Grants local social services districts access to criminal history information when acting within the scope of their duties under the social services law or the family court act.
TITLE OF BILL: An act to amend the executive law and the social services law, in relation to access to court databases for local social services districts
PURPOSE: The purpose of this bill is to grant expanded access to the criminal history database maintained by the Department of Criminal Justice Services to local services districts that pursue child protective matters in Family Court.
SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS: This bill amends the Executive Law in order to grant expanded access to the criminal history database maintained by the Department of Criminal Justice Services to local social services districts, which, among other responsibilities, are tasked with pursuing child protective matters in Family Court. The bill further amends the Social Services Law to mandate that local social services districts conduct criminal background checks, including any arrest history, on any person aged eighteen years or over who resides or is proposed to reside directly with a child or in the same home as a child who is subject of a child protective proceeding.
JUSTIFICATION: To ensure the safety and well-being of children, local social services districts rely on criminal background information throughout the course of a child protective investigation in a variety of instances, including when evaluating the appropriateness of any proposed custodian or residential placement for the child. This information assists local social services district caseworkers, attorneys, and others to make informed recommendations and decisions critical to a child's welfare.
Under current law, local social services districts only have access to information regarding criminal convictions during the investigation of the Statewide Central Register (SCR) report and only for people named in SCR reports or living with the child. Local social services districts do not have access to other important information, such as pending criminal matters involving potential custodians or SCR subjects. Gaining access to a more complete criminal history that includes pending criminal matters and arrest information will allow child protective caseworkers and others to better assess risks to a child and to make appropriate recommendations.
LEGISLATIVE HISTORY: None.
FISCAL IMPLICATIONS: Undetermined.
EFFECTIVE DATE: This act shall take effect immediately.
STATE OF NEW YORK ________________________________________________________________________ 7731 IN SENATE June 3, 2014 ___________Introduced by Sen. FELDER -- read twice and ordered printed, and when printed to be committed to the Committee on Finance AN ACT to amend the executive law and the social services law, in relation to access to court databases for local social services districts THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND ASSEM- BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS: Section 1. Subdivision 9 of section 835 of the executive law, as sepa- rately amended by chapters 14 and 155 of the laws of 2012, is amended to read as follows: 9. "Qualified agencies" means courts in the unified court system, the administrative board of the judicial conference, probation departments, sheriffs' offices, district attorneys' offices, the state department of corrections and community supervision, the department of correction of any municipality, the financial frauds and consumer protection unit of the state department of financial services, the office of professional medical conduct of the state department of health for the purposes of section two hundred thirty of the public health law, the
[child protec- tive services unit of a]local social services district when [conducting an investigation pursuant to subdivision six of section four hundred twenty-four of the social services law]ACTING WITHIN THE SCOPE OF ITS DUTIES PURSUANT TO THE SOCIAL SERVICES LAW OR THE FAMILY COURT ACT, the office of Medicaid inspector general, the temporary state commission of investigation, police forces and departments having responsibility for enforcement of the general criminal laws of the state, the Onondaga County Center for Forensic Sciences Laboratory when acting within the scope of its law enforcement duties and the division of forensic services of the Nassau county medical examiner's office when acting within the scope of its law enforcement duties. S 2. Subdivision 6 of section 398 of the social services law is amended by adding a new paragraph (q) to read as follows: (Q) INVESTIGATE THE CRIMINAL BACKGROUND OF ANY PERSON OF OR OVER THE AGE OF EIGHTEEN WHO RESIDES OR IS PROPOSED TO RESIDE WITH OR IN THE SAME HOME AS A CHILD WHO IS THE SUBJECT OF A COURT PROCEEDING PURSUANT TOEXPLANATION--Matter in ITALICS (underscored) is new; matter in brackets [ ] is old law to be omitted. LBD15448-01-4 S. 7731 2
ARTICLE THREE, SIX, SEVEN, TEN, TEN-A OR TEN-C OF THE FAMILY COURT ACT. FOR THE PURPOSE OF THESE INVESTIGATIONS, AND SUBJECT TO THE RULES AND REGULATIONS OF THE DIVISION OF CRIMINAL JUSTICE SERVICES, LOCAL SOCIAL SERVICES DISTRICTS MAY, ACTING THROUGH PERSONS SPECIFICALLY DESIGNATED BY THE COMMISSIONER OF THE LOCAL SOCIAL SERVICES DISTRICT, ACCESS AND RECEIVE RECORDS MAINTAINED BY THE DIVISION OF CRIMINAL JUSTICE SERVICES PURSUANT TO SUBDIVISION SIX OF SECTION EIGHT HUNDRED THIRTY-SEVEN OF THE EXECUTIVE LAW. S 3. Paragraph (b) of subdivision 6 of section 424 of the social services law, as amended by chapter 602 of the laws of 2008, is amended to read as follows: (b) subject to rules and regulations of the division of criminal justice services, a manager of the child protective services unit, or a person with law enforcement background who is specifically designated by the commissioner of the local social services district for this purpose, shall have access to
[conviction]records maintained by state law enforcement agencies pertaining to persons of or over the age of eigh- teen years who (1) are currently residing in the residence of any child who is alleged to be or suspected of being abused, maltreated, or neglected or WHO IS PROPOSED TO LIVE WITH SUCH CHILD, OR (2) are named in any report of suspected or alleged child abuse, maltreatment, or neglect; provided that nothing in this subdivision shall be construed to contradict or modify section one thousand forty-six of the family court act. Any criminal history record provided by the division of criminal justice services, and any summary of the criminal history record provided by the office of children and family services to the child protective services unit of a local social services district pursuant to this subdivision, shall be kept confidential and shall not be made available for public inspection. Child protective services units shall not indicate a report solely based upon the existence of a conviction record; S 4. This act shall take effect immediately.