The 2013 State Legislative session was very productive and many children’s issues were successfully addressed. MCCOY (Marion County Commission on Youth) explains the new legislation that has been enacted:
HB1015 School safety Urges the legislative council to establish an interim study committee to examine issues related to student discipline and safety.
HB1423 Anti-bullying Requires the department of education to develop guidelines to assist school corporations and safe school committees in establishing bullying prevention programs, investigation and reporting procedures, and discipline rules. School corporations must provide bullying prevention training to school employees and volunteers, as well as include bullying incidence information in their annual performance report. The definition of “bullying” was also modified to include unwanted digital or electronic communications or images, along with aggressive or physical acts that create a hostile school environment.
SB1 School resource officers and school safety Specifies how a school resource officer program may be established and sets forth duties and responsibilities for school resource officers. Requirements include training resource officers, and creating the Indiana secured school fund to provide matching grants for school corporations and charter schools to employ school resource officers, conduct threat assessments of school buildings and purchase safety equipment and technology. It also creates the secured school safety board to develop best practices for school resource officers.
SB53 Child seduction Defines “professional relationship” and provides that a person commits child seduction if they have a professional relationship with a child; exerts undue influence on the child because of the professional relationship; uses the person’s professional relationship to engage in sexual conduct with a child between the ages of 16 and 18.
SB345 Use of restraints and seclusion in schools Establishes a commission on seclusion and restraint in schools to adopt rules concerning the use of restraint and seclusion in schools and develop a model restraint and seclusion plan. It requires a school corporation and accredited nonpublic school to have in place a restraint and seclusion plan for the 2014-2015 school year.
SB352 School policies on gang activities Allows the Indiana safe schools fund to be used to provide educational outreach and training to school personnel concerning the identification and prevention of, and intervention in, criminal gang activity. The Department of Education and school corporations are required to develop training and educational materials for gang awareness programs for students, parents and teachers and to submit annual reports regarding gang incidents in schools beginning in 2017. Each school corporation is required to develop and maintain a criminal gang policy. Also, school employees are required to report any incidence of suspected criminal gang activity, to the principal and the school safety specialist. The State Police Department must also conduct an assessment to map gang activity and identify existing services and programs.
SB125 Child fatality reviews and commission on children
Establishes the commission on improving the status of children (the commission) in Indiana to study issues concerning vulnerable youth, review legislation, and cooperate with other entities and take other actions relating to children. Establishes a child services oversight committee to review data reports from the department of child services (DCS), make recommendations to the commission and submit an annual report to the commission.
HB1006 Various changes to the criminal code
Child abuse/neglect reporting – a judge must first use the child abuse reporting hotline to report suspected abuse/neglect and may contact the local office of the department directly if they either do not respond from the hotline or the hotline’s response is not satisfactory to serve best interests of child.
Hazing – defines hazing as forcing or requiring another person with or without their consent and as a condition of association with a group or organization to perform an act that creates a substantial risk of bodily injury.
MCCOY has stated that their position is to monitor the new bill.
SB142 Statutes of limitations involving child sex abuse Increases the statute of limitations for a civil action based on child sexual abuse to either 4 or 7 years. It also increases the statute of limitations for the criminal prosecution of certain sex offenses involving children from five years to the later of 10 years after the commission of the offense.
SB361 Intimidation Provides that for the crime of intimidation, communication can include posting a message electronically, including on a social networking web site.
SB509 Human trafficking Makes it promotion of human trafficking of a minor to knowingly or intentionally recruit, harbor, or transport a child less than 18 years of age with the intent of: engaging the child in forced labor or involuntary servitude; or inducing or causing the child to engage in prostitution or an unlawful performance that includes sexual conduct. It also makes it sexual trafficking of a minor to knowingly or intentionally sell or transfer custody of a child less than 18 years of age for sexual purposes.
HB1004 Early education evaluation program Establishes the early education evaluation program to gather data concerning the school readiness of low income children who have received early education services through providers with programs of demonstrated quality that require parental involvement in the children’s education. Establishes the Paths to QUALITY program, a voluntary child care facility quality rating and improvement system implemented by the Family and Social Services Administration. Also, the Early Learning Advisory Committee will be created, appointed by the governor, to assess needs concerning quality and availability of early education programs in Indiana and identify opportunities and barriers in collaboration and coordination of programs related to early childhood issues, along with other requirements.
HB1494 National criminal history background checks for child care Requires employees and volunteers of certain child care providers and applicants applying for a license to operate a child care home, including the applicant’s spouse and certain household members, to undergo national criminal history background checks. It requires the state police department to release the result of a national criminal history background check to the division of family resources. It also amends the list of felony convictions and certain other offenses related to the application, denial, and revocation of a child care license or registration and eligibility for child care voucher payments.
SB305 Child care and development fund eligibility Clarifies definition of “provider” to include a person who provides childcare and receives Child Care Development Fund (CCDF) voucher, a licensed child care center and a licensed child care home. Specifies requirements that must be met by a child care provider as a condition of eligibility to receive a federal Child Care and Development Fund (CCDF) voucher payment. New safety provisions include: Meeting sanitation standards for bathrooms and hand washing, following safe sleeping practices and maintaining a written child discipline policy, along with many other requirements. Also, the committee on child care is required to study due process for child care providers and make recommendations during the 2013 interim.
HB1003 Nonpublic school scholarships School scholarship tax credit may be carried forward for a taxable year beginning after December 31, 2013, and the standards for scholarship eligibility will changed. MCCOY has stated that their position is to monitor the new bill.
HB1427 Various education matters Halts the implementation of common core standards after May 15, 2013 until a comprehensive evaluation is conducted. Before July 1, 2013, the department shall provide a written evaluation of the common core standards to the state board and the chairperson of the legislative study committee established to study the common core standards and other standards. MCCOY has stated that their position is to monitor the new bill.
SB338 Absenteeism; school improvement plans Addresses the issue of absenteeism from school. The commission on education study committee will examine the following issues: Defining excused and unexcused absences and the effectiveness of voluntary agreements between school corporations and juvenile courts in providing court supervised educational, alternative or diversion programs for students. The Department of education will provide resources and guidance to school corporations concerning evidence-based practices and effective strategies to reduce absenteeism. School corporations and schools must identify contributing factors to absenteeism and to develop chronic absence reduction plans.
SB422 Family friendly school designation Establishes the Indiana family friendly school designation program. Department of education will develop the program and make available to schools best practices in developing family engagement and parental involvement.
HB1001 Biennial budget The budget included the following provisions:
- Select Education Funding
- Indiana Safe Schools General Fund: $1,095,340 (annual)
- Indiana Safe Schools Fund: $400,053 (annual)
- Secured School Safety Grants: $20,000,000 (bi-annual)
- Dropout Prevention: $6,000,000 (annual)
- Early Education Matching Grant Program: $2,000,000 (annual)
- Full-Day Kindergarten: $196,968,528 (2014), $202,686,696 (2015) School Corporation Performance Awards
- ISTEP and end-of-course assessment tests – schools with a passing rate between 72.5% & 90% or 5% increase in passing rate receive $23.50 per passing test. Schools with passing rate of at least 90% or increase of 5% receive $47 per passing test.
- Nonwaiver graduation rate – schools with nonwaiver graduation rate between 75% & 90% receive $88 for each nonwaiver graduate. Schools with a nonwaiver graduation rate over 90% or with over 5% increase from previous would receive $176 for each nonwaiver graduate.
- Education Reform
- Excel Centers: charter schools that serve students who are at least 20 years of age and who have dropped out of high school before receiving a diploma are removed from funding through the school formula and are a separate line item at $6,600 per student. Grants for new charters for these schools are prohibited. Indianapolis may grant a charter to a maximum of three Christel House Academies which must be granted by July 1, 2013 and these charter schools are not entitled to receive state funding.
- Choice Scholarships: increase in maximum Choice Scholarship for grades 1-8 students from $4500 to $4700 in FY2014 and to $4800 in FY2015.
- Requires state board of education to develop alternative benchmarks, performance indicators, and accountability standards to assess schools focusing exclusively on providing academic programs to students with developmental, intellectual, or behavioral challenges.
- Requires state board of education to develop an alternative accountability system to assess performance of charter schools that are dropout recovery schools or accelerated learning centers.
- Financial literacy program for K-12 students focusing on developing personal financial responsibility; managing personal finances; using credit and incurring debt; and saving and investing.
- Department of Child Services (DCS)
- Requires DCS to investigate all reports of child abuse or neglect received from a judge or prosecutor and requires to forward all reports of child abuse or neglect received from medical personnel, school personnel, a social worker, law enforcement officials or personnel, judiciary personnel, or prosecutor personnel to the appropriate local office.
MCCOY has stated that their position is to monitor the new budget.
For more information and complete bills, visit www.in.gov/legislative.