HOUSE BILL 129
56th legislature - STATE OF NEW MEXICO - first session, 2023
Stefani Lord and Harlan Vincent
RELATING TO CHILDREN; REQUIRING THE CHILDREN, YOUTH AND FAMILIES DEPARTMENT TO DEVELOP AND IMPLEMENT SUPERVISION AND MONITORING PROCEDURES FOR THE HOMES OF CHILDREN TAKEN INTO CUSTODY ON GROUNDS OF ABUSE OR NEGLECT; PROVIDING A THREE-MONTH MINIMUM MONITORING PERIOD UPON THE RELEASE OF A CHILD FROM 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.--
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 active efforts to determine whether the child is an Indian child as required pursuant to the Indian Family Protection Act.
E. The department shall establish and apply procedures for supervising and monitoring the home from which a child is removed and taken into custody. Pursuant to this subsection, the department shall monitor a child's home on a monthly basis for at least three months following the child's release and may extend the monitoring period if necessary to ensure the child's safety.
[E.] 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."
SECTION 2. Section 32A-4-7 NMSA 1978 (being Laws 1993, Chapter 77, Section 101, as amended) is amended to read:
"32A-4-7. RELEASE OR DELIVERY FROM CUSTODY.--
A. A person taking a child into custody shall, with all reasonable speed:
(1) release the child to the child's parent, guardian or custodian and issue verbal counsel or warning as may be appropriate; or
(2) deliver the child to the department or, in the case of a child who is believed to be suffering from a serious physical or mental condition or illness that requires prompt treatment or diagnosis, deliver the child to a medical facility. If a law enforcement officer delivers a child to a medical facility, the officer shall immediately notify the department that the child has been placed in the department's legal custody.
B. When an alleged neglected or abused child is delivered to the department, a department caseworker shall review the need for placing the child in custody and shall release the child from custody unless custody is appropriate or has been ordered by the court. When a child is delivered to a medical facility, a department caseworker shall review the need for retention of custody within a reasonable time after delivery of the child to the facility and shall release the child from custody unless custody is appropriate or has been ordered by the court.
C. If a child is placed in the legal custody of the department and is not released to the child's parent, guardian or custodian, the department shall give written notice thereof as soon as possible, and in no case later than twenty-four hours, to the child's parent, guardian or custodian together with a statement of the reason for taking the child into custody.
D. Reasonable efforts shall be made to prevent or eliminate the need for removing the child from the child's home, with the paramount concern being the child's health and safety. In all cases when a child is taken into custody, the child shall be released to the child's parent, guardian or custodian, unless the department files a petition within two days from the date that the child was taken into custody.
E. The department may release the child at any time within the two-day period after the child was taken into custody if it is determined by the department that release is appropriate or if release has been ordered by the court. Upon release of the child, the department shall implement the procedures pursuant to Subsection E of Section 1 of this 2023 act on a monthly basis for at least three months and may extend the monitoring period if necessary to ensure the child's safety and to fulfill any supervisory duties required by court order, if any."
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