The bill strengthens the safety provisions for the use of restraint and seclusion on individuals, particularly youths, who are being detained by a state or local agency. Language is added to clarify that restraint or seclusion must never be used as a punishment, sanction, or part of a treatment plan, or for retaliation, or for protection, except in the case of demonstrated emergencies.
The division of youth corrections (division) within the state department of human services (department) may place a youth in emergency seclusion for a maximum of no more than 4 consecutive hours in a calendar day unless a prescribed protocol is followed for an extended emergency situation. If the emergency situation continues and the youth is in seclusion for 8 total hours in a 2-calendar-day period, the division must obtain a court order to continue the seclusion.
The division may confine a youth for a period of time not to exceed 2 hours, not including sleeping hours, in a calendar day for the completion of administrative functions, provided that the confinement is part of a routine practice that is applicable to substantial portions of the population and is not imposed in response to the behavior of one or more youth.
If an agency uses seclusion:
- The room or area used for seclusion must have at least 60 square feet of floor space, be clean, have adequate lighting, heating, and, by January 1, 2020, be suicide resistant;
- The individual in seclusion must have access to water, toilet facilities, and toilet paper;
- Staff shall adhere to strict timeline protocols for youth in seclusion for emergency situations;
- Scheduled status reports must be made to the facility director;
- Within 12 hours, the facility shall notify the youth's parent, guardian, or legal custodian of the fact of and need for the seclusion; and
- If the emergency requiring seclusion continues beyond 4 hours, the division may only continue the seclusion if it obtains written approval after a licensed physician has consulted with a qualified mental health professional who has met with the youth.
A division facility that utilizes seclusion is required to have staff undergo at least 40 hours of initial training and at least 16 hours of annual training thereafter, especially on the use and effect of seclusion on youth.
Additional reporting requirements are imposed in the bill. The division is required to keep specific documentation on file for each individual placed in seclusion. The division shall make a compilation report of the documentation to the youth seclusion working group (working group), created in the bill. Similarly, any facility that operates for the purpose of detaining youth shall report quarterly to the public health and human services committee of the house of representatives and the health and human services committee of the senate, or any successor committees, on its use of seclusion.
The working group is created to study the issues surrounding the use and effect of seclusion on youth.