BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    

                                                                  AB 2263

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          AB 2263 (Kehoe)
          As Amended  
          August 22, 2002     
          2/3 vote

          |ASSEMBLY:  |72-2 |(May 23, 2002)  |SENATE: |24-10|(August 27,    |
          |           |     |                |        |     |2002)          |
          |ASSEMBLY:  |76-0 |(August 28,     |        |     |               |
          |           |     |2002)           |        |     |               |
           Original Committee Reference:    JUD.  

           SUMMARY  :  Requires the Judicial Council (JC) to conduct a study  
          to determine the effectiveness of projects or programs in  
          California that provide services to assist children and their  
          families facing divorce or separation in California.   
          Specifically,  this   bill  : 

          1)Requires JC to conduct a study to determine the effectiveness  
            of projects or programs in California that provide services to  
            assist children and their families to navigate through the  
            difficult shoals of divorce or separation in California.

          2)Requires that JC's study include an assessment of all of the  

             a)   Any decrease in conflict between the parents regarding  
               custody issues, as reported by the parents;

             b)   The mental health of the children, as measured by their  
               attitudes before and after participating in the project or  

             c)   Any change in the attitude of the parents who  
               participate in the project or program;


                                                                  AB 2263

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             d)   Any impact on other aspects of the divorce process as a  
               result of greater cooperation between the parents; and,

             e)   The impact on court calendars and any cost savings  
               realized as a result of the project or program.

          3)Requires JC to report to the Legislature, on or before January  
            12, 2004, the results of the study required by the bill. 

          4)Provides that the JC allocate no more than $50,000 for this  
            bill if the JC receives funding through the budget for this  
            purpose and if matching funds from sources other than the  
            state are provided. 

           The Senate amendments  placed the $50,000 cost cap in the bill  
          and broadened the study's scope to include all programs and  
          projects in California which seek to assist children and their  
          families to navigate through divorce or separation.

           AS PASSED BY THE ASSEMBLY  , this bill was limited in its scope to  
          the Kids' Turn project.

           FISCAL EFFECT  :  According to the Assembly Appropriations  
          analysis, one-time absorbable General Fund costs of $50,000 to  
          be matched by non-state sources.

           COMMENTS  :  According to the author, this bill is needed because  
          just in 1999, 115,839 cases were filed for divorce or legal  
          separation in California, meaning many thousands of children in  
          the state are facing the challenges of divorce or separation  
          every year.  The author notes that just some of the major  
          affects on children experiencing disruption of their parents'  
          marriage are:  1) poor emotional adjustment; 2) increased risk  
          of accident, injuries, and poisonings; 3) signs of early  
          disengagement from school; and, 4) various disproportionately  
          high negative behavioral problems.  The author states that under  
          existing law, our courts currently do not have a process for  
          reviewing programs that provide service to families and children  
          going through the crisis of divorce and separation, so it makes  
          sense to require JC to assess projects in California designed to  
          help kids handle the stress of divorce and separation.


                                                                  AB 2263

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          The current trend in American families is for a high rate of  
          divorce, impacting more than one million children in the country  
          each year.  Today, it is generally accepted that approximately  
          one out of every two marriages ends in divorce, and this  
          percentage increases in second marriages.  It is now predicted  
          that half of the children in the United States will experience a  
          divorce before they are 18.  These changes in family structure  
          obviously affect parents, but there is a consensus that such  
          changes particularly effect children in the years following  
          divorce.  While parents may be devastated or relieved by the  
          divorce, children are invariably frightened and confused by the  
          changes in the family structure.  Children can misinterpret  
          divorce unless their parents tell them what is happening, how  
          they are involved or not involved, and what will happen to them.


          "This bill would require a study of projects or programs that  
          serve children and their families while the parents are in the  
          process of obtaining a divorce or legal separation.

          "Under this study, the Judicial Council would be required to  
          assess the results of, among other things, changes in the mental  
          health of children and any change in the attitude of parents.   
          The Judicial Council, however, may not be well suited to conduct  
          this type of study.

          "For this reason, I must return this bill without my signature."

           Analysis Prepared by  :    Drew Liebert / JUD. / (916) 319-2334 

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