BILL NUMBER: SB 1353 AMENDED
AMENDED IN SENATE APRIL 22, 2010
AMENDED IN SENATE APRIL 5, 2010
AMENDED IN SENATE MARCH 22, 2010
INTRODUCED BY Senator Wright
( Coauthor: Senator Romero
FEBRUARY 19, 2010
An act to amend Section 48850 of the Education Code, and to amend
Sections 16001.9, 16010, and 16501.1 of the Welfare and Institutions
Code, relating to education.
LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST
SB 1353, as amended, Wright. Education: foster youth.
(1) Existing law expresses the Legislature's intent that all
pupils in foster care who are homeless, as defined, have a meaningful
opportunity to meet the pupil academic achievement standards to
which all pupils are held. Educators and specified juvenile justice
entities must work together to maintain school placements and
educational programs and resources, as specified. In all instances,
educational and school placement decisions must be based on the best
interests of the child.
This bill would define "best interests of the child" for purposes
of that provision.
(2) Existing law requires that when a child is placed in foster
care, as specified, the case plan for each child must include a
summary of the health and education information or records of the
child. This summary is required to include specified material,
including assurances that the placement in foster care takes into
account the proximity to the school in which the child is enrolled at
the time of placement.
This bill would, in addition, require the summary to contain
assurances that all efforts are made to eliminate or reduce the need
for transfer from the school of origin during the academic year,
semester, or term of instruction when a foster child's placement is
changed. The bill also would make conforming changes.
Because this bill would require local entities to perform
additional duties, this bill would impose a state-mandated local
(2) If out-of-home placement is used to
attain case plan goals, existing law requires the decision regarding
choice of placement to be based upon selection of a safe setting that
is the least restrictive or most family like and the most
appropriate setting that , among other
things, is available in close proximity to the parent's home,
to the child's school, or both.
This bill instead would require a safe setting
that is the least restrictive or most family like and the
most appropriate setting that is available in close
proximity to the parent's home, promotes educational stability by its
location in or near the child's school attendance area, and provides
an opportunity to delay any necessary school transfers to the summer
or normal matriculation schedule.
(4) The California Constitution requires the state to reimburse
local agencies and school districts for certain costs mandated by the
state. Statutory provisions establish procedures for making that
This bill would provide that, if the Commission on State Mandates
determines that the bill contains costs mandated by the state,
reimbursement for those costs shall be made pursuant to these
Vote: majority. Appropriation: no. Fiscal committee: yes
no . State-mandated local program: yes
THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS:
SECTION 1. The Legislature finds and declares all of the
(a) In 2008, 463,000 children were in foster care nationwide,
with California serving 67,323 children in foster care. Compton
Unified School District (CUSD) provides educational services to 1,265
pupils in foster care, 43 percent of which
whom are in elementary school, 22 percent in middle school, and
35 percent in high school.
(b) Education is one of the most important factors in a child's
ability to support himself or herself as an independent adult after
leaving foster care. Adults with a high school diploma earn almost
$10,000 more on average than those without, according to recent
United States Census Bureau statistics. A high school diploma was
once the minimal requirement to obtain decent employment, but a
bachelor's degree has become crucial to entering the workforce in the
21st century. Numerous reports have found that advanced education
improves a person's quality of life as evidenced by lower
unemployment, better health, longer life, safer and more satisfying
employment, and higher social status.
(c) Children in foster care are disproportionately transient.
Over one-third experience five or more school changes during their
time in foster care, which significantly compromises academic
performance. Each school transfer results in an average loss of four
to six months of educational attainment. As a result, pupils in
foster care fail courses and repeat grades more frequently than their
peers, have lower grade point averages and standardized test scores,
and graduate high school at a rate 20 percent lower than pupils who
are not in foster care. They are 55 percent more likely to drop out
or 10 percent more likely to be incarcerated than the 54 percent to
graduate high school.
(d) It is in the pupil's pupils'
best interests that they experience minimal disruptions to school
attendance and educational stability caused by transfers outside of
the school of origin. Where school transfers are necessary,
caregivers, county placing agencies, foster care agencies, liaisons,
and other adults making decisions regarding residential placement and
school transfers, should make a diligent effort to avoid, delay, or
postpone transfers that would likely result in the pupil transferring
schools during the academic school year, semester, or term.
(e) Existing law grants children in foster care the right to
continue attending the school of origin at the initial detention or
placement, or any subsequent change in placement, for the remainder
of the academic year. However, the liaison may recommend that the
foster child's right to attend the school of origin be waived and the
pupil transferred to a school closer to the new residential
(f) Existing law provides that if the liaison and person making
educational decisions for the foster child agree that the best
interests of the foster child would best be served by his or her
transfer to a school other than the school of origin, the foster
child would immediately be enrolled in the new school. In determining
the child's best interest, existing law does not encourage
consideration of the long-term impacts of multiple school transfers
during the academic year.
(g) As a result, foster children in California experience a
disproportionately high transience rate. In Compton, 514 of the
district's 1,265 pupils in foster care are transient as a result of
school transfers. Foster children who are pupils in CUSD are removed
from the school of origin during the school year 47 percent of the
time and are placed in a new school during the school year 85 percent
of the time. Placements that result in school transfers prioritize
factors other than educational impact, and the pupils ultimately
SEC. 2. Section 48850 of the Education Code is amended to read:
48850. (a) (1) It is the intent of the Legislature to ensure that
all pupils in foster care and those who are homeless as defined by
the federal McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act (42 U.S.C. Sec.
11301 et seq.) have a meaningful opportunity to meet the challenging
state pupil academic achievement standards to which all pupils are
held. In fulfilling their responsibilities to these pupils,
educators, county placing agencies, care providers, advocates, and
the juvenile courts shall work together to maintain stable school
placements and to ensure that each pupil is placed in the least
restrictive educational programs, and has access to the academic
resources, services, and extracurricular and enrichment activities
that are available to all pupils, including, but not necessarily
limited to, interscholastic sports administered by the California
Interscholastic Federation. In all instances, educational and school
placement decisions must be based on the best interests of the child.
For purposes of this section, the "best interests of the child"
shall include, but not be limited to, both of the following:
(A) Minimal disruptions to school attendance and educational
stability that may be achieved by timing school transfers, as deemed
to be necessary in accordance with the law, during the summer or
normal matriculation schedule.
(B) The opportunity to be educated in the least restrictive
educational setting necessary to achieve academic progress.
(2) A foster child who changes residences pursuant to a court
order or decision of a child welfare worker shall be immediately
deemed to meet all residency requirements for participation in
interscholastic sports or other extracurricular activities.
(b) Every county office of education shall make available to
agencies that place children in licensed children's institutions
information on educational options for children residing in licensed
children's institutions within the jurisdiction of the county office
of education for use by the placing agencies in assisting parents and
foster children to choose educational placements.
(c) For purposes of individuals with exceptional needs residing in
licensed children's institutions, making a copy of the annual
service plan, prepared pursuant to subdivision (b) of Section 56205,
available to those special education local plan areas that have
revised their local plans pursuant to Section 56836.03 shall meet the
requirements of subdivision (b).
SEC. 3. Section 16001.9 of the Welfare and Institutions Code is
amended to read:
16001.9. (a) It is the policy of the state that all children in
foster care shall have the following rights:
(1) To live in a safe, healthy, and comfortable home where he or
she is treated with respect.
(2) To be free from physical, sexual, emotional, or other abuse,
or corporal punishment.
(3) To receive adequate and healthy food, adequate clothing, and,
for youth in group homes, an allowance.
(4) To receive medical, dental, vision, and mental health
(5) To be free of the administration of medication or chemical
substances, unless authorized by a physician.
(6) To contact family members, unless prohibited by court order,
and social workers, attorneys, foster youth advocates and supporters,
Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASAs), and probation officers.
(7) To visit and contact brothers and sisters, unless prohibited
by court order.
(8) To contact the Community Care Licensing Division of the State
Department of Social Services or the State Foster Care Ombudsperson
regarding violations of rights, to speak to representatives of these
offices confidentially, and to be free from threats or punishment for
(9) To make and receive confidential telephone calls and send and
receive unopened mail, unless prohibited by court order.
(10) To attend religious services and activities of his or her
(11) To maintain an emancipation bank account and manage personal
income, consistent with the child's age and developmental level,
unless prohibited by the case plan.
(12) To not be locked in a room, building, or facility premises,
unless placed in a community treatment facility.
(13) To attend school and participate in extracurricular,
cultural, and personal enrichment activities, consistent with the
child's age and developmental level with minimal disruptions to
school attendance and educational stability caused by transfers from
the school of origin during the academic year, semester, or term of
(14) To work and develop job skills at an age-appropriate level,
consistent with state law.
(15) To have social contacts with people outside of the foster
care system, such as teachers, church members, mentors, and friends.
(16) To attend Independent Living Program classes and activities
if he or she meets age requirements.
(17) To attend court hearings and speak to the judge.
(18) To have storage space for private use.
(19) To be involved in the development of his or her own case plan
and plan for permanent placement.
(20) To review his or her own case plan and plan for permanent
placement, if he or she is 12 years of age or older and in a
permanent placement, and to receive information about his or her
out-of-home placement and case plan, including being told of changes
to the plan.
(21) To be free from unreasonable searches of personal belongings.
(22) To confidentiality of all juvenile court records consistent
with existing law.
(23) To have fair and equal access to all available services,
placement, care, treatment, and benefits, and to not be subjected to
discrimination or harassment on the basis of actual or perceived
race, ethnic group identification, ancestry, national origin, color,
religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, mental or
physical disability, or HIV status.
(24) At 16 years of age or older, to have access to existing
information regarding the educational options available, including,
but not limited to, the coursework necessary for vocational and
postsecondary educational programs, and information regarding
financial aid for postsecondary education.
(b) Nothing in this section shall be interpreted to require a
foster care provider to take any action that would impair the health
and safety of children in out-of-home placement.
(c) The State Department of Social Services and each county
welfare department are encouraged to work with the Student Aid
Commission, the University of California, the California State
University, and the California Community Colleges to receive
information pursuant to paragraph (23) of subdivision (a).
SEC. 4. Section 16010 of the Welfare and Institutions Code is
amended to read:
16010. (a) When a child is placed in foster care, the case plan
for each child recommended pursuant to Section 358.1 shall include a
summary of the health and education information or records, including
mental health information or records, of the child. The summary may
be maintained in the form of a health and education passport, or a
comparable format designed by the child protective agency. The health
and education summary shall include, but not be limited to, the
names and addresses of the child's health, dental, and education
providers, the child's grade level performance, the child's school
record, assurances that the child's placement in foster care takes
into account proximity to the school in which the child is enrolled
at the time of placement as an indicator of the best interests of the
child with respect to educational stability, a record of the child's
immunizations and allergies, the child's known medical problems, the
child's current medications, past health problems and
hospitalizations, a record of the child's relevant mental health
history, the child's known mental health condition and medications,
and any other relevant mental health, dental, health, and education
information concerning the child determined to be appropriate by the
Director of Social Services. If any other law imposes more stringent
information requirements, then that section shall prevail.
(b) Additionally, a court report or assessment required pursuant
to subdivision (g) of Section 361.5, Section 366.1, subdivision (d)
of Section 366.21, or subdivision (b) of Section 366.22 shall include
a copy of the current health and education summary described in
(c) As soon as possible, but not later than 30 days after initial
placement of a child into foster care, the child protective agency
shall provide the caretaker with the child's current health and
education summary as described in subdivision (a). For each
subsequent placement, the child protective agency shall provide the
caretaker with a current summary as described in subdivision (a)
within 48 hours of the placement.
(d) (1) Notwithstanding Section 827 or any other law, the child
protective agency may disclose any information described in this
section to a prospective caretaker or caretakers prior to placement
of a child if all of the following requirements are met:
(A) The child protective agency intends to place the child with
the prospective caretaker or caretakers.
(B) The prospective caretaker or caretakers are willing to become
the adoptive parent or parents of the child.
(C) The prospective caretaker or caretakers have an approved
adoption assessment or home study, a foster family home license,
certification by a licensed foster family agency, or approval
pursuant to the requirements in Sections 361.3 and 361.4.
(2) In addition to the information required to be provided under
this section, the child protective agency may disclose to the
prospective caretaker specified in paragraph (1), placement history
or underlying source documents that are provided to adoptive parents
pursuant to subdivisions (a) and (b) of Section 8706 of the Family
(e) The child's caretaker shall be responsible for obtaining and
maintaining accurate and thorough information from physicians and
educators for the child's summary as described in subdivision (a)
during the time that the child is in the care of the caretaker. On
each required visit, the child protective agency or its designee
family foster agency shall inquire of the caretaker whether there is
any new information that should be added to the child's summary as
described in subdivision (a). The child protective agency shall
update the summary with the information as appropriate, but not later
than the next court date or within 48 hours of a change in
placement. The child protective agency or its designee family foster
agency shall take all necessary steps to assist the caretaker in
obtaining relevant health and education information for the child's
health and education summary as described in subdivision (a).
(f) At the initial hearing, the court shall direct each parent to
provide to the child protective agency complete medical, dental,
mental health, and educational information, and medical background,
of the child and of the child's mother and the child's biological
father if known. The Judicial Council shall create a form for the
purpose of obtaining health and education information from the child'
s parents or guardians at the initial hearing. The court shall
determine at the hearing held pursuant to Section 358 whether the
medical, dental, mental health, and educational information has been
provided to the child protective agency.
SEC. 5. Section 16501.1 of the Welfare and Institutions Code is
amended to read:
16501.1. (a) (1) The Legislature finds and declares that the
foundation and central unifying tool in child welfare services is the
(2) The Legislature further finds and declares that a case plan
ensures that the child receives protection and safe and proper care
and case management, and that services are provided to the child and
parents or other caretakers, as appropriate, in order to improve
conditions in the parent's home, to facilitate the safe return of the
child to a safe home or the permanent placement of the child, and to
address the needs of the child while in foster care.
(b) (1) A case plan shall be based upon the principles of this
section and shall document that a preplacement assessment of the
service needs of the child and family, and preplacement preventive
services, have been provided, and that reasonable efforts to prevent
out-of-home placement have been made.
(2) In determining the reasonable services to be offered or
provided, the child's health and safety shall be the paramount
(3) (A) In determining the reasonable services to be offered or
provided, the case plan shall include information, to the extent
possible, about a parent's incarceration in a county jail or the
state prison during the time that a minor child of that parent is
involved in dependency care. Once a consistent data entry field or
fields have been designated in the statewide child welfare database,
social workers shall make reasonable efforts to collect and update
necessary data regarding a child's incarcerated parent or parents.
(B) In order to further the goals of this paragraph, the
Legislature encourages the State Department of Social Services to
consult with the county welfare directors regarding the best way to
incorporate the information specified in subparagraph (A) as a
required field in the statewide database. The Legislature also
encourages the Department of Justice, the Department of Corrections
and Rehabilitation, county welfare departments, and county sheriffs
to develop protocols for facilitating the exchange of information
regarding the location and sentencing of the incarcerated parent or
parents of a minor child who is in dependency care.
(C) Nothing in this paragraph shall be interpreted to require the
department to create a new dedicated field in the statewide database
for incorporating the information specified in subparagraph (A).
(4) Reasonable services shall be offered or provided to make it
possible for a child to return to a safe home environment, unless,
pursuant to subdivisions (b) and (e) of Section 361.5, the court
determines that reunification services shall not be provided.
(5) If reasonable services are not ordered, or are terminated,
reasonable efforts shall be made to place the child in a timely
manner in accordance with the permanent plan and to complete all
steps necessary to finalize the permanent placement of the child.
(c) (1) If out-of-home placement is used to attain case plan
goals, the decision regarding choice of placement shall be based upon
selection of a safe setting that is the least restrictive or most
family like and the most appropriate setting that is available and in
close proximity to the parent's home, that
promotes educational stability by its location in or near the child's
school attendance area, and that provides an
opportunity to delay any necessary school transfers to the summer or
normal matriculation schedule, consistent with the selection of the
environment best suited to meet the child's special needs and best
interests , or both . The selection shall
consider, in order of priority, placement with relatives, tribal
members, and foster family, group care, and residential treatment
pursuant to Section 7950 of the Family Code.
(2) In addition to the requirements of paragraph (1), and taking
into account other statutory considerations regarding placement, the
selection of the most appropriate home that will meet the child's
special needs and best interests shall also promote educational
stability by taking into consideration proximity to the child's
school and the child's school matriculation schedule, in addition to
other indicators of educational stability that the Legislature hereby
encourages the State Department of Social Services and the State
Department of Education to develop.
(d) A written case plan shall be completed within a maximum of 60
days of the initial removal of the child or of the in-person response
required under subdivision (f) of Section 16501 if the child has not
been removed from his or her home, or by the date of the
dispositional hearing pursuant to Section 358, whichever occurs
first. The case plan shall be updated as the service needs of the
child and family dictate. At a minimum, the case plan shall be
updated in conjunction with each status review hearing conducted
pursuant to Section 366.21, and the hearing conducted pursuant to
Section 366.26, but no less frequently than once every six months.
Each updated case plan shall include a description of the services
that have been provided to the child under the plan and an evaluation
of the appropriateness and effectiveness of those services.
(1) It is the intent of the Legislature that extending the maximum
time available for preparing a written case plan from 30 to 60 days
will afford caseworkers time to actively engage families, and to
solicit and integrate into the case plan the input of the child and
the child's family, as well as the input of relatives and other
(2) The extension of the maximum time available for preparing a
written case plan from the 30 to 60 days shall be effective 90 days
after the date that the department gives counties written notice that
necessary changes have been made to the Child Welfare Services Case
Management System to account for the 60-day timeframe for preparing a
written case plan.
(e) The child welfare services case plan shall be comprehensive
enough to meet the juvenile court dependency proceedings requirements
pursuant to Article 6 (commencing with Section 300) of Chapter 2 of
Part 1 of Division 2.
(f) The case plan shall be developed as follows:
(1) The case plan shall be based upon an assessment of the
circumstances that required child welfare services intervention. The
child shall be involved in developing the case plan as age and
(2) The case plan shall identify specific goals and the
appropriateness of the planned services in meeting those goals.
(3) The case plan shall identify the original allegations of abuse
or neglect, as defined in Article 2.5 (commencing with Section
11164) of Chapter 2 of Title 1 of Part 4 of the Penal Code, or the
conditions cited as the basis for declaring the child a dependent of
the court pursuant to Section 300, or all of these, and the other
precipitating incidents that led to child welfare services
(4) The case plan shall include a description of the schedule of
the social worker contacts with the child and the family or other
caretakers. The frequency of these contacts shall be in accordance
with regulations adopted by the State Department of Social Services.
If the child has been placed in foster care out of state, the county
social worker or a social worker on the staff of the social services
agency in the state in which the child has been placed shall visit
the child in a foster family home or the home of a relative,
consistent with federal law and in accordance with the department's
approved state plan. For children in out-of-state group home
facilities, visits shall be conducted at least monthly, pursuant to
Section 16516.5. At least once every six months, at the time of a
regularly scheduled social worker contact with the foster child, the
child's social worker shall inform the child of his or her rights as
a foster child, as specified in Section 16001.9. The social worker
shall provide the information to the child in a manner appropriate to
the age or developmental level of the child.
(5) (A) When out-of-home services are used, the frequency of
contact between the natural parents or legal guardians and the child
shall be specified in the case plan. The frequency of those contacts
shall reflect overall case goals, and consider other principles
outlined in this section.
(B) Information regarding any court-ordered visitation between the
child and the natural parents or legal guardians, and the terms and
conditions needed to facilitate the visits while protecting the
safety of the child, shall be provided to the child's out-of-home
caregiver as soon as possible after the court order is made.
(6) When out-of-home placement is made, the case plan shall
include provisions for the development and maintenance of sibling
relationships as specified in subdivisions (b), (c), and (d) of
Section 16002. If appropriate, when siblings who are dependents of
the juvenile court are not placed together, the social worker for
each child, if different, shall communicate with each of the other
social workers and ensure that the child's siblings are informed of
significant life events that occur within their extended family.
Unless it has been determined that it is inappropriate in a
particular case to keep siblings informed of significant life events
that occur within the extended family, the social worker shall
determine the appropriate means and setting for disclosure of this
information to the child commensurate with the child's age and
emotional well-being. These significant life events shall include,
but shall not be limited to, the following:
(A) The death of an immediate relative.
(B) The birth of a sibling.
(C) Significant changes regarding a dependent child, unless the
child objects to the sharing of the information with his or her
siblings, including changes in placement, major medical or mental
health diagnoses, treatments, or hospitalizations, arrests, and
changes in the permanent plan.
(7) If out-of-home placement is made in a foster family home,
group home, or other child care institution that is either a
substantial distance from the home of the child's parent or out of
state, the case plan shall specify the reasons why that placement is
in the best interest of the child. When an out-of-state group home
placement is recommended or made, the case plan shall, in addition,
specify compliance with Section 7911.1 of the Family Code.
(8) Effective January 1, 2010, a case plan shall ensure the
educational stability of the child while in foster care and shall
include both of the following:
(A) An assurance that the placement takes into account the
appropriateness of the current educational setting and the proximity
to the school in which the child is enrolled at the time of placement
as an indicator of the best interests of the child with respect to
(B) An assurance that the placement agency has coordinated with
appropriate local educational agencies to ensure that the child
remains in the school in which the child is enrolled at the time of
placement for at least the remainder of the school year during which
the placement is made, or, if remaining in that school is not in the
best interests of the child, assurances by the placement agency and
the local educational agency to provide
immediate and appropriate enrollment in a new
school and to provide all of the child's educational records to the
(9) (A) If out-of-home services are used, or if parental rights
have been terminated and the case plan is placement for adoption, the
case plan shall include a recommendation regarding the
appropriateness of unsupervised visitation between the child and any
of the child's siblings. This recommendation shall include a
statement regarding the child's and the siblings' willingness to
participate in unsupervised visitation. If the case plan includes a
recommendation for unsupervised sibling visitation, the plan shall
also note that information necessary to accomplish this visitation
has been provided to the child or to the child's siblings.
(B) Information regarding the schedule and frequency of the visits
between the child and siblings, as well as any court-ordered terms
and conditions needed to facilitate the visits while protecting the
safety of the child, shall be provided to the child's out-of-home
caregiver as soon as possible after the court order is made.
(10) If out-of-home services are used and the goal is
reunification, the case plan shall describe the services to be
provided to assist in reunification and the services to be provided
concurrently to achieve legal permanency if efforts to reunify fail.
The plan shall also consider in-state and out-of-state placements,
the importance of developing and maintaining sibling relationships
pursuant to Section 16002, and the desire and willingness of the
caregiver to provide legal permanency for the child if reunification
(11) If out-of-home services are used, the child has been in care
for at least 12 months, and the goal is not adoptive placement, the
case plan shall include documentation of the compelling reason or
reasons why termination of parental rights is not in the child's best
interest. A determination completed or updated within the past 12
months by the department when it is acting as an adoption agency or
by a licensed adoption agency that it is unlikely that the child will
be adopted, or that one of the conditions described in paragraph (1)
of subdivision (c) of Section 366.26 applies, shall be deemed a
(12) (A) Parents and legal guardians shall have an opportunity to
review the case plan, and to sign it whenever possible, and then
shall receive a copy of the plan. In a voluntary service or placement
agreement, the parents or legal guardians shall be required to
review and sign the case plan. Whenever possible, parents and legal
guardians shall participate in the development of the case plan.
(B) Parents and legal guardians shall be advised that, pursuant to
Section 1228.1 of the Evidence Code, neither their signature on the
child welfare services case plan nor their acceptance of any services
prescribed in the child welfare services case plan shall constitute
an admission of guilt or be used as evidence against the parent or
legal guardian in a court of law. However, they shall also be advised
that the parent's or guardian's failure to cooperate, except for
good cause, in the provision of services specified in the child
welfare services case plan may be used in any hearing held pursuant
to Section 366.21 or 366.22 as evidence.
(13) A child shall be given a meaningful opportunity to
participate in the development of the case plan and state his or her
preference for foster care placement. A child who is 12 years of age
or older and in a permanent placement shall also be given the
opportunity to review the case plan, sign the case plan, and receive
a copy of the case plan.
(14) The case plan shall be included in the court report and shall
be considered by the court at the initial hearing and each review
hearing. Modifications to the case plan made during the period
between review hearings need not be approved by the court if the
casework supervisor for that case determines that the modifications
further the goals of the plan. If out-of-home services are used with
the goal of family reunification, the case plan shall consider and
describe the application of subdivision (b) of Section 11203.
(15) If the case plan has as its goal for the child a permanent
plan of adoption or placement in another permanent home, it shall
include a statement of the child's wishes regarding their permanent
placement plan and an assessment of those stated wishes. The agency
shall also include documentation of the steps the agency is taking to
find an adoptive family or other permanent living arrangements for
the child; to place the child with an adoptive family, an appropriate
and willing relative, a legal guardian, or in another planned
permanent living arrangement; and to finalize the adoption or legal
guardianship. At a minimum, the documentation shall include
child-specific recruitment efforts, such as the use of state,
regional, and national adoption exchanges, including electronic
exchange systems, when the child has been freed for adoption.
(16) (A) When appropriate, for a child who is 16 years of age or
older, the case plan shall include a written description of the
programs and services that will help the child, consistent with the
child's best interests, prepare for the transition from foster care
to independent living. The case plan shall be developed with the
child and individuals identified as important to the child, and shall
include steps the agency is taking to ensure that the child has a
connection to a caring adult.
(B) During the 90-day period prior to the participant attaining 18
years of age or older as the state may elect under Section 475(8)(B)
(iii) (42 U.S.C. Sec. 675(8)(B)(iii)) of the federal Social Security
Act, whether during that period foster care maintenance payments are
being made on the child's behalf or the child is receiving benefits
or services under Section 477 (42 U.S.C. Sec. 677) of the federal
Social Security Act, a caseworker or other appropriate agency staff
or probation officer and other representatives of the participant, as
appropriate, must address, in the written transitional independent
living plan, that is personalized at the direction of the child,
information as detailed as the participant elects that shall include,
but not be limited to, options regarding housing, health insurance,
education, local opportunities for mentors and continuing support
services, and workforce supports and employment services.
(g) If the court finds, after considering the case plan, that
unsupervised sibling visitation is appropriate and has been consented
to, the court shall order that the child or the child's siblings,
the child's current caregiver, and the child's prospective adoptive
parents, if applicable, be provided with information necessary to
accomplish this visitation. This section does not require or prohibit
the social worker's facilitation, transportation, or supervision of
visits between the child and his or her siblings.
(h) The case plan documentation on sibling placements required
under this section shall not require modification of existing case
plan forms until the Child Welfare Services Case Management System is
implemented on a statewide basis.
(i) When a child who is 10 years of age or older and who has been
in out-of-home placement for six months or longer, the case plan
shall include an identification of individuals, other than the child'
s siblings, who are important to the child and actions necessary to
maintain the child's relationship with those individuals, provided
that those relationships are in the best interest of the child. The
social worker shall ask every child who is 10 years of age or older
and who has been in out-of-home placement for six months or longer to
identify individuals other than the child's siblings who are
important to the child, and may ask any other child to provide that
information, as appropriate. The social worker shall make efforts to
identify other individuals who are important to the child, consistent
with the child's best interests.
(j) The child's caregiver shall be provided a copy of a plan
outlining the child's needs and services.
(k) On or before June 30, 2008, the department, in consultation
with the County Welfare Directors Association and other advocates,
shall develop a comprehensive plan to ensure that 90 percent of
foster children are visited by their caseworkers on a monthly basis
by October 1, 2011, and that the majority of the visits occur in the
residence of the child. The plan shall include any data reporting
requirements necessary to comply with the provisions of the federal
Child and Family Services Improvement Act of 2006 (Public Law
(l) The implementation and operation of the amendments to
subdivision (i) enacted at the 2005-06 Regular Session shall be
subject to appropriation through the budget process and by phase, as
provided in Section 366.35.
SEC. 6. If the Commission on State Mandates
determines that this act contains costs mandated by the state,
reimbursement to local agencies and school districts for those costs
shall be made pursuant to Part 7 (commencing with Section 17500) of
Division 4 of Title 2 of the Government Code.