An Act Relative to Justice, Equity, and Accountability  in Law Enforcement in the Commonwealth

Signed into law December 31, 2020
Bill Number S.2963

The comprehensive police reform bill includes provisions that protect youth from overzealous policing, particularly in schools, and expunges some crimes from youth records, ensuring these do not become a barrier to future employment, housing, and other opportunities. CLM remains active in ongoing state-level work on School Resource Officers and juvenile justice reforms.

An Act Relative to Children’s Health and Wellness

Signed into law November 26, 2019
Bill Number H.4012

This law ensures that youth who have aged out of DCF (i.e., former foster youth) will receive MassHealth benefits until they turn 26. Additionally, it requires that these youths are automatically enrolled annually until no longer eligible.

An Act Relative to Abusive Practices to Change Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity in Minors
“Conversion Therapy Ban”

Signed into law April 8, 2019
Bill Number H.140/S.2191

This law bans gay conversion therapy on minors, making Massachusetts the 16th state to prohibit the medically discredited and controversial practice.

An Act Relative to the Re-Homing of Children

Bill Number: S.41/H.2798

Purpose and Intention: 

  • To avoid re-homing by ensuring that those who adopt have all the relevant information and resources available to them.
  • Requires the provision of services to adoptive families to avoid adoption disruption and dissolution; additional training specifically geared towards adoption applicants who wish to adopt internationally.
  • Requires adoptive parents to notify their placement agency or DCF if the parent can no longer care for the child.
  • Creates penalties for those who advertise the re-homing of a child; those who accept or solicit payment for placing a child; those who take a child in through re-homing; and an adoptive parent and guardian who causes a child to be re-homed.
Additional Materials:

An Act Promoting Local Control and Effective Training of School Resource Officers

Bill Number: S.274/H.2021

Purpose and Intention: 

  • To create uniformity around the use of school resource officers (SROs).
  • Create additional elements to be included in the memorandum of understanding (MOU) that defines the role and duties of the SRO.
  • Requires that standard operating procedures be created to provide SROs with guidance on daily operations, policy, and procedures like the use of police force, arrest, and court referral on school property; a statement of students’ legal rights; performance evaluation standards; and protocols for diverting at-risk students to community-based supports.
  • Creates the SRO training program that will include training for officers in child and adolescent development, de-escalation techniques, juvenile law and diversion strategies as well as and training for school officials. Officers can receive a certificate for completion of the training.
Additional Materials:

An Act Relating to Online Mandated Reporter Training and Neglect Panel

Bill Number: H.3042

Purpose and Intention:

  • Directs the Department of Children and Families to create or utilize an existing online mandated reporter training that must be completed annually by all mandated reporters.
  • Creates a child abuse and neglect expert review panel under the Office of the Child Advocate. This panel would review the repeated entry of children into the care of the Department of Children and Families in a 12-month period for the same family unit and determine what, if any, actions are needed to protect the child from further harm. The panel would also report on any trends that are affecting these families, any agency service gaps that are observed, and any recommendations for policy changes to prevent the repeated abuse and neglect of children.
Additional Materials:

An Act to Improve Permanency and Placement Stability

Bill Number: H.783

Purpose and Intention:

  • Each child age 7 or older in DCF’s care will have the opportunity to express their preferred custody placement. This also allows for each parent to provide any name of an adult who can provide custody to their children.
  • In child protection cases, judges should decide whether an agency acted properly when it removed a child from parental care, whether it provided parents with adequate supportive services during the reunification period and whether it took appropriate actions to ensure a child was placed in a permanent home. For several reasons, judges rarely make “no reasonable efforts findings”. This legislation requires that the issue of whether reasonable efforts have been made be raised at a series of existing hearings including, both the ex parte removal hearing and the temporary orders hearing under section 24, the pre-trial conference, and permanency hearings under section 29B.
  • Requires a regional clinical review team to conduct a review when any child or young adult has experienced more than 2 placements in a single foster care episode.
  • A child who is 12 years or older could petition the court to reinstate parental rights if more than 2 years have passed since the entry of the order and if the permanency goal for the child is no longer adoption.
Additional Materials:

An Act Improving Outcomes for Transition Age Youth

Bill Number: S.25/H.1957

Purpose and Intention: 

  • To provide youth transitioning out of state supported services with sufficient means for success.
  • To reduce the reliance by the Department of Children and Families to designate a child under the age of 17 with the status of  Alternative Planned Permanent Living Arrangement (APPLA).
  • Requires DCF to report on the number of children who receive APPLA as a service plan goal.
Additional Materials:

An Act Establishing the Massachusetts Foster Care Review Office

Bill Number: S.61/H.87

Purpose and Intention:
  • Transfers the responsibility and functions of the Foster Care Review Unit from DCF to an external and independent body, the Foster Care Review Office- FCRO, and mandate the authority required to ensure FRCO determinations and recommendations are implemented and followed-up.
  • Requires the FCRO Executive Director to review and update, as necessary, its mission, operations, policies and procedures with a focus on the best interests of children in the care or custody of DCF.
  • Mandates periodic and annual reports on FCRO aggregate data collected, including recommendations to address issues, strengths and challenges identified at the local and systemic levels.
Additional Materials:

An Act Providing a Homeless Bill of Rights

Bill NumberS.46/H.695

Purpose and Intention:

  • Ensures that people experiencing homelessness have the same rights as any other resident of Massachusetts by seeking to prevent discrimination based on housing status
  • Reinforces the rights to move freely in public spaces, receive equal treatment by municipal agencies, experience freedom from discrimination in employment, receive emergency medical care, register to vote and to vote, experience freedom from unauthorized disclosure of records (in accordance with relevant laws), and have a reasonable expectation of privacy of property
  • Outlines these rights as a statement of legislative intent, as a guide for state and municipal agencies
Additional Materials:

An Act Relative to Foster Kids

Bill Number: S.65

Purpose and Intention: 

  • To create more stability in our educational system for children in foster care.
  • Requires DCF to ensure the placement of children in out-of-home care and any subsequent placements promotes education stability by considering the appropriateness of the child’s current education setting and the proximity to the school the child was enrolled in prior to the placement.