Colorado Legislative Council Staff



General Fund Expenditure Impact

Drafting Number:

Prime Sponsor(s):

LLS 98-560

Rep. Keller

Sen. Hopper


Bill Status:

Fiscal Analyst:

February 6, 1998

House Judiciary

Janis Baron (866-3523)



Summary of Legislation


FY 1998/99

FY 1999/2000

State Revenues

General Fund

Other Fund



State Expenditures

General Fund

$ 1,381,489

$ 1,186,549

FTE Position Change

28.0 FTE

28.0 FTE

Local Government Impact — None

            The bill makes a number of changes to the “Colorado Children’s Code” in order to comply with the federal “Adoption and Safe Families Act of 1997”. This fiscal note is limited to a discussion of those provisions of the bill which create a fiscal impact:


               Section 4. 19-3-502 (7) — Requires the court to provide notice of all hearings and reviews held regarding a child to foster parents, preadoptive parents, or relatives providing care to the child. Such persons shall be provided the opportunity to be heard at such hearings and reviews.


               Section 5. 19-3-508 (1) (e) (I) — When the court finds that an appropriate treatment plan cannot be devised, the court is required to conduct a permanency planning hearing within 30 days.


               Section 6. 19-3-604 (1) (b) (II) and (d) — Changes the criteria for the termination of parental rights from “gravely disabling” injury to “serious bodily” injury and adds the existence of an identifiable pattern of sexual abuse of the child as criterion. Specifies that a child who has been in foster care for 15 of the most recent 22 months is a basis for termination of parental rights unless certain circumstances are present.


               Section 9. 19-3-702 (1) and (4) — Requires a permanency planning hearing to be held no later than 12 months rather than 18 months after the child has entered foster care, and specifies what the court findings shall include with respect to the placement goals for the child.

            The bill includes an effective date of July 1, 1998, and shall apply to causes of action commenced on or after said date.

State Expenditures

            Judicial Branch. The Judicial Branch will require 28.0 FTE and $1,381,489 General Fund in FY 1998-99 and $1,186,549 in FY 1999-00 to comply with the bill’s provisions. The expedited time frames required in federal law and in HB 98-1307 are the reasons for additional staff in Judicial. In order for Judicial to meet the 12-month permanency planning hearing and termination of parental rights requirements, as identified in Sections 9 and 5 of the bill, the following time frames will be adopted for all children subject to a dependency and neglect (D&N) petition:


               Adjudication within 60 days from the date of removal of the child, the filing of the D&N petition, or the date upon which the county department of social services requests protective supervision, whichever occurs first. Current statutory time frame is 90 days.


               Disposition if not held on the same day as adjudication shall occur within 30 days after adjudication. Current statutory time frame is 60 days.


               If no appropriate treatment plan can be devised, the court will proceed to permanency planning at disposition or within 30 days of disposition. There is no statutory time frame regarding this provision.


               If statutory criteria exists and the court so orders, a termination of parental rights proceeding shall occur for children who have been in foster care for 15 of the most recent 22 months. There is no statutory time frame regarding a termination of parental rights proceeding.


               Permanency planning shall occur as soon as possible after disposition, but no later than 12 months after the date on which the child has entered foster care. Current statutory time frame is 18 months after original placement.


            Judicial’s current caseload standard for a magistrate is 1.0 Judicial FTE for 467 D&N cases. Based on this standard, it will need 8.0 FTE magistrates and 16.0 support staff (8.0 division clerks and 8.0 assistant division clerks). Judicial staff will be added only in those districts which show a need for magistrate resources (approximately 9 districts total). Additionally, 4.0 FTE case managers will be needed to assist the bench in meeting the federally required expedited time frames, as well as ensuring the proper notification of hearings to foster parents, relatives, or preadoptive parents. Case managers will be located in urban districts with a high volume of D&N cases.

            Judicial indicates that although contract judicial staff have been provided through the Family Issues Cash Fund to comply with expedited permanency planning for children under six years of age (pursuant to HB 94-1178), not all districts in the pilot project are meeting the 90-day permanency planning hearing for these children. The 4th Judicial District is having the greatest difficulty in meeting the 90-day permanency planning hearing requirement.

            Based on data for 1994 (the most recent available), statewide, Judicial was not meeting the 18-month time frame for permanency planning hearings in 35 percent of its cases. States are now federally required to meet a 12-month time frame for a permanency planning hearing. Thus, additional staff are needed to address this case processing issue.

            Department of Human Services. The department indicates that failure to comply with the federal legislation may jeopardize $39.5 million in federal funds the state receives for child welfare services:


               $32.5 million — Title IV-E (foster care and adoption)

               $ 3.8 million — Title IV-B - Part I

               $ 2.4 million — Title IV-B - Part II

               $ 0.8 million — Discretionary Competitive Grants


Spending Authority

            The fiscal note indicates that for FY 1998-99 the Judicial Branch should be appropriated $1,381,489 General Fund and 28.0 FTE.

Departments Contacted

            Human Services