- by: Miranda Y
- recipient: To make proposed S.B. 415 a Federal law
We, the citizen's of the United States of America, do hereby set forth this petition for signature in the making of a revised Federal Bill set for proposal to the U.S. Congress for passing, based on the precept of former Sen. Nancy Schaefer's S.B. 415. We intend to name it Schaefer's Law, in her memory. Below you will find S.B. 415 that was proposed to the Georgia Legislature by Sen. Schaefer (deceased) and her constituents. In this you will find the basis for Schaefer's Law. We are urging that you sign this petition to show your support for the making of this new bill.Sign PetitionSign Petition
S. B. 415
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Senate Bill 415
By: Senators Schaefer of the 50th, Williams of the 19th, Pearson of the 51st, Murphy of the... See More
27th, Douglas of the 17th and others
A BILL TO BE ENTITLED
1 To amend Chapter 11 of Title 15 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to
2 juvenile proceedings, so as to reduce the time allowed for the Department of Human
3 Resources to provide emergency care and supervision to a child without a court order; to
4 remove certain immunities; to require a court order to enter the residence of a parent or
5 guardian to seize a child under certain circumstances; to provide that juvenile deprivation
6 hearings shall not be closed except upon the written application of the parents or guardians
7 of the child or children who are the subject of the hearing; to provide that efforts shall be
8 made to place children with relatives prior to transferring custody of such children to the
9 Department of Human Resources; to provide for notices and procedures; to provide for a
10 limitation on certain actions to terminate parental rights; to provide for discovery in
11 termination proceedings; to provide for sanctions for failure to provide discovery; to amend
12 Chapter 8 of Title 19 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to adoptions, to
13 prohibit the state from applying for, obtaining, receiving, or accepting any adoption incentive
14 payments under the federal Adoption and Safe Families Act of 1997, P.L. 105-89, 42 U.S.C.
15 Section 673b, or any similar federal legislation providing incentive funds to the states for
16 promoting adoptions; to provide for related matters; to repeal conflicting laws; and for other
18 BE IT ENACTED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF GEORGIA:
19 SECTION 1.
20 Chapter 11 of Title 15 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to juvenile
21 proceedings, is amended by revising Code Section 15-11-14, relating to emergency care and
22 supervision of child by Department of Human Resources, as follows:
23 " 15-11-14.
24 (a) Notwithstanding Code Section 15-11-45 or any other provision of law, the Department
25 of Human Resources is authorized to provide emergency care and supervision to any child
26 without seeking a court order for a period not to exceed seven days 72 hours when:
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1 (1) As a result of an immediate emergency or illness, the person who has physical and
2 legal custody of the child or children is unable to provide for the care and supervision of
3 the child or children, and such person or a law enforcement officer, emergency personnel
4 employed by a licensed ambulance provider, fire rescue personnel, or a hospital
5 administrator or his or her designee requests that the department exercise such emergency
6 custody; and
7 (2) The child or children are not at imminent risk of abuse or neglect, other than the risks
8 arising from being without a caretaker.
9 During such period, the department shall endeavor to place the child or children with a
10 relative of the parent or guardian, in shelter care, or in emergency foster care or shall make
11 other appropriate placement arrangements. The department shall have the same rights and
12 powers with regard to the child or children as does the custodial parent or other legal
14 (b) Immediately upon receiving custody of the child or children, the department shall
15 begin a diligent search for a relative or other designee of the parent who can provide for
16 the care and supervision of the child or children.
17 (c) At any time during such seven-day 72 hour period, upon the parent or guardianīs
18 notification to the department that the parent or guardian, or a relative or designee thereof,
19 is able to provide care to and exercise control over the child or children, the department
20 shall release the child or children to the person having custody of the child or children at
21 the time the child or children were taken into the custody of the department or to such
22 personīs relative or designee except as provided in subsection (d) of this Code section.
23 (d) Upon the expiration of such seven-day 72 hour period, if the child or children have not
24 been released pursuant to subsection (c) of this Code section or if the department
25 determines that there is an issue of neglect, abandonment, or abuse, the department shall
26 promptly contact a juvenile court intake officer or bring the child or children before the
27 juvenile court pursuant to Code Section 15-11-47 or 15-11-49. If, upon making an
28 investigation, the intake or other authorized officer of the court finds that shelter care is
29 warranted for the child or children, then, for purposes of this chapter, the child or children
30 shall be deemed to have been placed in shelter care at the time such finding was made. The
31 department may take such other and further actions under this article and all other
32 provisions of law, as are authorized and appropriate, with regard to the child or children.
33 (e) During the period when a child is in the care and supervision of the department
34 pursuant to this Code section, the department shall have the same authority to consent to
35 medical treatment for the child as does the childīs custodial parent or other legal custodian;
36 provided, however, that no medication shall be administered to the child over the objection
37 of the custodial parent or legal custodian.
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1 (f) The department and its successors, agents, assigns, and employees shall be immune
2 from any and all liability for providing care and supervision for a child pursuant to
3 subsection (a) of this Code section, for consenting to medical treatment for the child
4 pursuant to subsection (e) of this Code section, and for releasing the child pursuant to
5 subsection (c) of this Code section. This immunity shall not extend to seizures of children
6 that are found to be in violation of this article nor to the administration of medication to a
7 child over the objection of the custodial parent or legal custodian."
8 SECTION 2.
9 Said chapter is further amended by revising Code Section 15-11-45, relating to when a child
10 may be taken into custody, by adding a new subsection as follows:
11 " (d) Except in cases involving an immediate threat to the health or safety of a child, no
12 person, including a law enforcement officer or duly authorized officer of the court, shall
13 enter the residence of such childīs parent or guardian to take such child into custody based
14 upon allegations of deprivation or abuse without a court order issued after a finding of
15 probable cause by the court authorizing such entry and taking of such child."
16 SECTION 3.
17 Said chapter is further amended by revising subsection (a) of Code Section 15-11-58, relating
18 to reasonable efforts regarding reunification of family, as follows:
19 " (a) A courtīs order removing a child from the childīs home shall be based upon a finding
20 by that court that continuation in the home would be contrary to the welfare of the child.
21 If the court places custody of the child in the Division of Family and Children Services of
22 the Department of Human Resources, the court shall also determine as a finding of fact
23 whether reasonable efforts were made by the Division of Family and Children Services of
24 the Department of Human Resources and any other appropriate agencies to preserve and
25 reunify families prior to the placement of a child in the custody of the Department of
26 Human Resources, to prevent or eliminate the need for removal of the child from that
27 childīs home, and to make it possible for the child to return safely to the childīs home.
28 Prior to being placed in foster care, the child shall be placed in a relativeīs care unless there
29 is no relative who is willing and able to care for the child. The Division of Family and
30 Children Services of the Department of Human Resources must show that a registered
31 letter, in addition to telephone calls and e-mails, requesting family placement was provided
32 to each and every relative that the child or the parent, guardian, or custodian of such child
33 provided to the Division of Family and Children Services of the Department of Human... See More
34 Resources upon the request of the Division of Family and Children Services of the
35 Department of Human Resources and whether reasonable efforts were made to place the
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1 child in a relativeīs home prior to the placement of that child in the custody of the
2 Department of Human Resources. Such findings shall also be made at every subsequent
3 review of the courtīs order under this chapter.
4 (1) In determining reasonable efforts to be made with respect to a child, as described in
5 this subsection, and in making such reasonable efforts, the childīs health and safety shall
6 be the paramount concern;
7 (2) Except as provided in paragraph (4) of this subsection, reasonable efforts shall be
8 made to preserve and reunify families:
9 (A) Prior to the placement of a child in the custody of the Department of Human
10 Resources, to prevent or eliminate the need for removing the child from the childīs
11 home; and
12 (B) To make it possible for a child to return safely to the childīs home;
13 (3) If continuation of reasonable efforts of the type described in paragraph (2) of this
14 subsection is determined to be inconsistent with the permanency plan for the child,
15 reasonable efforts shall be made to place the child in a timely manner in accordance with
16 the permanency plan and to complete whatever steps are necessary to finalize the
17 permanent placement of the child;
18 (4) Reasonable efforts of the type described in paragraph (2) of this subsection shall not
19 be required to be made with respect to a parent of a child if a court of competent
20 jurisdiction has determined that:
21 (A) The parent has subjected the child to aggravated circumstances which may include
22 but need not be limited to abandonment, torture, chronic abuse, and sexual abuse; or
23 (B) The parent has:
24 (i) Committed murder of another child of the parent;
25 (ii) Been convicted of the Committed murder of the other parent of the child;
26 (iii) Committed voluntary manslaughter of another child of the parent;
27 (iv) Aided or abetted, attempted, conspired, or solicited to commit murder or
28 voluntary manslaughter of another child of the parent; or
29 (v) Committed a felony assault that results in serious bodily injury to the child or
30 another child of the parent; or
31 (C) The parental rights of the parent to a sibling have been terminated involuntarily;
32 (5) If reasonable efforts of the type described in paragraph (2) of this subsection are not
33 made with respect to a child as a result of a determination made by a court of competent
34 jurisdiction in accordance with paragraph (4) of this subsection:
35 (A) A permanency hearing in accordance with subsection (o) of this Code section shall
36 be held for the child within 30 days after such determination; and
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1 (B) Reasonable efforts shall be made to place the child in a timely manner in
2 accordance with the permanency plan and to complete whatever steps are necessary to
3 finalize the permanent placement of the child; and
4 (6) Reasonable efforts to place a child for adoption or with a legal guardian may shall
5 not be made concurrently with reasonable efforts of the type described in paragraph (2)
6 of this subsection."
7 SECTION 4.
8 Said chapter is further amended by revising Code Section 15-11-78, relating to exclusion of
9 public from juvenile hearing and exceptions, as follows:
10 " 15-11-78.
11 (a) Except as otherwise provided by subsection (b) of this Code section, the general public
12 shall be excluded from hearings involving delinquency, deprivation, or unruliness. Only
13 the parties, their counsel, witnesses, persons accompanying a party for his or her assistance,
14 and any other persons as the court finds have a proper interest in the proceeding or in the
15 work of the court may be admitted by the court. The court may temporarily exclude the
16 child from the hearing except while allegations of his or her delinquency or unruly conduct
17 are being heard.
18 (b) The general public shall be admitted to:
19 (1) An adjudicatory hearing involving an allegation of a designated felony pursuant to
20 Code Section 15-11-63;
21 (2) An adjudicatory hearing involving an allegation of delinquency brought in the
22 interest of any child who has previously been adjudicated delinquent; provided, however,
23 the court shall close any delinquency hearing on an allegation of sexual assault or any
24 delinquency hearing at which any party expects to introduce substantial evidence related
25 to matters of deprivation;
26 (3) Any child support hearing;
27 (4) Any hearing in a legitimation action filed pursuant to Code Section 19-7-22; or
28 (5) At the courtīs discretion, any dispositional hearing involving any proceeding under
29 this article; or
30 (6) Any deprivation hearing except upon the written application of the parents or
31 guardian of the child or children who are the subject of the hearing."
32 SECTION 5.
33 Said chapter is further amended by revising Code Section 15-11-94, relating to grounds for
34 termination of parental rights, by adding a new subsection to read as follows:
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1 " (d) If the court does not find that a parentīs parental rights should be terminated, another
2 action to terminate such parentīs parental rights shall not be brought unless the action
3 relates to a new allegation or new information."
4 SECTION 6.
5 Said chapter is further amended by revising Code Section 15-11-95, relating to petitions for
6 termination of parental rights, by adding a new subsection to read as follows:
7 " (e) In addition to the petition, a statement of rights shall be served on each parent whose
8 parental rights are sought to be terminated which shall set forth in ordinary and concise
9 language the rights of the parent provided pursuant to this chapter including, but not limited
10 to, the right to discovery and to counsel. Such statement of rights shall be promulgated by
11 the Department of Human Resources pursuant to rule and regulation."
12 SECTION 7.
13 Said chapter is further amended by revising Code Section 15-11-100, relating to physical and
14 mental evaluations, by designating the existing matter as subsection (a) and adding a new
15 subsection (b) to read as follows:
16 " (b) In all cases in which the termination of parental rights is sought, the parent whose
17 parental rights are sought to be terminated shall, upon written request to the person or
18 entity prosecuting the case having actual custody, control, or possession of the material to
19 be produced, have full access to the following for inspection, copying, or photographing:
20 (1) The names and last known addresses and telephone numbers of each witness to the
21 occurrence or occurrences which form the basis of the allegations against such parent;
22 (2) A copy of any written statement made by any witness that relates to the subject
23 matter concerning the testimony of the witness that the person or entity prosecuting the
24 case intends to call as a witness;
25 (3) Transcriptions, recordings, and summaries of any oral statement of any witness,
26 except the product of counsel;
27 (4) Any scientific or other report which is intended to be introduced at the hearing or that
28 pertains to physical evidence which is intended to be introduced;29 (5) Photographs and any physical evidence which are intended to be introduced at the
30 hearing; and
31 (6) Copies of any police incident report and supplemental report, if any, regarding the
32 occurrence which forms the basis of the allegations.
33 A request for discovery shall be complied with promptly and not later than 48 hours prior... See More
34 to the termination hearing except when later compliance is made necessary by the timing
35 of the request. If the request for discovery is made fewer than 48 hours prior to the
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1 termination hearing, the discovery response shall be produced in a timely manner. If,
2 subsequent to providing a discovery response in compliance with this Code section, the
3 existence of additional evidence is found, it shall be promptly provided to the parent
4 making the discovery request. If, at any time during the course of the proceedings, it is
5 brought to the attention of the court that a person or entity has failed to comply with a
6 discovery request pursuant to this subsection, the court may grant a continuance, prohibit
7 the party from introducing in evidence the information not disclosed, or enter such other
8 order as the court deems just under the circumstances."
9 SECTION 8.
10 Chapter 8 of Title 19 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to adoptions, is
11 amended by adding a new Code section to read as follows:
12 " 19-8-27.
13 Neither the State of Georgia nor any of its agencies, departments, offices, authorities, or
14 other instrumentalities shall apply for, obtain, receive, or accept any adoption incentive
15 payments under the federal Adoption and Safe Families Act of 1997, P.L. 105-89, 42
16 U.S.C. Section 673b, or any similar federal legislation providing incentive funds to the
17 states for promoting adoptions."
18 SECTION 9.
19 All laws and parts of laws in conflict with this Act are repealed.