BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    



                                                                       



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          |SENATE RULES COMMITTEE            |                  AB 1905|
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                                 THIRD READING


          Bill No:  AB 1905
          Author:   Cook (R), et al
          Amended:  8/18/10 in Senate
          Vote:     21

           
           SENATE HUMAN SERVICES COMMITTEE  :  3-0, 6/10/10
          AYES: Liu, Runner, Yee
          NO VOTE RECORDED: Romero

           SENATE APPROPRIATIONS COMMITTEE  :  Senate Rule 28.8 

           ASSEMBLY FLOOR  :  74-0, 4/22/10 - See last page for vote


           SUBJECT  :    Foster care:  funding:  placement approvals

           SOURCE  :     County of San Bernardino


           DIGEST  :    This bill ensures continued approval and  
          payments for foster youth relative to caregiver homes,  
          pending the annual reassessment visit.

           Senate Floor Amendments of 8/18/10 specify the timeframe  
          under which counties can complete late annual visits for  
          approved relative or nonrelative extended family member  
          foster care providers.

           ANALYSIS  :    Existing federal law:

          1.Authorizes federal funding for state foster care programs  
            pursuant to Title IV-E of the Social Security Act under  
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            an approved state plan. 

          2.Requires states to apply the same licensing standards to  
            all foster family homes receiving Title IV-E funding,  
            including relative and non-relative caregiver homes. P.L.  
            No. 105-89, 45 CFR 1355.20(a). 

          Existing state law:

          1.Provides a process for the juvenile court to remove a  
            child from their parent or guardian and declare  
            dependency on the basis of abuse or neglect. Welfare and  
            Institutions Code (WIC) 300. 

          2.Requires licensure of non-relative foster family homes  
            prior to the placement of a dependent child. WIC 11402. 

          3.Exempts relative caregiver and non-relative extended  
            family member (NREFM) homes from licensure. Health and  
            Safety Code (HSC) 1505 (k) and (l). 

          4.Clarifies that California's approval process is the same  
            for relative and non-relative caregivers and sets forth  
            standards for the licensure and approval of relative and  
            non-relative caregiver homes. WIC 309, WIC 362.7, CCR  
            Title 22, Division 6, chapter 9.5. 

          5.Defines a "non-relative extended family member" as any  
            adult caregiver who has an established familial or  
            mentoring relationship with the child. WIC 362.7. 

          6.Provides for Aid to Families with Dependent  
            Children-Foster Care (AFDC-FC) payment to eligible  
            children placed in the approved home of a relative or  
            NREFM. HSC 11402. 

          This bill: 

          1.Requires an approval to remain in full force and effect  
            when an annual visit to ensure the quality of care  
            provided is pending for the home of a relative or NREFM. 

          2.Requires that payments to the relative or NREFM not be  
            terminated because of delays in the annual visit to  







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            ensure the quality of care provided.

          3.Specifies the timeframe under which counties can complete  
            late annual visits for approved relative or nonrelative  
            extended family member foster care providers.

          4.Specifies that no appropriation shall be made pursuant to  
            Section 15200 of the WIC for the purposes of implementing  
            this act.

           Background
           
          Federal law does not require licensure of relative and  
          NREFM caregiver homes receiving federal Title IV-E  
          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. 

          In 2002, the Youth Law Center filed a lawsuit,  Higgins v.  
          Saenz  (CPF-02-501937 (Cal. Supr. Crt., Los Angeles County,  
          Oct. 24, 2002)) alleging the Department of Social Services  
          (DSS) had not provided adequate oversight of the approval  
          process for relative homes, thereby threatening the safety  
          of foster children in relative placements.  As part of the  
           Higgins v. Saenz  settlement, DSS implemented the Relative  
          Approval Monitoring Process and issued guidance to counties  
          in the form of an All County Letter (ACL 04-02).  With this  
          instruction, DSS required counties to perform an initial  
          assessment of relative caregiver homes, followed by an  
          annual reassessment for all relative caregivers.  The  
          guidance provided in ACL 04-02 effectively applied a higher  
          standard to the approval process for relative caregiver  
          homes because only a portion of licensed non-relative  
          foster family homes are reassessed on an annual basis.  DSS  
          has also required, through this higher standard, that  
          AFDC-FC payments to relative caregivers be terminated if  
          the annual reassessment is not completed within one year of  
          the initial approval.

           FISCAL EFFECT  :    Appropriation:  No   Fiscal Com.:  Yes    







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          Local:  Yes

           SUPPORT  :   (Verified  8/18/10)

          County of San Bernardino (source) 
          California State Association of Counties
          Chief Probation Officers of California
          County Welfare Directors Association of California 
          National Association of Social Workers


           ARGUMENTS IN SUPPORT  :    According to the author's office,  
          as a result of the higher standards for relative homes, the  
          state and counties are needlessly losing federal funding  
          for relative placements.  The County of San Bernardino  
          states: 

               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. 


           ASSEMBLY FLOOR  :  
          AYES: Adams, Ammiano, Anderson, Arambula, Bass, Beall, Bill  
            Berryhill, Tom Berryhill, Blakeslee, Block, Bradford,  
            Brownley, Buchanan, Charles Calderon, Carter, Chesbro,  
            Conway, Cook, Coto, Davis, De La Torre, De Leon, DeVore,  
            Emmerson, Eng, Evans, Feuer, Fletcher, Fong, Fuentes,  
            Fuller, Furutani, Gaines, Galgiani, Garrick, Gilmore,  
            Hagman, Hall, Harkey, Hayashi, Hernandez, Hill, Jeffries,  
            Jones, Knight, Lieu, Logue, Bonnie Lowenthal, Ma,  







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            Mendoza, Miller, Monning, Nava, Nestande, Niello,  
            Nielsen, V. Manuel Perez, Portantino, Ruskin, Salas,  
            Saldana, Silva, Skinner, Smyth, Solorio, Audra  
            Strickland, Swanson, Torlakson, Torres, Torrico, Tran,  
            Villines, Yamada, John A. Perez
          NO VOTE RECORDED:  Blumenfield, Caballero, Huber, Huffman,  
            Norby


          CTW:nl  8/18/10   Senate Floor Analyses 

                         SUPPORT/OPPOSITION:  SEE ABOVE

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