Bills Passed

in the 2015-2016 Wisconsin Legislative Session
that Impact Social Work Practice

CLICK HERE for the complete listing

2015 WI Act 4
For any social worker who uses actions such as restraining orders or injunctions in cases of domestic abuse, child or at-risk adult abuse, or harassment; this law will clarify jurisdictions for those actions.

2015 WI Act 5
Social workers who work in the Department of Justice must design a poster to provide information on the national human trafficking resource center hotline. They must also make it available and encourage businesses to display it.

2015 WI Act 52
For school social workers whose responsibilities include notifying parents of truancy, the social workers should know that this law expands the means of contact allowed.

2015 WI Act 101
This law adds to the current children’s and juvenile justice code that when a child is removed from the custody of the child’s parent, the agency removing the child must attempt to locate certain adult relatives of the child being removed. And in cases where the child in question has siblings the agency must also try and contact any adults who have legal custody of the sibling(s), so that they may also participate in the care and placement of the child being removed from parental custody.

2015 WI Act 121
This law extends the statute of limitation for prosecuting second or third degree sexual assault by extending the deadline from six years to ten years.

2015 WI Act 128
This act implements the changes made by Congress to Title IV-E of the Social Security Act into the Wisconsin Children’s Code and the Juvenile Justice Code. Specifically, the law incorporates two sections: the reasonable and prudent parent standard and permanency planning. This act makes a great deal of changes to the statutes, a more detailed list and explanation is available on the NASW-WI site along with expansions on the other acts.

2015 WI Act 129
Social workers when working to find the initial placement and guardian for children in need of protection and care should now discuss with the guardian, and potentially the child, who they would like to appoint as next guardian in cases of incapacity or death of the initial guardian.

2015 WI Act 143
This act allows for those with strong emotional relationships with a child (or the child’s family) who needs to be placed in out-of-home care to be eligible for guardianship of the child and may also receive monthly subsidized payments. Eligibility is subject to the conditions established by the Department of Children and Families.

2015 WI Act 151
This act changes the grants the DHS is allowed to distribute. Public entities that receive Title X family planning grant funds cannot provide abortion services, make referrals for abortion services, or have an affiliate that provides abortion services. Title X family planning grant funds has always funded Planned Parenthood heavily; due to the budget cut, social workers will need to look into other resources that can provide women healthcare. 

2015 WI Act 166
This act says that in cases where kinship care payments are denied because on the persons arrest or conviction records by the county director or a representative of the secretary of children and families, then that person can petition the Department of Children and Families for a hearing on that decision. The DCF must give the petitioner an opportunity for a fair hearing, but the decision the DCF makes after the hearing is final.

2015 WI Act 253
For any social worker dealing with legal cases or domestic and child abuse, protections can now be extended to family pets. Specifically, by prohibiting the respondent of a temporary restraining order or injunction from removing, hiding, damaging, harming, mistreating, or disposing of a household pet, and must allow the petitioner or a representative of the petitioner to retrieve the pet.

2015 WI Act 263
Social workers specializing in substance abuse should be aware that they can refer their client to a Department of Health Services certified treatment center, and that their eligibility has no restrictions based on the client’s current residence.

2015 WI Act 294
Social workers in mental health can now legally visit and work with clients at schools instead of requiring them to come to a clinic and still receive reimbursement for their services.

2015 WI Act 349
Social workers who have clients issuing a restraining order or injunction can let the client know that the order will be automatically forwarded to the county sheriff by the court clerk. The sheriff will also be required to assist the petitioner in serving the respondent, if the petitioner so desires.

2015 WI Act 350
Social workers who will work with secondary family members who are dealing with grief from a loss or a victim suffering from a disability as a result of a crime can update them on new compensation award programs and how long they have to get reimbursed for crime-related expenses.

2015 WI Act 351
Social workers who advocate and support victims of abuse and assault may now accompany their clients in more settings in and out of the hospital, and hospitals will now be required to notify victims of abuse of their right to have an advocate. Social workers must also be more careful and aware on confidentiality and breeches of such, as the client can decide what information to share with their advocate and what parts of that information they want to keep confidential. This can also include any communications made or information obtained or discussed between the victim, their advocate, and any people who are participating in providing counseling, assistance, or support services under the direction of the victim advocate.

2015 WI Act 353
If a client petitions their abuser (domestic or otherwise) they can request that a wireless telephone service provider to transfer from the respondent to the petitioner all rights to, and responsibility for, the use of telephone numbers used by the petitioner and their minor children.

2015 WI Act 354
Extends the right for a victim of a crime to fill out a card requesting notification when an offender both applies for and has a hearing for release to parole or extended supervision, or when an offender’s release to parole or extended supervision is revoked for violating conditions of release.

2015 WI Act 356
This act does several things; the main part is allowing victims of abuse to request that their address becomes confidential and with this the Department of Justice will provide an anonymous address that the client may use for all personal and official purposes. Any mail or packages received at this address will be forwarded to the clients newly confidential address. This act also requires the applicant to work with the department, or a state or local agency, during their initial application to develop a safety plan and ensure that all requirements are met to qualify for this programs protection.

2015 WI Act 365
This act requires the Department of Children and Families to develop and implement a model procedure to be used in investigating reports of suspected or threatened abuse or neglect of child with a disability. Every county human/social services department, child welfare agencies, or employees of the DCF must follow this (or a similar) model.

2015 WI Act 368
If a child welfare agency, the Department of Corrections, or the Department of Children and Families has placement, care, or supervision responsibility for is missing they will need to report that to both local law enforcement and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.

2015 WI Act 370
This act tightens the restrictions on distributing pictures of nude children. Normally a parent, guardian, or legal custodian of the child is allowed to distribute the pictures if it is for noncommercial purposes. This act says that no photographs, videos, or other forms of capturing an image may distribute or exhibit an image of the nude child for the purpose of sexual arousal, gratification, humiliation, degradation, or monetary or commercial gain.

2015 WI Act 378
Any social worker working with adoption or adoptive placement now have jurisdiction to allow proceeding for adoption or adoptive placement in the county of which the child or proposed adoptive parent resides or in the county which a petition for termination of parental rights to the child was filed or granted. This law also requires a standardized qualitative assessment system to be used approved by DCF for home study.

2015 WI Act 379
Social workers who provide training to preadoptive parents will need to know what training requirements have changed and what new roles and duties they have. Social workers who handle postadoption services will need to arrange for in-person meetings with all new parents and families to make sure they are aware of what services and support their PARC offers. And any social workers in county human/social service departments will need to make sure that if they are working with a client who is adopting that the proper information is sent to the PARC within the time frame allowed.