2020 Code of Alabama
Title 38 - Public Welfare.
Chapter 2 - State and County Departments and Boards of Human Resources.
Section 38-2-6 - Duties, Powers, and Responsibilities of State Department.
Duties, powers, and responsibilities of state department.
The aim of the state department shall be the promotion of a unified development of welfare activities and agencies of the state and of the local governments so that each agency and each governmental institution shall function as an integral part of a general system. In order to carry out effectively these aims, it shall be the duty and responsibility of the state department to:
(1) Administer or supervise all forms of public assistance including general home relief, outdoor and indoor care for persons in need of assistance, also including those duties that have to do primarily with the determination of need and authorization of relief.
(2) Exercise all the powers, duties, and responsibilities previously vested by law in the State Child Welfare Department.
(3) Provide services to county or municipal governments including the organization and supervision of counties for the effective carrying out of welfare functions, the compilation of statistics, and other information relative to public welfare and to make surveys and in other ways to ascertain the facts which cause or contribute to the need for public assistance, family welfare, child welfare, and other welfare activities.
(4) Assist other departments, agencies, and institutions of the state and federal government, when so requested, by performing services in conformity with the purposes of the state department.
(5) Act as the agent of the federal government in welfare matters of mutual concern, and in the administration of any federal funds granted to the state to aid in the furtherance of any of the functions of the state department, and be empowered to meet such federal standards as may be established for the administration of such funds.
(6) Designate county departments as its agents under its rules and regulations to perform any of the state department's functions.
(7) Administer such welfare functions as may hereafter be vested in it by law.
(8) Establish and enforce reasonable rules and regulations governing the custody, use, and preservation of the records, papers, files, and communications of the state and county departments. The use of such records, papers, files, and communications by any other agency or department of government shall be limited to the purposes for which they are furnished and by the provisions of the law under which they may be furnished. All case records of recipients of, and applicants for, assistance, including, but not limited to, payments and services, shall be considered confidential and not public writings and shall not be subject to public use or inspection. At each session of the circuit court, however, the director of human resources in each county shall, upon request, submit to the grand jury a list of persons receiving public assistance in the county or division of the county covered by the court, and the grand jury may examine the list of public assistance recipients within the county and make such investigation in regard thereto as may be necessary to verify the accuracy of the same. It shall be the duty of the presiding judge to charge the grand jury at each session that it may make such investigation. The information obtained from either the state or county departments of human resources by the grand juries in investigations shall be subject to the same safeguards with respect to the confidential nature of such information as prevails with respect to such records and information while in the custody of the county or state departments of human resources. Confidential information concerning children and their families and applicants for and recipients of public assistance, including, but not limited to, payments or services, shall not be used or disclosed for any purposes not directly connected with the administration of public assistance, or the investigation thereof by grand juries. Any violation of this provision shall be a misdemeanor and punishable accordingly.
(9) Cooperate with the State Department of Corrections or with any pardon and parole authority of the State of Alabama by making necessary investigations with reference to families or dependents of persons committed to state penal institutions; in the discharge of its responsibility with reference to dependent or neglected minor children whose parent or parents may be inmates of any prison or jail, the State Department of Human Resources shall cooperate and advise with the State Department of Corrections and with the officials of the courts committing said parent or parents to a prison or jail to the end that as full protection as possible may be afforded the families or children of said prisoners.
(10) Seek out, through investigation, complaints from citizens, or otherwise, the minor children in the state who are in need of its care and protection and shall, as far as may be possible, through existing agencies, public or private, or through such other resources, aid such children to a fair opportunity in life.
(11) Advise with the judges and probation officers of the juvenile courts of the several counties of the state, and aid in perfecting the organization and work of such courts.
(12) Exercise the right of visitation and inspection of all state, county, municipal, and other agencies and institutions, public or private, receiving, placing, or caring for dependent or neglected minor children for the purpose of ascertaining from time to time the capacity and adequacy of the facilities offered by these agencies and institutions for the care of such children; the manner, character, or way in which such children are cared for in such institutions or agencies, the children who are in such institutions, the facts showing their social status, the source of income and cost of maintenance, and the way in which such children are received into and dismissed from such institutions or agencies.
(13) License biennially all institutions and agencies except those under state ownership and control, caring for, receiving, or placing minor children and to revoke such license for cause.
(14) Establish and maintain homes or other agencies for the care of dependent or neglected minor children or contract with any approved agency or institution for the care of such children, and, also, receive and care for dependent or neglected minor children committed to its care, make a careful physical examination and, if possible, a mental examination of every such child, investigate in detail the personal and family history of the child and its environment, and place such children in family homes or in approved suitable institutions operating in accordance with the provisions of this title and supervise such children however placed.
(15) Require reports from courts and institutions, public and private, to the extent and in the form and manner as required by law.
(16) Solicit, receive, and hold gifts, devises, and bequests of money, real estate, and other things of value to be used in the support, development, and carrying on of its work.
(17) Administer and exercise all responsibility for the food stamp program.
(18) Establish rules and standards for the inspection, approval, and operation of foster homes for adults which serve only those individuals who are eligible for adult foster care services and are referred and placed by the Department of Human Resources.
(19) Establish rules and standards for the inspection and approval of adult day care centers and adult day care homes with whom the Department of Human Resources contracts or otherwise agrees to purchase adult day care services.
(Acts 1951, No. 703, p. 1211, §6; Acts 1978, No. 359, p. 300, §2; Acts 1991, No. 91-671, p. 1307, §1; Acts 1996, No. 96-673, p. 1139, §1.)