BILL ANALYSIS Ó SENATE COMMITTEE ON EDUCATION Alan Lowenthal, Chair 2011-2012 Regular Session BILL NO: AB 709 AUTHOR: Brownley AMENDED: April 6, 2011 FISCAL COMM: No HEARING DATE: June 22, 2011 URGENCY: No CONSULTANT:Lynn Lorber SUBJECT : School enrollment: immunization records for foster youth. SUMMARY This bill clarifies that foster youth must be immediately enrolled in a school even if the pupil is unable to produce his or her immunization records prior to enrollment. BACKGROUND Current law: 1) Requires a school to immediately enroll a foster child even if the foster child has outstanding fees, fines, textbooks, or other items or moneys due to the school last attended or is unable to produce records or clothing normally required for enrollment, such as previous academic records, medical records, and proof of residency, other documentation, or school uniforms. (Education Code § 48853.5) 2) Prohibits the governing authority of a school from unconditionally admitting any pupil of any private or public elementary or secondary school, child care center, day nursery, nursery school, family day care home, or development center, unless prior to admission he or she has been fully immunized against the following diseases: a) Diphtheria. b) Haemophilus influenzae type b. AB 709 Page 2 c) Measles. d) Mumps. e) Pertussis (whooping cough). f) Poliomyelitis. g) Rubella. h) Tetanus. i) Hepatitis B. j) Varicella (chickenpox). aa) Any other disease deemed appropriate by the Department of Health Services. bb) Beginning July 1, 2011, for pupils in grades 7-12, pertussis including all boosters. (Health & Safety Code § 120335) 3) Exempts from immunization requirements pupils whose parent or guardian files with the governing authority of a school a letter or affidavit stating that the immunization is contrary to his or her beliefs. A pupil may also be exempt if the parent or guardian provides a written statement from a licensed physician to the effect that the physical condition of the child is such, or medical circumstances relating to the child are such, that immunization is not considered safe. (H&SC § 120365) ANALYSIS This bill clarifies that foster youth must be immediately enrolled in a school even if the pupil is unable to produce his or her immunization records prior to enrollment. Specifically, this bill: 1) Specifically includes "records or other proof of immunization history" as medical records in relation to the immediate enrollment of foster youth. 2) Makes a conforming change to the Health and Safety Code to clearly require schools to admit foster youth whose immunization records are unavailable or are missing. 3) States legislative intent that foster youth be AB 709 Page 3 immediately enrolled in and allowed to attend school even if he or she is unable to produce records normally required for school enrollment. STAFF COMMENTS Need for the bill . The Health and Safety Code and the related regulations allow for an exemption from the requirement that a pupil be fully immunized prior to enrollment in school for a pupil whose parent submits an affidavit stating that the immunizations are contrary to the pupil's beliefs or for a pupil whose parent submits a statement from a physician indicating that a particular immunization is not considered safe for the child. However, the regulations do not mention the existing allowable exemption for pupils in foster care whose records are missing or cannot be produced, as stipulated in the Education Code. The inconsistencies between the two different Codes appear to be leading to confusion in the field relative to the application of these laws, and foster youth continue to encounter barriers to enrollment when their immunization records are missing. This bill seeks to reconcile the two Codes and thus remove any unnecessary barriers and delays foster youth may encounter enrolling in school. SUPPORT Advancement Project California CASA Association California Communities United Institute California State Association of Counties County Welfare Directors Association Kern County Superintendent of Schools Los Angeles County Office of Education National Association of Social Workers, California Chapter National Center for Youth Law Paramount Unified School District Public Counsel OPPOSITION AB 709 Page 4 None on file.