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.
Ayes (4): Montgomery, Schneiderman, Huntley, Duane
Ayes W/R (1): Marcellino
Nays (1): McDonald
BILL NUMBER: S6709
TITLE OF BILL : An act to amend the family court act, in relation to orders of disposition
PURPOSE OF THE BILL : To prevent the unnecessary placement of children in juvenile justice facilities.
SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS : Section 1 amends the Family Court Act to require a judge to place a youth who is not eligible for conditional discharge in an alternative to placement program unless such placement would pose a significant risk to public safety and no appropriate alternative to placement program were 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 they pose a risk to public safety or there are no adequate means to rehabilitate the youth within their community.
PRIOR LEGISLATIVE HISTORY : This is a new bill.
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 or misdemeanor 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. Further, and distressingly, we know from the Department of Justice investigation that these youth do not receive the mental health and substance abuse treatment that they need in these facilities, and that indeed these problems become more severe when these youth are uprooted from their communities.
If enacted, this bill would require that judges place youth within their community, unless there are not adequate services available to avert the placement in a juvenile justice facility, or public safety would be put at risk. It is time New York reserved placement in juvenile justice institutions for those youth who pose a risk to public safety.
BUDGET IMPLICATIONS : To be determined.
EFFECTIVE DATE : April 1, 2010.
STATE OF NEW YORK ________________________________________________________________________ 6709 IN SENATE January 29, 2010 ___________Introduced by Sens. MONTGOMERY, DUANE, HASSELL-THOMPSON, ONORATO, SCHNEIDERMAN -- 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; or [(b)](II) putting the respondent on probation in accord with section 353.2; or [(c)](III) continuing the proceeding and placing the respondent in accord with section 353.3; or [(d)](IV) placing the respondent in accord with section 353.4; or [(e)](V) continuing the proceeding and placing the respondent under a restrictive placement in accord with section 353.5. (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 PURSUANT TO SECTION 351.1 WOULD NOT BE APPROPRIATE; AND (II) THAT SUCH RESPONDENT POSES A SIGNIFICANT RISK TO PUBLIC SAFETY AND THAT NO AVAILABLE ALTERNATIVES TO PLACEMENT COULD ADEQUATELY MITIGATE SUCH RISK. THE COURT SHALL NOTIFY THE OFFICE OF CHILDREN AND FAMILY SERVICES OF SUCH DETERMINATION. S 2. Subdivision 3 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: 3. The order shall state the court's reasons for the particular dispo- sition, including [,]:EXPLANATION--Matter in ITALICS (underscored) is new; matter in brackets [ ] is old law to be omitted. LBD15595-01-0 S. 6709 2
(A) in the case of a restrictive placement pursuant to section 353.5, 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, THE SPECIFIC FINDINGS OF FACT REQUIRED BY PARAGRAPH (B) OF SUBDIVISION ONE OF THIS SECTION. S 3. This act shall take effect April 1, 2010; provided, however, if this act shall become a law after such date it shall take effect imme- diately and shall be deemed to have been in full force and effect on and after April 1, 2010.