BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    



                                                                  AB 787
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          CONCURRENCE IN SENATE AMENDMENTS
          AB 787 (Stone)
          As Amended  September 6, 2013
          Majority vote
           
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          |ASSEMBLY:  |70-0 |(May 16, 2013)  |SENATE: |38-0 |(September 11, |
          |           |     |                |        |     |2013)          |
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           Original Committee Reference:    HUM. S.  

           SUMMARY  :  Makes various technical and clarifying changes to the  
          California Fostering Connections to Success Act of 2010.   
          Specifically,  this bill  :   

          1)Clarifies foster care disposition statute (Welfare and  
            Institutions Code (WIC) Section 727) for probation officers to  
            place non-minor dependents into AB 12 (Beall and Bass),  
            Chapter 559, Statutes of 2010, approved transitional services  
            placements.

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

          3)Provides a definition of a transition dependent in WIC Section  
            11400 to allow these youth subject to the court's transition  
            jurisdiction be eligible for extended foster care.

          4)Clarifies the juvenile court's authority and the process it  
            must undertake to terminate dependency for a NMD, but maintain  
            jurisdiction over the youth as a nonminor.

          5)Clarify the eligibility definition for a NMD to provide that  
            they "have" rather than "are participating in" their  
            transitional independent living case plan.

          6)Fixes an unintentional omission of probation officers in WIC  
            Section 16501.1.

          7)Clarifies current statute to ensure that minors participating  
            in a voluntary placement agreement may become eligible for  
            extended foster care pursuant to required actions of the child  
            welfare agency and the juvenile court.








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           The Senate amendments  :  
           
          1)Delete removal of case management requirements for non-federal  
            IV-E eligible state Kinship Guardian Assistance Payment  
            (KinGap) Program.

          2)Clarify current statute to ensure that minors participating in  
            a voluntary placement agreement may become eligible for  
            extended foster care pursuant to required actions of the child  
            welfare agency and the juvenile court.

          3)Clarify the eligibility definition for a NMD to provide that  
            they "have" rather than "are participating in" their  
            transitional independent living case plan.

          4)Fix an unintentional omission of probation officers in WIC  
            Section 16501.1.

           AS PASSED BY THE ASSEMBLY  , this bill:  
                
          1)Clarified foster care disposition statute (WIC Section 727)  
            for probation officers to place non-minor dependents into AB  
            12 approved transitional services placements.

          2)Removed case management requirements for non-federal IV-E  
            eligible state KinGap Program youth prospectively, which would  
            align statute with case management requirements under federal  
            Title IV-E eligible KinGap youth requirements.

          3)Allowed re-entry into nonminor dependency for former NMDs who  
            reached permanency and whose guardian, relative or adoptive  
            parent died before their 21st birthday.

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

           FISCAL EFFECT  :  According the Senate Appropriations Committee:

          1)Potential minor state costs for extended foster care and  
            adoption assistance benefits for former NMDs whose guardian,  
            relative, or adoptive parent passed away prior to the NMD's  
            21st birthday.  Annual costs would be in the range of $12,000  
            to $36,000 (General Fund) per case, depending on the placement  
            type.








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          2)Increased county administrative costs of about $35,000  
            (General Fund) per year for county assessments conducted 90  
            days prior to a youth's 18th birthday.  This estimate assumes  
            a 45-minute assessment at a cost of $57 per youth for 600  
            youth turning 18 per year. 
          
           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),  
          Chapter 459, Statutes of 2011, and AB 1712 (Beall), Chapter 846,  
          Statutes of 2012.  Like its predecessors, this bill 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:

          California Fostering Connections to Success Act of 2010:   AB 12  
          (Beall and 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  
            Kin-GAP 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  








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          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  
          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.

           NEED FOR THE BILL  :








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           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 whether  
          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 for NMDs who had reached permanency.  This has resulted  
          in some NMDs being left without a parent or guardian and without  
          the ability to voluntarily re-enter foster care. 

          This bill would remedy this by amending WIC Section 388 to allow  
          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. 

          One of the 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 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.

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


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