BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    

                                                                  AB 1905
                                                                  Page  1

          Date of Hearing:   April 14, 2010

                                Felipe Fuentes, Chair

                    AB 1905 (Cook) - As Amended:  March 17, 2010 

          Policy Committee:                              Human  
          ServicesVote:6 - 0 

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


          This bill clarifies that the approval of an approved relative  
          foster care provider should remain intact during the reapproval  
          process and that the reapproval process should not result in the  
          delay or termination of foster care grants for relative homes. 

           FISCAL EFFECT  

          There are no significant costs associated with this legislation.  
          Eliminating the need for county social workers to temporarily  
          shift relative caregivers from the federal foster care program  
          to a state-only program could result in some administrative  
          savings for the counties. 


           1)Background  . Federal law does not require licensure of relative  
            caregiver homes receiving federal Title IV-E foster care  
            payments.  It does, however, require states to apply the same  
            licensing standards to both relative and non-relative homes.   
            While California explicitly exempts relative caregiver homes  
            from licensure, in response to the federal Adoptions and Safe  
            Families Act of 1997, the state conformed to federal law when  
            it implemented an approval process for relative homes,  
            administered by counties.

            However, the state has effectively established a higher  
            standard for relative caregivers than for non-relative homes  
            because DSS required counties to perform an initial assessment  
            of relative caregiver homes, followed by an annual  
            reassessment for all relative caregivers.  Only a portion of  


                                                                  AB 1905
                                                                  Page  2

            non-relative caregivers are required to be reassessed on an  
            annual basis. DSS has also required, through this higher  
            standard, that foster care payments to relative caregivers be  
            terminated if the annual reassessment is not completed within  
            one year of the initial approval.  

           2)Rationale  . As a result of the higher standards for relative  
            homes, according to the author, the state and counties are  
            needlessly losing federal funding for relative placements.   
            The sponsor of this bill, the County of San Bernardino,  

            "Due to high workloads at the local level and the fact that  
            the state underfunds the county workload for annual  
            reassessments, counties struggle to complete these reviews on  
            time.  We currently have approximately 1,500 children placed  
            with relatives.  Due to the reduction in our Child Welfare  
            Service allocation, processing the annual reassessment in a  
            timely fashion has become an extremely daunting task?As a  
            result of late reassessment, under state regulations, the  
            federal funding for these placements stop, resulting often in  
            an "overpayment" to that home for the month the home was not  
            deemed in compliance.  For any overpayment to a relative  
            caregiver, the state must re-pay the federal government its  
            share and cannot recoup these costs from either foster parents  
            or counties based on current law."

            This bill would allow approved relative caregivers to remain  
            eligible for federal foster care payments pending an annual  
            reassessment as the state standard for relative home approval  
            currently exceeds federal and state licensing requirements.

           Analysis Prepared by  :    Julie Salley-Gray / APPR. / (916)