The North Carolina Senate unanimously passed a bill sponsored by Sen. Steve Jarvis (R-Davidson) to improve the state’s foster care system.
Sen. Jarvis said, “These children are invisible to too many people. Some sit in emergency rooms for weeks on end or are funneled from home to home. We all have a shared responsibility to pay attention and to push for improvements to the system, and that’s what this bill does.”
The legislation is wide-ranging, impacting matters from health facility responsibilities for children to time limits for county foster care action. Below are some of the provisions of the bill:
- Imposes strict time limits for action by the Division of Social Services (DSS) and the health system when a child is left in a health care facility with no clear placement option.
- Quickens the time in which DSS must have a permanency plan in place for children in foster care.
- Ensures foster parents are informed they can appear at hearings and advocate for the children in their care.
- Creates a statewide child protective services hotline.
- Requires permanency planning action within 30 days if a child is removed from the custody of a parent, guardian, or custodian.
- Requires DSS to notify adult relatives with legal custody of a child’s sibling if that child is removed from a home.
The bill already passed the House of Representatives and now goes to the Governor for signature or veto.