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Preserving Family Relationships In Child Placement

Concerning preserving familial connections in actions initiated pursuant to the children's code, and, in connection therewith, making an appropriation.
2021 Regular Session
Children & Domestic Matters
Human Services
Bill Summary

With respect to a hearing in dependency and neglect for a child under 6 years of age, the bill states that a court may find good cause for granting a delay or continuance if there is evidence that in-person visitation or services were significantly delayed or interrupted by a public health emergency .

When a child is taken into the custody of a county department of human or social services (county department) for allegations of neglect or for other reasons, the bill requires the court to enter temporary visitation orders with the child's parent if such orders are in the child's best interests. The bill sets forth the contents of those orders, including the minimum frequency and level of supervision of the visits. The court shall order ongoing, in-person visitation unless it finds that in-person visitation would endanger the child's health or welfare. Within 30 days after the initial hearing, the county department shall make recommendations to the court concerning ongoing visitation between the parent and child and between the child and the child's siblings. and requires contact to commence within 72 hours after a hearing unless the court delays the contact. Absent the issuance of an emergency order, a parent is entitled to a hearing prior to an ongoing reduction in, suspension of, or increase in the level of supervision, including a change from in-person visitation to virtual visitation. The bill requires the court to enter visitation orders consistent with the bill in various phases of the court proceedings.

The bill sets forth requirements for an open adoption in Colorado, including provisions for entering into post-adoption contact agreements between a child and the child's birth parent or parents, a birth relative, or an Indian tribe if the child is a member. A post-adoption contact agreement may include provisions for contact, visitation, or the exchange of information. If a child is 12 years of age or older, the court shall not order a post-adoption contact agreement unless the child consents to all terms of the contact agreement. The bill includes provisions for the enforcement, modification, and termination of a post-adoption contact agreement.

The bill creates a task force on high-quality parenting time (task force) in the state department of human services to examine the current policies and statutes governing parenting time and to study best practices for the provision and determination of individualized plans for parenting time, and to make recommendations to the general assembly for administrative or statutory changes to support high-quality parenting time. The task force includes a steering committee selected by executive branch agency directors, and members jointly appointed by the steering committee representing the judicial system and the child welfare system, as well as parents, social workers, and other members described in the bill. The bill includes specific areas of study by the task force. The task force shall submit a written report by October 1, 2022, to the governor, certain committees of the general assembly, the department of human services, and the child welfare training academy. The report must include the task force's findings concerning best practices to improve high-quality parenting services and practices in dependency and neglect cases and recommendations for changes to implement those best practices.

(Note: Italicized words indicate new material added to the original summary; dashes through words indicate deletions from the original summary.)

(Note: This summary applies to the reengrossed version of this bill as introduced in the second house.)


Became Law


Bill Text

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