Bill to enhance cooperation and comprehensive services among agencies

Foster care measure passes the House Central Virginia- Delegate Christopher K. Peace (R-Hanover) is pleased to announce that House Bill 2036 related to juveniles reentering society from commitment has unanimously passed the House of Delegates.  This legislation emerged from the Commission on Youth’s Study of Juvenile Offender Reentry.  A major finding from this study was that additional planning time is needed for juvenile offenders who are reentering into their community from the Department of Juvenile Justice.  This is especially true for foster care youth who are committed to the Department of Juvenile Justice.

House Bill 2036 increases the amount of time that a Court Services Unit (CSU) is to consult with the local Department of Social Services (DSS) from four weeks to 90 days services prior to a juvenile’s release from the Department of Juvenile Justice who was previously served in foster care.  These changes are consistent with the development of the juvenile’s mental health transition plan.

In addition, the bill requires the development of a transition plan by the Court Services Units and the local Department of Social Services working collaboratively together.  The transition plan will identify the services necessary for a successful reentry and describe how the services are to be provided.

Speaking to the bill Peace stated, “This legislation is a positive initiative to reduce recidivism rates for juveniles simultaneously under the supervision of the Department of Juvenile Justice and the Department of Social Services and assist in creating a more successful transition to a less restrictive environment. It helps kids and will reduce the cost burdens on the system.”

This bill will allow local departments of social services additional time to investigate whether there can be a safe placement with family members in lieu of returning the juvenile to foster care, to commence a foster care review or a permanency planning hearing, and to initiate the Medicaid application process and assess the availability of other applicable benefits or services.

The Commission on Youth endorsed the measure. The Commission is a bipartisan, legislative commission of the Virginia General Assembly in which Delegate Peace serves as vice-chair.

Delegate Christopher K. Peace was elected to his third term representing the 97th District of the Virginia House of Delegates. The District includes parts of Hanover, Caroline, King William, King and Queen, Henrico, Spotsylvania Counties and all of New Kent County.