BILL ANALYSIS Ó Senate Appropriations Committee Fiscal Summary Senator Christine Kehoe, Chair SB 119 (Lowenthal) Hearing Date: 05/26/2011 Amended: 03/21/2011 Consultant: Jolie Onodera Policy Vote: Human Services 7-0 _________________________________________________________________ ____ BILL SUMMARY: SB 119 would create a new licensing category for emergency youth shelter facilities serving unaccompanied minors who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless. This bill requires the Department of Social Services (DSS) to adopt regulations for these facilities by January 1, 2013. _________________________________________________________________ ____ Fiscal Impact (in thousands) Major Provisions 2011-12 2012-13 2013-14 Fund New licensing category $50 $350 $200 General _________________________________________________________________ ____ STAFF COMMENTS: SUSPENSE FILE. This bill would create a new licensing category within the Community Care Licensing (CCL) Division of the DSS for an "emergency youth shelter facility", defined as a group care facility that provides voluntary temporary emergency shelter and case management to minors and emancipated youth under 18 years of age. As proposed to be amended, the definition will be expanded to include youth who are in high school at 18 years of age and are expected to graduate before their 19th birthday. Provisions for licensure set forth in the bill require each facility to offer voluntary short-term shelter care and supervision on a 24-hour basis to unaccompanied minors, be owned and operated on a nonprofit basis, and have a maximum capacity of 25 residents. The bill requires DSS to adopt regulations for these facilities by January 1, 2013, to include physical environment standards, including staffing and staff training, health and safety requirements, size limitations, health and hygiene of the facility, service provision, and eligibility to access services. In developing the regulations, DSS is required to consult and convene a meeting with interested parties, including representatives of provider organizations that serve homeless or runaway youth, as well as youth who have accessed emergency youth shelter services. There are approximately 40 emergency youth shelter facilities SB 119 (Lowenthal) Page 3 currently operating in California, however, these facilities are not subject to state licensure under existing law. Several facilities operate under group home licenses (some with exemptions for specific components), but have indicated barriers to serving youth seeking voluntary temporary care due to group home standards developed for non-voluntary, long-term placements. In addition, approximately 33 facilities receive federal grant funding through the Runaway and Homeless Youth Act. Although federal law does not require that grantees be licensed, all grantees must be in compliance with their state and local licensing requirements. This has led to inconsistency and misunderstanding regarding the interpretation of this requirement, potentially jeopardizing the receipt of federal funds. This bill would create uniform statewide criteria and would provide clear, consistent guidelines for facilities and regulators to ensure the continued receipt of federal grant funds. DSS indicates four limited-term staff would be required to meet with stakeholders, develop regulations for the new facility category, write operational procedures for field staff, train existing and new staff on new requirements and the criteria for approving new applications, assist with policy development, and update the Licensing Information System and Field Automation System. Total staffing costs of approximately $600,000 would be offset to a minor degree by application and licensure renewal fees collected. To the extent these facilities are able to provide greater access to services for these youth to reduce homelessness, there could be increased state and local costs for increased services. However, depending on the nature of these services, there may be significant savings to the state and counties in costs associated with crime and social services in the future.