(a) Development and operation grants
The Secretary shall make grants to the States, from allotments made under subsection (f) for each State that applies for a grant under this section, for purposes of assisting the States in improving the child protective services system of each such State in--
(1) the intake, assessment, screening, and investigation of reports of child abuse or neglect;
(2)(A) creating and improving the use of multidisciplinary teams and interagency, intra-agency, interstate, and intrastate protocols to enhance investigations; and
(B) improving legal preparation and representation, including--
(i) procedures for appealing and responding to appeals of substantiated reports of child abuse or neglect; and
(ii) provisions for the appointment of an individual appointed to represent a child in judicial proceedings;
(3) case management, including ongoing case monitoring, and delivery of services and treatment provided to children and their families;
(4) enhancing the general child protective system by developing, improving, and implementing risk and safety assessment tools and protocols, including the use of differential response;
(5) developing and updating systems of technology that support the program and track reports of child abuse and neglect from intake through final disposition and allow interstate and intrastate information exchange;
(6) developing, strengthening, and facilitating training including--
(A) training regarding research-based strategies, including the use of differential response, to promote collaboration with the families;
(B) training regarding the legal duties of such individuals;
(C) personal safety training for case workers; and
(D) training in early childhood, child, and adolescent development;
(7) improving the skills, qualifications, and availability of individuals providing services to children and families, and the supervisors of such individuals, through the child protection system, including improvements in the recruitment and retention of caseworkers;
(8) developing, facilitating the use of, and implementing research-based strategies and training protocols for individuals mandated to report child abuse and neglect;
(9) developing, implementing, or operating programs to assist in obtaining or coordinating necessary services for families of disabled infants with life-threatening conditions, including--
(A) existing social and health services;
(B) financial assistance;
(C) services necessary to facilitate adoptive placement of any such infants who have been relinquished for adoption; and
(D) the use of differential response in preventing child abuse and neglect;
(10) developing and delivering information to improve public education relating to the role and responsibilities of the child protection system and the nature and basis for reporting suspected incidents of child abuse and neglect, including the use of differential response;
(11) developing and enhancing the capacity of community-based programs to integrate shared leadership strategies between parents and professionals to prevent and treat child abuse and neglect at the neighborhood level;
(12) supporting and enhancing interagency collaboration between the child protection system and the juvenile justice system for improved delivery of services and treatment, including methods for continuity of treatment plan and services as children transition between systems;
(13) supporting and enhancing interagency collaboration among public health agencies, agencies in the child protective service system, and agencies carrying out private community-based programs--
(A) to provide child abuse and neglect prevention and treatment services (including linkages with education systems), and the use of differential response; and
(B) to address the health needs, including mental health needs, of children identified as victims of child abuse or neglect; 1 including supporting prompt, comprehensive health and developmental evaluations for children who are the subject of substantiated child maltreatment reports; or
(14) developing and implementing procedures for collaboration among child protective services, domestic violence services, and other agencies in--
(A) investigations, interventions, and the delivery of services and treatment provided to children and families, including the use of differential response, where appropriate; and
(B) the provision of services that assist children exposed to domestic violence, and that also support the caregiving role of their nonabusing parents.
(b) Eligibility requirements
(1) State plan
(A) In general
To be eligible to receive a grant under this section, a State shall submit to the Secretary a State plan that specifies the areas of the child protective services system described in subsection (a) that the State will address with amounts received under the grant.
(B) Duration of plan
Each State plan shall--
(i) remain in effect for the duration of the State's participation under this section; and
(ii) be periodically reviewed and revised as necessary by the State to reflect changes in the State's strategies and programs under this section.
(C) Additional information
The State shall provide notice to the Secretary--
(i) of any substantive changes, including any change to State law or regulations, relating to the prevention of child abuse and neglect that may affect the eligibility of the State under this section; and
(ii) of any significant changes in how funds provided under this section are used to support activities described in this section, which may differ from the activities described in the current State application.
A State plan submitted under paragraph (1) shall contain a description of the activities that the State will carry out using amounts received under the grant to achieve the objectives of this subchapter, including--
(A) an assurance that the State plan, to the maximum extent practicable, is coordinated with the State plan under part B of title IV of the Social Security Act [ 42 U.S.C. 621 et seq. ] relating to child welfare services and family preservation and family support services;
(B) an assurance in the form of a certification by the Governor of the State that the State has in effect and is enforcing a State law, or has in effect and is operating a statewide program, relating to child abuse and neglect that includes--
(i) provisions or procedures for an individual to report known and suspected instances of child abuse and neglect, including a State law for mandatory reporting by individuals required to report such instances;
(ii) policies and procedures (including appropriate referrals to child protection service systems and for other appropriate services) to address the needs of infants born with and identified as being affected by illegal substance abuse or withdrawal symptoms resulting from prenatal drug exposure, or a Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder, including a requirement that health care providers involved in the delivery or care of such infants notify the child protective services system of the occurrence of such condition in such infants, except that such notification shall not be construed to--
(I) establish a definition under Federal law of what constitutes child abuse or neglect; or
(II) require prosecution for any illegal action;
(iii) the development of a plan of safe care for the infant born and identified as being affected by illegal substance abuse or withdrawal symptoms, or a Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder;
(iv) procedures for the immediate screening, risk and safety assessment, and prompt investigation of such reports;
(v) triage procedures, including the use of differential response, for the appropriate referral of a child not at risk of imminent harm to a community organization or voluntary preventive service;
(vi) procedures for immediate steps to be taken to ensure and protect the safety of a victim of child abuse or neglect and of any other child under the same care who may also be in danger of child abuse or neglect and ensuring their placement in a safe environment;
(vii) provisions for immunity from prosecution under State and local laws and regulations for individuals making good faith reports of suspected or known instances of child abuse or neglect;
(viii) methods to preserve the confidentiality of all records in order to protect the rights of the child and of the child's parents or guardians, including requirements ensuring that reports and records made and maintained pursuant to the purposes of this subchapter and subchapter III of this chapter shall only be made available to--
(I) individuals who are the subject of the report;
(II) Federal, State, or local government entities, or any agent of such entities, as described in clause (ix);
(III) child abuse citizen review panels;
(IV) child fatality review panels;
(V) a grand jury or court, upon a finding that information in the record is necessary for the determination of an issue before the court or grand jury; and
(VI) other entities or classes of individuals statutorily authorized by the State to receive such information pursuant to a legitimate State purpose;
(ix) provisions to require a State to disclose confidential information to any Federal, State, or local government entity, or any agent of such entity, that has a need for such information in order to carry out its responsibilities under law to protect children from child abuse and neglect;
(x) provisions which allow for public disclosure of the findings or information about the case of child abuse or neglect which has resulted in a child fatality or near fatality;
(xi) the cooperation of State law enforcement officials, court of competent jurisdiction, and appropriate State agencies providing human services in the investigation, assessment, prosecution, and treatment of child abuse and neglect;
(xii) provisions requiring, and procedures in place that facilitate the prompt expungement of any records that are accessible to the general public or are used for purposes of employment or other background checks in cases determined to be unsubstantiated or false, except that nothing in this section shall prevent State child protective services agencies from keeping information on unsubstantiated reports in their casework files to assist in future risk and safety assessment;
(xiii) provisions and procedures requiring that in every case involving a victim of child abuse or neglect which results in a judicial proceeding, a guardian ad litem, who has received training appropriate to the role, including training in early childhood, child, and adolescent development, and who may be an attorney or a court appointed special advocate who has received training appropriate to that role (or both), shall be appointed to represent the child in such proceedings--
(I) to obtain first-hand, a clear understanding of the situation and needs of the child; and
(II) to make recommendations to the court concerning the best interests of the child;
(xiv) the establishment of citizen review panels in accordance with subsection (c) of this section;
(xv) provisions, procedures, and mechanisms--
(I) for the expedited termination of parental rights in the case of any infant determined to be abandoned under State law; and
(II) by which individuals who disagree with an official finding of child abuse or neglect can appeal such finding;
(xvi) provisions, procedures, and mechanisms that assure that the State does not require reunification of a surviving child with a parent who has been found by a court of competent jurisdiction--
(I) to have committed murder (which would have been an offense under section 1111(a) of Title 18 if the offense had occurred in the special maritime or territorial jurisdiction of the United States) of another child of such parent;
(II) to have committed voluntary manslaughter (which would have been an offense under section 1112(a) of Title 18 if the offense had occurred in the special maritime or territorial jurisdiction of the United States) of another child of such parent;
(III) to have aided or abetted, attempted, conspired, or solicited to commit such murder or voluntary manslaughter;
(IV) to have committed a felony assault that results in the serious bodily injury to the surviving child or another child of such parent;
(V) to have committed sexual abuse against the surviving child or another child of such parent; or
(VI) to be required to register with a sex offender registry under section 16913(a) of this title;
(xvii) an assurance that, upon the implementation by the State of the provisions, procedures, and mechanisms under clause (xvi), conviction of any one of the felonies listed in clause (xvi) constitute grounds under State law for the termination of parental rights of the convicted parent as to the surviving children (although case-by-case determinations of whether or not to seek termination of parental rights shall be within the sole discretion of the State);
(xviii) provisions and procedures to require that a representative of the child protective services agency shall, at the initial time of contact with the individual subject to a child abuse or neglect investigation, advise the individual of the complaints or allegations made against the individual, in a manner that is consistent with laws protecting the rights of the informant;
(xix) provisions addressing the training of representatives of the child protective services system regarding the legal duties of the representatives, which may consist of various methods of informing such representatives of such duties, in order to protect the legal rights and safety of children and families from the initial time of contact during investigation through treatment;
(xx) provisions and procedures for improving the training, retention, and supervision of caseworkers;
(xxi) provisions and procedures for referral of a child under the age of 3 who is involved in a substantiated case of child abuse or neglect to early intervention services funded under part C of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act ( 20 U.S.C. 1431 et seq. );
(xxii) provisions and procedures for requiring criminal background record checks that meet the requirements of section 471(a)(20) of the Social Security Act ( 42 U.S.C. 671(a)(20) ) for prospective foster and adoptive parents and other adult relatives and non-relatives residing in the household; and
(xxiii) provisions for systems of technology that support the State child protective service system described in subsection (a) and track reports of child abuse and neglect from intake through final disposition;
(C) an assurance that the State has in place procedures for responding to the reporting of medical neglect (including instances of withholding of medically indicated treatment from infants with disabilities who have life-threatening conditions), procedures or programs, or both (within the State child protective services system), to provide for--
(i) coordination and consultation with individuals designated by and within appropriate health-care facilities;
(ii) prompt notification by individuals designated by and within appropriate health-care facilities of cases of suspected medical neglect (including instances of withholding of medically indicated treatment from infants with disabilities who have life-threatening conditions); and
(iii) authority, under State law, for the State child protective services system to pursue any legal remedies, including the authority to initiate legal proceedings in a court of competent jurisdiction, as may be necessary to prevent the withholding of medically indicated treatment from infants with disabilities who have life-threatening conditions;
(D) a description of--
(i) the services to be provided under the grant to individuals, families, or communities, either directly or through referrals aimed at preventing the occurrence of child abuse and neglect;
(ii) the training to be provided under the grant to support direct line and supervisory personnel in report taking, screening, assessment, decision making, and referral for investigating suspected instances of child abuse and neglect;
(iii) the training to be provided under the grant for individuals who are required to report suspected cases of child abuse and neglect;
(iv) policies and procedures encouraging the appropriate involvement of families in decisionmaking pertaining to children who experienced child abuse or neglect;
(v) policies and procedures that promote and enhance appropriate collaboration among child protective service agencies, domestic violence service agencies, substance abuse treatment agencies, and other agencies in investigations, interventions, and the delivery of services and treatment provided to children and families affected by child abuse or neglect, including children exposed to domestic violence, where appropriate; and
(vi) policies and procedures regarding the use of differential response, as applicable;
(E) an assurance or certification that the programs or projects relating to child abuse and neglect carried out under part B of title IV of the Social Security Act [ 42 U.S.C. 621 et seq. ] comply with the requirements set forth in paragraph (1) and this paragraph;
(F) an assurance or certification that programs and training conducted under this subchapter address the unique needs of unaccompanied homeless youth, including access to enrollment and support services and that such youth are eligible for under parts B and E of title IV of the Social Security Act [ 42 U.S.C. 621 et seq., 670 et seq. ] and meet the requirements of the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act ( 42 U.S.C. 11301 et seq. ); and
(G) an assurance that the State, in developing the State plan described in paragraph (1), has collaborated with community-based prevention agencies and with families affected by child abuse or neglect.
Nothing in subparagraph (B) shall be construed to limit the State's flexibility to determine State policies relating to public access to court proceedings to determine child abuse and neglect, except that such policies shall, at a minimum, ensure the safety and well-being of the child, parents, and families.
With regard to clauses (vi) and (vii) of paragraph (2)(B), nothing in this section shall be construed as restricting the ability of a State to refuse to disclose identifying information concerning the individual initiating a report or complaint alleging suspected instances of child abuse or neglect, except that the State may not refuse such a disclosure where a court orders such disclosure after such court has reviewed, in camera, the record of the State related to the report or complaint and has found it has reason to believe that the reporter knowingly made a false report.
For purposes of this subsection--
(A) the term “near fatality” means an act that, as certified by a physician, places the child in serious or critical condition; and
(B) the term “serious bodily injury” means bodily injury which involves substantial risk of death, extreme physical pain, protracted and obvious disfigurement, or protracted loss or impairment of the function of a bodily member, organ, or mental faculty.
(c) Citizen review panels
(A) In general
Except as provided in subparagraph (B), each State to which a grant is made under this section shall establish not less than 3 citizen review panels.
(i) Establishment of panels by States receiving minimum allotment
A State that receives the minimum allotment of $175,000 under section 5116b(b)(1)(A) of this title for a fiscal year shall establish not less than 1 citizen review panel.
(ii) Designation of existing entities
A State may designate as panels for purposes of this subsection one or more existing entities established under State or Federal law, such as child fatality panels or foster care review panels, if such entities have the capacity to satisfy the requirements of paragraph (4) and the State ensures that such entities will satisfy such requirements.
Each panel established pursuant to paragraph (1) shall be composed of volunteer members who are broadly representative of the community in which such panel is established, including members who have expertise in the prevention and treatment of child abuse and neglect, and may include adult former victims of child abuse or neglect.
Each panel established pursuant to paragraph (1) shall meet not less than once every 3 months.
(A) In general
Each panel established pursuant to paragraph (1) shall, by examining the policies, procedures, and practices of State and local agencies and where appropriate, specific cases, evaluate the extent to which State and local child protection system agencies are effectively discharging their child protection responsibilities in accordance with--
(i) the State plan under subsection (b) of this section;
(ii) the child protection standards set forth in subsection (b) of this section; and
(iii) any other criteria that the panel considers important to ensure the protection of children, including--
(I) a review of the extent to which the State and local child protective services system is coordinated with the foster care and adoption programs established under part E of title IV of the Social Security Act ( 42 U.S.C. 670 et seq. ); and
(II) a review of child fatalities and near fatalities (as defined in subsection (b)(4) of this section).
(i) In general
The members and staff of a panel established under paragraph (1)--
(I) shall not disclose to any person or government official any identifying information about any specific child protection case with respect to which the panel is provided information; and
(II) shall not make public other information unless authorized by State statute.
(ii) Civil sanctions
Each State that establishes a panel pursuant to paragraph (1) shall establish civil sanctions for a violation of clause (i).
(C) Public outreach
Each panel shall provide for public outreach and comment in order to assess the impact of current procedures and practices upon children and families in the community and in order to meet its obligations under subparagraph (A).
(5) State assistance
Each State that establishes a panel pursuant to paragraph (1)--
(A) shall provide the panel access to information on cases that the panel desires to review if such information is necessary for the panel to carry out its functions under paragraph (4); and
(B) shall provide the panel, upon its request, staff assistance for the performance of the duties of the panel.
Each panel established under paragraph (1) shall prepare and make available to the State and the public, on an annual basis, a report containing a summary of the activities of the panel and recommendations to improve the child protection services system at the State and local levels. Not later than 6 months after the date on which a report is submitted by the panel to the State, the appropriate State agency shall submit a written response to State and local child protection systems and the citizen review panel that describes whether or how the State will incorporate the recommendations of such panel (where appropriate) to make measurable progress in improving the State and local child protective system.
(d) Annual State data reports
Each State to which a grant is made under this section shall annually work with the Secretary to provide, to the maximum extent practicable, a report that includes the following:
(1) The number of children who were reported to the State during the year as victims of child abuse or neglect.
(2) Of the number of children described in paragraph (1), the number with respect to whom such reports were--
(B) unsubstantiated; or
(C) determined to be false.
(3) Of the number of children described in paragraph (2)--
(A) the number that did not receive services during the year under the State program funded under this section or an equivalent State program;
(B) the number that received services during the year under the State program funded under this section or an equivalent State program; and
(C) the number that were removed from their families during the year by disposition of the case.
(4) The number of families that received preventive services, including use of differential response, from the State during the year.
(5) The number of deaths in the State during the year resulting from child abuse or neglect.
(6) Of the number of children described in paragraph (5), the number of such children who were in foster care.
(7)(A) The number of child protective service personnel responsible for the--
(i) intake of reports filed in the previous year;
(ii) screening of such reports;
(iii) assessment of such reports; and
(iv) investigation of such reports.
(B) The average caseload for the workers described in subparagraph (A).
(8) The agency response time with respect to each such report with respect to initial investigation of reports of child abuse or neglect.
(9) The response time with respect to the provision of services to families and children where an allegation of child abuse or neglect has been made.
(10) For child protective service personnel responsible for intake, screening, assessment, and investigation of child abuse and neglect reports in the State--
(A) information on the education, qualifications, and training requirements established by the State for child protective service professionals, including for entry and advancement in the profession, including advancement to supervisory positions;
(B) data on the education, qualifications, and training of such personnel;
(C) demographic information of the child protective service personnel; and
(D) information on caseload or workload requirements for such personnel, including requirements for average number and maximum number of cases per child protective service worker and supervisor.
(11) The number of children reunited with their families or receiving family preservation services that, within five years, result in subsequent substantiated reports of child abuse or neglect, including the death of the child.
(12) The number of children for whom individuals were appointed by the court to represent the best interests of such children and the average number of out of court contacts between such individuals and children.
(13) The annual report containing the summary of the activities of the citizen review panels of the State required by subsection (c)(6) of this section.
(14) The number of children under the care of the State child protection system who are transferred into the custody of the State juvenile justice system.
(15) The number of children referred to a child protective services system under subsection (b)(2)(B)(ii).
(16) The number of children determined to be eligible for referral, and the number of children referred, under subsection (b)(2)(B)(xxi), to agencies providing early intervention services under part C of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act ( 20 U.S.C. 1431 et seq. ).
(e) Annual report by Secretary
Within 6 months after receiving the State reports under subsection (d) of this section, the Secretary shall prepare a report based on information provided by the States for the fiscal year under such subsection and shall make the report and such information available to the Congress and the national clearinghouse for information relating to child abuse and neglect.
In this subsection:
(A) Fiscal year 2009 grant funds
(B) Grant funds
The term “State” means each of the several States, the District of Columbia, and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico.
The term “territory” means Guam, American Samoa, the United States Virgin Islands, and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands.
(2) In general
Except as otherwise provided in this section, the Secretary shall make allotments to each State and territory that applies for a grant under this section in an amount equal to the sum of--
(A) $50,000; and
(B) an amount that bears the same relationship to any grant funds remaining after all such States and territories have received $50,000, as the number of children under the age of 18 in the State or territory bears to the number of such children in all States and territories that apply for such a grant.
(3) Allotments for decreased appropriation years
In the case where the grant funds for a fiscal year are less than the fiscal year 2009 grant funds, the Secretary shall ratably reduce each of the allotments under paragraph (2) for such fiscal year.
(4) Allotments for increased appropriation years
(A) Minimum allotments to States for increased appropriations years
In any fiscal year for which the grant funds exceed the fiscal year 2009 grant funds by more than $1,000,000, the Secretary shall adjust the allotments under paragraph (2), as necessary, such that no State that applies for a grant under this section receives an allotment in an amount that is less than--
(i) $100,000, for a fiscal year in which the grant funds exceed the fiscal year 2009 grant funds by more than $1,000,000 but less than $2,000,000;
(ii) $125,000, for a fiscal year in which the grant funds exceed the fiscal year 2009 grant funds by at least $2,000,000 but less than $3,000,000; and
(iii) $150,000, for a fiscal year in which the grant funds exceed the fiscal year 2009 grant funds by at least $3,000,000.
(B) Allotment adjustment
In the case of a fiscal year for which subparagraph (A) applies and the grant funds are insufficient to satisfy the requirements of such subparagraph (A), paragraph (2), and paragraph (5), the Secretary shall, subject to paragraph (5), ratably reduce the allotment of each State for which the allotment under paragraph (2) is an amount that exceeds the applicable minimum under subparagraph (A), as necessary to ensure that each State receives the applicable minimum allotment under subparagraph (A).
(5) Hold harmless
Notwithstanding paragraphs (2) and (4), except as provided in paragraph (3), no State or territory shall receive a grant under this section in an amount that is less than the amount such State or territory received under this section for fiscal year 2009.
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