ASSEMBLY, No. 3975

STATE OF NEW JERSEY

219th LEGISLATURE

INTRODUCED MAY 4, 2020

 


 

Sponsored by:

Assemblywoman† AURA K. DUNN

District 25 (Morris and Somerset)

Assemblywoman† VALERIE VAINIERI HUTTLE

District 37 (Bergen)

Assemblywoman† ANGELA V. MCKNIGHT

District 31 (Hudson)

 

 

 

 

SYNOPSIS

†††† Requires DCF and DOE to provide certain child abuse and neglect services or information remotely or through distance learning mechanisms.

 

CURRENT VERSION OF TEXT

†††† As introduced.

 


An Act concerning child abuse and neglect and supplementing Title 9 and Title 18A of the Revised Statutes.

 

†††† Be It Enacted by the Senate and General Assembly of the State of New Jersey:

 

†††† 1.††† For the duration of the public health emergency declared pursuant to P.L.2005, c.222 (C.26:13-1 et seq.) in response to the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), the Department of Children and Families shall establish procedures to allow:

†††† a.†††† a child under its care, custody, and supervision and the childís family to access certain services required by a case plan remotely by telephone, computer, or other means of live audio or video communication; and

†††† b.††† a permanency worker assigned to a child under the departmentís care, custody, and supervision to provide certain case management services remotely by telephone, computer, or other means of live audio or video communication.

†††† c.†††† The services accessed by a child under the departmentís care, custody, and supervision and the childís family pursuant to subsection a. of this section may include, but not be limited to:

†††† (1)†† crisis intervention;

†††† (2)†† emergency medical, mental health, and substance use treatment services;

†††† (3)†† financial assistance; and

†††† (4)†† housing assistance and advocacy.

†††† d.††† The case management services provided by a permanency worker pursuant to subsection b. of this section may include, but not be limited to:

†††† (1)†† regular interviews with the child and the childís parent;

†††† (2)†† an assessment of the childís condition of the child to determine if the child is receiving adequate, safe and appropriate food, clothing and housing, and medical care; and

†††† (3)†† a determination of the progress of the treatment and services, provided to the child and the childís family, and whether a revision of the childís case plan is necessary.

 

†††† 2.††† For the duration of the public health emergency declared pursuant to P.L.2005, c.222 (C.26:13-1 et seq.) in response to the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), the Department of Education, in consultation with the Department of Children and Families, shall:

†††† a.†††† offer Statewide educational instruction through distance learning media, including, but not limited to, video and audio tapes or Internet education programs, on the problems of child abuse and neglect and appropriate child abuse prevention techniques; and

†††† b.††† require all school districts in the State to establish policies designed to ensure that each student enrolled in a public school offering educational instruction through distance learning is regularly attending school.

†††† c.†††† The instruction provided pursuant to subsection a. of this section shall enable elementary school, middle school and high school pupils and their families to:

†††† (1)†† understand the psychology and dynamics of child abuse and neglect;

†††† (2)†† provide information on the Department of Children and Families' State Central Registry, including instructions on calling 911 for emergencies and directions for accessing the department's website or social media platforms for more information on reporting child abuse, neglect, and exploitation;

†††† (3)†† provide information on the Department of Children and Families' Family Helpline and other telephone hotlines that offer peer support, clinical, and counseling services to children at risk of children abuse and neglect and their families; and

†††† (4)†† provide information on State child abuse prevention programs and services; and

†††† d.††† The policies designed by school districts pursuant to subsection b. of this section shall include provisions for:

†††† (1)†† recording the attendance and excused absence of each student remotely by telephone, computer, or other means of live audio or video communication;

†††† (2)†† a studentís parent or guardian to notify the appropriate school personnel when the student will be absent from school remotely by telephone, computer or other means of live audio or video communication;

†††† (3)†† the school to attempt to contact a studentís parent or legal guardian, if a pupil is determined to be absent without valid excuse from school; and

†††† (4)†† the circumstances under which the school shall contact the Department of Children and Families if the reason for a student's unexcused absence is unknown to the appropriate school personnel and attempts to contact the studentís parent or guardian to determine the reason for the absence is unsuccessful.

 

†††† 3.††† This act shall take effect immediately.

 

 

STATEMENT

 

†††† This bill requires that during the public health emergency declared pursuant to P.L.2005, c.222 (C.26:13-1 et seq.) in response to the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), the Department of Children and Families (DCF) would establish procedures to allow: a

child under its care, custody, and supervision and the childís family to access the services required under a case plan remotely by telephone, computer, or other means of live audio or video communication; and a permanency worker, assigned to a child under the departmentís care, custody, and supervision, to provide the case management services, as appropriate, remotely by telephone, computer, or other means of live audio or video communication.

†††† The services accessed by a child under the DCFís care, custody, and supervision and the childís family could include, but not be limited to: crisis intervention; emergency medical, mental health, and substance use treatment services; financial assistance; and housing assistance and advocacy.† The case management services provided by a permanency worker could include, but not be limited to: regular interviews with the child and the childís parent; an assessment of the childís condition of the child to determine if the child is receiving adequate, safe and appropriate food, clothing and housing, and medical care; and a determination of the progress of the treatment and services, provided to the child and the childís family, and whether a revision of the childís case plan is necessary

†††† The bill also requires that during the COVID-19 public health emergency, the Department of Education, in consultation with the DCF, would provide Statewide educational instruction through distance learning media, including, but not limited to, video and audio tapes or Internet education programs, on the problems of child abuse and neglect and appropriate child abuse prevention techniques.

†††† The instruction would enable elementary school, middle school and high school pupils and their families to: understand the psychology and dynamics of child abuse and neglect; provide information on the DCF's State Central Registry, including instructions on calling 911 for emergencies, and directions for accessing the DCFís website or social media platforms for more information on reporting child abuse, neglect, and exploitation; provide information on the DCFís Family Helpline and other telephone hotlines that offer peer support, clinical, and counseling services to children at risk of child abuse and neglect and their families; and provide information on State child abuse prevention programs and services.

†††† The billís provisions also stipulate that during the COVID-19 public health emergency, the DOE would require all school districts establish policies to ensure that each student enrolled in a public school offering educational instruction through distance learning is regularly attending school.† The policies would include provisions for: recording the attendance and excused absence of each student remotely by telephone, computer, or other means of live audio or video communication; a studentís parent or guardian to notify the

appropriate school personnel when the student will be absent from school remotely by telephone, computer or other means of live audio or video communication; the school to attempt to contact a studentís parent or legal guardian, if a pupil is determined to be absent without valid excuse from school; and the circumstances under which the school would contact the DCF if the reason for a student's unexcused absence is unknown to the appropriate school personnel and attempts to contact the studentís parent or guardian to determine the reason for the absence is unsuccessful.