SENATE BILL 629
54th legislature - STATE OF NEW MEXICO - first session, 2019
Linda M. Lopez
RELATING TO CHILDREN; AMENDING A SECTION OF THE ABUSE AND NEGLECT ACT TO REQUIRE THE CHILDREN, YOUTH AND FAMILIES DEPARTMENT TO COLLECT DATA RELATING TO CLOSED CASES OF CHILDREN WHO HAD BEEN PLACED IN STATE CUSTODY.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF NEW MEXICO:
SECTION 1. Section 32A-4-6 NMSA 1978 (being Laws 1993, Chapter 77, Section 100, as amended) is amended to read:
"32A-4-6. TAKING INTO CUSTODY--PENALTY--REPORTING.--
A. A child may be held or taken into custody:
(1) by a law enforcement officer when the officer has evidence giving rise to reasonable grounds to believe that the child is abused or neglected and that there is an immediate threat to the child's safety; provided that the law enforcement officer contacts the department to enable the department to conduct an on-site safety assessment to determine whether it is appropriate to take the child into immediate custody, except that a child may be taken into custody by a law enforcement officer without a protective services assessment being conducted if:
(a) the child's parent, guardian or custodian has attempted, conspired to cause or caused great bodily harm to the child or great bodily harm or death to the child's sibling;
(b) the child's parent, guardian or custodian has attempted, conspired to cause or caused great bodily harm or death to another parent, guardian or custodian of the child;
(c) the child has been abandoned;
(d) the child is in need of emergency medical care;
(e) the department is not available to conduct a safety assessment in a timely manner; or
(f) the child is in imminent risk of abuse; or
(2) by medical personnel when there are reasonable grounds to believe that the child has been injured as a result of abuse or neglect and that the child may be at risk of further injury if returned to the child's parent, guardian or custodian. The medical personnel shall hold the child until a law enforcement officer is available to take custody of the child pursuant to Paragraph (1) of this subsection.
B. A child shall not be taken into protective custody solely on the grounds that the child's parent, guardian or custodian refuses to consent to the administration of a psychotropic medication to the child.
C. When a child is taken into custody by law enforcement, the department is not compelled to place the child in an out-of-home placement and may release the child to the child's parent, guardian or custodian.
D. When a child is taken into custody, the department shall make reasonable efforts to determine whether the child is an Indian child.
E. If a child taken into custody is an Indian child and is alleged to be neglected or abused, the department shall give notice to the agent of the Indian child's tribe in accordance with the federal Indian Child Welfare Act of 1978.
F. Any person who intentionally interferes with protection of a child, as provided by Subsection A of this section, is guilty of a petty misdemeanor.
G. By October 1, 2021 and each November 1 thereafter, the department shall issue to the legislative health and human services committee a written report that provides the following aggregate data relating to cases of abuse or neglect that have been closed within thirty days of being referred to the department during the prior fiscal year:
(1) the number of children who are taken into custody pursuant to this section and disposition of the case for one of the following reasons:
(a) the child has been released to the child's parent, guardian or custodian;
(b) the child has been delivered to the department;
(c) the child has been delivered to a relative other than the child's parent, guardian or custodian;
(d) the child has been delivered to the custody of another agency;
(e) the child has been delivered to an entity not listed in Subparagraphs (a) through (d) of this paragraph; and
(f) the child has been delivered to a medical facility pursuant to Paragraph (2) of Subsection A of Section 32A-4-7 NMSA 1978. For each child delivered to a medical facility and released, the department shall report which outcome among Subparagraphs (a) through (e) of this paragraph applies after the child was released from the medical facility;
(2) the number of cases in which a child is taken into department custody pursuant to each of the reasons enumerated in Subparagraphs (a) through (f) of Paragraph (1) and Paragraph (2) of Subsection A of this section; and
(3) for each case relating to a child who was removed pursuant to this section, the department's actions to ascertain the well-being of that child within the following time frames:
(a) thirty days of case closure;
(b) three months of case closure;
(c) twelve months of case closure;
(d) twenty-four months of case closure; and
(e) sixty months of case closure."
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