BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    

                                  SENATE HUMAN
                               SERVICES COMMITTEE
                            Senator Carol Liu, Chair

          BILL NO:       SB 1353                                      
          AUTHOR:        Wright                                       
          VERSION:       April 5, 2010
          HEARING DATE:  April 13, 2010                               
          FISCAL:        Appropriations                               

                       Foster youth: education stability


          This bill provides that consideration of the proximity to  
          the school in which a child is enrolled at the time of  
          placement in foster care is one indicator of the best  
          interests of the child with respect to educational  


           Current law  
          1)   Requires the case plan for each foster child to  
               include a summary of the health and education  
               information or records of the child.  The health and  
               education summary must include 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.  [Welfare and Institutions  
               Code (WIC)  16010]


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          2)   Requires that the decision regarding foster-care  
               placement be based upon selection of a safe setting  
               that is the least restrictive or most family-like  
               available, and that it is the most appropriate setting  
               that is available and in close proximity to the  
               parent's home, proximity to the child's school, or  
               both.  (WIC  16501.1)

          3)   Requires that all educational and school placement  
               decisions ensure that pupils are placed in the least  
               restrictive educational programs, and that the pupil  
               has access to all educational and extra-curricular and  
               enrichment activities that are available to all  
               pupils.  (Education Code  48853)

          4)   Requires that considerations of a foster child's  
               educational stability, special needs, and best  
               interests be taken into account when deciding on  
               placement into the most appropriate foster home.  (WIC  

          5)   Local education agencies allow a foster child to  
               continue his or her education in the school of origin  
               for the duration of the academic school year.   
               (Education Code  48853.5)

           This bill  
          1)   Makes findings and declarations about the importance  
               of a child's education; the negative effects on foster  
               children of their transfers from school to school; the  
               value of delaying a transfer until the end of a term,  
               semester, or academic year; and, the absence in  
               California law of provisions encouraging such a delay  
               when a foster child transfers from one school to  

          2)   Provides that the best interests of a foster child  
               shall include minimal disruptions to school attendance  
               and education stability by timing school transfers  
               during the summer or other breaks in the school year.

          3)   Provides that the best interests of a foster child  
               shall include the opportunity to be educated in the  
               least restrictive educational setting necessary to  


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               achieve academic progress.

          4)   Adds to a foster child's bill of rights the right to  
               attend school with minimal disruptions to attendance  
               and educational setting caused by transfers during a  
               term of instruction.

          5)   Provides that the decision of which foster care  
               setting to choose for a child shall include selecting  
               a setting that promotes educational stability by its  
               location near the child's school and that provides an  
               opportunity to delay any necessary school transfers to  
               the summer or end of term.

          6)   Encourages the State Departments of Education and  
               Social Services to develop other indicators of  
               educational stability to complement the current  
               indicators of proximity of the home to the school and  
               accommodation of the child's matriculation schedule.

          7)   Requires that a foster child's case plan ensure  
               educational stability and shall include an assurance  
               that the placement takes into account the best  
               interests of the child with respect to educational  
               stability and an assurance that the placement agency  
               has coordinated with the appropriate education  
               agencies to ensure that the child remains in the  
               school he or she is attending at the time of placement  
               at least until the end of the school year during which  
               the placement is made.

          8)   Provides that local agencies and school districts can  
               be reimbursed for costs that the Commission on State  
               Mandates determines are a result of this legislation.

                                  FISCAL IMPACT 


                            BACKGROUND AND DISCUSSION  

           Need for the bill  
          According to the author, "Foster youth lose an average of  


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          four to six months of educational progress each time they  
          change schools.  One-third of foster children have changed  
          schools at least five times.  In Compton Unified School  
          District, almost half of its 1,265 students in foster care  
          changed schools each year.  Of these transfers, 85 percent  
          resulted in a student entering a new school after the first  
          day of class.  In a national study of youth who had been in  
          foster care, those who had one fewer placement change per  
          year were almost twice as likely to graduate from high  

           Prior and related legislation  
          AB 1933 (Brownley) requires local education agencies to  
          allow a foster child to remain in his or her school of  
          origin for the duration of the jurisdiction of the court.   
          AB 1933 passed out of the Assembly Education Committee and  
          awaits a hearing in the Assembly Human Services Committee.

          AB 1067 (Brownley) would have required local education  
          agencies to provide the transportation necessary to allow  
          foster children to remain in the school in which they were  
          enrolled at the time of foster care placement.  AB 1067 was  
          held on the Assembly Appropriations Committee's suspense  

          AB 490 (Steinberg, Ch. 862, 2003) established numerous  
          education protections for foster youth, including aspects  
          of current law cited above.

           Previous votes  
          Senate Education Committee: 7-0


          Support:       Compton Unified School District (sponsor)
                         California Probation, Parole and  
          Correctional Association
                         California State PTA
                         California Teachers Association
                         Junior Leagues of California's State Public  
          Affairs Committee
                         New Visions Foundation
                         Pomona Unified School District
                         U-Turn Alcohol & Drug Education Program,  


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          Oppose:   None received

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