BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    



                                                                  AB 352
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          CONCURRENCE IN SENATE AMENDMENTS
          AB 352 (Hall)
          As Amended  June 26, 2013
          Majority vote
           
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          |ASSEMBLY:  |51-19|(May 16, 2013)  |SENATE: |24-8 |(August 19,    |
          |           |     |                |        |     |2013)          |
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           Original Committee Reference:    HUM. S.  

           SUMMARY  :  Prohibits smoking in specified licensed and certified  
          community care facilities that serve minors and nonminors.   
          Specifically,  this bill  :  

          1)Requires licensed group homes, foster family agencies, small  
            family homes, transitional housing placement providers, and  
            crisis nurseries that provide residential care to minors and  
            nonminors to maintain a smoke-free environment.  

          2)Prohibits a person who is licensed or certified pursuant to  
            these provisions from smoking in any motor vehicle that is  
            regularly used to transport the child.

           The Senate amendments  :
           
           1)Delete the smoke-free exemption for relatives or nonrelative  
            extended family members (NREFM).  

           2)Add licensed group homes, foster family agencies, small family  
            homes, transitional housing placement providers and crisis  
            nurseries to the list of licensed facilities required to  
            provide a smoke-free environment.  
                 
           3)Clarify that a person licensed or certified pursuant to the  
            Community Care Facilities Act (CCFA) shall not smoke in the  
            vehicle regularly used to transport the child in care.  

          AS PASSED BY THE ASSEMBLY  , this bill:

          1)Amended the 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  








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            youth. 

          2)Excluded the homes of relative or NREFM from this prohibition.  

           
          FISCAL EFFECT  :  According to the Senate Appropriations  
          Committee, pursuant to Senate Rule 28.8, negligible state costs.  


           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 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  








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               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 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 Code (WIC) Sections 306 and 309) 








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          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  
          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.








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


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          0001473