2007 Regular Session
To: Public Health and Welfare
By: Senator(s) Nunnelee
AN ACT TO AMEND SECTIONS 43-16-5, 43-16-7 AND 43-16-9, AND TO CODIFY SECTION 43-16-8, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO CLARIFY THE POWERS AND RESPONSIBILITIES OF THE STATE DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH RELATING TO THE CHILD RESIDENTIAL HOME NOTIFICATION ACT AND TO REQUIRE LICENSEES, EMPLOYEES AND VOLUNTEERS AT SUCH HOMES TO HAVE CRIMINAL RECORD BACKGROUND CHECKS; TO AMEND SECTION 43-16-25, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO INCREASE LICENSURE FEES FOR SUCH CHILD RESIDENTIAL HOMES; AND FOR RELATED PURPOSES.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI:
SECTION 1. Section 43-16-5, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
43-16-5. (1) The State Department of Health shall be the notification agency for all child residential homes, and the department shall discharge as additional duties and responsibilities the provisions of this chapter.
(2) The department shall have powers and duties as set forth below, in addition to other duties prescribed under this chapter:
(a) Promulgate rules and regulations concerning the licensing and regulation of child residential homes as defined herein consistent with the policy and purpose of this chapter;
(b) Have the authority to issue, deny, suspend, revoke, restrict or otherwise take disciplinary action against licensees as provided for in this chapter;
(c) Set and collect fees and penalties, as authorized by law; and
(d) Have such other powers as may be required to carry out the provisions of this chapter.
SECTION 2. Section 43-16-7, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
43-16-7. (1) No person may operate a child residential home in Mississippi without complying with all provisions of this chapter, and any rules, regulations and orders of the State Department of Health.
(2) All child residential homes operating on July 1, 1989, shall either apply for a license from the Department of Human Services pursuant to Section 43-15-5, Mississippi Code of 1972, or file notification in accordance with this chapter, prior to August 1, 1989.
SECTION 3. The following shall be codified as Section 43-16-8, Mississippi Code of 1972:
43-16-8. (1) Licensees shall require that, for any employee, prospective employee, volunteer and prospective volunteer, all criminal records, background and sex offender registry checks and current child abuse registry checks are obtained. In order to determine the applicant's suitability for employment or to volunteer, the applicant shall be fingerprinted. If no disqualifying record is identified at the state level, the fingerprints shall be forwarded by the Department of Public Safety to the FBI for a national criminal history record check.
(2) The Department of Human Services shall have the authority to disclose to the State Department of Health any potential applicant whose name is listed on the Child Abuse Central Registry or has a pending administrative review. That information shall remain confidential by all parties.
(3) The department shall have the authority to exclude a particular crime or crimes or a substantiated finding of child abuse and/or neglect as disqualifying individuals or entities for prospective or current employment or licensure.
(4) The department and its agents, officer, employees, attorneys and representatives shall not be held civilly liable for any findings, recommendations or actions taken under this section.
(5) All fees incurred in compliance with this section shall be borne by child residential homes. The department is authorized to charge a fee that includes the amount required by the Federal Bureau of Investigation for the national criminal history record check in compliance with the Child Protection Act of 1993, as amended, and any necessary costs incurred by the licensing agency for the handling and administration of the criminal history background checks.
SECTION 4. Section 43-16-9, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
43-16-9. Such notification shall be filed by the executive director of the child residential home to the department upon forms provided by the department and shall contain the following information:
(a) Name, street address, mailing address and phone number of the home.
(b) Name of the executive director and all staff members of the home.
(c) Name and description of the agency or organization operating the home, which shall include a statement as to whether or not the agency or organization is incorporated.
(d) Name and address of the sponsoring organization of the home, if applicable.
(e) The names of all children living at the home which shall include the following personal data:
(i) Full name and a copy of the child's birth certificate;
(ii) Name and address of parent(s) or guardian(s); and
(iii) Name and address of other nearest relative.
(f) School(s) attended by the children served by such home.
(g) Fire department or State Fire Marshal inspection certificate.
(h) Local health department inspection certificate.
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(i) Proof, to be shown by the sworn affidavit of the executive director of the home, that medical records are maintained for each child.
SECTION 5. Section 43-16-25, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
43-16-25. A license issued under the provisions of this chapter shall be renewed annually upon payment of a renewal fee not to exceed Two Hundred Dollars ($200.00) and upon filing by the licensee of an annual report upon such uniform dates and upon forms provided by the licensing agency, accompanied by a current certificate of inspection and approval by the fire department and the county health department specified in Section 43-16-11.
No governmental entity or agency shall be required to pay the fee or fees set forth in this section.
SECTION 6. This act shall take effect and be in force from and after July 1, 2007.