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8-453 Powers and duties


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A. The director shall:

1. Carry out the purposes of the department prescribed in section 8-451.

2. Provide transparency by being open and accountable to the public for the actions of the department.

3. Develop a data system that enables persons and entities that are charged with a responsibility relating to child safety to access all relevant information relating to an abused, neglected or abandoned child as provided by law.

4. Subject to title 41, chapter 4, article 4 and, as applicable, articles 5 and 6, employ deputy directors and other key personnel based on qualifications that are prescribed by the director.

5. Adopt rules to implement the purposes of the department and the duties and powers of the director.

6. Petition, as necessary to implement the case plan established under section 8-824 or 8-845, for the appointment of a guardian or a temporary guardian under title 14, chapter 5 for children who are in custody of the department pursuant to court order. Persons applying to be guardians or temporary guardians under this section shall be fingerprinted. A foster parent or certified adoptive parent already fingerprinted is not required to be fingerprinted again, if the foster parent or certified adoptive parent is the person applying to be the guardian or temporary guardian.

7. Cooperate with other agencies of this state, county and municipal agencies, faith-based organizations and community social services agencies, if available, to achieve the purposes of this chapter.

8. Exchange information, including case specific information, and cooperate with the department of economic security for the administration of the department of economic security’s programs.

9. Administer child welfare activities, including:

(a) Cross-jurisdictional placements pursuant to section 8-548.

(b) Providing the cost of care of:

(i) Children who are in temporary custody, are the subject of a dependency petition or are adjudicated by the court as dependent and who are in out-of-home placement, except state institutions.

(ii) Children who are voluntarily placed in out-of-home placement pursuant to section 8-806.

(iii) Children who are the subject of a dependency petition or are adjudicated dependent and who are in the custody of the department and ordered by the court pursuant to section 8-845 to reside in an independent living program pursuant to section 8-521.

(c) Providing services for children placed in adoption.

10. Formulate policies, plans and programs to effectuate the missions and purposes of the department.

11. Make contracts and incur obligations within the general scope of the department’s activities and operations subject to the availability of funds.

12. Coordinate with, contract with or assist other departments, agencies and institutions of this state and local and federal governments in the furtherance of the department’s purposes, objectives and programs.

13. Accept and disburse grants, matching funds and direct payments from public or private agencies for the conduct of programs that are consistent with the overall purposes and objectives of the department.

14. Collect monies owed to the department.

15. Act as an agent of the federal government in furtherance of any functions of the department.

16. Carry on research and compile statistics relating to the child welfare program throughout this state, including all phases of dependency.

17. Cooperate with the superior court in all matters related to this title and title 13.

18. Provide the cost of care and transitional independent living services for a person under twenty-one years of age pursuant to section 8-521.01.

19. Ensure that all criminal conduct allegations and reports of imminent risk of harm are investigated.

20. Ensure the department’s compliance with the Indian child welfare act of 1978 (P.L. 95-608; 92 Stat. 3069; 25 United States Code sections 1901 through 1963).

21. Strengthen relationships with tribal child protection agencies or programs.

B. The director may:

1. Take administrative action to improve the efficiency of the department.

2. Contract with a private entity to provide any functions or services pursuant to this title.

3. Apply for, accept, receive and expend public and private gifts or grants of money or property on the terms and conditions as may be imposed by the donor and for any purpose provided for by this title.

4. Reimburse department volunteers, designated by the director, for expenses in transporting clients of the department on official business. Volunteers reimbursed for expenses are not eligible for workers’ compensation under title 23, chapter 6.

C. The department shall administer individual and family services, including sections on services to children and youth and other related functions in furtherance of social service programs under the social security act, as amended, title IV, parts B and E, grants to states for aid and services to needy families with children and for child-welfare services, title XX, grants to states for services and other related federal acts and titles.

D. If the department has responsibility for the care, custody or control of a child or is paying the cost of care for a child, the department may serve as representative payee to receive and administer social security and veterans administration benefits and other benefits payable to the child. Notwithstanding any law to the contrary, the department:

1. Shall deposit, pursuant to sections 35-146 and 35-147, any monies it receives to be retained separate and apart from the state general fund on the books of the department of administration.

2. May use these monies to defray the cost of care and services expended by the department for the benefit, welfare and best interests of the child and invest any of the monies that the director determines are not necessary for immediate use.

3. Shall maintain separate records to account for the receipt, investment and disposition of monies received for each child.

4. On termination of the department’s responsibility for the child, shall release any monies remaining to the child’s credit pursuant to the requirements of the funding source or, in the absence of any requirements, shall release the remaining monies to:

(a) The child, if the child is at least eighteen years of age or is emancipated.

(b) The person who is responsible for the child if the child is a minor and not emancipated.

E. Subsection D of this section does not apply to benefits that are payable to or for the benefit of a child receiving services under title 36.

F. Notwithstanding any other law, a state or local governmental agency or a private entity is not subject to civil liability for the disclosure of information that is made in good faith to the department pursuant to this section.

G. Notwithstanding section 41-192, the department may employ legal counsel to provide legal advice to the director. The attorney general shall represent the department in any administrative or judicial proceeding pursuant to title 41, chapter 1, article 5.

H. The total amount of state monies that may be spent in any fiscal year by the department for foster care as provided in subsection A, paragraph 9, subdivision (b) of this section may not exceed the amount appropriated or authorized by section 35-173 for that purpose. This section does not impose a duty on an officer, agent or employee of this state to discharge a responsibility or to create any right in a person or group if the discharge or right would require an expenditure of state monies in excess of the expenditure authorized by legislative appropriation for that specific purpose.

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