2005-06 Legislative Priorities
The following is a summary of legislation that CAI
sponsored or supported during 2005-06.
AB 2216 (Bass) creates the California
Child Welfare Council, an advisory body that will be
responsible for improving the collaboration and processes
of the multiple agencies and courts that serve children
and youth in the child welfare and foster care systems.
This bill also requires the creation of judicial outcome
measures by April 1, 2008. The goal of the bill is to
correct the state’s failure to effectively coordinate
services administered by a vast array of state and county
agencies, thereby leaving children subject to injuries
and without essential health, dental, mental health,
housing and educational services. STATUS: The
Governor signed this bill on September 22 (Chapter 384,
Statutes of 2006).
AB 2284 (Jones) would have required
foster children to receive specified health and dental
assessments and requires the Department of Health Services
to extend Medi-Cal benefits to certain foster care adolescents
to age 21. STATUS: Died in committee.
AB 2303 (Judiciary Committee). CAI
sponsored the part of this Judicial Omnibus bill that
allows, with regard to adoption and legal guardianship,
a status review to be held earlier than every six months
if the court determines that an earlier review is in
the best interest of the child. STATUS: The Governor signed this bill on September 28 (Chapter
567, Statutes of 2006).
AB 2480 (Evans) establishes a process
for the appointment of appellate counsel for children
in dependency proceedings. The bill is aimed at ensuring
that, as a matter of due process, children have competent
representation through all stages of the legal process.
The measure also clarifies the law pertaining to the
holding of patient-therapist/physician and penitent/clergy
privilege, thus ensuring that these privileges can be
appropriately protected for children in dependency proceedings. STATUS: The Governor signed this bill
on September 22 (Chapter 385, Statutes of 2006).
AB 2481 (Evans) would have increased
grant payments for foster family home (FFH) providers
and provides funding for the recruitment and retention
of foster parents and adoptive parents. Specifically,
this bill would have increased the foster family home
provider grant by 5%; required future annual grant increases
based upon the California Necessities Index; and expanded
current foster parent recruitment and retention efforts
by creating the Foster and Adoptive Parent Recruitment
and Retention Program. STATUS: Died
AB 2781 (Leno) regulates private
child support collectors by, among other things, requiring
them to meet some basic consumer protections in their
dealings with support obligees in contracting for the
collection of past-due child support, and prohibiting
them from engaging in any debt collection practices
that are prohibited by the Rosenthal Fair Debt Collection
Practices Act. STATUS: The Governor
signed this bill on September 29 (Chapter 797, Statutes
AB 2938 (Runner) would have expanded
what records can be released to the public in a case
of child abuse or negligence that has resulted in a
child fatality or near fatality. STATUS: Died in committee.
SB 437 (Escutia) establishes the Healthy
Families Presumptive Eligibility Program for children
who appear to meet the income requirements of Healthy
Families and were receiving but are no longer eligible
for Medi-Cal without a share of cost or are eligible
for Medi-Cal with share of cost, and establishes the
Medi-Cal to Healthy Families Accelerated Enrollment
Program, subject to federal approval, to provide temporary
benefits until a final eligibility determination is
made for children applying for Medi-Cal who appear to
be eligible for Healthy Families. STATUS: The
Governor signed this bill on September 19 (Chapter 328,
Statutes of 2006).
SB 1289 (Cedillo) would have allowed
persons to remain voluntarily in foster care until 21
years of age, if they are in attendance in university,
community college, or vocational training on a full-time
basis. STATUS: Died in committee.
SB 1335 (Soto) would have required
the Department of Social Services to conduct annual
unannounced licensing inspections of all residential
facilities for children, including group homes and foster
family homes. STATUS: Died in committee.
SB 1616 (Kuehl) would have required
the Division of Juvenile Justice of the Department of
Corrections and Rehabilitation, to work with the Social
Security Administration and the Department of Health
Services to ensure that disabled wards are enrolled
in Medi-Cal and that their disability benefits are available
to them when they are released from incarceration at
a state institution. The bill would have ensured that
disabled youth have critical health care and cash assistance
immediately upon release, which would help promote their
successful reentry into their communities. STATUS: The Governor vetoed this bill on September 29.
SB 1534 (Ortiz) permits a city, county,
city and county, or hospital district to, at its discretion,
provide aid, including health care, to persons who,
but for Section 411 of the federal Personal Responsibility
and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996. STATUS: The Governor signed this bill on September
29 (Chapter 801, Statutes of 2006).
SB 1576 (Murray) would have eliminated
the county share of the cost for transitional housing
services for former foster youth between the ages of
18 and 24 subject to funding in the Budget. STATUS: Died in committee. Although the county share-of-cost
for the THP-Plus program was eliminated through budget
trailer legislation (AB 1808, Chapter 75), the state’s
limited funding for this program means that DSS must
limit new participation in the THP-Plus program.
SB 1641 (Soto) requires the Department
of Social Services to report to the Legislature on the
progress of its Community Care Licensing residential
care regulation review. The measure defines a home that
meets the best needs of the child to include a home
that meets the child's health, safety, and well-being
needs, is the least restrictive and most family-like
environment, and allows the child to engage in reasonable,
age-appropriate day-to-day activities, as specified.
The bill require the foster child's caregiver to use
a reasonable and prudent parent standard, as defined,
to determine these age-appropriate activities. STATUS: The Governor signed this bill on September 22 (Chapter
388, Statutes of 2006).
AB 379 (Koretz) would have made it
an infraction for a person to smoke a pipe or cigarette
in a vehicle, whether in motion or at rest, in which
there is a child passenger who is required to be secured
in a child passenger restraining system. STATUS: Died in committee.
AB 1144 (Harman) requires the Department
of Health Services (DHS) to adopt, and amend as necessary,
its playground safety regulations in order to meet the
current American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM)
standards for playground safety and other standards
that relate to playground equipment, as specified. STATUS: The Governor signed this bill on September 26 (Chapter
470, Statutes of 2006).
AB 1948 (Montañez) requires
the Department of Health Services to conduct, or contract
for the conducting of, a feasibility study report of
technological requirements for modifying the Child Health
and Disability Prevention Gateway to allow a person
applying on behalf of a child the option to simultaneously
pre-enroll and apply for enrollment in Medi-Cal or Healthy
Families over the Internet without submitting a follow-up
application. The ultimate goal of this measure is to
eliminate some of the barriers in the application process
that prevent eligible children from enrolling in public
health coverage programs. STATUS: The
Governor signed this bill on September 19 (Chapter 332,
Statutes of 2006).
AB 1953 (Chan) reduces the allowable
lead content in pipes and plumbing fixtures to a level
that would virtually eliminate lead contamination in
faucets and drinking water systems, thus reducing the
exposure to lead by children who depend upon tap water
for their drinking water. STATUS: The
Governor signed this bill on September 30 (Chapter 853,
Statutes of 2006).
AB 1983 (Bass) would have required
the Department of Social Services to convene a workgroup
of stakeholders, including county welfare directors,
mental health and health organizations, local housing
agencies, and employer and employee unions to identify
services that are most useful to former foster youth
and to make recommendations to improve outreach efforts
to those youth. STATUS: Died in committee.
AB 2031 (Cohn) would have required
the Department of Social Services (DSS) to work with
stakeholders to draft best practices guidelines for
using advanced technology to assist counties in identifying
all relatives and non-relative extended family members
for foster children. In most cases, placing children
with relatives or extended family members increases
the child's likelihood of successful outcomes. In counties
that have voluntarily used advanced technology to identify
relatives and non-relative extended family members,
placement of children with loved ones has improved significantly.
STATUS: The Governor vetoed this bill
on September 29.
AB 2108 (Evans) would have changed
child passenger safety restraint laws to require children
under eight to be placed in an appropriate child safety
restraint system in the back seat, under specified circumstances.
The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration
has suggested that children who have outgrown car seats
with an internal harness, usually at about age four,
should be properly restrained in a seat belt positioning
car seat until they are eight years of age, unless they
are four feet nine inches or taller. Children who use
car or booster seats instead of seat belts alone are
59% less likely to be injured if they are involved in
an accident. STATUS: The Governor vetoed
this bill on September 29.
AB 2193 (Alquist) would have established
budgeting standards based on optimal caseload standards
for the child welfare services program. STATUS: Died in committee.
AB 2205 (Evans) would have required
the Department of Social Services to establish categorical
eligibility for Food Stamps for Medi-Cal recipients
who are eligible to receive CalWORKs services; eligibility
for Food Stamps would also have triggered eligibility
for school lunch participation. Thus, the measure would
have simplified the process and avoided barriers to
participation of low-income families and children in
the Food Stamp and school meals programs. STATUS: The Governor vetoed this bill on September 30.
AB 2489 (Leno) would have enacted
the Foster Youth Higher Education Preparation and Support
Act of 2006. STATUS: Died in committee.
AB 2556 (Jones) would have declared
that it is the goal of Legislature to halve child poverty
by Jan. 1, 2016, and eliminate it entirely by Jan. 1,
2026. The bill also would have required the Department
of Finance to report annually on how the Governor’s
proposed budget will impact the goal of reducing child
poverty. STATUS: The Governor vetoed
this bill on September 30.
AB 2709 (Maze) would have directed
the Franchise Tax Board, with the assistance of the
Department of Social Services and the Employment Development
Department, to prepare a study on the feasibility of
developing a credit under the personal income and corporation
tax laws to encourage employers to hire former foster
youth. STATUS: Died in committee.
AB 2977 (Mullin) requires new and
remodeled pools and spas to provide at least one safety
feature from a list of eligible features, adds mesh
fences and swimming pool alarms to the list of enumerated
drowning prevention safety features, and requires remodeled
pools and spas to cover drains with an anti-entrapment
grate. Swimming pool drowning is the leading cause of
injury death for toddlers ages one to four; over 50
children drown each year. For every fatality, there
are four more near-drownings, with many of these victims
suffering lifelong disability. STATUS: The Governor signed this bill on September 26 (Chapter
478, Statutes of 2006).
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