41-3-446. Contributions by parents or guardians for youth's care. (1) (a) In accordance with subsections (1)(b) and (1)(c), if physical or legal custody of the youth is transferred to the department, the court shall examine the financial ability of the youth's parent or guardian to pay a contribution covering all or part of the costs for the care, custody, and treatment of the youth, including the costs of necessary medical, dental, and other health care.
(b) The court may order contribution only upon a finding that:
(i) the payment is in the best interests of the child; and
(ii) the payment will not impede successful achievement of the child's permanency plan or the parent's or guardian's ability to engage in reunification efforts.
(c) In making a determination under this section, the court shall presume that it is not in the best interests of a child to order a contribution from the child's parent or guardian unless the child has been in the physical or legal custody of the state for 18 consecutive months or more.
(2) If the court determines that the youth's parent or guardian is able to pay a contribution as provided in subsection (1), the court shall order the youth's parent or guardian to pay an amount based on the uniform child support guidelines adopted by the department of public health and human services pursuant to 40-5-209. The court may not order a retroactive contribution from the parent or guardian for costs incurred before the order is issued. An order under this subsection must be in writing.
(3) (a) Except as provided in subsection (3)(b), contributions ordered under this section and each modification of an existing order are enforceable by immediate or delinquency income withholding, or both, under Title 40, chapter 5, part 4. An order for a contribution that is inconsistent with this section is nevertheless subject to withholding for the payment of the contribution without need for an amendment of the support order or for any further action by the court.
(b) A court-ordered exception from contributions under this section must be in writing and must be included in the order. An exception from the immediate income-withholding requirement may be granted if the court finds that there is:
(i) good cause not to require immediate income withholding; or
(ii) an alternative arrangement between the department and the person who is ordered to pay contributions.
(c) A finding of good cause not to require immediate income withholding must, at a minimum, be based upon:
(i) a written determination and explanation by the court of the reasons why the implementation of immediate income withholding is not in the best interests of the child; and
(ii) proof of timely payment of previously ordered support in cases involving modification of contributions ordered under this section.
(d) When assessing whether the implementation of immediate income withholding is in the best interest of the child under subsection (3)(c)(i), the court shall consider whether immediate income withholding would impede successful achievement of the child's permanency plan or the parent's or guardian's ability to engage in reunification efforts.
(e) An alternative arrangement must:
(i) provide sufficient security to ensure compliance with the arrangement;
(ii) be in writing and be signed by a representative of the department and the person required to make contributions; and
(iii) be approved by the court and entered into the record of the proceeding.
(4) Upon a showing of a change in the financial ability of the youth's parent or guardian to pay, the court may modify its order for the payment of contributions required under subsection (2).
(5) (a) If the court orders the payment of contributions under this section, the department shall apply to the department of public health and human services for support enforcement services pursuant to Title IV-D of the Social Security Act.
(b) The department of public health and human services may collect and enforce a contribution order under this section by any means available under law, including the remedies provided for in Title 40, chapter 5, parts 2 and 4.
(6) Unless a youth receives benefits under Title 53, chapter 4, part 2, the department may not seek a contribution from a parent or guardian of a youth whose physical or legal custody has been transferred to the department under this chapter except under the provisions of this section or pursuant to a preexisting support order under 40-5-290.