Bill allows coordination between a child’s dependency and juvenile cases

first_img A bill to improve coordination when a child has simultaneous cases in more than one court and to clarify jurisdiction when a child moves out of a county has cleared its initial Senate committee.The Senate Judiciary Committee approved SB 124, by Sen. Aaron Bean, R-Jacksonville, with a 6-0 vote February 4. The measure addresses when juveniles are in multiple cases in one or more jurisdictions.“What this bill does, with the help of our friends at the Guardian ad Litem Program, is gives deference to a judge to take the best venue for where cases should be, bring them together if need be,” Bean said. “It also coordinates better notice to guardians ad litem, who can give judges more information about a child.”According to the staff analysis, the bill:• Allows guardianship proceedings for a dependent child or young adult in foster care to be in either the county where the child or young adult resides or the court that originally had jurisdiction. Current law gives jurisdiction to the court where the dependent resides, but the change will allow the original court to retain the case if the court and caseworkers are more familiar with the dependent’s needs. The analysis noted that sometimes a court with long experience dealing with a dependent loses jurisdiction when the dependent moves to another county or is placed in a home or program in another county.• Allows juvenile and dependency courts to receive information from additional sources.• Requires the Department of Juvenile Justice to provide notice to the dependency court, the Department of Children and Families, and if they are appointed, to guardian and attorney ad litems before transferring a juvenile from one program or facility to another.• Allows the Guardian ad Litem Program to be among those who serve on a community reentry team when a juvenile transitions from a residential commitment facility to adulthood.• Specifically allows attorney and guardian ad litems from a child’s dependency case to provide information to the court in a concurrent juvenile proceeding. The analysis noted that in November 2018, there were 1,003 “crossover” cases where a child was part of simultaneous dependency and juvenile proceedings and many had been moved to different counties or circuits.SB 124 had already passed the Children, Families, and Elder Affairs Committee and next goes to the Rules Committee.A similar measure in the House, HB 115, has been referred to the Civil Justice Subcommittee, the Justice Appropriations Subcommittee, and the Judiciary Committee. Feb 13, 2019 Regular News Bill allows coordination between a child’s dependency and juvenile caseslast_img read more