The Alliance’s policy team, based in Sacramento, monitors, analyzes, and responds to legislative issues that affect youth in foster care. For current information about pending legislation, sign up for our monthly policy emails. Meanwhile, here is an overview of pending and recent legislation:
AB 885: Remove Barriers to Re-Entry
In 2014, AB 2454 was signed into law allowing youth who exited to permanency prior to age 18 to re-enter foster care after the age of 18 if the adoption or guardianship disrupts. Unfortunately, AB2454 included an unintended bar to re-entry by requiring the Adoption Assistance Payment or subsidized guardianship funding to be terminated before the youth would be permitted to file a petition with the dependency court to re-enter foster care. AB 885 proposed to eliminate this requirement, allowing a youth to petition the juvenile court for re-entry without first determining if the funds had been terminated.
AB 885 was passed by both the Assembly and the Senate but vetoed by the governor on September 25, 2016. Read more here.
Infant Supplement Rate
Pregnant and parenting foster youth face a range of challenges that put them and their children at risk of poverty, poor health and low-educational attainment. Infant supplement rates provide foster youth who become parents with financial support to help them prepare for and raise their child, This year, the infant supplement was raised to $900 a month for parenting youth who are receiving AFDC-FC or Kin-GAP benefits, including non-minor dependents who are living independently in a Supervised Independent Living Placement (SILP). Youth placed with a relative caregiver who receives ARC are still not eligible for the infant supplement. AB 1838 would have allowed the infant supplement to begin being paid 3 months in advance of the anticipated due date of the child. Unfortunately, AB 1838 was vetoed by the Governor.
SB 1336: Relative Finding
Placement with relatives is preferred by federal and state law because research indicates that children placed with kin experience more favorable outcomes and less trauma than children who are placed with non-relatives. However, relative finding can be difficult and time-consuming, leaving children to languish in non-relative care while such efforts are underway. SB 1336 would require the court to determine whether a social worker exercised due diligence in properly searching for and notifying relatives of a child being placed into the child welfare system
The Governor signed SB 1336 and the new requirements take effect on January 1, 2017.
The California Chafee Program gives monetary aid to current or former foster youth who were in foster care at any point after turning 16 years older to help youth pay for the cost of their post-secondary education. The Alliance for Children’s Rights has been actively supporting AB 2506 which prohibit the use of the Chafee Educational and Training Vouchers at post-secondary institutions that do not meet the following criteria: 30% graduation rate and no higher than a 15.5% cohort default rate. AB 2506 has been passed by both the Senate and Assembly and signed by the Governor, and it will officially become law beginning January 1, 2017. The amount of funding for Chaffee grants was increased by $3 million in this year’s budget.