(1) There is created a State Institutions Claims Program, for the purpose of making restitution for property damages and direct medical expenses for injuries caused by shelter children or foster children, or escapees, inmates, or patients of state institutions or developmental disabilities centers under the Department of Children and Family Services, the Department of Health, the Department of Juvenile Justice, the Department of Corrections, or the Agency for Persons with Disabilities.
(2) Claims for restitution may be filed with the Department of Legal Affairs at its office in accordance with regulations prescribed by the Department of Legal Affairs. The Department of Legal Affairs shall have full power and authority to hear, investigate, and determine all questions in respect to such claims and is authorized, within the limits of current appropriations, to pay individual claims up to $1,000 or, with respect to children in foster care and their families, individual claims up to $1,500. Claims in excess of these amounts shall continue to require legislative approval.
(3)(a) The Department of Legal Affairs shall make or cause to be made such investigations as it considers necessary in respect to such claims. Hearings shall be held in accordance with chapter 120.
(b) The Department of Legal Affairs shall work with the Department of Children and Family Services, the Department of Health, the Department of Juvenile Justice, the Department of Corrections, and the Agency for Persons with Disabilities to streamline the process of investigations, hearings, and determinations with respect to claims under this section, to ensure that eligible claimants receive restitution within a reasonable time.