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S. 2160 (113th): Native American Children’s Safety Act

The text of the bill below is as of Mar 26, 2014 (Introduced).


II

113th CONGRESS

2d Session

S. 2160

IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES

March 26, 2014

(for himself, Mr. Tester, Mr. Barrasso, and Ms. Heitkamp) introduced the following bill; which was read twice and referred to the Committee on Indian Affairs

A BILL

To amend the Indian Child Protection and Family Violence Prevention Act to require background checks before foster care placements are ordered in tribal court proceedings, and for other purposes.

1.

Short title

This Act may be cited as the Native American Children's Safety Act .

2.

Character investigations

Section 408 of the Indian Child Protection and Family Violence Prevention Act (25 U.S.C. 3207) is amended by adding at the end the following:

(d)

By tribal social services agency for foster care placements in tribal court proceedings

(1)

Definitions

In this subsection:

(A)

Covered individual

The term covered individual includes—

(i)

any individual 18 years of age or older; and

(ii)

any individual who an Indian tribe described in paragraph (2)(A) determines is subject to a character investigation under that paragraph.

(B)

Foster care placement

The term foster care placement means any action removing an Indian child from a parent or Indian custodian for temporary placement in a foster home or institution or the home of a guardian or conservator if—

(i)

the parent or Indian custodian cannot have the child returned on demand; and

(ii)

parental rights have not been terminated.

(C)

Indian custodian

The term Indian custodian means any Indian—

(i)

who has legal custody of an Indian child under tribal law or custom or under State law; or

(ii)

to whom temporary physical care, custody, and control has been transferred by the parent of the child.

(D)

Parent

The term parent means—

(i)

any biological parent of an Indian child; or

(ii)

any Indian who has lawfully adopted an Indian child, including adoptions under tribal law or custom.

(E)

Tribal court

The term tribal court means a court—

(i)

with jurisdiction over foster care placements; and

(ii)

that is—

(I)

a Court of Indian Offenses;

(II)

a court established and operated under the code or custom of an Indian tribe; or

(III)

any other administrative body of a tribe that is vested with authority over foster care placements.

(F)

Tribal social services agency

The term tribal social services agency means the agency of the Federal Government or of an Indian tribe described in paragraph (2)(A) that has the primary responsibility for carrying out foster care services (as of the date on which the proceeding described in paragraph (2)(A) commences) on the Indian reservation of the Indian tribe.

(2)

Character investigations before placement

(A)

In general

Except as provided in paragraph (3), no foster care placement shall be ordered in any proceeding over which an Indian tribe has exclusive jurisdiction until the tribal social services agency—

(i)

completes an investigation of the character of each covered individual who resides in the household or is employed at the institution in which the foster care placement will be made; and

(ii)

concludes that each covered individual described in clause (i) meets such standards of character as the Indian tribe shall establish in accordance with subparagraph (B).

(B)

Standards of character

The standards of character described in subparagraph (A)(ii) shall include—

(i)

requirements that each tribal social services agency described in subparagraph (A)

(I)

perform criminal records checks, including fingerprint-based checks of national crime information databases (as defined in section 534(f)(3) of title 28, United States Code); and

(II)

check any child abuse and neglect registry maintained by the State in which the covered individual resides for information on the covered individual, and request any other State in which the covered individual resided in the preceding 5 years, to enable the tribal social services agency to check any child abuse and neglect registry maintained by that State for such information; and

(ii)

any other additional requirement that the Indian tribe determines is necessary.

(C)

Results

Except as provided in paragraph (3), no foster care placement shall be ordered in any proceeding described in subparagraph (A) if an investigation described in clause (i) of that subparagraph reveals that a covered individual described in that clause—

(i)

has been found by a Federal, State, or tribal court to have committed any crime listed in clause (i) or (ii) of section 471(a)(20)(A) of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 671(a)(20)(A)); or

(ii)

is listed on a registry described in subparagraph (B)(i)(II).

(D)

Deadline

Except as provided in paragraph (3), the tribal social services agency shall satisfy the requirements of clauses (i) and (ii) of subparagraph (A) not later than 14 days after the date on which the proceeding described in subparagraph (A) commences.

(3)

Emergency placement

Paragraph (2) shall not apply to an emergency foster care placement, as determined by an Indian tribe described in paragraph (2)(A).

(4)

Recertification of foster homes or institutions

(A)

In general

Not later than 180 days after the date of enactment of this subsection, each Indian tribe shall establish procedures to recertify homes or institutions in which foster care placements are made.

(B)

Contents

The procedures described in subparagraph (A) shall include, at a minimum, periodic intervals at which the home or institution shall be subject to recertification to ensure—

(i)

the safety of the home or institution for the Indian child; and

(ii)

that each covered individual who resides in the home or is employed at the institution is subject to a character investigation in accordance with this subsection, including any covered individual who—

(I)

resides in the home or is employed at the institution on the date on which the procedures established under subparagraph (A) commences; and

(II)

did not reside in the home or was not employed at the institution on the date on which the investigation described in paragraph (2)(A)(i) was completed.

(C)

Regulations promulgated or guidance issued by the Secretary

The procedures established under subparagraph (A) shall be subject to any regulation promulgated or guidance issued by the Secretary that is in accordance with the purpose of this subsection.

(5)

Regulations

Not later than 180 days after the date of enactment of this subsection and after consultation with Indian tribes, the Secretary shall promulgate a regulation regarding—

(A)

procedures for a character investigation of any covered individual who—

(i)

resides in the home or is employed at the institution in which the foster care placement is made after the date on which the investigation described in paragraph (2)(A)(i) is completed; and

(ii)

was not the subject of an investigation described in paragraph (2)(A)(i) before the foster care placement was made;

(B)

self-reporting requirements for foster care homes or institutions in which any covered individual described in subparagraph (A) resides if the head of the household or the operator of the institution has knowledge that the covered individual—

(i)

has been found by a Federal, State, or tribal court to have committed any crime listed in clause (i) or (ii) of section 471(a)(20)(A) of the Social Security Act ( 42 U.S.C. 671(a)(20)(A) ); or

(ii)

is listed on a registry described in paragraph (2)(B)(i)(II);

(C)

procedures and guidelines for emergency foster care placements under paragraph (3); and

(D)

procedures for certifying compliance with this Act.

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