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This bill would require the Department of Family & Protective Services to designate caseworkers to conduct investigations on child fatalities, require the department in certain regions to "use data collected by the department on foster care capacity needs and availability of each type of foster care and kinship placement in the region to create a plan to address the substitute care capacity needs in the region." The bill would require the development of certain training for justices of the peace and medical examiners.
The bill would require study of available child fatality data and use of the data to create public health strategies for the prevention of child fatalities. The department would be required to collect data on near fatality child abuse and neglect cases and report on that data.
The bill would require the department to "review and analyze the collected data to identify any demographic trends in child fatality cases, including whether there is a disproportionate number of child fatalities in a particular population group or geographic area."
A strategic plan already required by law would be required to also "identify strategies to increase the number of high-risk families and communities receiving prevention and early intervention services each year, subject to the availability of funds." The bill would establish a program to provide support to caseworkers who experience secondary trauma. The bill would make some changes to caseload management.
This is a summary of major provisions and not an exhaustive list of provisions of HB 1549.
We opposed this bill in the House. The liberty-infringing provisions have been removed and this is a very different bill from when we first reported on it. We have withdrawn our objections and remain neutral on passage as this bill appears before the Senate on second reading.