BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    



                                                                     SB 524  


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          Date of Hearing:  August 19, 2015


                        ASSEMBLY COMMITTEE ON APPROPRIATIONS


                                 Jimmy Gomez, Chair


          SB 524  
          (Lara) - As Amended August 17, 2015


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          Urgency:  No  State Mandated Local Program:  YesReimbursable:   
          No


          SUMMARY:  This bill would establish the new community care  
          licensure category of "private or public residential care  
          facility for youth," to be licensed and regulated by the  
          Department of Social Services (DSS), to regulate the operation  
          of residential facilities and programs focused on serving youth  
          with emotional, behavioral, or mental health issues, as  








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          specified. Among its provisions, this bill:


          1)Defines "private or public residential care facility for  
            youth" as a facility or program licensed by DSS as a community  
            care facility to provide nonmedical care, counseling, or  
            education or vocational support to persons under the age of 18  
            with social, emotional, behavioral, or mental health issues or  
            disorders.  Further, specifies that a private or public  
            residential care facility for youth may provide any of the  
            following:  a program with wilderness or outdoor experience,  
            expedition, or intervention; a boot camp or related  
            experience; a therapeutic boarding school; or a behavior  
            modification program.


          2)Requires DSS to license a private or public residential care  
            facility for youth as a community care facility, and prohibits  
            DSS from licensing such a facility unless all therapeutic  
            components of the programs provided are appropriately  
            licensed.


          3)Requires staff members of private or public residential care  
            facility for youth who supervise residents to receive  
            training, as specified.  Further, specifies components to be  
            included in a training plan, including components that DSS  
            shall establish by adopting regulations, and requires the  
            facility to submit its training plan to DSS for approval prior  
            to implementing it.


          4)States that a staff member of a private or public residential  
            care facility for youth is a mandated child abuse reporter,  
            pursuant to current law.


          5)Enumerates rights of residents of private or public  
            residential care facilities for youth, and requires a list of  








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            these rights to be publically posted and accessible to  
            residents. 


          FISCAL EFFECT:


          1)One-time costs to DSS potentially in excess of $250,000 (GF)  
            to develop two sets of regulations for the new licensure  
            category, for the establishment of the new regulatory category  
            as well as for the training plan requirements for these  
            programs.



          2)Potentially significant ongoing costs likely in excess of  
            $500,000 (GF) to the DSS Community Care Licensing (CCL)  
            Division to license, monitor, and inspect additional  
            facilities, to be offset by the authority to charge both  
            application and regulatory fees. Ongoing costs would be  
            dependent on the number of entities impacted statewide, which  
            is unknown and difficult to ascertain, making it difficult to  
            understand the full cost implications of this bill. To the  
            extent the number of new licensees is significant, CCL would  
            require additional field staff for monitoring and oversight.
          3)Potential non-reimbursable local enforcement costs, offset to  
            a degree by fine revenue to the extent licensing and  
            regulatory violations are enforced and prosecuted.





          COMMENTS:


          1)Purpose.  According to the author, "Tragically, many young  
            people have experienced horrendous abuse, neglect, and even  
            death at unregulated boot camps, wilderness camps, and  








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            residential institutions.  Survivors report being denied  
            medical care, corporal punishment, solitary confinement,  
            discrimination due to sexual orientation.  Often parents and  
            guardians have no idea that the facility they are sending  
            their child to is not held to any standards and does not have  
            any oversight. The current lack of oversight and regulations  
            over these private institutions has opened up California's  
            most vulnerable youth to abuse.  While private institutions  
            should retain the right to offer the unique programs they  
            specialize in, all children regardless of where they are  
            should have their essential health and safety needs met."


            This bill seeks to license and regulate residential facilities  
            and programs aimed at serving youth with social, emotional,  
            behavioral, or mental health issues or disorders.


          2)Background. CCL licenses and regulates a variety of community  
            care facilities, defined as "any facility, place, or building  
            that is maintained and operated to provide nonmedical  
            residential care, day treatment, adult day care, or foster  
            family agency services for children, adults, or children and  
            adults, including, but not limited to, the physically  
            handicapped, mentally impaired, incompetent persons, and  
            abused or neglected children."  


            There are a number of different types of community care  
            facilities, including adult day programs, foster family  
            agencies, foster family homes, social rehabilitation  
            facilities, transitional shelters, group homes, runaway and  
            homeless youth shelters, and others.  CCL also licenses and  
            regulates child care centers, residential care facilities for  
            the elderly (RCFEs), and other facilities.  Currently,  
            approximately 65,000 care facilities are licensed in the  
            state, with the capacity to serve 1.3 million Californians. 










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            Treatment programs for troubled youth, commonly referred to as  
            youth "boot camps," wilderness therapy programs, therapeutic  
            boarding schools, or behavior modification programs, have been  
            the subject of controversy within California and nationwide  
            for several years. These non-traditional treatment programs  
            are intended to provide less restrictive options for children  
            with significant behavioral issues and provide a range of  
            services, including drug and alcohol treatment, military-style  
            discipline, and psychological counseling. 


          3)Prior Legislation. SB 1089 (Liu), 2012, sought to license and  
            regulate "private nontraditional alternative treatment  
            facilities for youth" and was similar to this bill, but more  
            narrow in scope. It was held on this Committee's Suspense  
            file.





          Analysis Prepared by:Jennifer Swenson / APPR. / (916)  
          319-2081