2005 Regular Session
To: Judiciary, Division B
By: Senator(s) Nunnelee
AN ACT TO AMEND SECTION 43-21-603, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO AUTHORIZE THE TRANSFER OF COPIES OF A CHILD'S ORIGINAL CUMULATIVE SCHOOL RECORD AS A PREREQUIREMENT TO COMMITMENT TO A STATE TRAINING SCHOOL, AND TO DELETE THE AUTOMATIC REVERTER ON THE CODE SECTION PROVIDING YOUTH COURT DISPOSITION HEARING PROCEDURES AND ALTERNATIVES IN DELINQUENCY, CHILD ABUSE AND CHILD NEGLECT MATTERS; TO AMEND SECTION 43-21-605, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, AS AMENDED BY SENATE BILL NO. 2894, 2005 REGULAR SESSION, TO RESTRICT THE CONDUCT FOR WHICH A CHILD MAY BE COMMITTED TO A TRAINING SCHOOL AND TO SET STANDARDS FOR THE PROGRAMS MAINTAINED AT THE STATE TRAINING SCHOOLS; AND FOR RELATED PURPOSES.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI:
SECTION 1. Section 43-21-603, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
* * *
43-21-603. (1) At the beginning of each disposition hearing, the judge shall inform the parties of the purpose of the hearing.
(2) All testimony shall be under oath unless waived by all parties and may be in narrative form. The court may consider any evidence that is material and relevant to the disposition of the cause, including hearsay and opinion evidence. At the conclusion of the evidence, the youth court shall give the parties an opportunity to present oral argument.
(3) If the child has been adjudicated a delinquent child, before entering a disposition order, the youth court should consider, among others, the following relevant factors:
(a) The nature of the offense;
(b) The manner in which the offense was committed;
(c) The nature and number of a child's prior adjudicated offenses;
(d) The child's need for care and assistance;
(e) The child's current medical history, including medication and diagnosis;
(f) The child's mental health history, which may include, but not be limited to, the Massachusetts Youth Screening Instrument version 2 (MAYSI-2);
(g) Copies of the child's cumulative record from the last school of record, including special education records, if applicable;
(h) Recommendation from the school of record based on areas of remediation needed;
(i) Disciplinary records from the school of record; and
(j) Records of disciplinary actions outside of the school setting.
(4) If the child has been adjudicated a child in need of supervision, before entering a disposition order, the youth court should consider, among others, the following relevant factors:
(a) The nature and history of the child's conduct;
(b) The family and home situation; and
(c) The child's need of care and assistance.
(5) If the child has been adjudicated a neglected child or an abused child, before entering a disposition order, the youth court shall consider, among others, the following relevant factors:
(a) The child's physical and mental conditions;
(b) The child's need of assistance;
(c) The manner in which the parent, guardian or custodian participated in, tolerated or condoned the abuse, neglect or abandonment of the child;
(d) The ability of a child's parent, guardian or custodian to provide proper supervision and care of a child; and
(e) Relevant testimony and recommendations, where available, from the foster parent of the child, the grandparents of the child, the guardian ad litem of the child, representatives of any private care agency that has cared for the child, the social worker or child protection specialist assigned to the case, and any other relevant testimony pertaining to the case.
(6) After consideration of all the evidence and the relevant factors, the youth court shall enter a disposition order that shall not recite any of the facts or circumstances upon which the disposition is based, nor shall it recite that a child has been found guilty; but it shall recite that a child is found to be a delinquent child, a child in need of supervision, a neglected child or an abused child.
(7) If the youth court orders that the custody or supervision of a child who has been adjudicated abused or neglected be placed with the Department of Human Services or any other person or public or private agency, other than the child's parent, guardian or custodian, the youth court shall find and the disposition order shall recite that:
(a) (i) Reasonable efforts have been made to maintain the child within his own home, but that the circumstances warrant his removal and there is no reasonable alternative to custody; or (ii) The circumstances are of such an emergency nature that no reasonable efforts have been made to maintain the child within his own home, and that there is no reasonable alternative to custody; and
(b) That the effect of the continuation of the child's residence within his own home would be contrary to the welfare of the child and that the placement of the child in foster care is in the best interests of the child; or
(c) Reasonable efforts to maintain the child within his home shall not be required if the court determines that:
(i) The parent has subjected the child to aggravated circumstances, including, but not limited to, abandonment, torture, chronic abuse and sexual abuse; or
(ii) The parent has been convicted of murder of another child of that parent, voluntary manslaughter of another child of that parent, aided or abetted, attempted, conspired or solicited to commit that murder or voluntary manslaughter, or a felony assault that results in the serious bodily injury to the surviving child or another child of that parent; or
(iii) The parental rights of the parent to a sibling have been terminated involuntarily; and
(iv) That the effect of the continuation of the child's residence within his own home would be contrary to the welfare of the child and that placement of the child in foster care is in the best interests of the child.
Once the reasonable efforts requirement is bypassed, the court shall have a permanency hearing under Section 43-21-613 within thirty (30) days of the finding.
(8) Upon a written motion by a party, the youth court shall make written findings of fact and conclusions of law upon which it relies for the disposition order. If the disposition ordered by the youth court includes placing the child in the custody of a training school, an admission packet shall be prepared for the child that contains the following information:
(a) The child's current medical history, including medications and diagnosis;
(b) The child's mental health history;
(c) Copies of the child's cumulative record from the last school of record, including special education records, if reasonably available;
(d) Recommendation from the school of record based on areas of remediation needed;
(e) Disciplinary records from the school of record; and
(f) Records of disciplinary actions outside of the school setting, if reasonably available.
Only individuals who are permitted under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) shall have access to a child's medical records which are contained in an admission packet. The youth court shall provide the admission packet to the training school at or before the child’s arrival at the training school. The admittance of any child to a training school shall take place between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. on designated admission days.
(9) When a child in the jurisdiction of the Youth Court is committed to the custody of the Mississippi Department of Human Services and is believed to be in need of treatment for a mental or emotional disability or infirmity, the Department of Human Services shall file an affidavit alleging that the child is in need of mental health services with the Youth Court. The Youth Court shall refer the child to the appropriate community mental health center for evaluation pursuant to Section 41-21-67. If said pre-screening evaluation recommends residential care, the Youth Court shall proceed with civil commitment pursuant to Sections 41-21-61 et seq., 43-21-315 and 43-21-611, and the Department of Mental Health, once commitment is ordered, shall provide appropriate care, treatment and services for at least as many adolescents as were provided services in fiscal year 2004 in its facilities.
* * *
SECTION 2. Section 43-21-605, Mississippi Code of 1972, as amended by Senate Bill No. 2894, 2005 Regular Session, is amended as follows:
43-21-605. (1) In delinquency cases, the disposition order may include any of the following alternatives:
(a) Release the child without further action;
(b) Place the child in the custody of the parents, a relative or other persons subject to any conditions and limitations, including restitution, as the youth court may prescribe;
(c) Place the child on probation subject to any reasonable and appropriate conditions and limitations, including restitution, as the youth court may prescribe;
(d) Order terms of treatment calculated to assist the child and the child's parents or guardian which are within the ability of the parent or guardian to perform;
(e) Order terms of supervision which may include participation in a constructive program of service or education or civil fines not in excess of Five Hundred Dollars ($500.00), or restitution not in excess of actual damages caused by the child to be paid out of his own assets or by performance of services acceptable to the victims and approved by the youth court and reasonably capable of performance within one (1) year;
(f) Suspend the child's driver's license by taking and keeping it in custody of the court for not more than one (1) year;
(g) Give legal custody of the child to any of the following:
(i) The Department of Human Services for appropriate placement; or
(ii) Any public or private organization, preferably community-based, able to assume the education, care and maintenance of the child, which has been found suitable by the court; or
(iii) The Department of Human Services for placement in a wilderness training program or the Division of Youth Services for placement in a state-supported training school, except that no child under the age of ten (10) years shall be committed to a state training school, and no first-time nonviolent youth offenders shall be committed to a state training school until all other options provided for in this section have been considered and the court makes a specific finding of fact that commitment is appropriate. The training school may retain custody of the child until the child's twentieth birthday but for no longer. When the child is committed to a training school, the child shall remain in the legal custody of the training school until the child has made sufficient progress in treatment and rehabilitation and it is in the best interest of the child to release the child. However, the superintendent of a state training school, in consultation with the treatment team, may parole a child at any time he may deem it in the best interest and welfare of such child. Twenty (20) days prior to such parole, the training school shall notify the committing court of the pending release. The youth court may then arrange subsequent placement after a reconvened disposition hearing, except that the youth court may not recommit the child to the training school or any other secure facility without an adjudication of a new offense or probation or parole violation. Prior to assigning the custody of any child to any private institution or agency, the youth court through its designee shall first inspect the physical facilities to determine that they provide a reasonable standard of health and safety for the child. No child shall be placed in the custody of a state training school for a status offense or for contempt of or revocation of a status offense adjudication unless the child is contemporaneously adjudicated for having committed an act of delinquency that is not a status offense. A disposition order rendered under this subparagraph shall meet the following requirements:
1. The disposition is the least restrictive alternative appropriate to the best interest of the child and the community;
2. The disposition allows the child to be in reasonable proximity to the family home community of each child given the dispositional alternatives available and the best interest of the child and the state; and
3. The disposition order provides that the court has considered the medical, educational, vocational, social and psychological guidance, training, social education, counseling, substance abuse treatment and other rehabilitative services required by that child as determined by the court;
(h) Recommend to the child and the child's parents or guardian that the child attend and participate in the Youth Challenge Program under the Mississippi National Guard, as created in Section 43-27-203, subject to the selection of the child for the program by the National Guard; however, the child must volunteer to participate in the program. The youth court shall not order any child to apply or attend the program;
(i) (i) Adjudicate the juvenile to the Statewide Juvenile Work Program if the program is established in the court's jurisdiction. The juvenile and his parents or guardians must sign a waiver of liability in order to participate in the work program. The judge will coordinate with the youth services counselors as to placing participants in the work program;
(ii) The severity of the crime, whether or not the juvenile is a repeat offender or is a felony offender will be taken into consideration by the judge when adjudicating a juvenile to the work program. The juveniles adjudicated to the work program will be supervised by police officers or reserve officers. The term of service will be from twenty-four (24) to one hundred twenty (120) hours of community service. A juvenile will work the hours to which he was adjudicated on the weekends during school and weekdays during the summer. Parents are responsible for a juvenile reporting for work. Noncompliance with an order to perform community service will result in a heavier adjudication. A juvenile may be adjudicated to the community service program only two (2) times;
(iii) The judge shall assess an additional fine on the juvenile which will be used to pay the costs of implementation of the program and to pay for supervision by police officers and reserve officers. The amount of the fine will be based on the number of hours to which the juvenile has been adjudicated;
(j) Order the child to participate in a youth court work program as provided in Section 43-21-627; or
(k) Order the child into a juvenile detention center operated by the county or into a juvenile detention center operated by any county with which the county in which the court is located has entered into a contract for the purpose of housing delinquents. The time period for such detention cannot exceed ninety (90) days, and any detention exceeding forty-five (45) days shall be administratively reviewed by the youth court no later than forty-five (45) days after the entry of the order. The youth court judge may order that the number of days specified in the detention order be served either throughout the week or on weekends only. No first-time nonviolent youth offender shall be committed to a detention center for a period of ninety (90) days until all other options provided for in this section have been considered and the court makes a specific finding of fact that commitment to a detention center is appropriate. However, if a child is committed to a detention center ninety (90) consecutive days, the disposition order shall meet the following requirements:
1. The disposition order is the least restrictive alternative appropriate to the best interest of the child and the community;
2. The disposition order allows the child to be in reasonable proximity to the family home community of each child given the dispositional alternatives available and the best interest of the child and the state; and
3. The disposition order provides that the court has considered the medical, educational, vocational, social and psychological guidance, training, social education, counseling, substance abuse treatment and other rehabilitative services required by that child as determined by the court.
(l) Referral to A-team provided system of care services.
(2) In addition to any of the disposition alternatives authorized under subsection (1) of this section, the disposition order in any case in which the child is adjudicated delinquent for an offense under Section 63-11-30 shall include an order denying the driver's license and driving privileges of the child as required under * * * Section 63-11-30(9).
(3) If the youth court places a child in a state-supported training school, the court may order the parents or guardians of the child and other persons living in the child's household to receive counseling and parenting classes for rehabilitative purposes while the child is in the legal custody of the training school. A youth court entering an order under this subsection (3) shall utilize appropriate services offered either at no cost or for a fee calculated on a sliding scale according to income unless the person ordered to participate elects to receive other counseling and classes acceptable to the court at the person's sole expense.
(4) Fines levied under this chapter shall be paid into the general fund of the county but, in those counties wherein the youth court is a branch of the municipal government, it shall be paid into the municipal treasury.
(5) Any institution or agency to which a child has been committed shall give to the youth court any information concerning the child as the youth court may at any time require.
(6) The youth court shall not place a child in another school district who has been expelled from a school district for the commission of a violent act. For the purpose of this subsection, "violent act" means any action which results in death or physical harm to another or an attempt to cause death or physical harm to another.
(7) The youth court may require drug testing as part of a disposition order. If a child tests positive, the court may require treatment, counseling and random testing, as it deems appropriate. The costs of such tests shall be paid by the parent, guardian or custodian of the child unless the court specifically finds that the parent, guardian or custodian is unable to pay.
(8) The Mississippi Department of Human Services, Division of Youth Services, shall operate and maintain services for youth adjudicated delinquent at Columbia and Oakley Training Schools. The program shall be designed for children committed to the training schools by the youth courts. The purpose of the program is to promote good citizenship, self-reliance, leadership and respect for constituted authority, teamwork, cognitive abilities and appreciation of our national heritage. The Division of Youth Services shall issue credit towards academic promotions and high school completion. The Division of Youth Services may award credits to each student who meets the requirements for a general education development certification. The Division of Youth Services must also provide to each special education eligible youth the services required by that youth's individualized education plan.
SECTION 3. This act shall take effect and be in force from and after July 1, 2005.