Amended in Senate April 19, 2016

Senate BillNo. 1060


Introduced by Senator Leno

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(Coauthors: Senators Allen and McGuire)

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(Coauthors: Assembly Members Brown, Chiu, Chu, Linder, Lopez, McCarty, and Williams)

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February 16, 2016


An act to amend Sections 366.29 and 727.3 of the Welfare and Institutions Code, relating to adoption.

LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL’S DIGEST

SB 1060, as amended, Leno. Postadoption contact: siblings of dependent children.

Existing law authorizes a juvenile court, under certain conditions, to terminate the rights of a parent or parents of a child and order that the child be placed for adoption, if the child is adjudged a dependent child of the court based on a finding that the child has suffered, or there is a substantial risk that the child will suffer, specified harm or abuse. Existing law provides for the creation of a child and family team, which may include family members, certain professionals, or other individuals, who are convened by the county placing agency to provide input regarding the placementbegin delete ofend deletebegin insert of,end insert and servicesbegin delete toend deletebegin insert to,end insert a dependent child, as part of his or her case plan within child welfare services. Existing law authorizes the court, in an adoption proceeding for the dependent child, with the consent of the prospective adoptive parent or parents of the child, to include in the final adoption order provisions for the adoptive parent or parents to facilitate postadoptive contact between the child and his or her sibling, as specified.

This bill would require a court, in an adoption proceeding for a dependent child, to order the convening of a child and family teambegin delete meeting,end deletebegin insert meeting regarding postadoptive contact with the siblings of the child, unless the court finds that such a meeting may be detrimental to the child. The bill would require the meeting to beend insert attended by at least a facilitator, the siblings or their respective caregivers, as specified, and the prospective adoptive parent or parents. The bill would require the participants of the meeting to decide whether to voluntarily enter into a postadoptive sibling contact agreement, as specified, before the adoption is finalized. By requiring new duties of local county officials, this bill would impose a state-mandated local program.

Existing law requires a juvenile court, in the case of a minor declared a ward and ordered to be placed in foster care, and where the minor has continuing involvement with his or her parents or legal guardians, to include in its order placing the minor in a permanent placement a specification of the nature and frequency of visiting arrangements with the parents or legal guardians.

This bill would expand this provision to also apply to visiting arrangements with siblings of the minor.

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 no reimbursement is required by this act for a specified reason.

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

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

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SECTION 1.  

Section 366.29 of the Welfare and Institutions
2Code
is amended to read:

3

366.29.  

(a) When a court, pursuant to Section 366.26, orders
4that a dependent child be placed for adoption, nothing in the
5adoption laws of this state shall be construed to prevent the
6prospective adoptive parent or parents of the child from expressing
7a willingness to facilitate postadoptive sibling contact. With the
8consent of the adoptive parent or parents, the court may include
9in the final adoption order provisions for the adoptive parent or
10parents to facilitate postadoptive sibling contact. In no event shall
11the continuing validity of the adoption be contingent upon the
P3    1postadoptive contact, nor shall the ability of the adoptive parent
2or parents and the child to change residence within or outside the
3state be impaired by the order for contact.

4(b) begin deleteThe end deletebegin insertUnless the court finds that such a meeting may be
5detrimental to the child, the end insert
court shall order the convening of a
6meeting of a child and family team, as defined in subdivision (a)
7of Section 16501, regarding postadoptive contact with the siblings
8of the child, including, but not limited to, siblings under the court’s
9jurisdiction. A sibling 12 years of age or older may represent
10himself or herself at the meeting. A sibling under 12 years of age
11shall be represented by his or her caregiver. The meeting shall be
12attended by at least a facilitator, the siblings or their respective
13caregivers on the basis of age, and the prospective adoptive parent
14or parents. The participants of the meeting shall decide whether
15to voluntarily enter into a postadoptive sibling contact agreement,
16pursuant to this section and Section 8616.5 of the Family Code,
17before the adoption is finalized.

18(c) If, following entry of an order for sibling contact pursuant
19to subdivision (a), it is determined by the adoptive parent or parents
20that sibling contact poses a threat to the health, safety, or well-being
21of the adopted child, the adoptive parent or parents may terminate
22the sibling contact, provided that the adoptive parent or parents
23shall submit written notification to the court within 10 days after
24terminating the contact, which notification shall specify to the
25court the reasons why the health, safety, or well-being of the
26adopted child would be threatened by continued sibling contact.

27(d) Upon the granting of the adoption petition and the issuing
28of the order of adoption of a child who is a dependent of the
29juvenile court, the jurisdiction of the juvenile court with respect
30to the dependency proceedings of that child shall be terminated.
31Nonetheless, the court granting the petition of adoption shall
32maintain jurisdiction over the child for enforcement of the
33postadoption contact agreement. The court may only order
34compliance with the postadoption contact agreement upon a finding
35of both of the following:

36(1) The party seeking the enforcement participated, in good
37faith, in mediation or other appropriate alternative dispute
38resolution proceedings regarding the conflict, prior to the filing of
39the enforcement action.

40(2) The enforcement is in the best interest of the child.

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SEC. 2.  

Section 727.3 of the Welfare and Institutions Code is
2amended to read:

3

727.3.  

The purpose of this section is to provide a means to
4monitor the safety and well-being of every minor in foster care
5who has been declared a ward of the juvenile court pursuant to
6Section 601 or 602 and to ensure that everything reasonably
7possible is done to facilitate the safe and early return of the minor
8to his or her own home or to establish an alternative permanent
9plan for the minor.

10(a) (1) For every minor declared a ward and ordered to be
11placed in foster care, a permanency planning hearing shall be
12conducted within 12 months of the date the minor entered foster
13care, as defined in paragraph (4) of subdivision (d) of Section
14727.4. Subsequent permanency planning hearings shall be
15conducted periodically, but no less frequently than once every 12
16months thereafter during the period of placement. It shall be the
17duty of the probation officer to prepare a written social study report
18including an updated case plan and a recommendation for a
19permanent plan, pursuant to subdivision (c) of Section 706.5, and
20submit the report to the court prior to each permanency planning
21hearing, pursuant to subdivision (b) of Section 727.4.

22(2) Prior to any permanency planning hearing involving a minor
23in the physical custody of a community care facility or foster family
24agency, the facility or agency may file with the court a report
25containing its recommendations, in addition to the probation
26officer’s social study. Prior to any permanency planning hearing
27involving the physical custody of a foster parent, relative caregiver,
28preadoptive parent, or legal guardian, that person may present to
29the court a report containing his or her recommendations. The
30court shall consider all reports and recommendations filed pursuant
31to this subdivision.

32(3) If the minor has a continuing involvement with his or her
33parents or legal guardians, the parents or legal guardians shall be
34involved in the planning for a permanent placement. The court
35order placing the minor in a permanent placement shall include a
36specification of the nature and frequency of visiting arrangements
37with thebegin delete parents, legal guardians, orend deletebegin insert parents or legal guardians
38and, if any, theend insert
siblings.

39(4) At each permanency planning hearing, the court shall order
40a permanent plan for the minor, as described in subdivision (b).
P5    1The court shall also make findings, as described in subdivision (e)
2of Section 727.2. In the case of a minor who has reached 16 years
3of age or older, the court shall, in addition, determine the services
4needed to assist the minor to make the transition from foster care
5to successful adulthood. The court shall make all of these
6determinations on a case-by-case basis and make reference to the
7probation officer’s report, the case plan, or other evidence relied
8upon in making its decisions.

9(5) When the minor is 16 years of age or older, and is in another
10planned permanent living arrangement, the court, at each
11permanency planning hearing, shall do all of the following:

12(A) Ask the minor about his or her desired permanency outcome.

13(B) Make a judicial determination explaining why, as of the
14hearing date, another planned permanent living arrangement is the
15best permanency plan for the minor.

16(C) State for the record the compelling reason or reasons why
17it continues not to be in the best interest of the minor to return
18home, be placed for adoption, be placed with a legal guardian, or
19be placed with a fit and willing relative.

20(b) At all permanency planning hearings, the court shall
21determine the permanent plan for the minor. The court shall order
22one of the following permanent plans,begin delete which are,end delete in order of
23priority:

24(1) Return of the minor to the physical custody of the parent or
25legal guardian. After considering the admissible and relevant
26evidence, the court shall order the return of the minor to the
27physical custody of his or her parent or legal guardian unless:

28(A) Reunification services were not offered, pursuant to
29subdivision (b) of Section 727.2.

30(B) The court finds, by a preponderance of the evidence, that
31the return of the minor to his or her parent or legal guardian would
32create a substantial risk of detriment to the safety, protection, or
33physical or emotional well-being of the minor. The probation
34department shall have the burden of establishing that detriment.
35In making its determination, the court shall review and consider
36 the social study report and recommendations pursuant to Section
37706.5, the report and recommendations of any child advocate
38appointed for the minor in the case, and any other reports submitted
39pursuant to paragraph (2) of subdivision (a), and shall consider
40the efforts or progress, or both, demonstrated by the minor and
P6    1family and the extent to which the minor availed himself or herself
2of the services provided.

3(2) Order that the permanent plan for the minor will be to return
4the minor to the physical custody of the parent or legal guardian,
5order further reunification services to be provided to the minor
6and his or her parent or legal guardian for a period not to exceed
7six months and continue the case for up to six months for a
8subsequent permanency planning hearing, provided that the
9subsequent hearing shall occur within 18 months of the date the
10minor was originally taken from the physical custody of his or her
11parent or legal guardian. The court shall continue the case only if
12it finds that there is a substantial probability that the minor will be
13returned to the physical custody of his or her parent or legal
14guardian and safely maintained in the home within the extended
15period of time or that reasonable services have not been provided
16to the parent or guardian. For purposes of this section, in order to
17find that there is a substantial probability that the minor will be
18returned to the physical custody of his or her parent or legal
19guardian, the court shall be required to find that the minor and his
20or her parent or legal guardian have demonstrated the capacity and
21ability to complete the objectives of the case plan.

22The court shall inform the parent or legal guardian that if the
23minor cannot be returned home by the next permanency planning
24hearing, a proceeding pursuant to Section 727.31 may be initiated.

25The court shall not continue the case for further reunification
26services if it has been 18 months or more since the date the minor
27was originally taken from the physical custody of his or her parent
28or legal guardian.

29(3) Identify adoption as the permanent plan and order that a
30hearing be held within 120 days, pursuant to the procedures
31described in Section 727.31. The court shall only set a hearing
32pursuant to Section 727.31 if there is clear and convincing evidence
33that reasonable services have been provided or offered to the
34parents. When the court sets a hearing pursuant to Section 727.31,
35it shall order that an adoption assessment report be prepared,
36pursuant to subdivision (b) of Section 727.31.

37(4) Order a legal guardianship, pursuant to procedures described
38in subdivisions (c) to (f), inclusive, of Section 728.

39(5) Place the minor with a fit and willing relative. “Placement
40with a fit and willing relative” means placing the minor with an
P7    1appropriate approved relative who is willing to provide a permanent
2and stable home for the minor, but is unable or unwilling to become
3the legal guardian. When a minor is placed with a fit and willing
4relative, the court may authorize the relative to provide the same
5legal consent for the minor’s medical, surgical, and dental care,
6and education as the custodial parent of the minor.

7(6) (A) If he or she is 16 years of age or older, place the minor
8in another planned permanent living arrangement. For purposes
9of this section, “planned permanent living arrangement” means
10any permanent living arrangement described in Section 11402 that
11is ordered by the court for a minor 16 years of age or older when
12there is a compelling reason or reasons to determine that it is not
13in the best interest of the minor to have any permanent plan listed
14in paragraphs (1) to (5), inclusive. These plans include, but are not
15limited to, placement in a specific, identified foster family home,
16program, or facility on a permanent basis, or placement in a
17transitional housing placement facility. When the court places a
18minor in a planned permanent living arrangement, the court shall
19specify the goal of the placement, which may include, but shall
20not be limited to, return home, emancipation, guardianship, or
21permanent placement with a relative.

22The court shall only order that the minor remain in a planned
23permanent living arrangement if the court finds by clear and
24convincing evidence, based upon the evidence already presented
25tobegin delete itend deletebegin insert it,end insert that there is a compelling reason, as defined in subdivision
26(c), for determining that a plan of termination of parental rights
27and adoption is not in the best interest of the minor.

28(B) If the minor is under 16 years of age and the court finds by
29clear and convincing evidence, based upon the evidence already
30presented to it, that there is a compelling reason, as defined in
31subdivision (c), for determining that a plan of termination of
32parental rights and adoption is not in the best interest of the minor
33as of the hearing date, the court shall order the minor to remain in
34a foster care placement with a permanent plan of return home,
35adoption, legal guardianship, or placement with a fit and willing
36relative, as appropriate. The court shall make factual findings
37identifying any barriers to achieving the permanent plan as of the
38hearing date.

P8    1(c) A compelling reason for determining that a plan of
2termination of parental rights and adoption is not in the best interest
3of the minor is any of the following:

4(1) Documentation by the probation department that adoption
5is not in the best interest of the minor and is not an appropriate
6permanency goal. That documentation may include, but is not
7limited to, documentation that:

8(A) The minor is 12 years of age or older and objects to
9termination of parental rights.

10(B) The minor is 17 years of age or older and specifically
11requests that transition to independent living with the identification
12of a caring adult to serve as a lifelong connection be established
13as his or her permanent plan. On and after January 1, 2012, this
14includes a minor who requests that his or her transitional
15independent living case plan include modification of his or her
16jurisdiction to that of dependency jurisdiction pursuant to
17subdivision (b) of Section 607.2 or subdivision (i) of Section 727.2,
18or to that of transition jurisdiction pursuant to Section 450, in order
19to be eligible as a nonminor dependent for the extended benefits
20pursuant to Section 11403.

21(C) The parent or guardian and the minor have a significant
22bond, but the parent or guardian is unable to care for the minor
23because of an emotional or physical disability, and the minor’s
24caregiver has committed to raising the minor to the age of majority
25and facilitating visitation with the disabled parent or guardian.

26(D) The minor agrees to continued placement in a residential
27treatment facility that provides services specifically designed to
28address the minor’s treatment needs, and the minor’s needs could
29not be served by a less restrictive placement.

30The probation department’s recommendation that adoption is
31not in the best interest of the minor shall be based on the present
32family circumstances of the minor and shall not preclude a different
33recommendation at a later date if the minor’s family circumstances
34change.

35(2) Documentation by the probation department that no grounds
36exist to file for termination of parental rights.

37(3) Documentation by the probation department that the minor
38is an unaccompanied refugee minor, or there are international legal
39obligations or foreign policy reasons that would preclude
40terminating parental rights.

P9    1(4) A finding by the court that the probation department was
2required to make reasonable efforts to reunify the minor with the
3family pursuant to subdivision (a) of Section 727.2, and did not
4make those efforts.

5(5) Documentation by the probation department that the minor
6is living with a relative who is unable or unwilling to adopt the
7minor because of exceptional circumstances that do not include
8an unwillingness to accept legal or financial responsibility for the
9minor, but who is willingbegin insert to provide,end insert and capable ofbegin delete providingend delete
10begin insert providing,end insert the minor with a stable and permanent home
11environment, and the removal of the minor from the physical
12custody of his or her relative would be detrimental to the minor’s
13emotional well-being.

14(d) Nothing in this section shall be construed to limit the ability
15of a parent to voluntarily relinquish his or her child to the State
16Department of Social Services when it is acting as an adoption
17agency or to a county adoption agency at any time while the minor
18is a ward of the juvenile court if the department or county adoption
19agency is willing to accept the relinquishment.

20(e) Any change in the permanent plan of a minor placed with a
21fit and willing relative or in a planned permanent living
22arrangement shall be made only by order of the court pursuant to
23abegin insert petition filed in accordance withend insert Section 778begin delete petitionend delete or at a
24regularly scheduled and noticed status review hearing or
25permanency planning hearing. Any change in the permanent plan
26of a minor placed in a guardianship shall be made only by order
27of the court pursuant to a motion filed in accordance with Section
28728.

29

SEC. 3.  

To the extent that this act has an overall effect of
30increasing the costs already borne by a local agency for programs
31or levels of service mandated by the 2011 Realignment Legislation
32within the meaning of Section 36 of Article XIII of the California
33Constitution, it shall apply to local agencies only to the extent that
34the state provides annual funding for the cost increase. Any new
35program or higher level of service provided by a local agency
36pursuant to this act above the level for which funding has been
37provided shall not require a subvention of funds by the state nor
P10   1otherwise be subject to Section 6 of Article XIII B of the California
2Constitution.



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