TITLE 14
Delinquent and Dependent Children

CHAPTER 14-1
Proceedings in Family Court

SECTION 14-1-3


§ 14-1-3. Definitions.

The following words and phrases when used in this chapter shall, unless the context otherwise requires, be construed as follows:

(1) "Adult" means a person eighteen (18) years of age or older.

(2) "Appropriate person", as used in §§ 14-1-10 and 14-1-11, except in matters relating to adoptions and child marriages, means and includes:

(i) Any police official of this state, or of any city or town within this state;

(ii) Any duly qualified prosecuting officer of this state, or of any city or town within this state;

(iii) Any director of public welfare of any city or town within this state, or his or her duly authorized subordinate;

(iv) Any truant officer or other school official of any city or town within this state;

(v) Any duly authorized representative of any public or duly licensed private agency or institution established for purposes similar to those specified in § 8-10-2 or 14-1-2; or

(vi) Any maternal or paternal grandparent, who alleges that the surviving parent, in those cases in which one parent is deceased, is an unfit and improper person to have custody of any child or children.

(3) "Child" means a person under eighteen (18) years of age.

(4) "The court" means the family court of the state of Rhode Island.

(5) "Delinquent", when applied to a child, means and includes any child who has committed any offense that, if committed by an adult, would constitute a felony, or who has on more than one occasion violated any of the other laws of the state or of the United States or any of the ordinances of cities and towns, other than ordinances relating to the operation of motor vehicles.

(6) "Dependent" means any child who requires the protection and assistance of the court when his or her physical or mental health or welfare is harmed, or threatened with harm, due to the inability of the parent or guardian, through no fault of the parent or guardian, to provide the child with a minimum degree of care or proper supervision because of:

(i) The death or illness of a parent; or

(ii) The special medical, educational, or social-service needs of the child which the parent is unable to provide.

(7) "Justice" means a justice of the family court.

(8) "Neglect" means a child who requires the protection and assistance of the court when his or her physical or mental health or welfare is harmed, or threatened with harm, when the parents or guardian:

(i) Fails to supply the child with adequate food, clothing, shelter, or medical care, though financially able to do so or offered financial or other reasonable means to do so;

(ii) Fails to provide the child proper education as required by law; or

(iii) Abandons and/or deserts the child.

(9) "Supervised independent living setting" means a supervised setting in which a young adult is living independently, that meets any safety and/or licensing requirements established by the department for this population, and is paired with a supervising agency or a supervising worker, including, but not limited to, single or shared apartments or houses, host homes, relatives' and mentors' homes, college dormitories or other postsecondary educational or vocational housing. All or part of the financial assistance that secures an independent supervised setting for a young adult may be paid directly to the young adult if there is no provider or other child-placing intermediary, or to a landlord, a college, or to a supervising agency, or to other third parties on behalf of the young adult in the discretion of the department.

(10) "Voluntary placement agreement for extension of care" means a written agreement between the state agency and a young adult who meets the eligibility conditions specified in § 14-1-6(c), acting as their own legal guardian that is binding on the parties to the agreement. At a minimum, the agreement recognizes the voluntary nature of the agreement, the legal status of the young adult and the rights and obligations of the young adult, as well as the services and supports the agency agrees to provide during the time that the young adult consents to giving the department legal responsibility for care and placement.

(11) "Wayward", when applied to a child, means and includes any child:

(i) Who has deserted his or her home without good or sufficient cause;

(ii) Who habitually associates with dissolute, vicious, or immoral persons;

(iii) Who is leading an immoral or vicious life;

(iv) Who is habitually disobedient to the reasonable and lawful commands of his or her parent or parents, guardian, or other lawful custodian;

(v) Who, being required by chapter 19 of title 16 to attend school, willfully and habitually absents himself or herself from school or habitually violates the rules and regulations of the school when he or she attends;

(vi) Who has, on any occasion, violated any of the laws of the state or of the United States or any of the ordinances of cities and towns, other than ordinances relating to the operation of motor vehicles; or

(vii) Any child under seventeen (17) years of age who is in possession of one ounce (1 oz.) or less of marijuana, as defined in § 21-28-1.02, and who is not exempted from the penalties pursuant to chapter 28.6 of title 21.

(12) "Young adult" means an individual who has attained the age of eighteen (18) years but has not reached the age of twenty-one (21) years and was in the legal custody of the department on their eighteenth birthday pursuant to an abuse, neglect or dependency petition; or was a former foster child who was adopted or placed in a guardianship after attaining age sixteen (16).

(13) The singular shall be construed to include the plural, the plural the singular, and the masculine the feminine, when consistent with the intent of this chapter.

(14) For the purposes of this chapter, "electronic surveillance and monitoring devices" means any "radio frequency identification device (RFID)" or "global positioning device" that is either tethered to a person or is intended to be kept with a person and is used for the purposes of tracking the whereabouts of that person within the community.

History of Section.
(P.L. 1944, ch. 1441, § 3; G.L. 1956, § 14-1-3; P.L. 1969, ch. 252, § 1; P.L. 1980, ch. 291, § 1; P.L. 1984, ch. 216, § 1; P.L. 1989, ch. 542, § 9; P.L. 1994, ch. 178, § 1; P.L. 1994, ch. 260, § 1; P.L. 1995, ch. 133, § 1; P.L. 2011, ch. 151, art. 17, § 3; P.L. 2016, ch. 407, § 1; P.L. 2016, ch. 408, § 1; P.L. 2018, ch. 47, art. 15, § 1; P.L. 2018, ch. 153, § 1; P.L. 2018, ch. 248, § 1.)