HB 2699 authorizes caregivers (persons with whom a child is placed in out-of-home care, or a designated official for a group care facility licensed by the department) to provide or withhold permission, without prior approval of the caseworker, the Department of Social and Health Services, or the court, to allow a child in their care to participate in normal childhood activities based on a reasonable and prudent parent standard.
Normal childhood activities include, but are not limited to, extracurricular, enrichment, and social activities, and may include overnight activities outside the direct supervision of the caregiver for periods of over twenty-four hours.
The reasonable and prudent parent standard means the standard of care used by a caregiver in determining whether to allow a child in his or her care to participate in extracurricular, enrichment, and social activities. This standard is characterized by careful and thoughtful parental decision making that is intended to maintain a child's health, safety, and best interest while encouraging the child's emotional and developmental growth. Caseworkers are required to discuss the child's interest in and pursuit of normal childhood activities in their monthly health and safety visits and include a description of the child's participation in such activities in the individual service and safety plan.
Further, the bill provides protection to the caregiver and department in the event an injury occurs as a result of the activity the child is involved with, as long as the caregiver/department's action or inaction does not constitute willful or wanton misconduct.
The bill requires conducting background checks for those who will or may have unsupervised access to children, expectant mothers, or individuals with a developmental disability, however, a background check is not required if a caregiver approves an activity pursuant to the prudent parent standard.
Substitute bill: As amended, the bill provides a 72 hour limit on a child's overnight activities outside the direct supervision of the caregiver that a caregiver can provide permission for. It specifies that any permission provided by a caregiver must comply with an existing safety plan established by the department or court order. Additionally, it indicates that caseworkers shall discuss a child's interest in and pursuit of normal childhood activities during monthly meetings with parents.