BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    

                                                                  AB 167
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          Date of Hearing:   April 22, 2009

                                Kevin De Leon, Chair

                    AB 167 (Adams) - As Amended:  March 25, 2009 

          Policy Committee:                              Education  

          Urgency:     No                   State Mandated Local Program:  
          Yes    Reimbursable:              Yes


          This bill requires a school district to exempt a pupil in foster  
          care, who transfers to the district in grade 11 or 12 and would  
          not be able to graduate from high school while he or she remains  
          eligible for foster care benefits, from additional coursework  
          requirements the local governing board adopts to meet graduation  
          requirements.  Specifically, this bill: 

          Requires a school district to notify a pupil in foster care who  
          is granted this exemption and, as appropriate, the person  
          holding the right to make educational decisions for the pupil,  
          if any of the requirements that are waived will affect the  
          pupil's ability to gain admission to a postsecondary education  
          institution and provide information about transfer opportunities  
          available through the California Community Colleges.   
           FISCAL EFFECT  

          GF/98 state reimbursable mandated costs, likely less than  
          $100,000, to school districts to comply with the notification  
          requirement in this bill.  This assumes between three and 10% of  
          foster care pupils are notified.  


           1)Purpose  .  As of July 2008, there were 68,475 children in  
            California's foster care system.  These children are more than  
            likely to be placed in multiple residences prior to graduation  
            from high school.  These residences are not always going to be  
            within the same school district.  According to a report from  
            the California Education Collaborative for Children in Foster  


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            Care, about 50% of foster youth have been held back in school;  
            46% will not complete high school and fewer than 3% will go on  
            to a four-year college. The report further points out that  
            most children who enter the foster care system are already a  
            full academic year behind their peers.

           2)Existing law requires students in grades 9 to 12 to take three  
            courses in English, two courses in mathematics, two courses in  
            science, three courses in social studies, one course in visual  
            or performing arts of foreign language, and two courses in  
            physical education. It also authorizes school districts to add  
            other requirements for graduation at their discretion. 

            Likewise, statute authorizes a foster care child who is  
            attending high school or the equivalent level of vocational  
            training on a full-time basis or is in the process of pursuing  
            a high school equivalency certificate (prior to his or her  
            18th birthday) to continue to receive foster care aid  
            following his or her 18th birthday as long as the child  
            continues to reside in foster care placement and continues to  
            attend high school or the equivalent on a full-time basis.  It  
            also states that the child may reasonably be expected to  
            complete the educational or training program or to receive a  
            high school equivalency certificate, before his or her 19th  

           3)AB 490 (Steinberg), Chapter 862, Statues of 2003  , provided  
            school districts, county social service agencies, and other  
            professionals with additional responsibilities to facilitate  
            educational equity for foster children. Chapter 862 specifies  
            that when a foster child changes schools, the school must  
            immediately enroll the student, even if the student is missing  
            things usually required for enrollment (e.g. academic and  
            medical records, immunization records, proof of residency, a  
            school uniform) or if the student owes fees or materials to a  
            prior school. Every school district is also required to  
            appoint a foster care liaison to serve foster children. 

           4)Related legislation  .  AB 12 (Beall), pending in the Assembly  
            Human Services Committee, extends foster care benefits to age  
            21, per recently enacted federal legislation.   
           5)Prior legislation  .  AB 2138, which is similar to this measure,  
            was vetoed in October 2008, with the following message: 


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            "This bill attempts to create a statewide policy of exempting  
            certain foster care students from district-specific graduation  
            requirements.  In doing so, this bill would usurp the  
            authority of local school boards to determine the conditions  
            under which students should be granted diplomas.  Beyond the  
            current minimum statewide requirements, local school boards  
            have the ability to waive their own local graduation  
            requirements based on the merit of each student's case.  This  
            bill would undermine their ability to judge each individual  
            student's particular circumstances."

           Analysis Prepared by  :    Kimberly Rodriguez / APPR. / (916)