Amended in Senate May 31, 2016

Amended in Senate April 19, 2016

Senate BillNo. 1060


Introduced by Senator Leno

(Coauthors: Senators Allen and McGuire)

(Coauthors: Assembly Members Brown, Chiu, Chu,begin insert Cristina end insertbegin insertGarcia,end insert Linder, Lopez, McCarty, and Williams)

February 16, 2016


An act tobegin insert amend Section 8616.5 of the Family Code, and toend insert amend Sectionsbegin delete 366.29 and 727.3end deletebegin insert 366.29, 727.3, and 16002end insert of the Welfare and Institutions Code, relating to adoption.

LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL’S DIGEST

SB 1060, as amended, Leno. Postadoption contact: siblings of dependentbegin delete children.end deletebegin insert children or wards.end insert

begin delete

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 placement of, and services to, 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.

end delete
begin delete

This bill would require a court, in an adoption proceeding for a dependent child, to order the convening of a child and family team 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 be 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.

end delete
begin insert

Existing law provides that a minor may be adjudged a dependent child or a ward of the juvenile court under specified circumstances. Existing law authorizes the court to place a minor who has been removed from the custody of his or her parent or guardian in foster care, among other placements. Existing law allows, in an adoption proceeding, for continuing contact between the birth relatives and a child if a postadoption contact agreement is entered into voluntarily and is in the best interests of the child at the time the adoption petition is granted.

end insert
begin insert

Existing law requires, if parental rights are terminated and the court orders a dependent child or ward to be placed for adoption, the county adoption agency or the State Department of Social Services to take specified steps, with exceptions, to facilitate ongoing sibling contact, including the encouragement of prospective adoptive parents to make a plan for facilitating postadoptive contact, as specified.

end insert
begin insert

This bill would instead require the county placing agency, as part of the above steps, to the extent practicable, to convene a meeting with the child, the sibling or siblings of the child, the prospective adoptive parent or parents, and a facilitator for the purpose of deciding whether to voluntarily execute a postadoption sibling contact agreement. By requiring new duties on a county placing agency relating to meetings on postadoption sibling contact agreements, this bill would impose a state-mandated local program.

end insert
begin insert

Existing law authorizes the court, in an adoption proceeding for a 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.

end insert
begin insert

The bill would require the court to inquire into the status of the development of a voluntary postadoption sibling contact agreement at the time of consideration of an adoption petition.

end insert

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.

begin insert

This bill would also make conforming changes to related provisions.

end insert

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:

P3    1begin insert

begin insertSECTION 1.end insert  

end insert

begin insertSection 8616.5 of the end insertbegin insertFamily Codeend insertbegin insert is amended
2to read:end insert

3

8616.5.  

(a) The Legislature finds and declares that some
4adoptive children may benefit from either direct or indirect contact
5with birth relatives, including the birth parent or parentsbegin insert or any
6siblings,end insert
or an Indian tribe, after being adopted. Postadoption
7contact agreements are intended to ensure children of an achievable
8level of continuing contact when contact is beneficial to the
9children and the agreements are voluntarilybegin delete entered intoend deletebegin insert executedend insert
10 by birth relatives, including the birth parent or parentsbegin insert or any
11siblings,end insert
or an Indian tribe, and adoptive parents. Nothing in this
12section requires all of the listed parties to participate in the
13development of a postadoption contact agreement in order for the
14agreement to bebegin delete entered into.end deletebegin insert executed.end insert

15(b) (1) Nothing in the adoption laws of this state shall be
16construed to prevent the adopting parent or parents, the birth
P4    1relatives, including the birth parent or parentsbegin insert or any siblings,end insert or
2an Indian tribe, and the child from voluntarilybegin delete entering intoend delete
3begin insert executingend insert a written agreement to permit continuing contact between
4the birth relatives, including the birth parent or parentsbegin insert or any
5siblings,end insert
or an Indian tribe, and the child if the agreement is found
6by the court to have beenbegin delete entered intoend deletebegin insert executedend insert voluntarily and to
7be in the best interests of the child at the time the adoption petition
8is granted.

9(2) The terms of any postadoption contact agreement executed
10under this section shall be limited to, but need not include, all of
11the following:

12(A) Provisions for visitation between the child and a birth parent
13or parents and other birth relatives, including siblings, and the
14child’s Indian tribe if the case is governed by the Indian Child
15Welfare Act (25 U.S.C. Sec. 1901 et seq.).

16(B) Provisions for future contact between a birth parent or
17parents or other birth relatives, including siblings, or both, and the
18child or an adoptive parent, or both, and in cases governed by the
19Indian Child Welfare Act, the child’s Indian tribe.

20(C) Provisions for the sharing of information about the child in
21the future.

22(3) The terms of any postadoption contact agreement with birth
23begin delete relativesend deletebegin insert relatives, including siblings,end insert other than the child’s birth
24parent or parents shall be limited to the sharing of information
25about the child, unless the child has a preexisting relationship with
26the birth relative.

27(c) At the time an adoption decree is entered pursuant to a
28petition filed pursuant to Section 8714, 8714.5, 8802, 8912, or
299000, the court entering the decree may grant postadoption
30privileges if an agreement for those privileges has beenbegin delete entered
31into,end delete
begin insert executed,end insert including agreementsbegin delete entered intoend deletebegin insert executedend insert pursuant
32to subdivision (f) of Section 8620. The hearing to grant the
33adoption petition and issue an order of adoption may be continued
34as necessary to permit parties who are in the process of negotiating
35a postadoption agreement to reach a final agreement.

36(d) The child who is the subject of the adoption petition shall
37be considered a party to the postadoption contact agreement. The
38written consent to the terms and conditions of the postadoption
39contact agreement and any subsequent modifications of the
40agreement by a child who is 12 years of age or older is a necessary
P5    1condition to the granting of privileges regarding visitation, contact,
2or sharing of information about the child, unless the court finds
3by a preponderance of the evidence that the agreement, as written,
4is in the best interests of the child. Any child who has been found
5to come within Section 300 of the Welfare and Institutions Code
6or who is the subject of a petition for jurisdiction of the juvenile
7court under Section 300 of the Welfare and Institutions Code shall
8be represented by an attorney for purposes of consent to the
9postadoption contact agreement.

10(e) A postadoption contact agreement shall contain the following
11warnings in bold type:

12(1) After the adoption petition has been granted by the court,
13the adoption cannot be set aside due to the failure of an adopting
14parent, a birth parent, a birth relative,begin insert including a sibling,end insert an Indian
15tribe, or the child to follow the terms of this agreement or a later
16change to this agreement.

17(2) A disagreement between the parties or litigation brought to
18enforce or modify the agreement shall not affect the validity of
19the adoption and shall not serve as a basis for orders affecting the
20custody of the child.

21(3) A court will not act on a petition to change or enforce this
22agreement unless the petitioner has participated, or attempted to
23participate, in good faith in mediation or other appropriate dispute
24resolution proceedings to resolve the dispute.

25(f) Upon the granting of the adoption petition and the issuing
26of the order of adoption of a child who is a dependent of the
27juvenile court, juvenile court dependency jurisdiction shall be
28 terminated. Enforcement of the postadoption contact agreement
29shall be under the continuing jurisdiction of the court granting the
30petition of adoption. The court may not order compliance with the
31agreement absent a finding that the party seeking the enforcement
32participated, or attempted to participate, in good faith in mediation
33or other appropriate dispute resolution proceedings regarding the
34conflict, prior to the filing of the enforcement action, and that the
35enforcement is in the best interests of the child. Documentary
36evidence or offers of proof may serve as the basis for the court’s
37decision regarding enforcement. No testimony or evidentiary
38hearing shall be required. The court shall not order further
39investigation or evaluation by any public or private agency or
40individual absent a finding by clear and convincing evidence that
P6    1the best interests of the child may be protected or advanced only
2by that inquiry and that the inquiry will not disturb the stability of
3the child’s home to the detriment of the child.

4(g) The court may not award monetary damages as a result of
5the filing of the civil action pursuant to subdivisionbegin delete (e) of this
6section.end delete
begin insert (e).end insert

7(h) A postadoption contact agreement may be modified or
8terminated only if either of the following occurs:

9(1) All parties, including the child if the child is 12 years of age
10or older at the time of the requested termination or modification,
11have signed a modified postadoption contact agreement and the
12agreement is filed with the court that granted the petition of
13adoption.

14(2) The court finds all of the following:

15(A) The termination or modification is necessary to serve the
16best interests of the child.

17(B) There has been a substantial change of circumstances since
18the original agreement was executed and approved by the court.

19(C) The party seeking the termination or modification has
20participated, or attempted to participate, in good faith in mediation
21or other appropriate dispute resolution proceedings prior to seeking
22court approval of the proposed termination or modification.

23Documentary evidence or offers of proof may serve as the basis
24for the court’s decision. No testimony or evidentiary hearing shall
25be required. The court shall not order further investigation or
26evaluation by any public or private agency or individual absent a
27finding by clear and convincing evidence that the best interests of
28the child may be protected or advanced only by that inquiry and
29that the inquiry will not disturb the stability of the child’s home
30to the detriment of the child.

31(i) All costs and fees of mediation or other appropriate dispute
32resolution proceedings shall be borne by each party, excluding the
33child. All costs and fees of litigation shall be borne by the party
34filing the action to modify or enforce the agreement when no party
35has been found by the court as failing to comply with an existing
36postadoption contact agreement. Otherwise, a party, other than the
37child, found by the court as failing to comply without good cause
38with an existing agreement shall bear all the costs and fees of
39litigation.

P7    1(j) The Judicial Council shall adopt rules of court and forms for
2motions to enforce, terminate, or modify postadoption contact
3agreements.

4(k) The courtbegin delete mayend deletebegin insert shallend insert not set aside a decree of adoption,
5rescind a relinquishment, or modify an order to terminate parental
6rights or any other prior court order because of the failure of a
7birth parent, adoptive parent, birth relative,begin insert including a sibling,end insert an
8Indian tribe, or the child to comply with any or all of the original
9terms of, or subsequent modifications to, the postadoption contact
10agreement, except as follows:

11(1) Prior to issuing the order of adoption, in an adoption
12involving an Indian child, the court may, upon a petition of the
13birth parent, birth relative,begin insert including a sibling,end insert or an Indian tribe,
14order the parties to engage in family mediation services for the
15purpose of reaching a postadoption contact agreement if the
16prospective adoptive parent fails to negotiate in good faith tobegin delete enter
17intoend delete
begin insert executeend insert a postadoption contact agreement, after having agreed
18to enter into negotiations, provided that the failure of the parties
19to reach an agreement is not in and of itself proof of bad faith.

20(2) Prior to issuing the order of adoption, if the parties fail to
21negotiate in good faith tobegin delete enter intoend deletebegin insert executeend insert a postadoption contact
22agreement during the negotiations entered into pursuantbegin delete toend deletebegin insert to,end insert and
23in accordancebegin delete withend deletebegin insert with,end insert paragraph (1), the court may modify prior
24orders or issue new orders as necessary to ensure the best interest
25of the Indian child is met, including, but not limited to, requiring
26parties to engage in further family mediation services for the
27purpose of reaching a postadoption contact agreement, initiating
28guardianship proceeding in lieu of adoption, or authorizing a
29change of adoptive placement for the child.

begin insert

30
(l) As used in this section, “sibling” means a person related to
31the identified child by blood, adoption, or affinity through a
32common legal or biological parent.

end insert
33

begin deleteSECTION 1.end delete
34
begin insertSEC. 2.end insert  

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

36

366.29.  

(a) When a court, pursuant to Section 366.26, orders
37that a dependent child be placed for adoption, nothing in the
38adoption laws of this state shall be construed to prevent the
39prospective adoptive parent or parents of the child from expressing
40a willingness to facilitatebegin delete postadoptiveend deletebegin insert postadoptionend insert sibling contact.
P8    1With the consent of the adoptive parent or parents, the court may
2include in the final adoption order provisions for the adoptive
3parent or parents to facilitatebegin delete postadoptiveend deletebegin insert postadoptionend insert sibling
4contact. In no event shall the continuing validity of the adoption
5be contingent upon thebegin delete postadoptiveend deletebegin insert postadoptionend insert contact, nor
6shall the ability of the adoptive parent or parents and the child to
7change residence within or outside the state be impaired by the
8order for contact.

begin delete

9(b) Unless the court finds that such a meeting may be detrimental
10to the child, the court shall order the convening of a meeting of a
11child and family team, as defined in subdivision (a) of Section
1216501, regarding postadoptive contact with the siblings of the
13child, including, but not limited to, siblings under the court’s
14jurisdiction. A sibling 12 years of age or older may represent
15himself or herself at the meeting. A sibling under 12 years of age
16shall be represented by his or her caregiver. The meeting shall be
17attended by at least a facilitator, the siblings or their respective
18caregivers on the basis of age, and the prospective adoptive parent
19or parents. The participants of the meeting shall decide whether
20to voluntarily enter into a postadoptive sibling contact agreement,
21pursuant to this section and Section 8616.5 of the Family Code,
22before the adoption is finalized.

end delete
begin insert

23
(b) At the time of consideration of an adoption petition, the
24court shall inquire into the status of the development of a voluntary
25postadoption sibling contact agreement pursuant to subdivision
26(e) of Section 16002.

end insert

27(c) If, following entry of an order for sibling contact pursuant
28to subdivision (a), it is determined by the adoptive parent or parents
29that sibling contact poses a threat to the health, safety, or well-being
30of the adopted child, the adoptive parent or parents may terminate
31the sibling contact, provided that the adoptive parent or parents
32shall submit written notification to the court within 10 days after
33terminating the contact, which notification shall specify to the
34court the reasons why the health, safety, or well-being of the
35adopted child would be threatened by continued sibling contact.

36(d) Upon the granting of the adoption petition and the issuing
37of the order of adoption of a child who is a dependent of the
38juvenile court, the jurisdiction of the juvenile court with respect
39to the dependency proceedings of that child shall be terminated.
40Nonetheless, the court granting the petition of adoption shall
P9    1maintain jurisdiction over the child for enforcement of the
2postadoption contact agreement. The court may only order
3compliance with the postadoption contact agreement upon a finding
4of both of the following:

5(1) The party seeking the enforcement participated, in good
6faith, in mediation or other appropriate alternative dispute
7resolution proceedings regarding the conflict, prior to the filing of
8the enforcement action.

9(2) The enforcement is in the best interest of the child.

10

begin deleteSEC. 2.end delete
11
begin insertSEC. 3.end insert  

Section 727.3 of the Welfare and Institutions Code is
12amended to read:

13

727.3.  

The purpose of this section is to provide a means to
14monitor the safety and well-being of every minor in foster care
15who has been declared a ward of the juvenile court pursuant to
16Section 601 or 602 and to ensure that everything reasonably
17possible is done to facilitate the safe and early return of the minor
18to his or her own home or to establish an alternative permanent
19plan for the minor.

20(a) (1) For every minor declared a ward and ordered to be
21placed in foster care, a permanency planning hearing shall be
22conducted within 12 months of the date the minor entered foster
23care, as defined in paragraph (4) of subdivision (d) of Section
24727.4. Subsequent permanency planning hearings shall be
25 conducted periodically, but no less frequently than once every 12
26months thereafter during the period of placement. It shall be the
27duty of the probation officer to prepare a written social study report
28including an updated case plan and a recommendation for a
29permanent plan, pursuant to subdivision (c) of Section 706.5, and
30submit the report to the court prior to each permanency planning
31hearing, pursuant to subdivision (b) of Section 727.4.

32(2) Prior to any permanency planning hearing involving a minor
33in the physical custody of a community care facility or foster family
34agency, the facility or agency may file with the court a report
35containing its recommendations, in addition to the probation
36officer’s social study. Prior to any permanency planning hearing
37involving the physical custody of a foster parent, relative caregiver,
38preadoptive parent, or legal guardian, that person may present to
39the court a report containing his or her recommendations. The
P10   1court shall consider all reports and recommendations filed pursuant
2to this subdivision.

3(3) If the minor has a continuing involvement with his or her
4parents or legal guardians, the parents or legal guardians shall be
5involved in the planning for a permanent placement. The court
6order placing the minor in a permanent placement shall include a
7specification of the nature and frequency of visiting arrangements
8with the parents or legal guardians and, if any, the siblings.

9(4) At each permanency planning hearing, the court shall order
10a permanent plan for the minor, as described in subdivision (b).
11The court shall also make findings, as described in subdivision (e)
12of Section 727.2. In the case of a minor who has reached 16 years
13of age or older, the court shall, in addition, determine the services
14needed to assist the minor to make the transition from foster care
15to successful adulthood. The court shall make all of these
16determinations on a case-by-case basis and make reference to the
17probation officer’s report, the case plan, or other evidence relied
18upon in making its decisions.

19(5) When the minor is 16 years of age or older, and is in another
20planned permanent living arrangement, the court, at each
21permanency planning hearing, shall do all of the following:

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

23(B) Make a judicial determination explaining why, as of the
24hearing date, another planned permanent living arrangement is the
25best permanency plan for the minor.

26(C) State for the record the compelling reason or reasons why
27it continues not to be in the best interest of the minor to return
28home, be placed for adoption, be placed with a legal guardian, or
29be placed with a fit and willing relative.

30(b) At all permanency planning hearings, the court shall
31determine the permanent plan for the minor. The court shall order
32one of the following permanent plans, in order of priority:

33(1) Return of the minor to the physical custody of the parent or
34legal guardian. After considering the admissible and relevant
35evidence, the court shall order the return of the minor to the
36physical custody of his or her parent or legal guardian unless:

37(A) Reunification services were not offered, pursuant to
38subdivision (b) of Section 727.2.

39(B) The court finds, by a preponderance of the evidence, that
40the return of the minor to his or her parent or legal guardian would
P11   1create a substantial risk of detriment to the safety, protection, or
2physical or emotional well-being of the minor. The probation
3department shall have the burden of establishing that detriment.
4In making its determination, the court shall review and consider
5 the social study report and recommendations pursuant to Section
6706.5, the report and recommendations of any child advocate
7appointed for the minor in the case, and any other reports submitted
8pursuant to paragraph (2) of subdivision (a), and shall consider
9the efforts or progress, or both, demonstrated by the minor and
10family and the extent to which the minor availed himself or herself
11of the services provided.

12(2) Order that the permanent plan for the minor will be to return
13the minor to the physical custody of the parent or legal guardian,
14order further reunification services to be provided to the minor
15and his or her parent or legal guardian for a period not to exceed
16six months and continue the case for up to six months for a
17subsequent permanency planning hearing, provided that the
18subsequent hearing shall occur within 18 months of the date the
19minor was originally taken from the physical custody of his or her
20parent or legal guardian. The court shall continue the case only if
21it finds that there is a substantial probability that the minor will be
22returned to the physical custody of his or her parent or legal
23guardian and safely maintained in the home within the extended
24period of time or that reasonable services have not been provided
25to the parent or guardian. For purposes of this section, in order to
26find that there is a substantial probability that the minor will be
27returned to the physical custody of his or her parent or legal
28guardian, the court shall be required to find that the minor and his
29or her parent or legal guardian have demonstrated the capacity and
30ability to complete the objectives of the case plan.

31The court shall inform the parent or legal guardian that if the
32minor cannot be returned home by the next permanency planning
33hearing, a proceeding pursuant to Section 727.31 may be initiated.

34The court shall not continue the case for further reunification
35services if it has been 18 months or more since the date the minor
36was originally taken from the physical custody of his or her parent
37or legal guardian.

38(3) Identify adoption as the permanent plan and order that a
39hearing be held within 120 days, pursuant to the procedures
40described in Section 727.31. The court shall only set a hearing
P12   1pursuant to Section 727.31 if there is clear and convincing evidence
2that reasonable services have been provided or offered to the
3parents. When the court sets a hearing pursuant to Section 727.31,
4it shall order that an adoption assessment report be prepared,
5pursuant to subdivision (b) of Section 727.31.

6(4) Order a legal guardianship, pursuant to procedures described
7in subdivisions (c) to (f), inclusive, of Section 728.

8(5) Place the minor with a fit and willing relative. “Placement
9with a fit and willing relative” means placing the minor with an
10appropriate approved relative who is willing to provide a permanent
11and stable home for the minor, but is unable or unwilling to become
12the legal guardian. When a minor is placed with a fit and willing
13relative, the court may authorize the relative to provide the same
14legal consent for the minor’s medical, surgical, and dental care,
15and education as the custodial parent of the minor.

16(6) (A) If he or she is 16 years of age or older, place the minor
17in another planned permanent living arrangement. For purposes
18of this section, “planned permanent living arrangement” means
19any permanent living arrangement described in Section 11402 that
20is ordered by the court for a minor 16 years of age or older when
21there is a compelling reason or reasons to determine that it is not
22in the best interest of the minor to have any permanent plan listed
23in paragraphs (1) to (5), inclusive. These plans include, but are not
24limited to, placement in a specific, identified foster family home,
25program, or facility on a permanent basis, or placement in a
26transitional housing placement facility. When the court places a
27minor in a planned permanent living arrangement, the court shall
28specify the goal of the placement, which may include, but shall
29not be limited to, return home, emancipation, guardianship, or
30permanent placement with a relative.

31The court shall only order that the minor remain in a planned
32permanent living arrangement if the court finds by clear and
33convincing evidence, based upon the evidence already presented
34to it, that there is a compelling reason, as defined in subdivision
35(c), for determining that a plan of termination of parental rights
36and adoption is not in the best interest of the minor.

37(B) If the minor is under 16 years of age and the court finds by
38clear and convincing evidence, based upon the evidence already
39presented to it, that there is a compelling reason, as defined in
40subdivision (c), for determining that a plan of termination of
P13   1parental rights and adoption is not in the best interest of the minor
2as of the hearing date, the court shall order the minor to remain in
3a foster care placement with a permanent plan of return home,
4adoption, legal guardianship, or placement with a fit and willing
5relative, as appropriate. The court shall make factual findings
6identifying any barriers to achieving the permanent plan as of the
7hearing date.

8(c) A compelling reason for determining that a plan of
9termination of parental rights and adoption is not in the best interest
10of the minor is any of the following:

11(1) Documentation by the probation department that adoption
12is not in the best interest of the minor and is not an appropriate
13permanency goal. That documentation may include, but is not
14limited to, documentation that:

15(A) The minor is 12 years of age or older and objects to
16termination of parental rights.

17(B) The minor is 17 years of age or older and specifically
18requests that transition to independent living with the identification
19of a caring adult to serve as a lifelong connection be established
20as his or her permanent plan. On and after January 1, 2012, this
21includes a minor who requests that his or her transitional
22independent living case plan include modification of his or her
23jurisdiction to that of dependency jurisdiction pursuant to
24subdivision (b) of Section 607.2 or subdivision (i) of Section 727.2,
25or to that of transition jurisdiction pursuant to Section 450, in order
26to be eligible as a nonminor dependent for the extended benefits
27pursuant to Section 11403.

28(C) The parent or guardian and the minor have a significant
29bond, but the parent or guardian is unable to care for the minor
30because of an emotional or physical disability, and the minor’s
31caregiver has committed to raising the minor to the age of majority
32and facilitating visitation with the disabled parent or guardian.

33(D) The minor agrees to continued placement in a residential
34treatment facility that provides services specifically designed to
35address the minor’s treatment needs, and the minor’s needs could
36not be served by a less restrictive placement.

37The probation department’s recommendation that adoption is
38not in the best interest of the minor shall be based on the present
39family circumstances of the minor and shall not preclude a different
P14   1recommendation at a later date if the minor’s family circumstances
2change.

3(2) Documentation by the probation department that no grounds
4exist to file for termination of parental rights.

5(3) Documentation by the probation department that the minor
6is an unaccompanied refugee minor, or there are international legal
7obligations or foreign policy reasons that would preclude
8terminating parental rights.

9(4) A finding by the court that the probation department was
10required to make reasonable efforts to reunify the minor with the
11family pursuant to subdivision (a) of Section 727.2, and did not
12make those efforts.

13(5) Documentation by the probation department that the minor
14is living with a relative who is unable or unwilling to adopt the
15minor because of exceptional circumstances that do not include
16an unwillingness to accept legal or financial responsibility for the
17minor, but who is willing to provide, and capable of providing,
18the minor with a stable and permanent home environment, and the
19removal of the minor from the physical custody of his or her
20relative would be detrimental to the minor’s emotional well-being.

21(d) Nothing in this section shall be construed to limit the ability
22of a parent to voluntarily relinquish his or her child to the State
23Department of Social Services when it is acting as an adoption
24agency or to a county adoption agency at any time while the minor
25is a ward of the juvenile court if the department or county adoption
26agency is willing to accept the relinquishment.

27(e) Any change in the permanent plan of a minor placed with a
28fit and willing relative or in a planned permanent living
29arrangement shall be made only by order of the court pursuant to
30a petition filed in accordance with Section 778 or at a regularly
31scheduled and noticed status review hearing or permanency
32planning hearing. Any change in the permanent plan of a minor
33placed in a guardianship shall be made only by order of the court
34pursuant to a motion filed in accordance with Section 728.

35begin insert

begin insertSEC. 4.end insert  

end insert

begin insertSection 16002 of the end insertbegin insertWelfare and Institutions Codeend insertbegin insert is
36amended to read:end insert

37

16002.  

(a) (1) It is the intent of the Legislature to maintain
38the continuity of the family unit, and ensure the preservation and
39strengthening of the child’s family ties by ensuring that when
40siblings have been removed from their home, either as a group on
P15   1one occurrence or individually on separate occurrences, the siblings
2will be placed in foster care together, unless it has been determined
3that placement together is contrary to the safety or well-being of
4any sibling. The Legislature recognizes that in order to ensure the
5placement of a sibling group in the same foster care placement,
6placement resources need to be expanded.

7(2) It is also the intent of the Legislature to preserve and
8strengthen a child’s sibling relationship so that when a child has
9been removed from his or her home and he or she has a sibling or
10siblings who remain in the custody of a mutual parent subject to
11the court’s jurisdiction, the court has the authority to develop a
12visitation plan for the siblings, unless it has been determined that
13visitation is contrary to the safety or well-being of any sibling.

14(b) The responsible local agency shall make a diligent effort in
15all out-of-home placements of dependent children and wards in
16foster care, including those with relatives, to place siblings together
17in the same placement, and to develop and maintain sibling
18relationships. If siblings are not placed together in the same home,
19the social worker or probation officer shall explain why the siblings
20are not placed together and what efforts he or she is making to
21place the siblings together or why making those efforts would be
22contrary to the safety and well-being of any of the siblings. When
23placement of siblings together in the same home is not possible,
24a diligent effort shall be made, and a case plan prepared, to provide
25for ongoing and frequent interaction among siblings until family
26reunification is achieved, or, if parental rights are terminated, as
27part of developing the permanent plan for the child. If the court
28determines by clear and convincing evidence that sibling interaction
29is contrary to the safety and well-being of any of the siblings, the
30reasons for the determination shall be noted in the court order, and
31interaction shall be suspended.

32(c) When there has been a judicial suspension of sibling
33interaction, the reasons for the suspension shall be reviewed at
34each periodic review hearing pursuant to Section 366 or 727.3. In
35order for the suspension to continue, the court shall make a renewed
36finding that sibling interaction is contrary to the safety or
37well-being of either child. When the court determines that sibling
38interaction can be safely resumed, that determination shall be noted
39in the court order and the case plan shall be revised to provide for
40sibling interaction.

P16   1(d) If the case plan for the child has provisions for sibling
2interaction, the child, or his or her parent or legal guardian, shall
3have the right to comment on those provisions. If a person wishes
4to assert a sibling relationship with a dependent child or ward, he
5or she may file a petition in the juvenile court having jurisdiction
6over the dependent child pursuant to subdivision (b) of Section
7388 or the ward in foster care pursuant to Section 778.

8(e) If parental rights are terminated and the court orders a
9dependent child or ward to be placed for adoption, the county
10adoption agency or the State Department of Social Services shall
11take all of the following steps to facilitate ongoing sibling contact,
12except in those cases provided in subdivision (b) where the court
13determines by clear and convincing evidence that sibling interaction
14is contrary to the safety or well-being of the child:

15(1) Include in training provided to prospective adoptive parents
16information about the importance of sibling relationships to the
17adopted child and counseling on methods for maintaining sibling
18relationships.

19(2) Provide prospective adoptive parents with information about
20siblings of the child, except the address where the siblings of the
21children reside. However, this address may be disclosed by court
22order for good cause shown.

begin delete

23(3) Encourage prospective adoptive parents to make a plan for
24facilitating postadoptive contact between the child who is the
25subject of a petition for adoption and any siblings of this child.

end delete
begin insert

26
(3) To the extent practicable, the county placing agency shall
27convene a meeting with the child, the sibling or siblings of the
28child, the prospective adoptive parent or parents, and a facilitator
29for the purpose of deciding whether to voluntarily execute a
30postadoption sibling contact agreement pursuant to Section 8616.5
31of the Family Code. Counsel to the child and counsel to the siblings
32who are dependents of the court shall be notified of, and may
33attend, the meeting.

end insert

34(f) Information regarding sibling interaction, contact, or
35visitation that has been authorized or ordered by the court shall be
36provided to the foster parent, relative caretaker, or legal guardian
37of the child as soon as possible after the court order is made, in
38order to facilitate the interaction, contact, or visitation.

P17   1(g) As used in this section, “sibling” means a person related to
2the identified child by blood, adoption, or affinity through a
3common legal or biological parent.

4(h) The court documentation on sibling placements required
5under this section shall not require the modification of existing
6court order forms until the Child Welfare Services/Case
7Management System (CWS/CMS) is implemented on a statewide
8basis.

9

begin deleteSEC. 3.end delete
10
begin insertSEC. 5.end insert  

To the extent that this act has an overall effect of
11increasing the costs already borne by a local agency for programs
12or levels of service mandated by the 2011 Realignment Legislation
13within the meaning of Section 36 of Article XIII of the California
14Constitution, it shall apply to local agencies only to the extent that
15the state provides annual funding for the cost increase. Any new
16program or higher level of service provided by a local agency
17pursuant to this act above the level for which funding has been
18provided shall not require a subvention of funds by the state nor
19otherwise be subject to Section 6 of Article XIII B of the California
20Constitution.



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