1985 and subdivision 3 as added by chapter 920 of the laws of 1982, are amended to read as follows: (a) In determining an appropriate order the court shall consider AND SHALL DIRECT A DISPOSITION THAT SPECIFICALLY MEETS the needs and best interests of the respondent as well as the need for protection of the community. If the respondent has committed a designated felony act the court shall determine the appropriate disposition in accord with section 353.5 OF THIS PART. In all other cases the court shall order the least restrictive available alternative enumerated in subdivision one which is consistent with the needs and best interests of the respondent and the need for protection of the community. 3. The order shall state the court's reasons for the particular dispo- sition, including
[,]: (A) in the case of a restrictive placement pursuant to section 353.5 OF THIS PART, the specific findings of fact required in such section [.]; AND (B) IN THE CASE OF PLACEMENT OF THE RESPONDENT IN THE CUSTODY OF THE OFFICE OF CHILDREN AND FAMILY SERVICES EITHER PURSUANT TO SECTION 353.3 OR 353.4 OF THIS PART, THE SPECIFIC FINDINGS OF FACT REQUIRED BY PARA- GRAPH (B) OF SUBDIVISION ONE OF THIS SECTION. S 3. This act shall take effect on the sixtieth day after it shall have become a law.