INTRODUCED BY   Assembly Member Calderon

                        FEBRUARY 18, 2015

   An act  to amend Section 361.3 of the Welfare and Institutions
Code,  relating to juveniles.


   AB 381, as amended, Calderon. Dependent children: placement.
   Existing law, in cases in which a minor is  adjudged
  alleged to be  a dependent child of the court on
the ground that the minor has suffered abuse or neglect, allows the
court to take the child from the physical custody of his or her
parents or guardian if there would be a substantial danger to the
physical health, safety, protection, or physical or emotional
well-being of the minor if the minor were returned home, among other
criteria. If a child is removed from the physical custody of his or
her parents, existing law requires preferential consideration to be
given to a request by a relative of the child for placement of the
child with the relative. Existing law requires that the best interest
of the child be considered, among other specified factors, in making
that determination.  Existing law also requires that, subsequent
to the hearing on the proper disposition to be made of the child,
whenever a new placement of the child must be made, consideration for
placement again be given to relatives who have not been found to be
unsuitable, as specified. 
   This bill would  state the intent of the Legislature to
enact legislation to ensure the best possible outcome for children
removed from the physical custody of his or her parents. 
 require the county social worker and the court, when determining
whether placement with a relative is appropriate, to consider the
above-described factors on a case-by-case basis. The bill also would
require that consideration for placement with a relative subsequent
to the disposition hearing be given without regard to whether a new
placement of a child must be made, and would direct the social worker
to report and the court to consider addit   ional
enumerated factors in making this determination. By increasing the
duties of county social workers, this bill would create a
state-mandated local program. The bill would also require the
Judicial Council to adopt a rule of court on or before January 1,
2017, that implements these provisions.  
   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
   This bill would provide that no reimbursement is required by this
act for a specified reason. 
   Vote: majority. Appropriation: no. Fiscal committee:  no
  yes  . State-mandated local program:  no
  yes  .


   SECTION 1.    Section 361.3 of the   Welfare
and Institutions Code  is amended to read: 
   361.3.  (a) In any case in which a child is removed from the
physical custody of his or her parents pursuant to Section 361,
preferential consideration shall be given to a request by a relative
of the child for placement of the child with the relative, regardless
of the relative's immigration status. In determining whether
placement with a relative is appropriate, the county social worker
and court shall  , on a case-by-case basis,  consider, but
shall not be limited to,  consideration of  all the
following factors:
   (1) The best interest of the child, including special physical,
psychological, educational, medical, or emotional needs.
   (2) The wishes of the parent, the relative, and child, if
   (3) The provisions of Part 6 (commencing with Section 7950) of
Division 12 of the Family Code regarding relative placement.
   (4) Placement of siblings and half siblings in the same home,
unless that placement is found to be contrary to the safety and
well-being of any of the siblings, as provided in Section 16002.
   (5) The good moral character of the relative and any other adult
living in the home, including whether any individual residing in the
home has a prior history of violent criminal acts or has been
responsible for acts of child abuse or neglect.
   (6) The nature and duration of the relationship between the child
and the relative, and the relative's desire to care for, and to
provide legal permanency for, the child if reunification is
   (7) The ability of the relative to do the following:
   (A) Provide a safe, secure, and stable environment for the child.
   (B) Exercise proper and effective care and control of the child.
   (C) Provide a home and the necessities of life for the child.
   (D) Protect the child from his or her parents.
   (E) Facilitate court-ordered reunification efforts with the
   (F) Facilitate visitation with the child's other relatives.
   (G) Facilitate implementation of all elements of the case plan.
   (H) Provide legal permanence for the child if reunification fails.

   However, any finding made with respect to the factor considered
pursuant to this subparagraph and pursuant to subparagraph (G) shall
not be the sole basis for precluding preferential placement with a
   (I) Arrange for appropriate and safe child care, as necessary.
   (8) The safety of the relative's home. For a relative to be
considered appropriate to receive placement of a child under this
section, the relative's home shall first be approved pursuant to the
process and standards described in subdivision (d) of Section 309.
   In this regard, the Legislature declares that a physical
disability, such as blindness or deafness, is no bar to the raising
of children, and a county social worker's determination as to the
ability of a disabled relative to exercise care and control should
center upon whether the relative's disability prevents him or her
from exercising care and control. The court shall order the parent to
disclose to the county social worker the names, residences, and any
other known identifying information of any maternal or paternal
relatives of the child. This inquiry shall not be construed, however,
to guarantee that the child will be placed with any person so
identified. The county social worker shall initially contact the
relatives given preferential consideration for placement to determine
if they desire the child to be placed with them. Those desiring
placement shall be assessed according to the factors enumerated in
this subdivision. The county social worker shall document these
efforts in the social study prepared pursuant to Section 358.1. The
court shall authorize the county social worker, while assessing these
relatives for the possibility of placement, to disclose to the
relative, as appropriate, the fact that the child is in custody, the
alleged reasons for the custody, and the projected likely date for
the child's return home or placement for adoption or legal
guardianship. However, this investigation shall not be construed as
good cause for continuance of the dispositional hearing conducted
pursuant to Section 358.
   (b) In any case in which more than one appropriate relative
requests preferential consideration pursuant to this section, each
relative shall be considered under the factors enumerated in
subdivision (a). Consistent with the legislative intent for children
to be placed immediately with a responsible relative, this section
does not limit the county social worker's ability to place a child in
the home of an appropriate relative or a nonrelative extended family
member pending the consideration of other relatives who have
requested preferential consideration.
   (c) For purposes of this section:
   (1) "Preferential consideration" means that the relative seeking
placement shall be the first placement to be considered and
   (2) "Relative" means an adult who is related to the child by
blood, adoption, or affinity within the fifth degree of kinship,
including stepparents, stepsiblings, and all relatives whose status
is preceded by the words "great," "great-great," or "grand," or the
spouse of any of these persons even if the marriage was terminated by
death or dissolution. However, only the following relatives shall be
given preferential consideration for the placement of the child: an
adult who is a grandparent, aunt, uncle, or sibling.
   (d)  (1)    Subsequent to the hearing conducted
pursuant to Section 358,  whenever a new placement of the
child must be made,  consideration for placement shall again
be given as described in this section to relatives who have not been
found to be unsuitable and who will fulfill the child's
reunification or permanent plan requirements. In addition to the
factors described in subdivision (a), the county social worker shall
 report and the court shall  consider  whether
  all of the following factors: 
    (A)     Whether  the relative has
established and maintained a relationship with the  child.
  child or is able and willing to do so.  
   (B) The length of time the child has been in his or her current
   (C) The relationship of the child with the current caregiver.
   (D) The child's progress toward permanency with that caregiver.
   (E) The placement preference of the child.  
   (2) The Judicial Council shall adopt a rule of court on or before
January 1, 2017, that implements this subdivision in regard to the
consideration of relatives for placement subsequent to the hearing
conducted pursuant to Section 358. 
   (e) If the court does not place the child with a relative who has
been considered for placement pursuant to this section, the court
shall state for the record the reasons placement with that relative
was denied.
   (f) (1) With respect to a child who satisfies the criteria set
forth in paragraph (2), the department and any licensed adoption
agency may search for a relative and furnish identifying information
relating to the child to that relative if it is believed the child's
welfare will be promoted thereby.
   (2) Paragraph (1) shall apply if both of the following conditions
are satisfied:
   (A) The child was previously a dependent of the court.
   (B) The child was previously adopted and the adoption has been
disrupted, set aside pursuant to Section 9100 or 9102 of the Family
Code, or the child has been released into the custody of the
department or a licensed adoption agency by the adoptive parent or
   (3) As used in this subdivision, "relative" includes a member of
the child's birth family and nonrelated extended family members,
regardless of whether the parental rights were terminated, provided
that both of the following are true:
   (A) No appropriate potential caretaker is known to exist from the
child's adoptive family, including nonrelated extended family members
of the adoptive family.
   (B) The child was not the subject of a voluntary relinquishment by
the birth parents pursuant to Section 8700 of the Family Code or
Section 1255.7 of the Health and Safety Code.
   SEC. 2.    To the extent that this act has an overall
effect of increasing the costs already borne by a local agency for
programs or levels of service mandated by the 2011 Realignment
Legislation within the meaning of Section 36 of Article XIII of the
California Constitution, it shall apply to local agencies only to the
extent that the state provides annual funding for the cost increase.
Any new program or higher level of service provided by a local
agency pursuant to this act above the level for which funding has
been provided shall not require a subvention of funds by the state
nor otherwise be subject to Section 6 of   Article XIII
    B of the California Constitution. 

  SECTION 1.    It is the intent of the Legislature
to enact legislation to ensure the best possible outcome for children
removed from the physical custody of his or her parents.