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Kelsey Briggs Law  
This summarizes Kelsey's Law in terms anyone can understand.

Section 2 amends 10 O.S. 601.6 to require the Office of Juvenile System Oversight (OJSO) to establish a complaint mediation process for foster parents.

Section 3 amends 10 O.S. 7003 – 3.7 to require training, approval and a background check for a person before the person is appointed by a court to serve as a CASA.

Section 4 amends 10 O.S. 7003 – 4.1 to provide for uniform orders (forms) to be used by the court in all deprived proceedings. The prescribed form shall include findings and determinations made by the court as well as a section where the court must record the recommendations of the parties and participants made at the hearing as they relate to the custody or placement of the child.

Section 5 amends 10 O.S. 7003 – 6.2 by adding new language giving authority to the court to place a child in the custody of DHS, if the court determines it is in the best interest of the child. If so placed, the court may not direct the DHS to place the child in a specific home or placement.
Also, DHS is given new authority (the District Attorney and the attorney for the child already had authority under the old law) to object to the decision at a hearing to release a child from state custody. The objection may be made verbally at the hearing but a written application to review the order must be submitted by 5pm the following day. If the D.A. and the DHS disagree regarding the order, the law requires DHS to file the application for review.

Section 6 amends 10 O.S. – 7003 – 6.2a by modifying language that directs OCCY to provide the court with a written report in all cases where OJSO has conducted an investigation regarding the placement of child or the release of a child from state custody. The report must be filed at least five days prior to the hearing and must include recommendations made by OJSO. Also, upon a motion by any party, the court must order the attendance, and testimony, of any person preparing the report. Further, the court is directed to consider the report when making a decision regarding the placement of a child or release of a child from state custody.

Section 7 is a new law (10 O.S. 7004 – 1.8) that directs DHS to establish a performance based incentive compensation program for employee exclusively working as child welfare specialists. It sets eligibility factors such as above average job performance and/or employee evaluations, completed additional training and/or education in a social work or closely related field. The eligibility cannot be based upon the employees’ level of seniority however.

Section 8 amends 10 O.S. 7005 – 1.4 to require, in information released to the public subsequent to criminal charges being filed in the death or near death of a child, the inclusion of specific recommendations made by DHS in any progress reports, and recommendations made at a child custody or placement hearing.

Section 9 this is the new law that establishes the Oklahoma Children and Juvenile Law Reform Committee. The committee is directed to undertake a full, good faith and thorough study of Oklahoma laws concerning children and juveniles.

Section 10 sets out who the committee (20) members are

Section 11 defines the purpose of the committee. They shall conduct a review of title 10 of the Oklahoma statutes and prepare a draft recommendation to re-classify, update, reform and re-codify the statutes. A draft recommendation to the Oklahoma legislature is due by November 1, 2007.

Section 12 defines the organization of the committee and provides for expenses.

Section 13 requires a progress report to the Oklahoma legislature by March 1, 2007.

Section 14 provides that the legislature may assist the committee.

Section 15 new law (10 O.S. 7104.1) the gives authority for a judge in district court to request an investigation by OSBI in cases in which it has bee determined that criminally injurious abuse of a child has occurred.

Section 16 amends 10 O.S. 7106 by deleting reference to an obsolete county program (Integrated family services). New language gives authority for the Director of the DHS, or his designee, to request an investigation be conducted by OSBI in cases in which it has been determined that criminally injurious abuse of a child has occurred.

Section 17 amends 74 O.S. 150.5 by adding the Director of DHS, or his designee, and a district court judge to the list of persons who may request an investigation by OSBI. This section enables the changes made in sections 15 and 16.

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