2006 Regular Session
To: Public Health and Human Services; Judiciary A
By: Representative Warren
AN ACT TO AMEND SECTION 43-1-55, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO EXTEND THE DATE OF REPEAL FROM JULY 1, 2006, TO JULY 1, 2008, ON THIS SECTION AND SECTIONS 43-21-261, 43-21-353, 43-21-355, 43-21-603, 43-27-109, 43-47-7, 93-21-23 AND 97-3-7, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, WHICH PROVIDE THE STANDARDS FOR EMPLOYMENT AND SERVICE DELIVERY OF THE OFFICE OF FAMILY AND CHILDREN'S SERVICES, PROVIDE THE INSTANCES WHEN A YOUTH'S COURT RECORD MAY BE DISCLOSED, PROVIDE THE DUTY OF CERTAIN INDIVIDUALS TO REPORT SUSPECTED CHILD ABUSE AND TO PROVIDE IMMUNITY FOR SUCH INDIVIDUALS WHO REPORT SUCH ABUSE, PROVIDE THE DISPOSITION HEARING PROCEDURE FOR YOUTH COURT, REQUIRE THE DEPARTMENT OF HUMAN SERVICES TO SUPERVISE YOUTH SERVICES WORKERS, PROVIDE THE DUTY OF CERTAIN INDIVIDUALS TO REPORT SUSPECTED ABUSE OF VULNERABLE ADULTS, PROVIDE IMMUNITY FOR INDIVIDUALS WHO REPORT SUSPECTED ABUSE OF AN ABUSED INDIVIDUAL IF DONE IN GOOD FAITH AND DESCRIBES CERTAIN CRIMES AGAINST PERSONS; AND FOR RELATED PURPOSES.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI:
SECTION 1. Section 43-1-55, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
43-1-55. (1) The Office of Family and Children's Services shall devise formal social worker standards for employment and service delivery designed to measure the quality of services delivered to clients, as well as the timeliness of services. Each social worker shall be assessed annually by a supervisor who is knowledgeable in the standards promulgated. The standards shall be applicable to all social workers working under the office.
(2) The Office of Family and Children's Services shall devise formal standards for child protection specialists of the Department of Human Services who are not licensed social workers. Those standards shall require that:
(a) In order to be employed as a child protection specialist, a person must have a bachelor's degree in either psychology, sociology, nursing, criminal justice or a related field, or a graduate degree in either law, psychology, sociology, nursing, criminal justice or a related field. The determination of what is a related field shall be made by certification of the State Personnel Board; and
(b) Before a person may provide services as a child protection specialist, the person shall complete four (4) weeks of intensive training provided by the training unit of the Office of Family and Children's Services, and shall take and receive a passing score on the certification test administered by the training unit upon completion of the four-week training. Upon receiving a passing score on the certification test, the person shall be certified as a child protection specialist by the Department of Human Services. Any person who does not receive a passing score on the certification test shall not be employed or maintain employment as a child protection specialist for the department. Further, a person, qualified as a child protection specialist through the procedures set forth above, shall not conduct forensic interviews of children until the specialist receives additional specialized training in child forensic interview protocols and techniques by a course or curriculum approved by the Department of Human Services to be not less than forty (40) hours.
(3) For the purpose of providing services in child abuse or neglect cases, youth court proceedings, vulnerable adults cases, and such other cases as designated by the Executive Director of Human Services, the caseworker or service provider may be a child protection specialist whose work is overseen by a licensed social worker.
(4) The Department of Human Services and the Office of Family and Children's Services shall seek to employ and use licensed social workers to provide the services of the office, and may employ and use child protection specialists to provide those services only in counties in which there is not a sufficient number of licensed social workers to adequately provide those services in the county.
(5) This section and Sections 43-21-261, 43-21-353, 43-21-355, 43-21-603, 43-27-109, 43-47-7, 93-21-23 and 97-3-7 shall stand repealed on July 1, 2008.
SECTION 2. This act shall take effect and be in force from and after July 1, 2006.