BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    



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          ASSEMBLY THIRD READING
          AB 1712 (Beall)
          As Amended  May 25, 2012
          2/3 vote.  Urgency 

           HUMAN SERVICES      5-0         APPROPRIATIONS      12-0        
           
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          |Ayes:|Beall, Ammiano, Grove,    |Ayes:|Fuentes, Blumenfield,     |
          |     |Hall, Portantino          |     |Bradford, Charles         |
          |     |                          |     |Calderon, Campos, Davis,  |
          |     |                          |     |Gatto, Ammiano, Hill,     |
          |     |                          |     |Lara, Mitchell, Solorio   |
           ----------------------------------------------------------------- 
           
          SUMMARY  :  Makes various technical and clarifying changes to the 
          California Fostering Connections to Success Act of 2010 (AB 12). 
           Specifically,  this bill:

           1)Makes the nonminor dependents or youth participating in AB 12 
            (Beall and Bass), Chapter 559, Statutes of 2010, eligible for 
            the court-appointed special advocate (CASA) program so that 
            volunteer CASAs can provide designated services and support to 
            youth under the jurisdiction of the juvenile court.

          2)Allows 18 year-olds currently receiving extended AB 12 foster 
            youth services who turn 19 in the current calendar year to 
            continue to receive those services. 

          3)Exempts a parenting youth from referral by the county child 
            welfare department to the local child support agency for the 
            payment of child support while in foster care.

          4)Clarifies that the social worker or probation officer should 
            give notice of review hearings in dependency proceedings to 
            nonminor dependents and any known siblings.

          5)Includes Transitional Housing Program Plus - Foster Care 
            (THP-Plus FC) within the definition of a community care 
            facility for purposes of the Community Care Facilities Act. 

          6)Transfers the approval of THP-Plus FC providers serving 
            nonminor dependents from the counties to the State Department 
            of Social Services (DSS).








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          7)Declares this an urgency measure to take effect immediately 
            upon signature of the Governor.

          8)See Assembly Human Services Committee analysis for more 
            information on this measure.

           EXISTING LAW  :

          1)Establishes the California Fostering Connections to Success 
            Act of 2010 (AB 12) which, among other provisions:

             a)   Provides a voluntary program for youth who meet 
               specified work and education participation criteria for the 
               extension of transitional foster care to eligible youth up 
               to age 19 in 2012, age 20 in 2013, and upon appropriation 
               by the Legislature, age 21 in 2014; and, 

             b)   Conforms to federal revisions to the Kin-GAP program in 
               order to allow for federal financial participation in the 
               program.

          2)Defines a "nonminor dependent" as, on or after January 1, 
            2012, a current or former foster child between the ages of 18 
            and 21 who is in foster care under the responsibility of the 
            county welfare department, county probation department, or 
            Indian Tribe and is participating in a transitional 
            independent living plan. 

          3)Provides that a nonminor ages 18-21 shall continue to receive 
            foster care assistance under certain conditions, including 
            that the nonminor is otherwise eligible for Aid to Families 
            with Dependent Children - Foster Care (AFDC-FC) benefits, has 
            signed a mutual agreement, and when one or more of the 
            following conditions exist:

             a)   The nonminor is working toward their high school 
               education or an equivalent credential;

             b)   The nonminor is enrolled in a postsecondary institution 
               or vocational education program;

             c)   The nonminor is participating in a program or activity 
               designed to promote, or remove barriers to employment;








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             d)   The nonminor is employed for at least 80 hours per 
               month; or,

             e)   The nonminor is incapable of doing any of the activities 
               described in a) through d) above, due to a medical 
               condition, and that incapability is supported by regularly 
               updated information in the case plan of the nonminor.

          4)See Assembly Human Services Committee analysis for more 
            information on existing law.

           FISCAL EFFECT  :  According to the Assembly Appropriations 
          Committee:
          
          1)Costs for removing the phase-in for 19-year olds already in 
            extended foster care will be approximately $1.6 million ($1.1 
            million General Fund (GF)) in 2012-13 and $260,000 ($175,000 
            GF) in 2013-14 for the administrative and grant costs 
            associated with allowing the youth to remain in care.

          2)GF savings of over $1 million in 2012-13, growing to over $15 
            million by 2016-17 due to the increased federal financial 
            participation associated with expanding the definition of 
            "kin" and allowing more families to move from non-related 
            legal guardian status (NRLG) to the kinship guardianship 
            program.

          3)Up to $200,000 ($68,000 GF) per year in administrative savings 
            in the child welfare program for every 25 non-minor dependents 
            who leave the child welfare system through adult adoption or 
            tribal customary adoption.

          NOTE: Amendments taken in the Assembly Appropriations Committee 
          substantially reduce the costs associated with paragraph one 
          above regarding the removal of the phase-in for 19-year olds. 
          Specifically, the amendments limit extended AB 12 foster youth 
          services eligibility to 18-year olds who turn 19 in the 2012 
          calendar year and were previously receiving those services, 
          rather than all otherwise former foster youth who are 19 years 
          of age in 2012. 

           COMMENTS  :  









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          California Fostering Connections to Success Act of 2010  :  AB 12 
          (Beall and Bass) Chapter 559, Statutes of 2010, was a landmark 
          piece of child welfare legislation in California opting the 
          state into two provisions of the federal Fostering Connections 
          to Success and Increasing Adoptions Act of 2008 (Fostering 
          Connections Act) (P.L. 110-351).  Specifically, AB 12: 

          1)Re-enacted California's existing state and county-funded 
            Kin-GAP program to align it with new federal requirements and 
            allow the state to bring federal financial participation into 
            our kinship guardian assistance program for the first time; 
            and, 

          2)Provides transitional foster care support to qualifying foster 
            youth ages 18 to 21, phased-in over three years, beginning in 
            2012.

          The goal of AB 12 is to assist foster youth, or "nonminor 
          dependents" as they are referred to in statute, in their 
          transition to adulthood by providing them with the opportunity 
          to create a case plan alongside their case worker tailored to 
          their individual needs, which charts the course towards 
          independence through incremental levels of responsibility.  It 
          is a voluntary program grounded in evidence of how the option of 
          continued support to age 21 can counter the dismal outcomes 
          faced by youth who are forced to leave the foster care system at 
          age 18, including high rates of homelessness, incarceration, 
          reliance on public assistance, teen pregnancy, and low rates of 
          high school and postsecondary graduation.  

          In order to be eligible to continue foster care benefits up to 
          age 21, a nonminor dependent youth must:  continue under the 
          jurisdiction of the juvenile court; sign a mutual agreement 
          which commits both the nonminor and the placing agency to 
          certain responsibilities; reside in an approved, supervised 
          placement; work alongside their caseworker to prepare and 
          participate in their transitional independent living case plan; 
          and have their status reviewed every six months.  

           Need for this bill  :  According to the author, as AB 12 and its 
          follow-up measure AB 212 (Beall), Chapter 459, Statutes of 2011, 
          have been reviewed and assessed for implementation by various 
          stakeholders following enactment, requests for needed clarifying 
          and technical changes have emerged.  As implementation has 








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          commenced and additional federal guidance has been received, the 
          need for subsequent legislation has become clear and thus the 
          need for this bill.

          As AB 12 was initially enacted, it authorized the county to 
          review and approve transitional housing program providers as an 
          initial step in making available placements and services for 
          youth.  An urgency clause is necessary so that the transfer of 
          the THP-Plus FC program to Community Care Licensing Division 
          (CCLD) can be implemented as quickly as possible so these 
          critical placements can be made available to youth and to avoid 
          the numerous obstacles counties have in attempting to perform 
          the approval.

           Support  :  The California Coalition for Youth writes that about 
          "80,000-95,000 homeless youth are currently living on the 
          streets of California and about 60% of youth being served are 
          either self-emancipating from a foster home or have been prior 
          to this year aging out of the foster care system at eighteen 
          without shelter.  The bill will treat the THP-Plus Foster Care 
          program as the State treats other residential care facilities 
          and will promote consistency across the state for providers, 
          without having each county potentially develop different 
          requirements."

          The County Welfare Directors Association (CWDA) writes that 
          "e]nsuring that AB 12 is properly implemented and that the 
          affected youth have an opportunity to succeed in life is high on 
          the list of priorities for our organization's membership.  For 
          these reasons CWDA is pleased to be a CO-SPONSOR" of AB 1712."

          Aspiranet writes that this bill "provides clarification over 
          inter-county transfers, allowance for adult adoptions of 
          nonminor dependents, their rights to their records and other 
          issues that have arisen as the state implements the extension of 
          foster care.  Most foster youth leaving the system do not have a 
          good support system that would prevent them from becoming 
          homeless or entering the criminal justice system, which further 
          costs the state.  We need to give them the best opportunity to 
          succeed."
           

          Analysis Prepared by  :    Chris Reefe  / HUM. S. / (916) 319-2089 









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