BILL NUMBER: SB 1353 ENROLLED BILL TEXT PASSED THE SENATE AUGUST 11, 2010 PASSED THE ASSEMBLY AUGUST 5, 2010 AMENDED IN ASSEMBLY AUGUST 2, 2010 AMENDED IN ASSEMBLY JUNE 21, 2010 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, 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) 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, 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 setting that is available in close proximity to the parent's home and promotes educational stability. THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS: SECTION 1. The Legislature finds and declares all of the following: (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 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 is 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 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 placement. (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 suffer. 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 and shall consider, among other factors, educational stability and 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 services. (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 making complaints. (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 choice. (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. (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, the number of school transfers the child has already experienced, the child's educational progress, as demonstrated by factors, including, but not limited to, academic proficiency scores, credits earned toward graduation, 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 subdivision (a). (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 Code. (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 case plan. (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 concerns. (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, proximity to the child's school, and consistent with the selection of the environment best suited to meet the child's special needs and best interests. 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 of origin, and school attendance area, the number of school transfers the child has previously experienced, 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 interested parties. (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 developmentally appropriate. (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 intervention. (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. (B) An assurance that the placement agency has coordinated with the person holding the right to make educational decisions for the child and appropriate local educational agencies to ensure that the child remains in the school in which the child is enrolled at the time of placement 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 new school. (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 is unsuccessful. (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 compelling reason. (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 109-288). (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.