For announcements on upcoming webinars, sign up for policy alerts here.
Upcoming Policy Webinars
June 26, 2019
School and Placement Stability: Determining Best Interest for Children in Foster Care
This webinar will provide the definition of ‘best interest’ and ‘school of origin.’ Our discussion will also address questions including: Why is a best interest determination so important?; when is a best interest determination made and by whom?, and what are the key elements of an effective determination? Panelists will also share sample facilitation forms and tools and talk about best practices statewide.
Past Policy Webinars
May 22, 2019
Latest Updates to the Continuum of Care Reform
This webinar highlighted the successes of CCR in improving child well-being and promoting stability, as well as ongoing challenges and best practices for addressing those challenges. Panelists detailed the latest changes in laws and policies that impact CCR and how those policy changes will bring us closer to the goal of ensuring all children are connected to families.
April 30, 2019
Understanding and Accessing Benefits to Support Children and Youth in Foster Care
This webinar provided an overview of foster care benefits detailing the different types and sources of funding and their associated eligibility requirements and rates, including the Emergency Caregiver program, home-based family care rates, the Approved Relative Caregiver program, specialized care increments, and intensive services foster care. Our panelists also discussed benefits to support permanency and for youth transitioning out of foster care.
March 27, 2019
Increasing Access to Emergency Child Care Bridge Program
This webinar provided an overview of the bridge program, including the main components of time-limited child care vouchers and child care navigators. Panelists shared outcomes and lessons learned from a recent child care pilot and local implementation of the bridge program. We also discussed current legislative proposals to augment the bridge program and hear from a caregiver about his experiences with the child care program.
February 27, 2019
Promoting Educational Rights and Ensuring School Stability for Foster Youth
This webinar included an overview of the educational rights of students in foster care, including their right to remain in their school of origin. Panelists discussed how caregivers, administrators, providers, judges, attorneys and social workers can help youth achieve stability and success in school. We also highlighted recent policy proposals intended to promote school stability and hear directly from school-based foster youth liaisons and caregivers as well as youth themselves.
January 30, 2019
Caregiver Friendly Courtrooms: Understanding the Juvenile Court Process and Making it More Accessible for Families
This webinar is intended to make the juvenile court process more accessible to caregivers, who often struggle to understand the timelines, orders and various players involved in a child’s dependency case. This webinar is aimed at both caregivers and child welfare professionals. This webinar included an overview of juvenile dependency court, including various types of hearings, court personnel and typical timelines. Our panelists also provided tips for communication, collaboration and engagement with the dependency court process and the multiple parties involved in a child’s dependency case.
December 5, 2018
Interstate Compact on Placement of Children: Ensuring Adequate Protection & Support Services Across State Lines
This webinar provided an overview of the Interstate Compact on Placement of Children (ICPC) – the law establishing procedures for the placement of children out-of-state for adoption or foster care. Panelists shared information on the history of ICPC, implementation, funding implications and more.
October 31, 2018
New Child Welfare Laws: 2018 Policy Reforms
This webinar provided a summary of the major child welfare bills that were signed into law this year. Panelists shared information about how these laws will impact recruitment and retention of foster caregivers, the services and supports available to families and youth in the child welfare system, and more.
September 26, 2018
Supplemental Security Income for Transition Age Youth with Special Needs
Too often, transition age youth with disabilities experience substandard medical care, homelessness, or incarceration after “aging out.” For these vulnerable young adults, federal Supplemental Security Income (SSI) disability benefits often help them gain stability, housing, and proper care, and protect them from adverse outcomes. The webinar covers the legal responsibilities around screening foster youth for SSI eligibility, best practices modeled by Sacramento, Los Angeles, and Alameda counties for obtaining and maintaining SSI benefits for non-minor dependents, and solutions to common barriers to accessing SSI benefits.
August 29, 2018
Supporting Youth and Families through Child and Family Teams
This webinar provided attendees with a basic understanding of the purpose and goals of child and family teams (CFTs) in implementing the Continuum of Care Reform. Attendees heard from families, youth and other team members who have participated in CFTs to learn what makes a successful CFT. Our panelists overviewed best practices on how to better engage and support children, youth and families through this process to ensure that each CFT enhances the support system for youth and families.
July 25, 2018
Indian Child Welfare Act & Resource Family Approval: Family Placement Focus
This webinar focused on the shared goals of the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) and Resource Family Approval (RFA) on family placement detailing how and where ICWA and RFA intersect with the intention of supporting Tribal children and their families. We highlighted the critical components of ICWA and the RFA process. In addition, we explored the implementation of the Child and Family Team in assessment, placement, and services planning to help achieve positive outcomes for safety, permanency, and well-being.
July 19, 2018
Understanding Emergency Caregiver Funding
Until recently, families completing the Resource Family Approval (RFA) process were not eligible for foster care funding until approved. AB 110 provided interim financial assistance from March 30, 2018 through June 30, 2018 for emergency caregivers who accepted placement of a child prior to RFA approval. The passage of AB 1811 extends the funding into the current fiscal year (July 1, 2018 – June 30, 2019).
This webinar provided an in-depth explanation of both types of emergency caregiver funding and how they interact. The panelists provided important guidance to families regarding how to access emergency funding.
June 29, 2018
Alphabet Soup – Funding and Benefits Available for Youth in Foster Care
This webinar provided attendees with practical knowledge regarding the public benefits available to children throughout the foster care system. Specifically, the panelists discussed how to identify and help youth obtain appropriate benefits and supports including a focus on how Continuum of Care Reform impacts our system of foster care rates.
June 22, 2018
Family First Prevention Services Act: Impacts on Transition Age Youth
In addition to fundamentally shifting how children in and out of foster care are supported, the recently-passed Family First Prevention Services Act (FFPSA) includes a number of provisions which directly impact Transition Aged Youth, including limitations on the use of congregate care and changes to the Chafee Foster Care Independence Program. This webinar continued our exploration of FFPSA, delving into Title II of FFPSA, specifically focusing on the impact on providers of congregate care and residential services that are often targeted at older youth, as well as other provisions of the new law that most impact our transition aged youth. As we discuss each topic, we highlighted the opportunities offered by FFPSA, gaps in the law that might present challenges in implementation, and changes that should be considered to ensure the law achieves its intended goals.
May 23, 2018
2018 California Child Welfare Budget Requests
This webinar discussed the major budget requests that have been made for the upcoming fiscal year intended to support children served by our child welfare system. Panelists representing the sponsoring organizations discussed the purpose of each budget proposal and walk through its provisions. We also discussed crucial next steps you can take to support these budget proposals.
April 24, 2018
Implications of Passage of Family First Prevention Services Act
This webinar provided an overview of the changes in the law as well as the concerns raised by advocates, counties and state agencies about certain components of FFPSA. We focused on the potential impacts of the law on both our child welfare system and broader safety net programs, including the barriers children and families may face in accessing benefits and services. As we discuss each topic, we focused on implementation strategies to utilize in California in order to improve access to necessary supports and services and minimize adverse impacts on our children and families. Finally, we discussed ongoing efforts to secure needed legislative fixes to the law to make it more workable in California and beyond before its implementation.
April 9, 2018
Interim Support to Emergency Caregivers Prior to Resource Family Approval
On March 13, 2018, Governor Brown signed AB 110 which will provide financial relief for families who accept placement prior to Resource Family Approval (RFA). The bill provides for immediate funding for relatives and non-related extended family members who accept placement of a child prior to being approved as a resource family through June 30, 2018. A long-term solution is being discussed in order to ensure that families can continue to be supported at the time of placement beyond June 30, 2018.
The State Department of Social Services issued an All County Letter (ACL) on March 30 to advise counties on how to implement the interim funding enacted by AB 110. This webinar provided an in-depth explanation of the changes enacted by AB 110 and how to access the financial relief now available. We also discussed crucial next steps including AB 2183 and a California budget ask to ensure a long-term solution to funding at the time of placement beyond June 30, 2018.
Supporting Transition Age Foster Youth in the Child Welfare and Probation Systems
This webinar provided an overview of the legal duties of child welfare to provide appropriate placements and best practices for identifying the most appropriate placements for nonminor dependents. We also gave an in-depth analysis of housing rights for nonminor dependents living in group homes and transitional housing. Finally, we discussed proposed California legislation that would ensure that youth are able to enter or re-enter extended foster care to access the supports they need to successfully transition into adulthood.
SB 1083 & AB 2183: New Legislation to Improve California’s Continuum of Care Reform
Two bills intended to facilitate payment at the time of placement and streamline the Resource Family Approval (RFA) process have been introduced in the California State Legislature. AB 2183 (Rubio) and SB 1083 (Mitchell) will ensure that the approval process is done in a timely manner, relatives are financially supported through the approval process and children are connected to relatives and extended family members in a child-centered and family-friendly way. This webinar discussed the most recent developments in state law around the Continuum of Care Reform and Resource Family Approval, the motivation behind the two pieces of legislation and the steps you can take to help support these RFA bills.
Foster and Probation Youth Education Needs and How to Address Them
This webinar shared the most recent statewide data on foster youth education outcomes, and discussed how that data helps determine starting points for improvement. We reviewed foster youth education rights and highlighted the most recent developments in state and federal law meant to help bridge the gaps that foster youth experience. Finally, we provided participants access to comprehensive toolkits and model policies designed to address these issues. Each topic focused in on best practices and challenges, as well as the impact of the changing child welfare options under the Continuum of Care Reform.
View Webinar | View Slides | Download Attendance Certificate
Resource Family Approval and Level of Care
This webinar covered delays, barriers, and challenges that have emerged since Continuum of Care Reform implementation began in January 2017. In addition, an expert panel highlighted challenges with the new Resource Family Approval process and new efforts underway to ensure that children and families receive the supports and services they need from the moment of placement. The webinar also addressed next steps in the new rate structure.
Emergency Child Care Bridge Program: What It Is, Why It Matters, How to Make Sure Your County Doesn’t Miss Out
Counties have an exciting opportunity to address a pervasive problem with foster parent recruitment and retention through the recent adoption of the Emergency Child Care Bridge Program. With passage of SB 89, California has allocated $15.5 million for the second half of fiscal year 2017-18 and $31 million ongoing for counties to utilize to provide emergency child care vouchers to families who would otherwise be unable to accept placement of a child in their home. The webinar explains how the bridge program works and why counties should not pass it up. We also covered what a county must do in order to take advantage of the bridge program.
All in the Family: Recruiting, Engaging and Supporting Kin
This was a webinar to learn about the policies and practices to increase the number of kinship placements and better support families. We were joined by individuals from Los Angeles County who have been engaged in a successful pilot to recruit family to care for relatives. In addition, we heard from experts in Pennsylvania who have reformed their foster care system to be kin-first. These programs are on the cutting edge of transforming child welfare to be child-centered and family-friendly. Our panelists shared how their innovative programs can be replicated across the country. We were joined by Judge Michael Nash (Ret.), Director of Los Angeles County’s Office of Child Protection, Jay Kadash, Stacy Johnson, and Yakiciwey Mitchell from A Second Chance, Inc., and Tiffany Collins and Jennifer Lopez with Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS).
New Child Welfare Laws: 2017 Policy Reforms
This webinar summarized the key bills that were signed into law this year. These reforms will impact recruitment and retention of caregivers, the services and supports available to families in the child welfare system, and more. We were joined by experts from the Children’s Law Center, Children Now, Tipping Point Community, and John Burton Advocates for Youth.
Why you need to understand child welfare funding and federal safety net programs
This webinar highlighted model state laws, policies, and court orders that have improved access to needed supports and services for children and families. We discussed current and pending threats at the federal, state, and local levels that imperil the child welfare system and related safety net programs—and how participants can preserve and strengthen these essential programs.
Understanding Child and Family Teams and Best Practices for Using CFTs to Engage and Support Children, Youth and Families
We discussed the requirements and best practices for creating and utilizing Child and Family Teams. Specifically, panelists discussed what is required in the formation and facilitation of Child and Family Teams, and delved deeper into how to ensure that CFTs are a key support system for the children, youth and families. We heard from caregivers and youth that have been part of CFTs to understand what works.
Mary Sheppard, CA Department of Social Services
Madeline Roachell, LA County Department of Children and Family Services
Regina Goree, LA County Department of Children and Family Services
Tim Halbur, Caregiver and Teaming Participant
Vanessa Hernandez, California Youth Connection
Mental Health Care for Young People in Foster Care
We discussed new means of meeting the mental health needs of youth involved in the child welfare system. Specifically, we examined how the Continuum of Care Reform is changing how mental health services are delivered and focused on how to best provide support and services to youth and family-based settings.
Dr. Robert Byrd, County of Los Angeles, Department of Mental Health
Dr. Kaliah Salas, County of Los Angeles, Department of Mental Health
Brian Blalock, Tipping Point Community
Kevin Jervik, Ph.D., Children’s Law Center of California
Comprehensive, community-based services for delinquency-involved youth
We discussed the importance of supporting delinquency-involved youth—including foster youth and nonminor dependents on juvenile probation—in community-based settings. Topics included: ensuring medical and mental health services, housing and placement needs, education, employment training, and other supportive services. Attendees learned about funding streams, dispositional options, and how Continuum of Care Reform impacts delinquency-involved youth. We also discussed replicable models in counties that have maximized funding streams. Finally, we looked at the Juvenile Justice Practitioners Toolkit, which provides practitioners with information about how to best access resources for youth.
Brian Blalock, Tipping Point Foundation
Sabrina Forte, Bay Area Legal Aid
Michael Klein, Fight Crime: Invest in Kids.
From Placement to Permanence: Understanding Options and Valuing Kin
When a child enters the child welfare system for their own safety and well-being, the law requires that preference be given to placing that child with a relative. Beyond that, the first goal of the child welfare system is reunification; if that is not possible, the next goal is to ensure the child has a permanent and stable home. This webinar unraveled various permanency options including adoption, guardianship, or placement with a fit and willing relative. We also heard directly from kinship families who have made these decisions and are willing to share their stories.
Please join the Alliance for Children’s Rights, the Children’s Law Center, and kinship caregivers for this special webinar that gave an overview of the law and policy around permanence and explore the personal experiences of kinship foster families.
Educational Needs of Foster Youth and Youth Experiencing Homelessness – McKinney-Vento, ESSA, and Beyond
The Alliance for Children’s Rights, the National Center on Homelessness and Poverty, Tipping Point Community, and Larkin Street Youth Services hosted a webinar highlighting the voices and experiences of advocates and providers about the educational needs, legal rights, and best practices of working with young people experiencing foster care and homelessness.
Confidentiality & Foster Care: Policy and practice regarding foster care records
Confidentiality of foster care records can be a very confusing topic. We discussed the confidentiality of health, education, and mental health records. Attendees learned how records are protected and who can access protected records. Attendees also learns about what records you can share and what information you have to keep confidential. Confidentiality as it relates to the new Resource Family Approval Process was discussed, including Child and Family Team Meetings and Adoption.
Implementation of Resource Family Approval
On January 1st, 2017 California began implementation of it’s Conntiuum of Care Reform (CCR). Under CCR, relatives and non-relatives alike will have to go through a new process to be approved as a caregiver for a child in foster care. The new system, known as Resource Family Approval, ensures that all caregivers are held to the same standards and receive the same training, supports, services and funding. Relatives, who are critical to the success of CCR, also may encounter the greatest barriers in navigating the RFA process because most relatives begin caring for children in a moment of crisis and prior to being approved. These individuals and families are navigating the new rules and requirements while simultaneously caring for traumatized children.
Informing the National Debate on Child Welfare Reforms
When policymakers and advocates envision reform to federal child welfare policy, they are often motivated by the common misperception that there is an overreliance on foster care as an intervention. Further, current federal proposals to reduce reliance on congregate care and ensure every child should be raised in a family should be grounded in the experiences of states, like California, that are already engaged in those efforts. The California Child Advocates for Change debunked the myths that underlie many of our federal foster care reform efforts and highlighted the key areas of reform needed at the federal level.
View Webinar | View Slides | Download Attendance Certificate | Child Welfare Financing Reform:The Limits of Flexibility and the Need for New Resources | Are There Too Many Children
in Foster Care? | Developing a Robust Continuum of Care to Support Foster Youth in Family-Based Settings
Youth Homelessness in the Era of Extended Foster Care
Our September 21st policy webinar featured experts who are working across California to address and prevent youth homelessness. Panelists discussed how the extension of foster care to age 21 provides new opportunities to assist youth, and talked about current barriers within the extended foster care system itself. Panelists also discussed reform efforts geared toward preventing youth homelessness.
Understanding Family Finding, Relative Assessment and Approval
On August 17th we were joined by experts to discuss current and model laws and policies for family finding, relative assessment and approval. We provided an overview of current law and practice around family finding and engagement. We also discussed model laws and best practices to improve family finding, relative engagement and approval of kinship families.
Continuum of Care Reform and Improving Education Outcomes For Foster Youth in Residential Programs
We heard from individuals who implemented the pilot Residential Based Services Project in Los Angeles as well as a working group formed in Los Angeles County to improve educational outcomes for youth who need short-term residential treatment. State policy advocates discussed how the educational needs of these youth are being accounted for in the Continuum of Care Reform work that is underway.
View Webinar | View PowerPoint | Download Attendance Certificate
From Research to Practice
This webinar provided an overview of a new study, The Economic Well-Being of Kin and Non-Kin Caregivers by Jill Duerr Berrick. We will also hear from providers and advocates on model programs and practices, as well as new state policies, that are responsive to these findings and will ultimately help us better support and engage kinship families.
View Webinar | View PowerPoint | Download Attendance Certificate
Voices of Kinship Caregivers
Despite being the backbone our foster care system, the unique circumstances and needs of kinship caregivers are often not considered and the voices of these unsung heroes are rarely heard. This webinar featured multiple kinship caregivers sharing their experiences and stories, as well as their ideas for how our child welfare system could be improved.
View Webinar | View PowerPoint | Download Attendance Certificate
Permanency Options for Our Older Youth
The primary goal of our child welfare system is to reunify children with their families or, if that’s not possible, to connect children to permanent and loving families through adoption or guardianship. Recent reforms have focused on how to enhance permanency outcomes for older foster and probation youth, even into adulthood. This webinar detailed these reforms and best practices that promote permanency for older youth in the foster care and probation systems.
View Webinar | View Slides | Download Attendance Certificate | Statewide Annual Probation Permanency Report (FINAL DEC 2015)- Los Angeles Probation Department | Statewide Annual Probation Permanency Report (FINAL July 2014)- Los Angeles Probation Department | Adoption Time Line-Delinquency Court (Rev 10-09-15)- Los Angeles Probation Department | AB 1879/Families NOW Attachments- Families NOW April Webinar | | SNR-FamiliesNow
High-Quality Child Care for Foster Children
Child care, if it can be accessed, enables a larger pool of families to to provide safe and loving homes for children in foster care. In this webinar, participants gained an understanding of the intersection of our child welfare and child care systems, barriers to accessing high-quality child care for foster children, and policy solutions to address those barriers.
View Webinar | View Slides | Download Attendance Certificate | Child Care Bridge Draft Support Letter | Child Care Bridge Fact Sheet
Focus on 2016 Policy Reforms
Probation Youth and Kinship Care
Continuum of Care Reform and What it Means for Kinship Families
Recruiting, Retaining and Supporting Kinship Caregivers
Understanding the Plight of Kinship Caregivers
Education Webinars allow us to dive deeper into the sections of the Foster Youth Education Toolkit and are designed for all school personnel who work with foster youth. In each subject area, participants will learn applicable laws, best practices and how to use (or modify) the provided tools to meet the education needs of foster youth in a meaningful way. View all Toolkit webinars here.