April 22, 2019

Bills Regarding Protection Orders and Mandatory Reporters Signed by Governor Hickenlooper

Governor Hickenlooper continues to sign legislation as it crosses his desk. To date, he has signed an impressive 240 pieces of legislation into law. He is expected to sign more bills in the coming days and weeks.

On Tuesday, May 14, 2013, Governor Hickenlooper signed five bills. They are summarized here.

Governor Hickenlooper also signed 12 bills on Wednesday, May 15, and Thursday, May 16, 2013. Five of the bills are summarized here.

It’s not over yet—stay tuned for the latest legislative decisions by Governor Hickenlooper. For a complete list of the bills that have been signed this legislative session, click here.

SB 13-255: Increasing Resources for Child Fatality Review Teams and Clarifying Their Responsibilities

On Tuesday, April 9, 2013, Sen. John Kefalas introduced SB 13-255 – Concerning Child Fatality Review Teams, and, in Connection Therewith, Increasing the Capacity and Resources and Clarifying the Responsibilities and Processes of State and Local Child Fatality Review Teams in the Departments of Public Health and Environment and Human Services. This summary is published here courtesy of the Colorado Bar Association’s e-Legislative Report.

The bill requires county or district public health agencies to establish or arrange to be established local or regional child fatality prevention review teams operating under the purview of the department of public health and environment (local or regional review team). County or district public health agencies may collaborate to form a regional child fatality prevention review team.

The bill revises and updates language in the legislative declaration for the Colorado department of public health and environment (CDPHE) child fatality review teams.

The bill adds a definition of a “local or regional review team.”

The bill details the responsibility of local or regional review teams. The local or regional review teams are required to report case review findings to public and private agencies that have responsibilities for children and make prevention recommendations. The local and regional review teams shall also enter data into the web-based data-collection system utilized by CDPHE.

The bill amends the membership of CDPHE’s state-level child fatality prevention review team (CDPHE state review team) to include a member from the office of Colorado’s child protection ombudsman and to make numerous currently nonvoting positions into voting positions.

The bill tasks the CDPHE state review team with the following duties:

  • To conduct an individual case-specific review of every child abuse or neglect fatality in Colorado, if a local or regional review team has not conducted such a review;
  • To conduct a review of systemic child welfare issues;
  • To utilize a child fatalities data-collection system;
  • To collaborate with the Colorado department of human services child fatality review team (CDHS review team) to make joint recommendations for the prevention of child abuse and neglect fatalities;
  • To work directly with professionals who have information regarding the cause or circumstances leading to a child’s fatality;
  • To administer moneys to county and district public health agencies to support local and regional review teams;
  • To provide training and technical assistance to local and regional review teams regarding the facilitation of a child fatality review process, data collection, evidence-based prevention strategies, and the development of prevention recommendations, as well as strategies for convening a local or regional review team, establishing methods of notification after a child fatality, and strategies to address conflicts of interest; and
  • To provide an annual data report to local and regional review teams.

The bill deals with the time frame in which the CDHS review team is required to conduct a review. Currently, the CDHS review team is required to conduct an in-depth case review after an incident of egregious abuse or neglect against a child, a near fatality, or a child fatality that involves a suspicion of abuse or neglect (incident) when the child or family has had previous involvement with the state or county within the previous two years. The bill changes that time frame to three years.

The CDHS review team is given the additional duty to make annual policy recommendations that address systems involved with children and to follow up on specific system recommendations. The CDHS review team is required to make annual reports to both the public and the legislature concerning such recommendations.

Current law also requires the CDHS review team to complete a draft, confidential, case-specific review report and submit the draft to any county department of social services with previous involvement with the child or family related to the incident within 30 days. That 30-day period is extended to 55 days.

Language is added to ensure that any information released to the public by the CDHS review team is not contrary to the best interests of the child who is the subject of the report, or his or her siblings, is in the public’s interest, and is consistent with the federal “Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Reauthorization Act of 2010.”

The bill was introduced on April 9 and is assigned to the Health & Human Services Committee. The bill is scheduled for committee review on April 17.

Since this summary, the bill was amended in the Health & Human Services Committee and referred to the Appropriations Committee for further review.