SECTION 1. Section 1 of Chapter 123 of the General Laws, as appearing in the 2014 Official Edition, is hereby amended by inserting the following new definitions:-
“Mental health facility”, any group home, therapeutic boarding school, therapeutic camp, or any facility which provides significant mental health services, or employs or has a regular business relationship with a significant number of mental health professionals, or employs or has a regular business relationship with a prescriber of psychiatric medication who prescribes psychiatric medication to residents.
"Significant mental health services", mental health services beyond those provided in a standard public school.
"Significant number of mental health professionals", a number of mental health professionals beyond that which could reasonably be employed by a standard public school of comparable capacity to the facility.
SECTION 2. Chapter 123 of the General Laws, as appearing in the 2014 Official Edition, is hereby amended by adding after Section 36B the following new section:-
Section 37. Any restraint of a child which results in the death or serious injury of the child shall be investigated by police or another criminal law enforcement agency. Such investigation shall not consist solely or primarily of investigation by Department of Children and Families, or any department or agency which does not have primary responsibility for criminal investigations.
Any restraint of a child which results in the death or serious injury of the child occurring at a mental health facility shall not consist solely of self-reporting by the facility or its licensing agency. Such investigation shall not require the approval or advanced notification of the party which injured the child or any employer or licensing agency of the party which injured the child.
Any restraint which injures a child may be considered criminal battery if the person or persons performing the restraint did not reasonably act in response to imminent physical danger to the child, or if the restraint was initiated by a person or persons who subjected the child to excessive force or criminal touching immediately prior to the restraint. Any investigation of such restraint must investigate the possibility that the child was acting in self-defense.
When possible, such investigation must include no less than one interview with the child and no less than one interview with a family member of the child. If the restraint occurred at a mental health facility, no less than one interview with the child shall be conducted by an impartial entity with no financial, legal, or licensor relationship to any mental health facility which permits the physical restraining of children. The child shall be informed of the purpose of the interview in a timely and appropriate manner, and the interviewer(s) shall make a good-faith effort not to mislead or unduly agitate the child. Such interview may not be conducted by or witnessed by any associate of the facility which performed the restraint.
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