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May 29, 2008

Senate Bill 3056: Requires Social Services to Conduct Follow-up Visits

Authors:
Sen. Colleen Hanabusa

Summary:
Senate Bill 3056 required “well child” follow-up home visits within one year of abuse or neglect investigations that have been unsubstantiated. While HSLDA supports the prevention of abuse or neglect of children, S.B. 3056 could create an additional intrusion into the private homes and lives of innocent families who have already been investigated and determined not to have abused or neglected their children.

Senate Bill 3056 appropriated up to $1 million for the Department of Human Services for a pilot project to conduct these “well child” home visits only for those families that have been investigated for abuse and neglect but the report was determined to be unsubstantiated.

The stated purpose of this pilot project was to see if these follow-up visits would decrease the possibility of additional reports of abuse or neglect involving the same child and family. Only families who have had an investigation by Child Protective Services and the report has been determined to be false would have been included in this pilot project.

Status:

1/31/2008Scheduled for a hearing 2/5/08
1/25/2008Referred to the Human Services and Ways and Means Committees.
2/5/2008The measure was deferred
5/1/2008Legislature adjourned

The bill died when the legislature adjourned.

HSLDA's Position:
HSLDA opposed S.B. 3056

Action Requested:
None.

Background:
Under current regulations, the Department of Human Services, Child Protective Services, investigates allegations of abuse or neglect of children. The Department must make a clear decision whether abuse, neglect o exploitation did or will occur within 60 day for the date of the report.

When the Department does not confirm (or unsubstantiates a report of) abuse, neglect, or exploitation, the Department must make a clear decision of whether the child may be threatened or harmed in the future due to problems in the family.

If the Department finds the child may be threatened they must 1) refer the family to an outside agency for needed counseling or therapy; 2) help the parents voluntarily agree to accept protective case management services from the Department or other agency; or 3) petition the family court in order that protective case management service may be given by the department or other agency.

According to current regulations already in place, only when the Department finds no evidence of an unsafe home or family problems can protective services be terminated. S.B. 3056 is an unnecessary waste of money when follow up services are already required if there is any evidence of future harm in investigations that have determined there was no abuse or neglect.

Families in Hawaii would be much better served if Senate Bill 3056 was either defeated or amended to focus on follow up investigations of those reports where abuse or neglect was confirmed.

 Other Resources

E-lert—January 31, 2008—Calls Needed to Stop Home Visits of Innocent Families!

Bill Text (html)

Bill History