BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    



                                                                  AB 787
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          Date of Hearing:  April 23, 2013

                           ASSEMBLY COMMITTEE ON JUDICIARY
                                Bob Wieckowski, Chair
                     AB 787 (Stone) - As Amended:  March 19, 2013

                                  PROPOSED CONSENT

           SUBJECT  :  Fostering Connections to Success Act:  NONMINOR  
          DEPENDENTS

           KEY ISSUE  :  SHOULD technical and clarifying changes BE MADE TO  
          CALIFORNIA'S FOSTERING CONNECTION TO SUCCESS ACT TO HELP FOSTER  
          YOUTH BETTER PREPARE AND TRANSITION TO ADULTHOOD?

           FISCAL EFFECT  :  As currently in print this bill is keyed fiscal.

                                      SYNOPSIS

          AB 12 (Beall & Bass) Chap. 559, Stats. 2010, a landmark piece of  
          child welfare legislation, opted California into two key  
          provisions of the federal Fostering Connections to Success and  
          Increasing Adoptions Act of 2008:  (1) Re-enacting California's  
          existing state and county-funded Kinship Guardian Assistance  
          Payment Program (KinGap) to align it with new federal  
          requirements and to allow the state to bring federal financial  
          participation into our kinship guardian assistance program for  
          the first time; and (2) providing transitional foster care  
          support to qualifying foster youth ages 18 to 21.  The goal of  
          that legislation is to assist foster youth in their transition  
          to adulthood by providing them with the opportunity to create a  
          case plan tailored to their individual needs, which charts their  
          course towards independence through incremental levels of  
          responsibility.  This bill, like two previous bills, makes  
          technical and clarifying changes to AB 12 in order to help  
          ensure its successful implementation.  In particular, this bill  
          allows reentry into a nonminor dependency status for a nonminor  
          dependent who is under 21 and whose guardian, relative or  
          adoptive parent has died.  This bill passed out of the Assembly  
          Human Services Committee on consent.  The bill is supported by  
          advocacy organizations and law enforcement.  There is no known  
          opposition to this bill.   
           
          SUMMARY  :  Makes various technical and clarifying changes to the  
          California Fostering Connections to Success Act of 2010.   








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          Specifically,  this bill  :   

          1)Allows re-entry into nonminor dependency status for former  
            nonminor dependents (NMDs) who reached permanency, but whose  
            guardian, relative or adoptive parent died before their 21st  
            birthday.

          2)Allows probation officers to place NMDs into approved  
            transitional services placements.

          3)Removes case management requirements for non-federal IV-E  
            eligible state KinGap youth prospectively to align with case  
            management requirements under federal Title IV-E eligible  
            KinGap youth requirements.

          4)Clarifies how the court may terminate jurisdiction over a NMD,  
            but still retain the ability to monitor them as a nonminor. 

           EXISTING LAW  :  

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

             a)   Provides 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 as a  
               voluntary program for youth who meet specified work and  
               education participation criteria; and,
             b)   Requires changes to the KinGAP program in order to allow  
               for federal financial participation in the program.  (AB 12  
               (Beall), Chap. 559, Stats. 2010.)

          2)Defines a "nonminor dependent" as 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 an Indian tribe and is  
            participating in a transitional independent living plan.   
            (Welfare & Institutions Code Section 11400.  Unless stated  
            otherwise, all further statutory references are to that code.)

          3)Defines a "transition dependent" as a minor who is between 17  
            years, five months and 18 years of age who is subject to the  
            court's transition jurisdiction.  (Section 450.)

          4)Defines a "nonrelative extended family member" as any adult  








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            caregiver who has an established familial or mentoring  
            relationship with a child and requires a county welfare  
            department to verify the existence of this relationship, as  
            specified.  (Section 362.7.)

          5)Allows a juvenile court to adjudge a child or a nonminor as a  
            ward or a dependent of the court for specified reasons,  
            including but not limited to if the child or nonminor has been  
            neglected or abused or has committed a crime, as specified.   
            (Sections 300 and 601.)

          6)Provides that a nonminor, age 18-21, shall continue to receive  
            foster care assistance under certain conditions, including  
            that the nonminor is otherwise eligible for AFDC-FC benefits,  
            has signed a mutual agreement, and 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.
             d)   The nonminor is employed for at least 80 hours per  
               month.
             e)   The nonminor is incapable of doing any of the activities  
               described in (a) through (d) due to a medical condition,  
               and that incapability is supported by regularly updated  
               information in the case plan of the nonminor.   (Section  
               11403.)

          7)Requires states, under federal law, to develop a transition  
            plan with foster youth, addressing specified outcome areas 90  
            days prior to emancipation.  (Public Law (P.L.) 110-148; P.L.  
            110-351.)

          8)Defines a "mutual agreement" as an agreement of consent for  
            placement in a supervised setting between a minor or nonminor  
            dependent and the placing agency that, in the case of a  
            nonminor dependent, documents the continued need for  
            supervised out-of-home placement and the agreement between the  
            nonminor and the social worker or probation officer to work  
            together to facilitate implementation of the mutually  
            developed supervised placement agreement and transitional  
            living plan.  (Section 11403.)








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          9)Authorizes a court to resume jurisdiction over a former NMD  
            under specified circumstances, provided the nonminor signs a  
            mutual transition or voluntary reentry agreement.  (Sections  
            303 and 388.)

           COMMENTS  :  The California Fostering Connections to Success Act  
          (FCSA) of 2010 was landmark child welfare legislation, however,  
          it was also substantial in size, amounting to 207 pages at the  
          time of adoption.  Due to the complexity and fundamental  
          improvements this act made to the state's welfare system, follow  
          up legislation has been needed since its adoption to help ensure  
          its successful implementation. 

          Since its passage, the Legislature has passed and the state has  
          adopted two successive measures to this effect; AB 212 (Beall)  
          from 2011 and AB 1712 (Beall) from 2012.  Like its predecessors,  
          AB 787 continues the Legislature's efforts to ensure the FCSA is  
          properly implemented to provide necessary and integral support  
          services to foster youth as they prepare and transition into  
          adulthood.

           Background on California Fostering Connections to Success Act of  
          2010  :  AB 12 (Beall & Bass) 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, the California Fostering  
          Connections to Success Act: 
                   
          1)Re-enacted California's existing state and county-funded  
            KinGAP 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  








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          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 essence, AB 12 seeks to mirror the type of continued guidance  
          and assistance most young adults receive from their parents and  
          families in their late teens and early twenties.  Following this  
          paradigm, AB 12 provides nonminors with the option to petition  
          to reenter care if they opt out of extended care and want to  
          return before age 21, provided they meet the eligibility  
          criteria set forth in federal and state law.

          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.  In addition,  
          pursuant to the federal Fostering Connections Act, a youth must  
          meet one of five work or education-related eligibility criteria:

          1)Is completing secondary education or a program leading to an  
            equivalent credential;
          2)Is enrolled in an institution which provides postsecondary or  
            vocational education;
          3)Is participating in a program or activity designed to promote,  
            or remove barriers to employment;
          4)Is employed for at least 80 hours per month; or
          5)Is incapable of doing any of the activities described above  
            due to a medical condition.

           Re-Entry for Former NMDs  :  Current law provides opportunities  
          for the court to resume jurisdiction of a former minor dependent  
          or ward of the court for specified reasons, including that the  
          parent, guardian or adoptive parent with whom the youth reached  
          permanency has passed away.  In these cases, the county may  
          petition the court to resume jurisdiction so that the child can  
          remain in a healthy and safe environment.  However, this same  
          opportunity was inadvertently left out of previous FCSA measures  








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          for NMDs who had reached permanency prior to 18.  This has  
          resulted in some NMDs being left without a parent or guardian  
          and without the ability to voluntarily re-enter foster care.  AB  
          787 remedies this by allowing for the voluntary re-entry of NMDs  
          into foster care, either through the request of the NMD or under  
          a petition filed by the county.  
           
           Appropriate Placements for NMDS Who are Wards of the Court  :   
          Current law allows NMDs to be placed into appropriate  
          transitional housing services placements to help provide them  
          the supportive services to prepare for independent living and  
          adulthood.  However, for the placement of NMDs who are wards of  
          the court, probations officers have the authority to place wards  
          into appropriate placements, but not the same authority to place  
          NMDs who are wards into appropriate transitional housing  
          placements as established by the FCSA.  This is a necessary  
          authority inadvertently not provided to probation officers, who  
          have legal jurisdiction over the NMD by order of the court.  AB  
          787 solves this by simply adding in appropriate references to  
          nonminors in existing sections under which probation officers  
          have placement authority over wards now. 
           
          Kinship Guardian Assistance Payment Program Case Management  :   
          Under the FCSA, the state expanded the definition of a relative  
          to include nonrelative extended family members.  This allows  
          courts to place minors and NMDs with a relative or a nonrelative  
          extended family member as their permanent guardian and dismiss  
          dependency, but also provides them support services through the  
          KinGap Program to maintain and ensure the success of their  
          permanency placement.  However, whereas federally-funded KinGap  
          services do not require county case management, state-funded  
          KinGap does.  This bill brings state KinGap Program requirements  
          into alignment with federal KinGap Program requirements by  
          eliminating the county case management requirement for state  
          KinGap Program recipients.  This also results in a cost savings  
          to the state by eliminating unnecessary county case management  
          requirements.

           ARGUMENTS IN SUPPORT  :  One of the bill's co-sponsors, the  
          California Alliance for Children's Rights, writes in support of  
          the bill:  
           
               The extended foster care benefits provided through the  
               California FCSA have been available since January 1, 2012.   
               Over the course of the last year, as youth began exercising  








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               their option to remain in foster care after the age of 18,  
               we have identified several areas of the California  
               Fostering Connections to Success Act that require technical  
                or conforming changes in order to ensure that the true  
               promise of this landmark bill is achieved.  The  
               beneficiaries of these amendments contained in AB 787 will  
               be the youth whom The Alliance for Children's Rights serves  
               as they "age out" of the foster care system.  AB 787 will  
               ensure that these vulnerable young adults will be able to  
               take full advantage of the opportunities offered through  
               the California Fostering Connections to Success Act.

          The California Alliance for Child and Family Services adds:

               We strongly support the provisions in AB 787 to ensure  
               smooth transitions for foster youth who choose to remain in  
               foster care after they turn 18.  Of specific interest to  
               the California Alliance of Child and Family Services, this  
               bill will allow probation officers to place non-minor  
               dependents into foster care placements such as foster  
               families and transitional housing; and will allow non-minor  
               dependents who were adopted or placed in guardianships and  
               whose parent or guardian dies before the youth is 21, to  
               re-enter extended foster care as long as they continue to  
               meet the eligibility requirements for care.  

           Prior Legislation  :  AB 12 (Beall and Bass), Chap. 559, Stats.  
          2010 established the California Fostering Connections to Success  
          Act of 2010, which extended transitional foster care services to  
          eligible youth between 18 and 21 years of age, and required  
          California to seek federal financial participation in kinship  
          guardianship assistance payments.  AB 212 (Beall), Chap. 459,  
          Stats. 2010, and AB 1712 (Beall), Chap. 846, Stats. 2012, made  
          technical and clarifying changes to the Act.

           REGISTERED SUPPORT / OPPOSITION  :   

           Support 
           
          Alliance for Children's Rights (co-sponsor)
          California Alliance of Child and Family Services (co-sponsor)
          County Welfare Directors Association of California (co-sponsor)
          Aspiranet
          California Coalition for Youth
          California Police Chiefs








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           Opposition 
           
          None on file
           
          Analysis Prepared by  :  Leora Gershenzon / JUD. / (916) 319-2334