Today's Law As Amended


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AB-3006 Child welfare services: recipients who are deaf and hard of hearing.(2017-2018)



As Amends the Law Today


SECTION 1.

 Section 16500.95 is added to the Welfare and Institutions Code, to read:

16500.95.
 (a) The Legislature finds and declares that state and federal nondiscrimination laws require the provision of accommodations to individuals who are deaf and hard of hearing to ensure effective communication. It is the intent of the Legislature to ensure that recipients of child welfare services, as defined in Section 16501, who are deaf and hard of hearing be provided those services in every aspect of the continuum of child welfare services in which the recipient is participating.
(b) Notwithstanding Chapter 2.1 (commencing with Section 10620) of Part 2, each county welfare department and any other county entity that provides child welfare services pursuant to this chapter shall ensure that a recipient of child welfare services who is deaf or hard of hearing has equal access to those services at no cost to the recipient.
(c) (1) To assist in meeting the requirement specified in subdivision (b), each county welfare department shall designate one staff person to serve as the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Coordinator for the delivery of child welfare services to children and parents in the county who are deaf and hard of hearing. The staff person designated pursuant to this paragraph may also be responsible for other duties within the county if the coordination of delivery of these services does not require a full-time position.
(2) The Deaf and Hard of Hearing Coordinator shall meet all of the following requirements:
(A) Be fluent in American Sign Language, or be able to communicate in American Sign Language by ensuring sufficient numbers of county staff are fluent in American Sign Language or by ensuring that the county is able to secure the services of one or more interpreters who are fluent in American Sign Language, as necessary to meet the requirements of this section.
(B) Be familiar with the different accommodation options for children and parents who are deaf and hard of hearing and their families.
(C) Be sensitive to the issues and needs of the diversity of the deaf and hard of hearing community and varying degrees of hearing.
(D) Be respectful of the deaf and hard of hearing culture.
(E) Be knowledgeable of local, state, and federal resources and agencies that assist children and parents who are deaf and hard of hearing, in particular the eight regional programs of the state’s Deaf Access Program, established pursuant to Chapter 2.1 (commencing with Section 10620) of Part 2.
(3) The Deaf and Hard of Hearing Coordinator shall do both of the following:
(A) Oversee and facilitate accommodations necessary to ensure effective communications between county staff and partner entities and all children and parents who are deaf and hard of hearing and their families who are receiving child welfare services pursuant to this chapter.
(B) Communicate with the Court Interpreters Program or the federal Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) coordinator of the juvenile court to relay any special accommodations necessary for court proceedings.
(d) (1) The State Department of Social Services shall establish a Deaf Services Manager within the Children and Family Services Division of the department to be responsible for the statewide implementation of this section and to serve as a resource for county Deaf and Hard of Hearing Coordinators designated pursuant to this section.
(2) The department shall develop protocols, procedures, training curricula, and other materials necessary to ensure that the requirements of this section are uniformly implemented in all counties throughout the state and that children and parents who are deaf and hard of hearing and their families have equal access to child welfare services.
(3) The department shall establish a working group to consult on the role and responsibilities of the Deaf Services Manager and the development of the materials specified in paragraph (2). The working group shall include representatives from the eight regional programs of the state’s Deaf Access Program, established pursuant to Chapter 2.1 (commencing with Section 10620) of Part 2, individuals who are deaf and hard of hearing, advocacy groups for the deaf and hard of hearing, the state protection and advocacy agency described in Section 4901, child and youth advocacy organizations, the County Welfare Directors Association of California, representatives of the juvenile court, and any other individuals or entities that the department determines appropriate.
(e) This section does not limit the rights of any person to pursue any remedies or causes of action that he or she may have under any state or federal law to enforce compliance with those laws or the obligations stated herein.
SEC. 2.
  To the extent that this act has an overall effect of increasing the costs already borne by a local agency for programs or levels of service mandated by the 2011 Realignment Legislation within the meaning of Section 36 of Article XIII of the California Constitution, it shall apply to local agencies only to the extent that the state provides annual funding for the cost increase. Any new program or higher level of service provided by a local agency pursuant to this act above the level for which funding has been provided shall not require a subvention of funds by the state or otherwise be subject to Section 6 of Article XIII B of the California Constitution.