Amended in Assembly September 3, 2013

Amended in Senate May 24, 2013

Senate BillNo. 342


Introduced by Senator Yee

February 20, 2013


An act to amend Sections 16516.5 and 16516.6 of the Welfare and Institutions Code, relating to foster children.

LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL’S DIGEST

SB 342, as amended, Yee. Foster children: social worker: visits.

Existing law requires that all foster children who are placed in group homes by county welfare departments or county probation departments be visited at least monthly by a county social worker or probation officer, and that each visit include a private discussion between the foster child and the county social worker or probation officer that is not held in the presence or immediate vicinity of the group home staff. Existing law also requires a county social worker or probation officer to make a regular visit with a child in any licensed, certified, or approved foster home, and requires that the visit include a private discussion between the foster child and the social worker or probation officer that is not held in the presence or immediate vicinity of the foster parent or caregiver.

This bill would require that thebegin delete visits described above occur in the group home or foster home, respectivelyend deletebegin insert location of monthly visits for each foster child who is placed in a group home or a licensed, certified, or approved foster home by a county welfare department or a county probation department comply with specified federal requirements. The bill would prohibit more than 2 consecutive monthly visits from being held outside the residence of the foster child and, if the visit does not occur in the place of residence, would require the social worker or probation officer to document in the case file and in the court report the location of the visit and the reason for the visit occurring outside the place of residenceend insert. The bill would also require the social worker or probation officer to advise the foster child that he or she has the right to request that the private discussion occur outside the group home or foster home. The bill would provide, however, that if a foster child requests to have the private discussion outside the group home or foster home, that private discussion shall not replace the visit in the group home or foster home. The bill would also provide that the social worker or probation officer shall not be required to schedule an additional visit to accommodate the request. By imposing additional duties on county employees, the bill would impose a state-mandated local program.

The California Constitution requires the state to reimburse local agencies and school districts for certain costs mandated by the state. Statutory provisions establish procedures for making that reimbursement.

This bill would provide that, if the Commission on State Mandates determines that the bill contains costs mandated by the state, reimbursement for those costs shall be made pursuant to these statutory provisions.

Vote: majority. Appropriation: no. Fiscal committee: yes. State-mandated local program: yes.

The people of the State of California do enact as follows:

P2    1

SECTION 1.  

Section 16516.5 of the Welfare and Institutions
2Code
is amended to read:

3

16516.5.  

(a) Notwithstanding any other law or regulation, all
4foster children who are placed in group homes by county welfare
5departments or county probation departments shall be visitedbegin delete in
6the group homeend delete
at least monthly by a county social worker or
7probation officer. Each monthly visit shall include a private
8discussion between the foster child and the county social worker
9or probation officer. The private discussion shall not be held in
10the presence or immediate vicinity of the group home staff. The
11social worker or probation officer shall advise the foster child that
12he or she has the right to request that the private discussion occur
13outside the group home. If a foster child requests to have the private
14discussion outside the group home, that private discussion shall
15not replace the visit in the group home. However, the social worker
P3    1or probation officer shall not be required to schedule an additional
2visit to accommodate the request. The contents of the private
3discussion shall not be disclosed to the group home staff, except
4that the social worker or probation officer may disclose information
5under any of the following circumstances:

6(1) The social worker or probation officer believes that the foster
7child may be in danger of harming himself or herself, or others.

8(2) The social worker or probation officer believes that
9disclosure is necessary to meet the needs of the child.

10(3) The child consents to disclosure of the information.

begin insert

11(b) The location of monthly visits for each foster child who is
12placed in a group home by a county welfare department or a county
13probation department shall comply with federal requirements as
14described in Section 624(f)(2)(A) of Title 42 of the United States
15Code. No more than two consecutive monthly visits may be held
16outside the residence of the foster child.

end insert
begin insert

17(c) If the visit does not occur in the place of residence, the social
18worker or probation officer shall document in the case file and in
19the court report the location of the visit and the reason for the visit
20occurring outside the place of residence.

end insert
begin delete

21(b)

end delete

22begin insert(end insertbegin insertd)end insert (1) Prior to the 2011-12 fiscal year, notwithstanding Section
2310101, the state shall pay 100 percent of the nonfederal costs
24associated with the monthly visitation requirement in subdivision
25(a) in excess of the minimum semiannual visits required under
26current regulations.

27(2) Notwithstanding subdivision (b), beginning in the 2011-12
28fiscal year, and for each fiscal year thereafter, funding and
29expenditures for programs and activities under this section shall
30be in accordance with the requirements provided in Sections 30025
31and 30026.5 of the Government Code.

32

SEC. 2.  

Section 16516.6 of the Welfare and Institutions Code
33 is amended to read:

34

16516.6.  

begin insert(a)end insertbegin insertend insert When a county social worker or probation officer
35makes a regular visit with a child in any licensed, certified, or
36approved foster home, the regular visit shallbegin delete occur in the foster
37home and shallend delete
include a private discussion between the foster
38child and the social worker or probation officer. The private
39discussion shall not be held in the presence or immediate vicinity
40of the foster parent or caregiver. The social worker or probation
P4    1officer shall advise the foster child that he or she has the right to
2request that the private discussion occur outside the foster home.
3If a foster child requests to have the private discussion outside the
4foster home, that private discussion shall not replace the visit in
5the foster home. However, the social worker or probation officer
6shall not be required to schedule an additional visit to accommodate
7the request. The contents of the private discussion shall not be
8disclosed to the foster parent or caregiver, except that the social
9worker or probation officer may disclose information under any
10of the following circumstances:

begin delete

11(a)

end delete

12begin insert(end insertbegin insert1)end insert The social worker or probation officer believes that the foster
13child may be in danger of harming himself or herself, or others.

begin delete

14(b)

end delete

15begin insert(end insertbegin insert2)end insert The social worker or probation officer believes that
16disclosure is necessary to meet the needs of the child.

begin delete

17(c)

end delete

18begin insert(end insertbegin insert3)end insert The child consents to disclosure of the information.

begin insert

19(b) The location of monthly visits for each foster child who is
20placed in a licensed, certified, or approved foster home by a county
21welfare department or a county probation department shall comply
22with federal requirements as described in Section 624(f)(2)(A) of
23Title 42 of the United States Code. No more than two consecutive
24monthly visits may be held outside the residence of the foster child.

end insert
begin insert

25(c) If the visit does not occur in the place of residence, the social
26worker or probation officer shall document in the case file and in
27the court report the location of the visit and the reason for the visit
28occurring outside the place of residence.

end insert
29

SEC. 3.  

If the Commission on State Mandates determines that
30this act contains costs mandated by the state, reimbursement to
31local agencies and school districts for those costs shall be made
32pursuant to Part 7 (commencing with Section 17500) of Division
334 of Title 2 of the Government Code.



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