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LRB-0660/1
EAW&EHS:klm
2017 - 2018 LEGISLATURE
May 1, 2017 - Introduced by Representatives Bernier, Summerfield, E. Brooks,
R. Brooks, Brandtjen, Duchow, Edming, Kleefisch, Kulp, Ripp, Spiros,
Petryk, Thiesfeldt and Tusler, cosponsored by Senators Moulton,
Stroebel, Vinehout and Wanggaard. Referred to Committee on Children and
Families.
AB290,1,4 1An Act to amend 48.981 (3) (cm) and 48.981 (3) (d) 2.; and to create 48.981 (3)
2(cr), 48.981 (3) (d) 3. c. and 48.981 (3) (d) 4. of the statutes; relating to: the
3authority for counties to enter into contracts to perform child protective
4services functions.
Analysis by the Legislative Reference Bureau
This bill allows county departments of human services or social services (county
departments) or, in Milwaukee County, the Department of Children and Families to
enter into contracts with each other to perform certain child protective services. This
bill also allows a county department to designate a child welfare agency to perform
independent investigations.
Under current law, a county department or, in Milwaukee County, DCF is
charged with certain duties regarding child protective services, including receiving
reports, conducting investigations, providing services, petitioning for services,
taking a child or an expectant mother into custody, determining and providing
alternative responses, determining whether abuse or neglect has occurred,
determining that a specific person has abused or neglected a child, providing notice
of reports of suspected abuse or neglect to a tribe, providing training to agency staff,
conducting independent investigations, and record keeping.
Current law allows a county department to contract with a licensed child
welfare agency to perform some of those functions and allows DCF in Milwaukee
County to contract with a licensed child welfare agency to perform all of those
functions. This bill allows a county department to contract with one or more other

county departments or with DCF to perform those functions on behalf of the county
department. The bill also allows DCF in Milwaukee County to contract with one or
more county departments to perform those functions on behalf of DCF in Milwaukee
County.
Current law requires an independent investigation to be conducted if an agent
or employee of an agency is the subject of a report of suspected child abuse or neglect,
or if the agency determines that, because of the relationship between the agency and
the subject of a report, there is a substantial probability that the agency would not
conduct an unbiased investigation. An agency is required to notify DCF of the
potential conflict or bias, and DCF, outside of Milwaukee County, must conduct an
investigation or may designate a county department or licensed child welfare agency
to conduct the independent investigation. In Milwaukee County, a county
department or child welfare agency designated by DCF must conduct the
independent investigation. This bill also allows a county department to designate,
with the approval of DCF, a licensed child welfare agency to conduct the independent
investigation on its behalf.
For further information see the state and local fiscal estimate, which will be
printed as an appendix to this bill.
The people of the state of Wisconsin, represented in senate and assembly, do
enact as follows:
AB290,1 1Section 1. 48.981 (3) (cm) of the statutes is amended to read:
AB290,2,102 48.981 (3) (cm) Contract with licensed child welfare agencies. A county
3department may contract with a licensed child welfare agency to fulfill the county
4department's duties specified under par. (c) 1., 2. b., 2m. b., 5., 5r., 6., 6m., and 8. and
5with the approval of the department under par. (d).
The department may contract
6with a licensed child welfare agency to fulfill the department's duties specified under
7par. pars. (c) 1., 2. a., 2m. b., 3., 4., 5., 5m., 5r., 6., 6m., 7., 8., and 9. and (d) in a county
8having a population of 750,000 or more. The confidentiality provisions specified in
9sub. (7) shall apply to any licensed child welfare agency with which a county
10department or the department contracts.
AB290,2 11Section 2. 48.981 (3) (cr) of the statutes is created to read:
AB290,3,4
148.981 (3) (cr) Contracts to perform child protective services. 1. With the
2approval of the department, a county department may contract with one or more
3county departments or the department in a county having a population of 750,000
4or more to fulfill the county department's duties under this subsection and sub. (3m).
AB290,3,75 2. The department in a county having a population of 750,000 or more may
6contract with one or more county departments to fulfill the department's duties
7under this subsection and sub. (3m).
AB290,3 8Section 3. 48.981 (3) (d) 2. of the statutes is amended to read:
AB290,3,149 48.981 (3) (d) 2. If an agent or employee of an agency required to investigate
10under this subsection is the subject of a report, or if the agency determines that,
11because of the relationship between the agency and the subject of a report, there is
12a substantial probability that the agency would not conduct an unbiased
13investigation, the agency shall, after taking any action necessary to protect the child
14or unborn child, notify the department.
AB290,3,16 153. Upon receipt of the notice under subd. 2., the department, in shall do one of
16the following:
AB290,3,18 17a. In a county having a population of less than 750,000 or a, conduct an
18independent investigation.
AB290,3,25 19b. In any county, designate a county department or child welfare agency
20designated by the department in any county shall
under s. 46.22, 46.23, 51.42, or
2151.437 to
conduct an independent investigation. If the department designates a
22county department under s. 46.22, 46.23, 51.42, or 51.437, that county department
23shall conduct the independent investigation
. If a licensed child welfare agency
24agrees to conduct the independent investigation, the department may designate the
25child welfare agency to do so.
AB290,4,3
15. The powers and duties of the department or designated county department
2or child welfare agency making an independent investigation under subd. 3. or 4. are
3those given to county departments under par. (c).
AB290,4 4Section 4. 48.981 (3) (d) 3. c. of the statutes is created to read:
AB290,4,65 48.981 (3) (d) 3. c. In any county, designate a willing licensed child welfare
6agency to conduct an investigation.
AB290,5 7Section 5. 48.981 (3) (d) 4. of the statutes is created to read:
AB290,4,118 48.981 (3) (d) 4. If the department designates a county department to conduct
9the independent investigation under subd. 3. b., the county department may
10designate a willing licensed child welfare agency to conduct the investigation,
11subject to the approval of the department.
AB290,4,1212 (End)
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