BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    



          SENATE COMMITTEE ON APPROPRIATIONS
                             Senator Ricardo Lara, Chair
                            2015 - 2016  Regular  Session

          SB 1060 (Leno) - Postadoption contact:  siblings of dependent  
          children
          
           ----------------------------------------------------------------- 
          |                                                                 |
          |                                                                 |
          |                                                                 |
           ----------------------------------------------------------------- 
          |--------------------------------+--------------------------------|
          |                                |                                |
          |Version: April 19, 2016         |Policy Vote: JUD. 6 - 0         |
          |                                |                                |
          |--------------------------------+--------------------------------|
          |                                |                                |
          |Urgency: No                     |Mandate: Yes                    |
          |                                |                                |
          |--------------------------------+--------------------------------|
          |                                |                                |
          |Hearing Date: May 9, 2016       |Consultant: Jolie Onodera       |
          |                                |                                |
           ----------------------------------------------------------------- 


          This bill meets the criteria for referral to the Suspense File.


          Bill  
          Summary:  SB 1060 would require a court in an adoption  
          proceeding for a dependent child to order the convening of a  
          child and family team (CFT) meeting, unless otherwise specified  
          by the court, regarding postadoptive contact with the siblings  
          of the child. This bill would require the court to additionally  
          include in its order for permanent placement of a ward of the  
          juvenile court, a specification of the nature and frequency of  
          visiting arrangements with siblings of the ward.


          Fiscal  
          Impact:  
            CFT meetings  :  Potentially significant increase in state costs  
            (General Fund*) for additional CFT meetings. Estimated costs  
            assuming only 50 percent of the 6,400 annual dependent  
            adoptions require a CFT meeting could cost in the range of  
            $850,000 to over $1.7 million annually based on the average  
            duration of 3.7 hours per CFT meeting and the attendance of  







          SB 1060 (Leno)                                         Page 1 of  
          ?
          
          
            one or two local agency representatives. These costs do not  
            include any additional time CFT members may incur to identify  
            and notify non-dependent siblings to coordinate these  
            meetings. Actual costs could be substantially higher to the  
            extent the proportion of dependents with siblings is higher  
            than assumed above, or more than two CFT members representing  
            local agencies are in attendance at the meeting.  
            Sibling visitation  :  Potentially significant increase in state  
            costs (General Fund*) for local agencies to facilitate  
            additional sibling visits for dependent siblings of adopted  
            minors resulting from postadoptive sibling contact agreements.  
            Annual costs would be dependent on numerous factors that are  
            unknown at this time, including but not limited to the number  
            of adopted children with dependent siblings for which  
            postadoptive sibling contact agreements will be ordered, the  
            frequency of visits provided for in the agreements, and the  
            time involved for the social worker to provide for this  
            sibling visitation in each case (distance and duration). 
            Court impact  :  Minor workload impact and potentially future  
            cost savings to the extent the CFT meetings result in less  
            time spent during the court hearing on sibling visitation  
            issues.
            Proposition 30*  :  Exempts the State from mandate reimbursement  
            for realigned responsibilities for "public safety services"  
            including the provision of child welfare services, however,  
            legislation enacted after September 30, 2012, that has an  
            overall effect of increasing the costs already borne by a  
            local agency for public safety services apply to local  
            agencies only to the extent that the State provides annual  
            funding for the cost increase. The provisions of Proposition  
            30 have not been interpreted through the formal court process  
            to date, however, to the extent the local agency costs  
            resulting from this measure are determined to be applicable  
            under the provisions of Proposition 30 could result in  
            additional costs to the State.


          Background:  Existing law provides for the formation of "child and family  
          teams," convened by the placing agency to engage the child, the  
          child's family, and other people important to the family and  
          child in meeting the goals of safety, permanency, and well-being  
          of the child. The CFT provides input into the development of a  
          child and family plan that is strengths-based, needs-driven, and  
          culturally relevant. The CFT additionally provides input into  
          the placement decision made by the placing agency and the  







          SB 1060 (Leno)                                         Page 2 of  
          ?
          
          
          services to be provided in order to support the child or youth.  
          (Welfare and Institutions Code  16501.) 
          This bill would require the court, in adoption proceedings for a  
          dependent child, to order the convening of a CFT meeting with  
          attendance at a minimum to include the prospective adoptive  
          parent(s), the siblings (or their caretakers) of the child, and  
          an adoption facilitator, to decide whether to voluntarily enter  
          into a postadoptive sibling contact agreement before the  
          adoption is finalized.    


          A postadoptive contact agreement provides for contact between a  
          child and his or her birth parents and other birth relatives,  
          including siblings. Postadoption contact agreements are intended  
          to ensure children maintain an achievable level of continuing  
          contact when contact is beneficial to the child, and the  
          agreements are voluntarily entered into by the parties. (Family  
          Code  8616.5.) 


          Proposed Law:  
           This bill would require a court in an adoption proceeding for a  
          dependent child to order the convening of a CFT meeting, unless  
          the court finds that such a meeting may be detrimental to the  
          child, to consider postadoptive contact with the siblings of the  
          child, including but not limited to siblings under the court's  
          jurisdiction. Specifically, this bill:
                 Requires the CFT meeting to be attended by at least a  
               facilitator, the siblings or their respective caregivers,  
               and the prospective adoptive parent(s), for the purpose of  
               deciding whether to voluntarily enter into a postadoptive  
               sibling contact agreement before the adoption is finalized.  



                 With regard to minors in foster care who have been  
               declared a ward of the juvenile court pursuant to WIC   
               601 or 602, requires the court order placing the minor in a  
               permanent placement to include specification of the nature  
               and frequency of visiting arrangements with the minor's  
               siblings, if any.











          SB 1060 (Leno)                                         Page 3 of  
          ?
          
          
          Prior  
          Legislation:  SB 1099 (Steinberg) Chapter 773/2014 required the  
          court to consider relationships between dependent and  
          non-dependent siblings, required additional documentation  
          related to sibling relationships, and authorized a dependent  
          child to request sibling visitation, as specified. 


          Staff  
          Comments:  The provisions of this bill requiring courts to order  
          the convening of a CFT meeting will likely not pose a  
          significant fiscal burden on the courts, and could, in fact,  
          result in cost savings to the extent the CFT meeting facilitates  
          the time spent in hearing on these matters. 
          The requirement to add in its orders for permanent placement of  
          wards of the court to include specification of the nature and  
          frequency of visiting arrangements with the siblings of the  
          minor would be an expansion of existing procedures already in  
          place for visiting arrangements with parents/guardians, and are  
          not estimated to incur significant new costs on the courts.


          This bill requires the court to order CFT meetings in adoption  
          proceedings of dependent children unless the meeting would be  
          detrimental to the child. By imposing additional duties on local  
          agencies that participate as CFT members, this bill could result  
          in significant ongoing increases in case management costs. 


          Based on the number of annual adoptions reported on the  
          Department of Social Services report, Agency Adoption Program  
          Quarterly Statistical Report (AD 56A), over 6,400 agency  
          adoptions were finalized in 2015. It is unknown how many of the  
          dependents to be adopted will have siblings that would prompt a  
          CFT meeting under the provisions of this bill. It is estimated  
          there are over 30,000 dependents with siblings in out-of-home  
          care. Additionally, some dependents will have non-dependent  
          siblings that would additionally prompt a CFT meeting to be  
          convened. Assuming 50 percent of the adoptions require a CFT  
          meeting, estimated costs based on the average CFT meeting  
          duration of 3.7 hours (2016-17 Governor's Budget assumption) for  
          over 3,200 cases could cost in the range of $850,000 to over  
          $1.7 million. 

          This estimate assumes one or two CFT members representing local  







          SB 1060 (Leno)                                         Page 4 of  
          ?
          
          
          agencies attend the meeting. However, to the extent additional  
          CFT members representing local agencies attend the meeting,  
          costs could be significantly greater. Staff notes that as  
          defined,  WIC 16501(a)(4)(B) provides that the CFT includes  
          representatives who provide formal supports to the child or  
          youth and family when appropriate, including, but not limited  
          to, the caregiver, the placing agency caseworker, a  
          representative from a foster family agency or short-term  
          residential treatment center with which a child or youth is  
          placed, a county mental health representative, a representative  
          from the regional center when the child is eligible for regional  
          center service, and a representative of the child's or youth's  
          tribe or Indian custodian, as applicable. As appropriate, the  
          CFT may also include other formal supports, such as substance  
          use disorder treatment professionals and educational  
          professionals. 

          Proposition 30 was passed by the voters in November 2012, and  
          among other provisions, eliminated any potential mandate funding  
          liability for any new program or higher level of service  
          mandated on the counties related to realigned programs,  
          including child welfare services. Rather, legislation enacted  
          after September 30, 2012, that has an overall effect of  
          increasing the costs already borne by a local agency for  
          programs or levels of service mandated by 2011 Realignment only  
          apply to local agencies to the extent that the state provides  
          annual funding for the cost increase. Local agencies are not  
          obligated to provide programs or levels of service required by  
          legislation above the level for which funding has been provided.  
          To the extent it is determined that the provisions of this bill  
          result in an increase in overall costs already borne by counties  
          for the provision of child welfare services, the state could  
          potentially elect to, but not be required to, provide funding  
          for the cost increase.

          Although the participation of the dependent child in the CFT  
          meeting may be implied, staff notes the bill is silent on the  
          issue of the dependent child's attendance at the meeting.  
          Attendance of the dependent child may or may not be appropriate  
          at this meeting, depending on the age of the dependent child.