BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    



                                                                  SB 119
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          Date of Hearing:   June 28, 2011

                        ASSEMBLY COMMITTEE ON HUMAN SERVICES
                                Jim Beall Jr., Chair
                   SB 119 (Lowenthal) - As Amended:  June 21, 2011

           SENATE VOTE  :   37-0
           
          SUBJECT  :  Emergency youth shelter facilities

           SUMMARY  :  Creates a licensing category for emergency youth 
          shelter facilities and directs the Department of Social Services 
          (CDSS) to adopt regulations for them by January 1, 2013.  
          Specifically,  this bill  :

          1)Establishes an "emergency youth shelter facility" community 
            care licensing category and defines it as a group care 
            facility that provides voluntary, temporary emergency shelter, 
            case management and supervision on a 24-hour basis, with a 
            maximum capacity of 25 residents to youth under the age of 18, 
            who are homeless or at risk of homelessness, including:

             a)   Youth legally emancipated from their parents or 
               guardian;

             b)   Foster youth who have left their foster care placements; 


             c)   Youth who are 18 years of age in order to finish the 
               high school year or its equivalent; or,

             d)   Youth who meet the federal description of "homeless 
               youth and children" or "unaccompanied youth" as defined in 
               the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act.

          2)Requires an emergency youth shelter facility to be owned and 
            operated on a nonprofit basis by a private nonprofit 
            corporation, nonprofit organization, or public agency.

          3)Requires CDSS to adopt regulations for licensed emergency 
            youth shelter facilities by January 1, 2013 to include 
            physical environment standards, staffing requirements, health 
            and safety requirements, size limitations, health and hygiene 
            of the facility, service provision and eligibility to access 
            services.  








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          4)Specifies that emergency youth shelter facility regulations 
            may meet, but not exceed state regulatory standards for child 
            care facilities.

          5)Requires CDSS to consult with interested parties in the 
            development of regulations, including but not limited to, 
            representatives of provider organizations that serve homeless 
            or runaway youth, and youth who have accessed emergency youth 
            shelter services.

          6)Requires CDSS to grant waivers or exceptions to any existing 
            licensing standards in place prior to the development of the 
            emergency youth shelter regulations for shelters already 
            operational on the effective date of this bill for those 
            licensing standards inappropriate for emergency youth 
            shelters, provided those waivers or exceptions do not 
            adversely impact the health, safety, or personal rights of 
            youth in the shelter.

          7)Provides that following the adoption of regulations, the 
            emergency youth shelter facility regulations shall constitute 
            the only licensing standards applicable to an emergency youth 
            shelter.

          8)Allows a licensed group home to apply to immediately transfer 
            to an emergency youth shelter license upon the implementation 
            of emergency youth shelter regulations, provided the group 
            home also falls within the description of an emergency youth 
            shelter.

          9)Allows a licensed group home to provide emergency youth 
            shelter services to youth, which may include foster youth.

           EXISTING LAW  

          1)Defines various types of community care facilities and creates 
            a process to license each of them, including group homes for 
            dependents and wards of the court.  Health and Safety Code 
            (HSC) Section 1500 et seq.

          2)Establishes the "transitional shelter care facility", defined 
            as a facility operated by the county, or by contract with the 
            county, designed to provide short-term 24-hour nonmedical care 
            and supervision to children under age 18 placed by the county 








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            due to abuse or neglect.  Welfare and Institutions Code (WIC) 
            Section 1503.2.

          3)Provides federal grant funding for homeless youth shelters 
            through the Runaway and Homeless Youth Act of 2008 (Public Law 
            110-378).

          4)Establishes the Homeless Youth Act of 1985 which provided 
            services for runaway and homeless youth to include access to 
            an overnight shelter, counseling, screening for basic health 
            needs, linkages to services offered by other organizations, 
            planning for long-term stabilization, and follow up services.  
            WIC 13700 et seq.

           FISCAL EFFECT  :  Unknown

           COMMENTS  :  

           Runaway and Homeless Youth Act:   Federal funds through the 
          federal Runaway and Homeless Youth Act (RHYA) are potentially 
          available to an emergency youth shelter.  The RHYA provides 
          grants to states, local governments, and private agencies to 
          serve homeless youth.  The primary source of federal funding for 
          emergency homeless youth shelters in California is the Basic 
          Center Program under the RHYA whose grantees must provide youth 
          and their families with food and clothing, individual, group and 
          family counseling, recreation programs, youth outreach, and 
          aftercare services for youth after they leave the shelter.  
          Nationally, the Basic Center Program provided 362 programs with 
          a total of $48.6 million in grants in 2010.

           Homeless Youth Shelters in California:   While the exact number 
          of homeless youth in California is difficult to determine due to 
          the transitory nature of these youth, and their distrust of 
          public agencies, the California Research Bureau conducted a 
          study in 2007 of approximately 200 homeless youth between the 
          ages of 13 and 25 in California, and found that around 33% 
          reported having accessed shelter services at some point.  

          According to the author, emergency youth shelters are designed 
          to provide voluntary and short-term shelter to youth who are 
          homeless or runaways at risk of homelessness.  There are 33 such 
          homeless youth shelters operating in California, according to 
          the sponsor, most with federal funding provided through the 
          Runaway and Homeless Youth Act.  These shelters - with their 








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          voluntary and temporary nature - contrast with foster group 
          homes, which are for dependents of the court or for children and 
          youth judged by a county social worker to be at risk of abuse or 
          neglect.  Children placed in foster group homes by a supervising 
          county or tribal agency may live in the group home for extended 
          periods of time, whereas emergency youth shelters are meant to 
          be short-term interventions for youth who voluntarily seek their 
          crisis and shelter services.

          The difference between these two kinds of facilities - emergency 
          shelters and foster group homes - and the law's silence as to 
          the licensing status of emergency youth shelters has led to 
          inconsistency and misunderstanding when shelters apply for funds 
          or when they seek a state license.  

           Need for this bill:   This bill is designed to end these 
          inconsistencies and to give those youth residing in emergency 
          shelters the health and safety protections of licensure.  Adding 
          to the need for clarity is recent compliance monitoring on the 
          part of the federal government to ensure that homeless youth 
          shelters grantees meet the criteria for funding.  Federal law 
          does not require that applicants for funds or grantees have a 
          license, but it does require that applicants and grantees be in 
          accord with state and local laws and regulations.  This bill 
          would make clear the licensing and regulatory requirements of 
          emergency youth shelters.

           Inconsistency in licensing standards:  The author explains that 
          the lack of a licensing category specific to emergency youth 
          shelters has resulted in wide variation across the state in how 
          these shelters are treated by state licensing authorities.  
          While some may receive a full waiver from licensure, other 
          shelters are required to pursue a group home license with 
          waivers granted by CCL to specific components of group home 
          licensing standards or regulations that may not be applicable to 
          the type of care and supervision provided by a short-term 
          emergency shelter.  For example, group home regulations do not 
          allow providers to use bunk beds, so some homeless youth 
          shelters have qualified for a CCL waiver to allow for the use of 
          bunk beds in their shelter facilities.  

          The sponsors of the bill estimate that many of the state's 33 
          identified shelters would seek licensure under this bill's 
          provisions, and that a handful of those currently licensed as 
          group homes would seek to transfer to an emergency youth shelter 








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          license.
           
          Support:  The bill sponsor, the California Coalition for Youth 
          (CCY), writes:

               In 2009, CCY and the John Burton Foundation published 
               a policy agenda, Too Big To Ignore: Youth Homelessness 
               in California, in which we recommend that the state 
               develop alternative regulations for California's 
               emergency youth shelter programs to ensure sustained 
               federal funding under the Runaway and Homeless Youth 
               Act.  California's current licensing regulations are 
               designed to regulate group homes, which are long-term, 
               non-voluntary, out-of-home placements for youth in 
               protective custody, such as foster care.  As an 
               example, these group home regulations require youth to 
               obtain parental consent prior to entering and 
               remaining in the shelter - a major barrier to youth 
               who are oftentimes fleeing negative or dangerous 
               parental situations?

               This bill attempts to find a balance and create 
               consistency across the state to license these shelters 
               and ensure that federal funds are not jeopardized from 
               lack of consistency with licensing or a clear policy 
               directive from the state.

           Suggested Amendments:   Staff is recommending several clarifying 
          and technical amendments to this bill, as outlined below:

          1)Amend Sections 1502 and 1502.35 (page 5, lines 22 and 37), as 
            follows to clarify that the purpose of homeless youth shelters 
            is to serve homeless teens and young adults by adding a lower 
            age limit of 12 years of age to the definition of the youth 
            who may be served by an emergency youth shelter facility:

            (13) "Emergency youth shelter facility" means a group care 
            facility that provides voluntary temporary emergency shelter 
            and case management to youth  under   between 12 and  18 years of 
            age, including youth under 18 years of age who are emancipated 
            pursuant to Part 6 (commencing with Section 7000) of Division 
            11 of the Family Code, and that satisfies the requirements of 
            Section 1502.35.

            (b) The facility shall serve  under   between 12 and  18 years of 








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            age, including youth who have emancipated pursuant to Part 6 
            (commencing with Section 7000) of Division 11 of the Family 
            Code, and who are homeless or at risk of being homeless.

          2)Amend subparagraph (b) of Section 1530.85 (page 6, line 25 and 
            26), to remove "health and hygiene of the facility" from the 
            list of standards to be addressed by the emergency youth 
            shelter facility regulations as this is confusing and 
            duplicative of the existing requirements to develop 
            regulations related to the physical environment standards and 
            health and safety requirements.   

            Also, in subparagraph (b) of Section1530.85 replace child care 
            regulatory standards with transitional shelter care facility 
            standards as the threshold for possible requirements under the 
            new emergency youth shelter facility licensing category.  
            Child care standards may not be an appropriate or applicable 
            limit for homeless youth shelter regulations as child care is 
            not designed to provide 24-hour care, and typically serves a 
            younger population:

            (b) Regulations adopted pursuant to this section shall 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.  These standards may meet, but 
            shall not exceed, state  child care   transitional shelter care 
            facility  standards under Title 22 of the California Code of 
            Regulations.

          3)Remove references to "exceptions" of licensing standards in 
            subparagraph (d) of 1530.85.  Waivers are granted by CCL for 
            modifications to regulatory requirements for facilities 
            whereas exceptions apply to individual persons served. 

            Also in subparagraph (d) of Section 1530.85, given that the 
            purpose of this bill is to establish one uniform set of 
            licensing standards for emergency homeless shelters for youth, 
            staff proposes striking the last sentence of is unnecessary 
            and may lead to confusion:

            (d) If a facility that satisfies the definition of an 
            emergency youth shelter is already operating on the effective 
            date of the act that added this section before regulations 
            pursuant to this section are adopted, the department shall 








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            grant the facility a waiver  or exception  for any existing 
            licensing standard that is inappropriate for an emergency 
            youth shelter, provided that the waiver  or exception  does not 
            adversely affect the health, safety, or personal rights of 
            youth in the shelter.   Following their adoption, the 
            regulations adopted pursuant to this section shall constitute 
            the only licensing standards applicable to an emergency youth 
            shelter.  

          4)As "emergency youth shelter services" are unclear, and a 
            facility licensed as a group home may already apply to CCL for 
            waivers and exceptions, staff is proposing to strike added 
            subparagraph (f) of 1530.85 as it is unnecessary:

             (f) A facility licensed as a group home shall also have 
            authority to provide emergency youth shelter services to 
            youth, including foster youth, as described in subdivision (b) 
            of Section 1502.35.
             
           Prior/Related Legislation:

           SB 855 (Machado) Chapter 664, Statutes of 2004 created a 
          separate licensing category for crisis nurseries, to sunset 
          January 1, 2008.

          AB 1197 (Bates) Chapter 1088, Statutes of 1993 established 
          standards for congregate care placements for children under six 
          years of age, and for "temporary shelter care facilities," 
          defined as facilities operated by counties for 24-hour temporary 
          residential placement of abused and neglected children.

           REGISTERED SUPPORT / OPPOSITION  :

           Support 
           
          California Coalition for Youth (CCY)
          California Mental Health Planning Council
          John Burton Foundation
          San Diego Youth Services
          Crittention Services for Children and Families
          Traditional Age Youth
          NAMI California
          California Alliance of Child and Family Services
          Redwood Community Action Agency
          Mendocino County Youth Project








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          Dearest Manna Ministries, Inc.
          La Casa de las Madres
          Larkin Street Youth Services
          St. Anne's
          Housing California
          Avant-Garde Foster Family Agency, Inc.
          National Association of Social Workers (NASW) - California 
          Chapter
          1 Individual
           
            Opposition 
           
          None on file.

           Analysis Prepared by  :    Michelle Doty Cabrera / HUM. S. / (916) 
          319-2089