BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    Ó



                                                                 AB 352
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         ASSEMBLY THIRD READING
         AB 352 (Hall)
         As Amended  April 23, 2013
         Majority vote 

          HUMAN SERVICES             5-2  GOVERNMENTAL ORGANIZATION    12-0
          
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         |Ayes:|Stone, Ammiano, Ian       |Ayes:|Hall, Chesbro, Cooley,      |
         |     |Calderon, Garcia, Hall    |     |Gray,                       |
         |     |                          |     |Roger Hernández,            |
         |     |                          |     |Jones-Sawyer, Levine, Medina, |
         |     |                          |     |Perea, V. Manuel Pérez,     |
         |     |                          |     |Salas, Torres               |
         |-----+--------------------------+-----+----------------------------|
         |Nays:|Maienschein, Grove        |     |                            |
         |     |                          |     |                            |
          ------------------------------------------------------------------- 

          APPROPRIATIONS             12-5                                  
          
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         |Ayes:|Gatto, Bocanegra,         |     |                            |
         |     |Bradford,                 |     |                            |
         |     |Ian Calderon, Campos,     |     |                            |
         |     |Eggman, Gomez, Hall,      |     |                            |
         |     |Ammiano, Pan, Quirk,      |     |                            |
         |     |Weber                     |     |                            |
         |     |                          |     |                            |
         |-----+--------------------------+-----+----------------------------|
         |Nays:|Harkey, Bigelow,          |     |                            |
         |     |Donnelly, Linder, Wagner  |     |                            |
         |     |                          |     |                            |
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          SUMMARY  :  Prohibits smoking in certain licensed residential foster  
         care facilities.  Specifically,  this bill  :  

         1)Amends the Community Care Facilities Act (CCFA) to require  
           persons licensed to provide foster care services to provide a  
           smoke-free environment in the home in which the foster youth  
           resides, including garages and bathrooms, and motor vehicles  
           used to transport the foster youth. 

         2)Excludes the homes of relative or nonrelative extended family  







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           members (NREFM) from this prohibition. 

          FISCAL EFFECT  :  According to the Assembly Appropriations  
         Committee: 

         1)Costs associated with this legislation should be minor and  
           absorbable within existing resources. 

         2)Any local government costs resulting from the mandate in this  
           measure would not be state-reimbursable because the mandate only  
           involves the definition of a crime or penalty for conviction of  
           a crime.

          COMMENTS  :  It is clear from numerous reports and scientific  
         research that smoking and exposure to secondhand smoke presents  
         significant health risks to people, and is particularly dangerous  
         to children.  However, the current reality is that, although  
         undesirable, people still make the conscious choice to smoke.   
         This includes some who can and do become licensed foster parents,  
         who are gracious and caring enough to open their home to serve as  
         a foster family home for a child who has been removed from the  
         custody of his or her parents due to abuse or neglect. 

         The author references a 2011 report titled "Smoke-free Foster  
         Care:  Policy Options and the Duty to Protect" in providing  
         background and the foundation to universally prohibit smoking in  
         foster family homes.  This report documents the reasons and need  
         to prohibit smoking in foster family homes, listing various data  
         and past reports that document the importance of maintaining a  
         smoke-free environment for foster youth due to their heightened  
         status as being at-risk and more likely to suffer from health  
         ailments.

         The report also goes on to make findings that establishing  
         smoke-free policies for foster homes do not inhibit the  
         recruitment or retention of foster families.  Specifically, it  
         states:

              Moreover, despite the concern that implementing these  
              policies would impair recruitment or reduce the number  
              of foster homes available, foster care managers and  
              social services administrators in states with these  
              policies reported no drop in the number of foster  
              parents attributable to the smoke-free policies since  







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              they took effect.  Three out of the fifteen state  
              managers surveyed claim their state recruitment  
              numbers vary, but none reported a causal link to the  
              smoke-free foster care policy.

         However, in further review of this report, it cites a survey  
         conducted of licensed foster care homes and relative provider care  
         homes in the state of Michigan as the basis for these findings.   
         Additionally, the survey found that more than 21% of respondents  
         who smoked replied that they would not be a foster parent if they  
         were not allowed to smoke around children, and 7% of relative care  
         providers stated the same.  This is a cause for concern in  
         correlation to the number of foster homes, relative caregiver or  
         otherwise, available for placement when compared to the number of  
         children in foster care in California.

         As of January 1, 2013, there were approximately 56,495 children in  
         foster care, according to the California Welfare Dynamic Report  
         System, a statewide child welfare database operated in  
         collaboration by the Department of Social Services (DSS) and the  
         University of California at Berkeley.  This number far outweighs  
         the availability of licensed foster care homes in the state.   
         According to DSS, as of January 1, 2013, there were 7,007 licensed  
         foster care homes with a capacity to serve 15,731 foster youth. 

         These numbers demonstrate that, although the state has  
         significantly reduced its foster care population over the past 12  
         years, it still leaves much progress to be made in identifying and  
         maintaining home-based placements that can provide family-like  
         environments for our foster youth. 

          Child Welfare Services  :  The purpose of California's Child Welfare  
         Services (CWS) system is to provide for the protection and the  
         health and safety of children.  Within this purpose, the desired  
         outcome is to reunite children with their biological parents, when  
         appropriate, in order to help preserve and strengthen families.   
         However, if reunification with the biological family is not  
         appropriate, children are placed in the best environment possible,  
         whether that is with a relative, through adoption, or with a  
         guardian, such as a foster family or NREFM.

         At the time a child is identified as needing child welfare  
         services and is in the temporary custody of a social worker, the  
         social worker is required to identify whether there is a relative  







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         or guardian to whom a child may be released, unless the social  
         worker believes that the child would be at risk of abuse, neglect  
         or abandonment if placed with that relative or guardian.  (Welfare  
         and Institutions (W&I) Code Sections 306 and 309) 

         The Welfare and Institutions Code also lays out the conditions  
         under which a court may deem a child a dependent or ward of the  
         court, including when the parent has been incarcerated or  
         institutionalized and is unable to arrange for care for the child,  
         such as placement with a known relative.  If the child is deemed a  
         dependent or ward of the court, the court may maintain the child  
         in his or her home, remove the child from the home but with the  
         goal of reunifying the child with his or her family, or identify  
         another form of permanent placement.  Unless the child is unable  
         to be placed with the parent, the court is required to give  
         preference to a relative of the child in order to preserve the  
         child's association with his or her family.  
          
         Current smoke-free requirements in foster care  :  Although not  
         specifically stated in statute, the California Code of Regulations  
         (CCR) prohibits smoking in the home and on the grounds of the  
         home.  It should be noted that in addition to not existing in  
         current statute, this prohibition also does not apply to Foster  
         Family Homes (FFHs) and Certified Family Homes (CFHs) overseen by  
         Foster Family Agencies (FFAs). 

         In its establishment of smoke-free regulations, DSS cites a 2006  
         report by the Surgeon General of the United States "The Health  
         Consequences of Involuntary Exposure to Tobacco Smoke" as grounds  
         for the prohibition.  Written as the second edition of the report  
         previously published in 1986, it updated the evidence of the  
         harmful effects of involuntary exposure to tobacco smoke. 

         The report found that exposure to secondhand smoke:  is harmful  
         and hazardous to the health of the general public and particularly  
         dangerous to children; increases the risk of serious respiratory  
         problems in children, such as a greater number and severity of  
         asthma attacks and lower respiratory tract infections, and  
         increases the risk for middle ear infections; is a known human  
         carcinogen (cancer-causing agent); and causes lung cancer and  
         coronary heart disease in nonsmoking adults.

         It specifically went on further to demonstrate that efforts to  
         accommodate for smoking and smoke-free areas are ineffective in  







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         combating the consequences of exposure to secondhand smoke:

              Research reviewed in this report indicates that  
              smoke-free policies are the most economic and  
              effective approach for providing protection from  
              exposure to secondhand smoke.  But do they provide the  
              greatest health impact?  Separating smokers and  
              nonsmokers in the same airspace is not effective, nor  
              is air cleaning or a greater exchange of indoor with  
              outdoor air.  Additionally, having separately  
              ventilated areas for smoking may not offer a  
              satisfactory solution to reducing workplace exposures.  
               Policies prohibiting smoking in the workplace have  
              multiple benefits.  Besides reducing exposure of  
              nonsmokers to secondhand smoke, these policies reduce  
              tobacco use by smokers and change public attitudes  
              about tobacco use from acceptable to unacceptable.


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


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