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SB-945 Juvenile court jurisdiction: services and benefits.(2009-2010)

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SB945:v92#DOCUMENT

Senate Bill No. 945
CHAPTER 631

An act to amend Section 16501.1 of, and to add Section 607.5 to, the Welfare and Institutions Code, relating to children.

[ Approved by Governor  September 30, 2010. Filed with Secretary of State  September 30, 2010. ]

LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


SB 945, Liu. Juvenile court jurisdiction: services and benefits.
Existing law provides that a minor may be adjudged a dependent child or a ward of the juvenile court under specified circumstances. Existing law authorizes the court to place a minor who has been removed from the custody of his or her parent or guardian in foster care, among other placements. Existing law provides for the termination of the juvenile court jurisdiction when the minor reaches a specified age.
Existing law authorizes the State Department of Social Services to develop statewide standards for the implementation and administration of the Independent Living Program. Existing regulations specify eligibility requirements for the Independent Living Program, and require county social workers and probation officers to determine eligibility for the program in conjunction with the preparation of a Transitional Independent Living Plan. An existing regulation requires county social workers and probation officers to ensure that foster or probation youth are given appropriate information about the opportunity to participate in the Independent Living Program.
This bill would require a probation officer or parole officer, whenever the juvenile court terminates jurisdiction over a ward, or upon release of a ward from a facility that is not a foster care facility, to provide to the person a written notice stating that the person is a former foster child and may be eligible for the services and benefits that are available to a former foster child through public and private programs, and information that informs the person of the availability of assistance to enable the ward to apply for, and gain acceptance into, federal and state programs that provide independent living services and benefits to former foster children for which the person is or may be eligible. The bill would make related findings and declarations.
By imposing additional duties upon probation officers, this bill would create a state-mandated local program.
Existing law establishes that a case plan, which is required to be adopted by the county for each child receiving child welfare services, is the foundation and central unifying tool in child welfare services. Existing law requires that a case plan include information about a parent’s incarceration in a jail or prison during the time that a minor child of that parent is involved in dependency care.
This bill would delete duplicative provisions of that law.
The bill also would incorporate additional changes in Section 16501.1 of the Welfare and Institutions Code proposed by AB 12 and SB 1353, to be operative only if this bill and one or both of the other bills are chaptered and become effective on or before January 1, 2011, and this bill is chaptered last.
The California Constitution requires the state to reimburse local agencies and school districts for certain costs mandated by the state. Statutory provisions establish procedures for making that reimbursement.
This bill would provide that, if the Commission on State Mandates determines that the bill contains costs mandated by the state, reimbursement for those costs shall be made pursuant to these statutory provisions.
Vote: MAJORITY   Appropriation: NO   Fiscal Committee: YES   Local Program: YES  

The people of the State of California do enact as follows:


SECTION 1.

 The Legislature finds and declares all of the following:
(a) There are instances where former foster youth who have also been designated wards of the juvenile court remain in juvenile justice confinement beyond their sentence because there is no available foster care housing or placement for them.
(b) As a result, these children are sometimes released from the juvenile justice system instead of the dependency system when they age out at 18 years of age.
(c) In order to prevent former foster youth who have a history of involvement with the criminal justice system from committing criminal offenses as adults and to encourage their academic success, it is incumbent upon the Legislature to remove barriers that deter achievement.
(d) A significant barrier to the success of members of this population is that they are often not properly informed of their eligibility for existing independent living programs, coupled with the difficulty of proving that they are former foster children in order to qualify for these programs.

SEC. 2.

 Section 607.5 is added to the Welfare and Institutions Code, to read:

607.5.
 (a) Notwithstanding any other provision of law, whenever the juvenile court terminates jurisdiction over a ward who has also been designated a dependent of the court, or upon release of a ward from a facility that is not a foster care facility, a probation officer or parole officer shall provide the person with, at a minimum, all of the following:
(1) A written notice stating that the person is a former foster child and may be eligible for the services and benefits that are available to a former foster child through public and private programs, including, but not limited to, any independent living program for former foster children. Providing the proof of dependency and wardship document described in All-County Letter 07-33 and Section 31-525.6 of Chapter 31-500 of Division 31 of the State Department of Social Services Manual of Policies and Procedures, as it existed on January 1, 2010, shall satisfy this requirement.
(2) Existing information described in Section 31-525.61 of Chapter 31-500 of Division 31 of the State Department of Social Services Manual of Policies and Procedures, as it existed on January 1, 2010, that informs the person of the availability of assistance to enable the person to apply for, and gain acceptance into, federal and state programs that provide benefits to former foster children, including, but not limited to, financial assistance, housing, and educational resources for which he or she may be eligible.
(3) Existing information described in Section 31-525.61 of Chapter 31-500 of Division 31 of the State Department of Social Services Manual of Policies and Procedures, as it existed on January 1, 2010, that informs the person of the availability of assistance to enable the person to apply for, and gain acceptance into, federal and state programs that provide independent living services to youth 16 years of age and over who may be eligible for services.
(b) This section shall apply to any ward who was previously adjudged a dependent child of the court pursuant to Section 300 or a child who at any time has been placed in foster care pursuant to Section 727.
(c) Nothing in this section shall be interpreted to alter or amend the obligations of probation officers under current law.

SEC. 3.

 Section 16501.1 of the Welfare and Institutions Code is amended to read:

16501.1.
 (a) (1) The Legislature finds and declares that the foundation and central unifying tool in child welfare services is the case plan.
(2) The Legislature further finds and declares that a case plan ensures that the child receives protection and safe and proper care and case management, and that services are provided to the child and parents or other caretakers, as appropriate, in order to improve conditions in the parent’s home, to facilitate the safe return of the child to a safe home or the permanent placement of the child, and to address the needs of the child while in foster care.
(b) (1) A case plan shall be based upon the principles of this section and shall document that a preplacement assessment of the service needs of the child and family, and preplacement preventive services, have been provided, and that reasonable efforts to prevent out-of-home placement have been made.
(2) In determining the reasonable services to be offered or provided, the child’s health and safety shall be the paramount concerns.
(3) Upon a determination pursuant to paragraph (1) of subdivision (e) of Section 361.5 that reasonable services will be offered to a parent who is incarcerated in a county jail or state prison, the case plan shall include information, to the extent possible, about a parent’s incarceration in a county jail or the state prison during the time that a minor child of that parent is involved in dependency care.
(4) Reasonable services shall be offered or provided to make it possible for a child to return to a safe home environment, unless, pursuant to subdivisions (b) and (e) of Section 361.5, the court determines that reunification services shall not be provided.
(5) If reasonable services are not ordered, or are terminated, reasonable efforts shall be made to place the child in a timely manner in accordance with the permanent plan and to complete all steps necessary to finalize the permanent placement of the child.
(c) (1) If out-of-home placement is used to attain case plan goals, the decision regarding choice of placement shall be based upon selection of a safe setting that is the least restrictive or most familylike and the most appropriate setting that is available and in close proximity to the parent’s home, proximity to the child’s school, consistent with the selection of the environment best suited to meet the child’s special needs and best interests, or both. The selection shall consider, in order of priority, placement with relatives, tribal members, and foster family, group care, and residential treatment pursuant to Section 7950 of the Family Code.
(2) In addition to the requirements of paragraph (1), and taking into account other statutory considerations regarding placement, the selection of the most appropriate home that will meet the child’s special needs and best interests shall also promote educational stability by taking into consideration proximity to the child’s school attendance area.
(d) A written case plan shall be completed within a maximum of 60 days of the initial removal of the child or of the in-person response required under subdivision (f) of Section 16501 if the child has not been removed from his or her home, or by the date of the dispositional hearing pursuant to Section 358, whichever occurs first. The case plan shall be updated as the service needs of the child and family dictate. At a minimum, the case plan shall be updated in conjunction with each status review hearing conducted pursuant to Section 366.21, and the hearing conducted pursuant to Section 366.26, but no less frequently than once every six months. Each updated case plan shall include a description of the services that have been provided to the child under the plan and an evaluation of the appropriateness and effectiveness of those services.
(1) It is the intent of the Legislature that extending the maximum time available for preparing a written case plan from 30 to 60 days will afford caseworkers time to actively engage families, and to solicit and integrate into the case plan the input of the child and the child’s family, as well as the input of relatives and other interested parties.
(2) The extension of the maximum time available for preparing a written case plan from the 30 to 60 days shall be effective 90 days after the date that the department gives counties written notice that necessary changes have been made to the Child Welfare Services Case Management System to account for the 60-day timeframe for preparing a written case plan.
(e) The child welfare services case plan shall be comprehensive enough to meet the juvenile court dependency proceedings requirements pursuant to Article 6 (commencing with Section 300) of Chapter 2 of Part 1 of Division 2.
(f) The case plan shall be developed as follows:
(1) The case plan shall be based upon an assessment of the circumstances that required child welfare services intervention. The child shall be involved in developing the case plan as age and developmentally appropriate.
(2) The case plan shall identify specific goals and the appropriateness of the planned services in meeting those goals.
(3) The case plan shall identify the original allegations of abuse or neglect, as defined in Article 2.5 (commencing with Section 11164) of Chapter 2 of Title 1 of Part 4 of the Penal Code, or the conditions cited as the basis for declaring the child a dependent of the court pursuant to Section 300, or all of these, and the other precipitating incidents that led to child welfare services intervention.
(4) The case plan shall include a description of the schedule of the social worker contacts with the child and the family or other caretakers. The frequency of these contacts shall be in accordance with regulations adopted by the State Department of Social Services. If the child has been placed in foster care out of state, the county social worker or a social worker on the staff of the social services agency in the state in which the child has been placed shall visit the child in a foster family home or the home of a relative, consistent with federal law and in accordance with the department’s approved state plan. For children in out-of-state group home facilities, visits shall be conducted at least monthly, pursuant to Section 16516.5. At least once every six months, at the time of a regularly scheduled social worker contact with the foster child, the child’s social worker shall inform the child of his or her rights as a foster child, as specified in Section 16001.9. The social worker shall provide the information to the child in a manner appropriate to the age or developmental level of the child.
(5) (A) When out-of-home services are used, the frequency of contact between the natural parents or legal guardians and the child shall be specified in the case plan. The frequency of those contacts shall reflect overall case goals, and consider other principles outlined in this section.
(B) Information regarding any court-ordered visitation between the child and the natural parents or legal guardians, and the terms and conditions needed to facilitate the visits while protecting the safety of the child, shall be provided to the child’s out-of-home caregiver as soon as possible after the court order is made.
(6) When out-of-home placement is made, the case plan shall include provisions for the development and maintenance of sibling relationships as specified in subdivisions (b), (c), and (d) of Section 16002. If appropriate, when siblings who are dependents of the juvenile court are not placed together, the social worker for each child, if different, shall communicate with each of the other social workers and ensure that the child’s siblings are informed of significant life events that occur within their extended family. Unless it has been determined that it is inappropriate in a particular case to keep siblings informed of significant life events that occur within the extended family, the social worker shall determine the appropriate means and setting for disclosure of this information to the child commensurate with the child’s age and emotional well-being. These significant life events shall include, but shall not be limited to, the following:
(A) The death of an immediate relative.
(B) The birth of a sibling.
(C) Significant changes regarding a dependent child, unless the child objects to the sharing of the information with his or her siblings, including changes in placement, major medical or mental health diagnoses, treatments, or hospitalizations, arrests, and changes in the permanent plan.
(7) If out-of-home placement is made in a foster family home, group home, or other child care institution that is either a substantial distance from the home of the child’s parent or out of state, the case plan shall specify the reasons why that placement is in the best interest of the child. When an out-of-state group home placement is recommended or made, the case plan shall, in addition, specify compliance with Section 7911.1 of the Family Code.
(8) Effective January 1, 2010, a case plan shall ensure the educational stability of the child while in foster care and shall include both of the following:
(A) An assurance that the placement takes into account the appropriateness of the current educational setting and the proximity to the school in which the child is enrolled at the time of placement.
(B) An assurance that the placement agency has coordinated with appropriate local educational agencies to ensure that the child remains in the school in which the child is enrolled at the time of placement, or, if remaining in that school is not in the best interests of the child, assurances by the placement agency and the local educational agency to provide immediate and appropriate enrollment in a new school and to provide all of the child’s educational records to the new school.
(9) (A) If out-of-home services are used, or if parental rights have been terminated and the case plan is placement for adoption, the case plan shall include a recommendation regarding the appropriateness of unsupervised visitation between the child and any of the child’s siblings. This recommendation shall include a statement regarding the child’s and the siblings’ willingness to participate in unsupervised visitation. If the case plan includes a recommendation for unsupervised sibling visitation, the plan shall also note that information necessary to accomplish this visitation has been provided to the child or to the child’s siblings.
(B) Information regarding the schedule and frequency of the visits between the child and siblings, as well as any court-ordered terms and conditions needed to facilitate the visits while protecting the safety of the child, shall be provided to the child’s out-of-home caregiver as soon as possible after the court order is made.
(10) If out-of-home services are used and the goal is reunification, the case plan shall describe the services to be provided to assist in reunification and the services to be provided concurrently to achieve legal permanency if efforts to reunify fail. The plan shall also consider in-state and out-of-state placements, the importance of developing and maintaining sibling relationships pursuant to Section 16002, and the desire and willingness of the caregiver to provide legal permanency for the child if reunification is unsuccessful.
(11) If out-of-home services are used, the child has been in care for at least 12 months, and the goal is not adoptive placement, the case plan shall include documentation of the compelling reason or reasons why termination of parental rights is not in the child’s best interest. A determination completed or updated within the past 12 months by the department when it is acting as an adoption agency or by a licensed adoption agency that it is unlikely that the child will be adopted, or that one of the conditions described in paragraph (1) of subdivision (c) of Section 366.26 applies, shall be deemed a compelling reason.
(12) (A) Parents and legal guardians shall have an opportunity to review the case plan, and to sign it whenever possible, and then shall receive a copy of the plan. In any voluntary service or placement agreement, the parents or legal guardians shall be required to review and sign the case plan. Whenever possible, parents and legal guardians shall participate in the development of the case plan.
(B) Parents and legal guardians shall be advised that, pursuant to Section 1228.1 of the Evidence Code, neither their signature on the child welfare services case plan nor their acceptance of any services prescribed in the child welfare services case plan shall constitute an admission of guilt or be used as evidence against the parent or legal guardian in a court of law. However, they shall also be advised that the parent’s or guardian’s failure to cooperate, except for good cause, in the provision of services specified in the child welfare services case plan may be used in any hearing held pursuant to Section 366.21 or 366.22 as evidence.
(13) A child shall be given a meaningful opportunity to participate in the development of the case plan and state his or her preference for foster care placement. A child who is 12 years of age or older and in a permanent placement shall also be given the opportunity to review the case plan, sign the case plan, and receive a copy of the case plan.
(14) The case plan shall be included in the court report and shall be considered by the court at the initial hearing and each review hearing. Modifications to the case plan made during the period between review hearings need not be approved by the court if the casework supervisor for that case determines that the modifications further the goals of the plan. If out-of-home services are used with the goal of family reunification, the case plan shall consider and describe the application of subdivision (b) of Section 11203.
(15) If the case plan has as its goal for the child a permanent plan of adoption or placement in another permanent home, it shall include a statement of the child’s wishes regarding their permanent placement plan and an assessment of those stated wishes. The agency shall also include documentation of the steps the agency is taking to find an adoptive family or other permanent living arrangements for the child; to place the child with an adoptive family, an appropriate and willing relative, a legal guardian, or in another planned permanent living arrangement; and to finalize the adoption or legal guardianship. At a minimum, the documentation shall include child-specific recruitment efforts, such as the use of state, regional, and national adoption exchanges, including electronic exchange systems, when the child has been freed for adoption.
(16) (A) When appropriate, for a child who is 16 years of age or older, the case plan shall include a written description of the programs and services that will help the child, consistent with the child’s best interests, prepare for the transition from foster care to independent living. The case plan shall be developed with the child and individuals identified as important to the child, and shall include steps the agency is taking to ensure that the child has a connection to a caring adult.
(B) During the 90-day period prior to the participant attaining 18 years of age or older as the state may elect under Section 475(8)(B)(iii) (42 U.S.C. Sec. 675(8)(B)(iii)) of the federal Social Security Act, whether during that period foster care maintenance payments are being made on the child’s behalf or the child is receiving benefits or services under Section 477 (42 U.S.C. Sec. 677) of the federal Social Security Act, a caseworker or other appropriate agency staff or probation officer and other representatives of the participant, as appropriate, must address, in the written transitional independent living plan, that is personalized at the direction of the child, information as detailed as the participant elects that shall include, but not be limited to, options regarding housing, health insurance, education, local opportunities for mentors and continuing support services, and workforce supports and employment services.
(g) If the court finds, after considering the case plan, that unsupervised sibling visitation is appropriate and has been consented to, the court shall order that the child or the child’s siblings, the child’s current caregiver, and the child’s prospective adoptive parents, if applicable, be provided with information necessary to accomplish this visitation. This section does not require or prohibit the social worker’s facilitation, transportation, or supervision of visits between the child and his or her siblings.
(h) The case plan documentation on sibling placements required under this section shall not require modification of existing case plan forms until the Child Welfare Services Case Management System is implemented on a statewide basis.
(i) When a child who is 10 years of age or older and who has been in out-of-home placement for six months or longer, the case plan shall include an identification of individuals, other than the child’s siblings, who are important to the child and actions necessary to maintain the child’s relationship with those individuals, provided that those relationships are in the best interest of the child. The social worker shall ask every child who is 10 years of age or older and who has been in out-of-home placement for six months or longer to identify individuals other than the child’s siblings who are important to the child, and may ask any other child to provide that information, as appropriate. The social worker shall make efforts to identify other individuals who are important to the child, consistent with the child’s best interests.
(j) The child’s caregiver shall be provided a copy of a plan outlining the child’s needs and services.
(k) On or before June 30, 2008, the department, in consultation with the County Welfare Directors Association and other advocates, shall develop a comprehensive plan to ensure that 90 percent of foster children are visited by their caseworkers on a monthly basis by October 1, 2011, and that the majority of the visits occur in the residence of the child. The plan shall include any data reporting requirements necessary to comply with the provisions of the federal Child and Family Services Improvement Act of 2006 (Public Law 109-288).
(l) The implementation and operation of the amendments to subdivision (i) enacted at the 2005–06 Regular Session shall be subject to appropriation through the budget process and by phase, as provided in Section 366.35.

SEC. 3.1.

 Section 16501.1 of the Welfare and Institutions Code is amended to read:

16501.1.
 (a) (1) The Legislature finds and declares that the foundation and central unifying tool in child welfare services is the case plan.
(2) The Legislature further finds and declares that a case plan ensures that the child receives protection and safe and proper care and case management, and that services are provided to the child and parents or other caretakers, as appropriate, in order to improve conditions in the parent’s home, to facilitate the safe return of the child to a safe home or the permanent placement of the child, and to address the needs of the child while in foster care.
(b) (1) A case plan shall be based upon the principles of this section and shall document that a preplacement assessment of the service needs of the child and family, and preplacement preventive services, have been provided, and that reasonable efforts to prevent out-of-home placement have been made.
(2) In determining the reasonable services to be offered or provided, the child’s health and safety shall be the paramount concerns.
(3) Upon a determination pursuant to paragraph (1) of subdivision (e) of Section 361.5 that reasonable services will be offered to a parent who is incarcerated in a county jail or state prison, the case plan shall include information, to the extent possible, about a parent’s incarceration in a county jail or the state prison during the time that a minor child of that parent is involved in dependency care.
(4) Reasonable services shall be offered or provided to make it possible for a child to return to a safe home environment, unless, pursuant to subdivisions (b) and (e) of Section 361.5, the court determines that reunification services shall not be provided.
(5) If reasonable services are not ordered, or are terminated, reasonable efforts shall be made to place the child in a timely manner in accordance with the permanent plan and to complete all steps necessary to finalize the permanent placement of the child.
(c) (1) If out-of-home placement is used to attain case plan goals, the decision regarding choice of placement shall be based upon selection of a safe setting that is the least restrictive or most familylike and the most appropriate setting that is available and in close proximity to the parent’s home, proximity to the child’s school, consistent with the selection of the environment best suited to meet the child’s special needs and best interests, or both. The selection shall consider, in order of priority, placement with relatives, tribal members, and foster family, group care, and residential treatment pursuant to Section 7950 of the Family Code. On or after January 1, 2012, for a nonminor dependent, as defined in subdivision (v) of Section 11400, who is receiving AFDC-FC benefits up to 21 years of age pursuant to Section 11403, in addition to the above requirements, the selection of the placement, including a supervised independent living setting, as described in Section 11400, shall also be based upon the developmental needs of young adults by providing opportunities to have incremental responsibilities that prepare a nonminor dependent to transition to independent living. If admission to, or continuation in, a group home placement is being considered for a nonminor dependent, the group home placement approval decision shall include a youth-driven, team-based case planning process, as defined by the department, in consultation with stakeholders. The case plan shall consider the full range of placement options, and shall specify why admission to, or continuation in, a group home placement is the best alternative available at the time to meet the special needs or well-being of the nonminor dependent, and how the placement will contribute to the nonminor dependent’s transition to independent living. The case plan shall specify the treatment strategies that will be used to prepare the nonminor dependent for discharge to a less restrictive and more family-like setting, including a target date for discharge from the group home placement. The placement shall be reviewed and updated on a regular, periodic basis to ensure that continuation in the group home remains in the best interests of the nonminor dependent and that progress is being made in achieving case plan goals leading to independent living. The group home placement planning process shall begin as soon as it becomes clear to the county welfare department or probation office that a foster child in group home placement is likely to remain in group home placement on his or her 18th birthday, in order to expedite the transition to a less restrictive and more family-like setting if he or she becomes a nonminor dependent. The case planning process shall include informing the youth of all of his or her options, including, but not limited to, admission to or continuation in a group home placement. Consideration for continuation of existing group home placement for a nonminor dependent under 19 years of age may include the need to stay in the same placement in order to complete high school. After a nonminor dependent either completes high school or attains his or her 19th birthday, whichever is earlier, continuation in or admission to a group home is prohibited unless the nonminor dependent satisfies the conditions of paragraph (5) of subdivision (b) of Section 11403, and group home placement functions as a short-term transition to the appropriate system of care.
(2) In addition to the requirements of paragraph (1), and taking into account other statutory considerations regarding placement, the selection of the most appropriate home that will meet the child’s special needs and best interests shall also promote educational stability by taking into consideration proximity to the child’s school attendance area.
(d) A written case plan shall be completed within a maximum of 60 days of the initial removal of the child or of the in-person response required under subdivision (f) of Section 16501 if the child has not been removed from his or her home, or by the date of the dispositional hearing pursuant to Section 358, whichever occurs first. The case plan shall be updated, as the service needs of the child and family dictate. At a minimum, the case plan shall be updated in conjunction with each status review hearing conducted pursuant to Section 366.21, and the hearing conducted pursuant to Section 366.26, but no less frequently than once every six months. Each updated case plan shall include a description of the services that have been provided to the child under the plan and an evaluation of the appropriateness and effectiveness of those services.
(1) It is the intent of the Legislature that extending the maximum time available for preparing a written case plan from 30 to 60 days will afford caseworkers time to actively engage families, and to solicit and integrate into the case plan the input of the child and the child’s family, as well as the input of relatives and other interested parties.
(2) The extension of the maximum time available for preparing a written case plan from the 30 to 60 days shall be effective 90 days after the date that the department gives counties written notice that necessary changes have been made to the Child Welfare Services Case Management System to account for the 60-day timeframe for preparing a written case plan.
(e) The child welfare services case plan shall be comprehensive enough to meet the juvenile court dependency proceedings requirements pursuant to Article 6 (commencing with Section 300) of Chapter 2 of Part 1 of Division 2.
(f) The case plan shall be developed as follows:
(1) The case plan shall be based upon an assessment of the circumstances that required child welfare services intervention. The child shall be involved in developing the case plan as age and developmentally appropriate.
(2) The case plan shall identify specific goals and the appropriateness of the planned services in meeting those goals.
(3) The case plan shall identify the original allegations of abuse or neglect, as defined in Article 2.5 (commencing with Section 11164) of Chapter 2 of Title 1 of Part 4 of the Penal Code, or the conditions cited as the basis for declaring the child a dependent of the court pursuant to Section 300, or all of these, and the other precipitating incidents that led to child welfare services intervention.
(4) The case plan shall include a description of the schedule of the social worker contacts with the child and the family or other caretakers. The frequency of these contacts shall be in accordance with regulations adopted by the State Department of Social Services. If the child has been placed in foster care out of state, the county social worker or a social worker on the staff of the social services agency in the state in which the child has been placed shall visit the child in a foster family home or the home of a relative, consistent with federal law and in accordance with the department’s approved state plan. For children in out-of-state group home facilities, visits shall be conducted at least monthly, pursuant to Section 16516.5. At least once every six months, at the time of a regularly scheduled social worker contact with the foster child, the child’s social worker shall inform the child of his or her rights as a foster child, as specified in Section 16001.9. The social worker shall provide the information to the child in a manner appropriate to the age or developmental level of the child.
(5) (A) When out-of-home services are used, the frequency of contact between the natural parents or legal guardians and the child shall be specified in the case plan. The frequency of those contacts shall reflect overall case goals, and consider other principles outlined in this section.
(B) Information regarding any court-ordered visitation between the child and the natural parents or legal guardians, and the terms and conditions needed to facilitate the visits while protecting the safety of the child, shall be provided to the child’s out-of-home caregiver as soon as possible after the court order is made.
(6) When out-of-home placement is made, the case plan shall include provisions for the development and maintenance of sibling relationships as specified in subdivisions (b), (c), and (d) of Section 16002. If appropriate, when siblings who are dependents of the juvenile court are not placed together, the social worker for each child, if different, shall communicate with each of the other social workers and ensure that the child’s siblings are informed of significant life events that occur within their extended family. Unless it has been determined that it is inappropriate in a particular case to keep siblings informed of significant life events that occur within the extended family, the social worker shall determine the appropriate means and setting for disclosure of this information to the child commensurate with the child’s age and emotional well-being. These significant life events shall include, but shall not be limited to, the following:
(A) The death of an immediate relative.
(B) The birth of a sibling.
(C) Significant changes regarding a dependent child, unless the child objects to the sharing of the information with his or her siblings, including changes in placement, major medical or mental health diagnoses, treatments, or hospitalizations, arrests, and changes in the permanent plan.
(7) If out-of-home placement is made in a foster family home, group home, or other child care institution that is either a substantial distance from the home of the child’s parent or out of state, the case plan shall specify the reasons why that placement is in the best interest of the child. When an out-of-state group home placement is recommended or made, the case plan shall, in addition, specify compliance with Section 7911.1 of the Family Code.
(8) Effective January 1, 2010, a case plan shall ensure the educational stability of the child while in foster care and shall include both of the following:
(A) An assurance that the placement takes into account the appropriateness of the current educational setting and the proximity to the school in which the child is enrolled at the time of placement.
(B) An assurance that the placement agency has coordinated with appropriate local educational agencies to ensure that the child remains in the school in which the child is enrolled at the time of placement, or, if remaining in that school is not in the best interests of the child, assurances by the placement agency and the local educational agency to provide immediate and appropriate enrollment in a new school and to provide all of the child’s educational records to the new school.
(9) (A) If out-of-home services are used, or if parental rights have been terminated and the case plan is placement for adoption, the case plan shall include a recommendation regarding the appropriateness of unsupervised visitation between the child and any of the child’s siblings. This recommendation shall include a statement regarding the child’s and the siblings’ willingness to participate in unsupervised visitation. If the case plan includes a recommendation for unsupervised sibling visitation, the plan shall also note that information necessary to accomplish this visitation has been provided to the child or to the child’s siblings.
(B) Information regarding the schedule and frequency of the visits between the child and siblings, as well as any court-ordered terms and conditions needed to facilitate the visits while protecting the safety of the child, shall be provided to the child’s out-of-home caregiver as soon as possible after the court order is made.
(10) If out-of-home services are used and the goal is reunification, the case plan shall describe the services to be provided to assist in reunification and the services to be provided concurrently to achieve legal permanency if efforts to reunify fail. The plan shall also consider in-state and out-of-state placements, the importance of developing and maintaining sibling relationships pursuant to Section 16002, and the desire and willingness of the caregiver to provide legal permanency for the child if reunification is unsuccessful.
(11) If out-of-home services are used, the child has been in care for at least 12 months, and the goal is not adoptive placement, the case plan shall include documentation of the compelling reason or reasons why termination of parental rights is not in the child’s best interest. A determination completed or updated within the past 12 months by the department when it is acting as an adoption agency or by a licensed adoption agency that it is unlikely that the child will be adopted, or that one of the conditions described in paragraph (1) of subdivision (c) of Section 366.26 applies, shall be deemed a compelling reason.
(12) (A) Parents and legal guardians shall have an opportunity to review the case plan, and to sign it whenever possible, and then shall receive a copy of the plan. In any voluntary service or placement agreement, the parents or legal guardians shall be required to review and sign the case plan. Whenever possible, parents and legal guardians shall participate in the development of the case plan. Commencing January 1, 2012, for nonminor dependents, as defined in subdivision (v) of Section 11400, who are receiving AFDC-FC up to 21 years of age pursuant to Section 11403, the case plan shall be developed with, and signed by, the nonminor.
(B) Parents and legal guardians shall be advised that, pursuant to Section 1228.1 of the Evidence Code, neither their signature on the child welfare services case plan nor their acceptance of any services prescribed in the child welfare services case plan shall constitute an admission of guilt or be used as evidence against the parent or legal guardian in a court of law. However, they shall also be advised that the parent’s or guardian’s failure to cooperate, except for good cause, in the provision of services specified in the child welfare services case plan may be used in any hearing held pursuant to Section 366.21 or 366.22 as evidence.
(13) A child shall be given a meaningful opportunity to participate in the development of the case plan and state his or her preference for foster care placement. A child who is 12 years of age or older and in a permanent placement shall also be given the opportunity to review the case plan, sign the case plan, and receive a copy of the case plan.
(14) The case plan shall be included in the court report and shall be considered by the court at the initial hearing and each review hearing. Modifications to the case plan made during the period between review hearings need not be approved by the court if the casework supervisor for that case determines that the modifications further the goals of the plan. If out-of-home services are used with the goal of family reunification, the case plan shall consider and describe the application of subdivision (b) of Section 11203.
(15) If the case plan has as its goal for the child a permanent plan of adoption or placement in another permanent home, it shall include a statement of the child’s wishes regarding their permanent placement plan and an assessment of those stated wishes. The agency shall also include documentation of the steps the agency is taking to find an adoptive family or other permanent living arrangements for the child; to place the child with an adoptive family, an appropriate and willing relative, a legal guardian, or in another planned permanent living arrangement; and to finalize the adoption or legal guardianship. At a minimum, the documentation shall include child-specific recruitment efforts, such as the use of state, regional, and national adoption exchanges, including electronic exchange systems, when the child has been freed for adoption. If the plan is for kinship guardianship, the case plan shall document how the child meets the kinship guardianship eligibility requirements.
(16) (A) When appropriate, for a child who is 16 years of age or older and, commencing January 1, 2012, for a nonminor dependent, the case plan shall include a written description of the programs and services that will help the child, consistent with the child’s best interests, prepare for the transition from foster care to independent living, and whether the youth has an in-progress application pending for Title XVI Supplemental Security Income benefits or for Special Juvenile Immigration Status or other applicable application for legal residency and an active dependency case is required for that application. When appropriate, for a nonminor dependent, the case plan shall include a written description of the program and services that will help the nonminor dependent, consistent with his or her best interests, to prepare for transition from foster care and assist the youth in meeting the eligibility criteria set forth in Section 11403. If applicable, the case plan shall describe the individualized supervision provided in the supervised independent living setting as defined, in subdivision (w) of Section 11400. The case plan shall be developed with the child or nonminor dependent and individuals identified as important to the child or nonminor dependent, and shall include steps the agency is taking to ensure that the child or nonminor dependent achieves permanence, including maintaining or obtaining permanent connections to caring and committed adults.
(B) During the 90-day period prior to the participant attaining 18 years of age or older as the state may elect under Section 475(8)(B)(iii) (42 U.S.C. Sec. 675(8)(B)(iii)) of the federal Social Security Act, whether during that period foster care maintenance payments are being made on the child’s behalf or the child is receiving benefits or services under Section 477 (42 U.S.C. Sec. 677) of the federal Social Security Act, a caseworker or other appropriate agency staff or probation officer and other representatives of the participant, as appropriate, shall provide the youth or nonminor with assistance and support in developing the written 90-day transition plan, that is personalized at the direction of the child, information as detailed as the participant elects that shall include, but not be limited to, options regarding housing, health insurance, education, local opportunities for mentors and continuing support services, and workforce supports and employment services.
(g) If the court finds, after considering the case plan, that unsupervised sibling visitation is appropriate and has been consented to, the court shall order that the child or the child’s siblings, the child’s current caregiver, and the child’s prospective adoptive parents, if applicable, be provided with information necessary to accomplish this visitation. This section does not require or prohibit the social worker’s facilitation, transportation, or supervision of visits between the child and his or her siblings.
(h) The case plan documentation on sibling placements required under this section shall not require modification of existing case plan forms until the Child Welfare Services Case Management System is implemented on a statewide basis.
(i) When a child who is 10 years of age or older and who has been in out-of-home placement for six months or longer, the case plan shall include an identification of individuals, other than the child’s siblings, who are important to the child and actions necessary to maintain the child’s relationship with those individuals, provided that those relationships are in the best interest of the child. The social worker shall ask every child who is 10 years of age or older and who has been in out-of-home placement for six months or longer to identify individuals other than the child’s siblings who are important to the child, and may ask any other child to provide that information, as appropriate. The social worker shall make efforts to identify other individuals who are important to the child, consistent with the child’s best interests.
(j) The child’s caregiver shall be provided a copy of a plan outlining the child’s needs and services.
(k) On or before June 30, 2008, the department, in consultation with the County Welfare Directors Association and other advocates, shall develop a comprehensive plan to ensure that 90 percent of foster children are visited by their caseworkers on a monthly basis by October 1, 2011, and that the majority of the visits occur in the residence of the child. The plan shall include any data reporting requirements necessary to comply with the provisions of the federal Child and Family Services Improvement Act of 2006 (Public Law 109-288).
(l) The implementation and operation of the amendments to subdivision (i) enacted at the 2005–06 Regular Session shall be subject to appropriation through the budget process and by phase, as provided in Section 366.35.

SEC. 3.2.

 Section 16501.1 of the Welfare and Institutions Code is amended to read:

16501.1.
 (a) (1) The Legislature finds and declares that the foundation and central unifying tool in child welfare services is the case plan.
(2) The Legislature further finds and declares that a case plan ensures that the child receives protection and safe and proper care and case management, and that services are provided to the child and parents or other caretakers, as appropriate, in order to improve conditions in the parent’s home, to facilitate the safe return of the child to a safe home or the permanent placement of the child, and to address the needs of the child while in foster care.
(b) (1) A case plan shall be based upon the principles of this section and shall document that a preplacement assessment of the service needs of the child and family, and preplacement preventive services, have been provided, and that reasonable efforts to prevent out-of-home placement have been made.
(2) In determining the reasonable services to be offered or provided, the child’s health and safety shall be the paramount concerns.
(3) Upon a determination pursuant to paragraph (1) of subdivision (e) of Section 361.5 that reasonable services will be offered to a parent who is incarcerated in a county jail or state prison, the case plan shall include information, to the extent possible, about a parent’s incarceration in a county jail or the state prison during the time that a minor child of that parent is involved in dependency care.
(4) Reasonable services shall be offered or provided to make it possible for a child to return to a safe home environment, unless, pursuant to subdivisions (b) and (e) of Section 361.5, the court determines that reunification services shall not be provided.
(5) If reasonable services are not ordered, or are terminated, reasonable efforts shall be made to place the child in a timely manner in accordance with the permanent plan and to complete all steps necessary to finalize the permanent placement of the child.
(c) (1) If out-of-home placement is used to attain case plan goals, the decision regarding choice of placement shall be based upon selection of a safe setting that is the least restrictive or most family like and the most appropriate setting that is available and in close proximity to the parent’s home, proximity to the child’s school, and consistent with the selection of the environment best suited to meet the child’s special needs and best interests. The selection shall consider, in order of priority, placement with relatives, tribal members, and foster family, group care, and residential treatment pursuant to Section 7950 of the Family Code.
(2) In addition to the requirements of paragraph (1), and taking into account other statutory considerations regarding placement, the selection of the most appropriate home that will meet the child’s special needs and best interests shall also promote educational stability by taking into consideration proximity to the child’s school of origin, and school attendance area, the number of school transfers the child has previously experienced, and the child’s school matriculation schedule, in addition to other indicators of educational stability that the Legislature hereby encourages the State Department of Social Services and the State Department of Education to develop.
(d) A written case plan shall be completed within a maximum of 60 days of the initial removal of the child or of the in-person response required under subdivision (f) of Section 16501 if the child has not been removed from his or her home, or by the date of the dispositional hearing pursuant to Section 358, whichever occurs first. The case plan shall be updated as the service needs of the child and family dictate. At a minimum, the case plan shall be updated in conjunction with each status review hearing conducted pursuant to Section 366.21, and the hearing conducted pursuant to Section 366.26, but no less frequently than once every six months. Each updated case plan shall include a description of the services that have been provided to the child under the plan and an evaluation of the appropriateness and effectiveness of those services.
(1) It is the intent of the Legislature that extending the maximum time available for preparing a written case plan from 30 to 60 days will afford caseworkers time to actively engage families, and to solicit and integrate into the case plan the input of the child and the child’s family, as well as the input of relatives and other interested parties.
(2) The extension of the maximum time available for preparing a written case plan from the 30 to 60 days shall be effective 90 days after the date that the department gives counties written notice that necessary changes have been made to the Child Welfare Services Case Management System to account for the 60-day timeframe for preparing a written case plan.
(e) The child welfare services case plan shall be comprehensive enough to meet the juvenile court dependency proceedings requirements pursuant to Article 6 (commencing with Section 300) of Chapter 2 of Part 1 of Division 2.
(f) The case plan shall be developed as follows:
(1) The case plan shall be based upon an assessment of the circumstances that required child welfare services intervention. The child shall be involved in developing the case plan as age and developmentally appropriate.
(2) The case plan shall identify specific goals and the appropriateness of the planned services in meeting those goals.
(3) The case plan shall identify the original allegations of abuse or neglect, as defined in Article 2.5 (commencing with Section 11164) of Chapter 2 of Title 1 of Part 4 of the Penal Code, or the conditions cited as the basis for declaring the child a dependent of the court pursuant to Section 300, or all of these, and the other precipitating incidents that led to child welfare services intervention.
(4) The case plan shall include a description of the schedule of the social worker contacts with the child and the family or other caretakers. The frequency of these contacts shall be in accordance with regulations adopted by the State Department of Social Services. If the child has been placed in foster care out of state, the county social worker or a social worker on the staff of the social services agency in the state in which the child has been placed shall visit the child in a foster family home or the home of a relative, consistent with federal law and in accordance with the department’s approved state plan. For children in out-of-state group home facilities, visits shall be conducted at least monthly, pursuant to Section 16516.5. At least once every six months, at the time of a regularly scheduled social worker contact with the foster child, the child’s social worker shall inform the child of his or her rights as a foster child, as specified in Section 16001.9. The social worker shall provide the information to the child in a manner appropriate to the age or developmental level of the child.
(5) (A) When out-of-home services are used, the frequency of contact between the natural parents or legal guardians and the child shall be specified in the case plan. The frequency of those contacts shall reflect overall case goals, and consider other principles outlined in this section.
(B) Information regarding any court-ordered visitation between the child and the natural parents or legal guardians, and the terms and conditions needed to facilitate the visits while protecting the safety of the child, shall be provided to the child’s out-of-home caregiver as soon as possible after the court order is made.
(6) When out-of-home placement is made, the case plan shall include provisions for the development and maintenance of sibling relationships as specified in subdivisions (b), (c), and (d) of Section 16002. If appropriate, when siblings who are dependents of the juvenile court are not placed together, the social worker for each child, if different, shall communicate with each of the other social workers and ensure that the child’s siblings are informed of significant life events that occur within their extended family. Unless it has been determined that it is inappropriate in a particular case to keep siblings informed of significant life events that occur within the extended family, the social worker shall determine the appropriate means and setting for disclosure of this information to the child commensurate with the child’s age and emotional well-being. These significant life events shall include, but shall not be limited to, the following:
(A) The death of an immediate relative.
(B) The birth of a sibling.
(C) Significant changes regarding a dependent child, unless the child objects to the sharing of the information with his or her siblings, including changes in placement, major medical or mental health diagnoses, treatments, or hospitalizations, arrests, and changes in the permanent plan.
(7) If out-of-home placement is made in a foster family home, group home, or other child care institution that is either a substantial distance from the home of the child’s parent or out of state, the case plan shall specify the reasons why that placement is in the best interest of the child. When an out-of-state group home placement is recommended or made, the case plan shall, in addition, specify compliance with Section 7911.1 of the Family Code.
(8) Effective January 1, 2010, a case plan shall ensure the educational stability of the child while in foster care and shall include both of the following:
(A) An assurance that the placement takes into account the appropriateness of the current educational setting and the proximity to the school in which the child is enrolled at the time of placement.
(B) An assurance that the placement agency has coordinated with the person holding the right to make educational decisions for the child and appropriate local educational agencies to ensure that the child remains in the school in which the child is enrolled at the time of placement or, if remaining in that school is not in the best interests of the child, assurances by the placement agency and the local educational agency to provide immediate and appropriate enrollment in a new school and to provide all of the child’s educational records to the new school.
(9) (A) If out-of-home services are used, or if parental rights have been terminated and the case plan is placement for adoption, the case plan shall include a recommendation regarding the appropriateness of unsupervised visitation between the child and any of the child’s siblings. This recommendation shall include a statement regarding the child’s and the siblings’ willingness to participate in unsupervised visitation. If the case plan includes a recommendation for unsupervised sibling visitation, the plan shall also note that information necessary to accomplish this visitation has been provided to the child or to the child’s siblings.
(B) Information regarding the schedule and frequency of the visits between the child and siblings, as well as any court-ordered terms and conditions needed to facilitate the visits while protecting the safety of the child, shall be provided to the child’s out-of-home caregiver as soon as possible after the court order is made.
(10) If out-of-home services are used and the goal is reunification, the case plan shall describe the services to be provided to assist in reunification and the services to be provided concurrently to achieve legal permanency if efforts to reunify fail. The plan shall also consider in-state and out-of-state placements, the importance of developing and maintaining sibling relationships pursuant to Section 16002, and the desire and willingness of the caregiver to provide legal permanency for the child if reunification is unsuccessful.
(11) If out-of-home services are used, the child has been in care for at least 12 months, and the goal is not adoptive placement, the case plan shall include documentation of the compelling reason or reasons why termination of parental rights is not in the child’s best interest. A determination completed or updated within the past 12 months by the department when it is acting as an adoption agency or by a licensed adoption agency that it is unlikely that the child will be adopted, or that one of the conditions described in paragraph (1) of subdivision (c) of Section 366.26 applies, shall be deemed a compelling reason.
(12) (A) Parents and legal guardians shall have an opportunity to review the case plan, and to sign it whenever possible, and then shall receive a copy of the plan. In a voluntary service or placement agreement, the parents or legal guardians shall be required to review and sign the case plan. Whenever possible, parents and legal guardians shall participate in the development of the case plan.
(B) Parents and legal guardians shall be advised that, pursuant to Section 1228.1 of the Evidence Code, neither their signature on the child welfare services case plan nor their acceptance of any services prescribed in the child welfare services case plan shall constitute an admission of guilt or be used as evidence against the parent or legal guardian in a court of law. However, they shall also be advised that the parent’s or guardian’s failure to cooperate, except for good cause, in the provision of services specified in the child welfare services case plan may be used in any hearing held pursuant to Section 366.21 or 366.22 as evidence.
(13) A child shall be given a meaningful opportunity to participate in the development of the case plan and state his or her preference for foster care placement. A child who is 12 years of age or older and in a permanent placement shall also be given the opportunity to review the case plan, sign the case plan, and receive a copy of the case plan.
(14) The case plan shall be included in the court report and shall be considered by the court at the initial hearing and each review hearing. Modifications to the case plan made during the period between review hearings need not be approved by the court if the casework supervisor for that case determines that the modifications further the goals of the plan. If out-of-home services are used with the goal of family reunification, the case plan shall consider and describe the application of subdivision (b) of Section 11203.
(15) If the case plan has as its goal for the child a permanent plan of adoption or placement in another permanent home, it shall include a statement of the child’s wishes regarding their permanent placement plan and an assessment of those stated wishes. The agency shall also include documentation of the steps the agency is taking to find an adoptive family or other permanent living arrangements for the child; to place the child with an adoptive family, an appropriate and willing relative, a legal guardian, or in another planned permanent living arrangement; and to finalize the adoption or legal guardianship. At a minimum, the documentation shall include child-specific recruitment efforts, such as the use of state, regional, and national adoption exchanges, including electronic exchange systems, when the child has been freed for adoption.
(16) (A) When appropriate, for a child who is 16 years of age or older, the case plan shall include a written description of the programs and services that will help the child, consistent with the child’s best interests, prepare for the transition from foster care to independent living. The case plan shall be developed with the child and individuals identified as important to the child, and shall include steps the agency is taking to ensure that the child has a connection to a caring adult.
(B) During the 90-day period prior to the participant attaining 18 years of age or older as the state may elect under Section 475(8)(B)(iii) (42 U.S.C. Sec. 675(8)(B)(iii)) of the federal Social Security Act, whether during that period foster care maintenance payments are being made on the child’s behalf or the child is receiving benefits or services under Section 477 (42 U.S.C. Sec. 677) of the federal Social Security Act, a caseworker or other appropriate agency staff or probation officer and other representatives of the participant, as appropriate, must address, in the written transitional independent living plan, that is personalized at the direction of the child, information as detailed as the participant elects that shall include, but not be limited to, options regarding housing, health insurance, education, local opportunities for mentors and continuing support services, and workforce supports and employment services.
(g) If the court finds, after considering the case plan, that unsupervised sibling visitation is appropriate and has been consented to, the court shall order that the child or the child’s siblings, the child’s current caregiver, and the child’s prospective adoptive parents, if applicable, be provided with information necessary to accomplish this visitation. This section does not require or prohibit the social worker’s facilitation, transportation, or supervision of visits between the child and his or her siblings.
(h) The case plan documentation on sibling placements required under this section shall not require modification of existing case plan forms until the Child Welfare Services Case Management System is implemented on a statewide basis.
(i) When a child who is 10 years of age or older and who has been in out-of-home placement for six months or longer, the case plan shall include an identification of individuals, other than the child’s siblings, who are important to the child and actions necessary to maintain the child’s relationship with those individuals, provided that those relationships are in the best interest of the child. The social worker shall ask every child who is 10 years of age or older and who has been in out-of-home placement for six months or longer to identify individuals other than the child’s siblings who are important to the child, and may ask any other child to provide that information, as appropriate. The social worker shall make efforts to identify other individuals who are important to the child, consistent with the child’s best interests.
(j) The child’s caregiver shall be provided a copy of a plan outlining the child’s needs and services.
(k) On or before June 30, 2008, the department, in consultation with the County Welfare Directors Association and other advocates, shall develop a comprehensive plan to ensure that 90 percent of foster children are visited by their caseworkers on a monthly basis by October 1, 2011, and that the majority of the visits occur in the residence of the child. The plan shall include any data reporting requirements necessary to comply with the provisions of the federal Child and Family Services Improvement Act of 2006 (Public Law 109-288).
(l) The implementation and operation of the amendments to subdivision (i) enacted at the 2005–06 Regular Session shall be subject to appropriation through the budget process and by phase, as provided in Section 366.35.

SEC. 3.3.

 Section 16501.1 of the Welfare and Institutions Code is amended to read:

16501.1.
 (a) (1) The Legislature finds and declares that the foundation and central unifying tool in child welfare services is the case plan.
(2) The Legislature further finds and declares that a case plan ensures that the child receives protection and safe and proper care and case management, and that services are provided to the child and parents or other caretakers, as appropriate, in order to improve conditions in the parent’s home, to facilitate the safe return of the child to a safe home or the permanent placement of the child, and to address the needs of the child while in foster care.
(b) (1) A case plan shall be based upon the principles of this section and shall document that a preplacement assessment of the service needs of the child and family, and preplacement preventive services, have been provided, and that reasonable efforts to prevent out-of-home placement have been made.
(2) In determining the reasonable services to be offered or provided, the child’s health and safety shall be the paramount concerns.
(3) Upon a determination pursuant to paragraph (1) of subdivision (e) of Section 361.5 that reasonable services will be offered to a parent who is incarcerated in a county jail or state prison, the case plan shall include information, to the extent possible, about a parent’s incarceration in a county jail or the state prison during the time that a minor child of that parent is involved in dependency care.
(4) Reasonable services shall be offered or provided to make it possible for a child to return to a safe home environment, unless, pursuant to subdivisions (b) and (e) of Section 361.5, the court determines that reunification services shall not be provided.
(5) If reasonable services are not ordered, or are terminated, reasonable efforts shall be made to place the child in a timely manner in accordance with the permanent plan and to complete all steps necessary to finalize the permanent placement of the child.
(c) (1) If out-of-home placement is used to attain case plan goals, the decision regarding choice of placement shall be based upon selection of a safe setting that is the least restrictive or most family like and the most appropriate setting that is available and in close proximity to the parent’s home, proximity to the child’s school, and consistent with the selection of the environment best suited to meet the child’s special needs and best interests. The selection shall consider, in order of priority, placement with relatives, tribal members, and foster family, group care, and residential treatment pursuant to Section 7950 of the Family Code. On or after January 1, 2012, for a nonminor dependent, as defined in subdivision (v) of Section 11400, who is receiving AFDC-FC benefits up to 21 years of age pursuant to Section 11403, in addition to the above requirements, the selection of the placement, including a supervised independent living setting, as described in Section 11400, shall also be based upon the developmental needs of young adults by providing opportunities to have incremental responsibilities that prepare a nonminor dependent to transition to independent living. If admission to, or continuation in, a group home placement is being considered for a nonminor dependent, the group home placement approval decision shall include a youth-driven, team-based case planning process, as defined by the department, in consultation with stakeholders. The case plan shall consider the full range of placement options, and shall specify why admission to, or continuation in, a group home placement is the best alternative available at the time to meet the special needs or well-being of the nonminor dependent, and how the placement will contribute to the nonminor dependent’s transition to independent living. The case plan shall specify the treatment strategies that will be used to prepare the nonminor dependent for discharge to a less restrictive and more family-like setting, including a target date for discharge from the group home placement. The placement shall be reviewed and updated on a regular, periodic basis to ensure that continuation in the group home remains in the best interests of the nonminor dependent and that progress is being made in achieving case plan goals leading to independent living. The group home placement planning process shall begin as soon as it becomes clear to the county welfare department or probation office that a foster child in group home placement is likely to remain in group home placement on his or her 18th birthday, in order to expedite the transition to a less restrictive and more family-like setting if he or she becomes a nonminor dependent. The case planning process shall include informing the youth of all of his or her options, including, but not limited to, admission to or continuation in a group home placement. Consideration for continuation of existing group home placement for a nonminor dependent under 19 years of age may include the need to stay in the same placement in order to complete high school. After a nonminor dependent either completes high school or attains his or her 19th birthday, whichever is earlier, continuation in or admission to a group home is prohibited unless the nonminor dependent satisfies the conditions of paragraph (5) of subdivision (b) of Section 11403, and group home placement functions as a short-term transition to the appropriate system of care.
(2) In addition to the requirements of paragraph (1), and taking into account other statutory considerations regarding placement, the selection of the most appropriate home that will meet the child’s special needs and best interests shall also promote educational stability by taking into consideration proximity to the child’s school of origin, and school attendance area, the number of school transfers the child has previously experienced, and the child’s school matriculation schedule, in addition to other indicators of educational stability that the Legislature hereby encourages the State Department of Social Services and the State Department of Education to develop.
(d) A written case plan shall be completed within a maximum of 60 days of the initial removal of the child or of the in-person response required under subdivision (f) of Section 16501 if the child has not been removed from his or her home, or by the date of the dispositional hearing pursuant to Section 358, whichever occurs first. The case plan shall be updated, as the service needs of the child and family dictate. At a minimum, the case plan shall be updated in conjunction with each status review hearing conducted pursuant to Section 366.21, and the hearing conducted pursuant to Section 366.26, but no less frequently than once every six months. Each updated case plan shall include a description of the services that have been provided to the child under the plan and an evaluation of the appropriateness and effectiveness of those services.
(1) It is the intent of the Legislature that extending the maximum time available for preparing a written case plan from 30 to 60 days will afford caseworkers time to actively engage families, and to solicit and integrate into the case plan the input of the child and the child’s family, as well as the input of relatives and other interested parties.
(2) The extension of the maximum time available for preparing a written case plan from the 30 to 60 days shall be effective 90 days after the date that the department gives counties written notice that necessary changes have been made to the Child Welfare Services Case Management System to account for the 60-day timeframe for preparing a written case plan.
(e) The child welfare services case plan shall be comprehensive enough to meet the juvenile court dependency proceedings requirements pursuant to Article 6 (commencing with Section 300) of Chapter 2 of Part 1 of Division 2.
(f) The case plan shall be developed as follows:
(1) The case plan shall be based upon an assessment of the circumstances that required child welfare services intervention. The child shall be involved in developing the case plan as age and developmentally appropriate.
(2) The case plan shall identify specific goals and the appropriateness of the planned services in meeting those goals.
(3) The case plan shall identify the original allegations of abuse or neglect, as defined in Article 2.5 (commencing with Section 11164) of Chapter 2 of Title 1 of Part 4 of the Penal Code, or the conditions cited as the basis for declaring the child a dependent of the court pursuant to Section 300, or all of these, and the other precipitating incidents that led to child welfare services intervention.
(4) The case plan shall include a description of the schedule of the social worker contacts with the child and the family or other caretakers. The frequency of these contacts shall be in accordance with regulations adopted by the State Department of Social Services. If the child has been placed in foster care out of state, the county social worker or a social worker on the staff of the social services agency in the state in which the child has been placed shall visit the child in a foster family home or the home of a relative, consistent with federal law and in accordance with the department’s approved state plan. For children in out-of-state group home facilities, visits shall be conducted at least monthly, pursuant to Section 16516.5. At least once every six months, at the time of a regularly scheduled social worker contact with the foster child, the child’s social worker shall inform the child of his or her rights as a foster child, as specified in Section 16001.9. The social worker shall provide the information to the child in a manner appropriate to the age or developmental level of the child.
(5) (A) When out-of-home services are used, the frequency of contact between the natural parents or legal guardians and the child shall be specified in the case plan. The frequency of those contacts shall reflect overall case goals, and consider other principles outlined in this section.
(B) Information regarding any court-ordered visitation between the child and the natural parents or legal guardians, and the terms and conditions needed to facilitate the visits while protecting the safety of the child, shall be provided to the child’s out-of-home caregiver as soon as possible after the court order is made.
(6) When out-of-home placement is made, the case plan shall include provisions for the development and maintenance of sibling relationships as specified in subdivisions (b), (c), and (d) of Section 16002. If appropriate, when siblings who are dependents of the juvenile court are not placed together, the social worker for each child, if different, shall communicate with each of the other social workers and ensure that the child’s siblings are informed of significant life events that occur within their extended family. Unless it has been determined that it is inappropriate in a particular case to keep siblings informed of significant life events that occur within the extended family, the social worker shall determine the appropriate means and setting for disclosure of this information to the child commensurate with the child’s age and emotional well-being. These significant life events shall include, but shall not be limited to, the following:
(A) The death of an immediate relative.
(B) The birth of a sibling.
(C) Significant changes regarding a dependent child, unless the child objects to the sharing of the information with his or her siblings, including changes in placement, major medical or mental health diagnoses, treatments, or hospitalizations, arrests, and changes in the permanent plan.
(7) If out-of-home placement is made in a foster family home, group home, or other child care institution that is either a substantial distance from the home of the child’s parent or out of state, the case plan shall specify the reasons why that placement is in the best interest of the child. When an out-of-state group home placement is recommended or made, the case plan shall, in addition, specify compliance with Section 7911.1 of the Family Code.
(8) Effective January 1, 2010, a case plan shall ensure the educational stability of the child while in foster care and shall include both of the following:
(A) An assurance that the placement takes into account the appropriateness of the current educational setting and the proximity to the school in which the child is enrolled at the time of placement.
(B) An assurance that the placement agency has coordinated with the person holding the right to make educational decisions for the child and appropriate local educational agencies to ensure that the child remains in the school in which the child is enrolled at the time of placement or, if remaining in that school is not in the best interests of the child, assurances by the placement agency and the local educational agency to provide immediate and appropriate enrollment in a new school and to provide all of the child’s educational records to the new school.
(9) (A) If out-of-home services are used, or if parental rights have been terminated and the case plan is placement for adoption, the case plan shall include a recommendation regarding the appropriateness of unsupervised visitation between the child and any of the child’s siblings. This recommendation shall include a statement regarding the child’s and the siblings’ willingness to participate in unsupervised visitation. If the case plan includes a recommendation for unsupervised sibling visitation, the plan shall also note that information necessary to accomplish this visitation has been provided to the child or to the child’s siblings.
(B) Information regarding the schedule and frequency of the visits between the child and siblings, as well as any court-ordered terms and conditions needed to facilitate the visits while protecting the safety of the child, shall be provided to the child’s out-of-home caregiver as soon as possible after the court order is made.
(10) If out-of-home services are used and the goal is reunification, the case plan shall describe the services to be provided to assist in reunification and the services to be provided concurrently to achieve legal permanency if efforts to reunify fail. The plan shall also consider in-state and out-of-state placements, the importance of developing and maintaining sibling relationships pursuant to Section 16002, and the desire and willingness of the caregiver to provide legal permanency for the child if reunification is unsuccessful.
(11) If out-of-home services are used, the child has been in care for at least 12 months, and the goal is not adoptive placement, the case plan shall include documentation of the compelling reason or reasons why termination of parental rights is not in the child’s best interest. A determination completed or updated within the past 12 months by the department when it is acting as an adoption agency or by a licensed adoption agency that it is unlikely that the child will be adopted, or that one of the conditions described in paragraph (1) of subdivision (c) of Section 366.26 applies, shall be deemed a compelling reason.
(12) (A) Parents and legal guardians shall have an opportunity to review the case plan, and to sign it whenever possible, and then shall receive a copy of the plan. In a voluntary service or placement agreement, the parents or legal guardians shall be required to review and sign the case plan. Whenever possible, parents and legal guardians shall participate in the development of the case plan. Commencing January 1, 2012, for nonminor dependents, as defined in subdivision (v) of Section 11400, who are receiving AFDC-FC up to 21 years of age pursuant to Section 11403, the case plan shall be developed with, and signed by, the nonminor.
(B) Parents and legal guardians shall be advised that, pursuant to Section 1228.1 of the Evidence Code, neither their signature on the child welfare services case plan nor their acceptance of any services prescribed in the child welfare services case plan shall constitute an admission of guilt or be used as evidence against the parent or legal guardian in a court of law. However, they shall also be advised that the parent’s or guardian’s failure to cooperate, except for good cause, in the provision of services specified in the child welfare services case plan may be used in any hearing held pursuant to Section 366.21 or 366.22 as evidence.
(13) A child shall be given a meaningful opportunity to participate in the development of the case plan and state his or her preference for foster care placement. A child who is 12 years of age or older and in a permanent placement shall also be given the opportunity to review the case plan, sign the case plan, and receive a copy of the case plan.
(14) The case plan shall be included in the court report and shall be considered by the court at the initial hearing and each review hearing. Modifications to the case plan made during the period between review hearings need not be approved by the court if the casework supervisor for that case determines that the modifications further the goals of the plan. If out-of-home services are used with the goal of family reunification, the case plan shall consider and describe the application of subdivision (b) of Section 11203.
(15) If the case plan has as its goal for the child a permanent plan of adoption or placement in another permanent home, it shall include a statement of the child’s wishes regarding their permanent placement plan and an assessment of those stated wishes. The agency shall also include documentation of the steps the agency is taking to find an adoptive family or other permanent living arrangements for the child; to place the child with an adoptive family, an appropriate and willing relative, a legal guardian, or in another planned permanent living arrangement; and to finalize the adoption or legal guardianship. At a minimum, the documentation shall include child-specific recruitment efforts, such as the use of state, regional, and national adoption exchanges, including electronic exchange systems, when the child has been freed for adoption. If the plan is for kinship guardianship, the case plan shall document how the child meets the kinship guardianship eligibility requirements.
(16) (A) When appropriate, for a child who is 16 years of age or older and, commencing January 1, 2012, for a nonminor dependent, the case plan shall include a written description of the programs and services that will help the child, consistent with the child’s best interests, prepare for the transition from foster care to independent living, and whether the youth has an in-progress application pending for Title XVI Supplemental Security Income benefits or for Special Juvenile Immigration Status or other applicable application for legal residency and an active dependency case is required for that application. When appropriate, for a nonminor dependent, the case plan shall include a written description of the program and services that will help the nonminor dependent, consistent with his or her best interests, to prepare for transition from foster care and assist the youth in meeting the eligibility criteria set forth in Section 11403. If applicable, the case plan shall describe the individualized supervision provided in the supervised independent living setting as defined, in subdivision (w) of Section 11400. The case plan shall be developed with the child or nonminor dependent and individuals identified as important to the child or nonminor dependent, and shall include steps the agency is taking to ensure that the child or nonminor dependent achieves permanence, including maintaining or obtaining permanent connections to caring and committed adults.
(B) During the 90-day period prior to the participant attaining 18 years of age or older as the state may elect under Section 475(8)(B)(iii) (42 U.S.C. Sec. 675(8)(B)(iii)) of the federal Social Security Act, whether during that period foster care maintenance payments are being made on the child’s behalf or the child is receiving benefits or services under Section 477 (42 U.S.C. Sec. 677) of the federal Social Security Act, a caseworker or other appropriate agency staff or probation officer and other representatives of the participant, as appropriate, shall provide the youth or nonminor with assistance and support in developing the written 90-day transition plan, that is personalized at the direction of the child, information as detailed as the participant elects that shall include, but not be limited to, options regarding housing, health insurance, education, local opportunities for mentors and continuing support services, and workforce supports and employment services.
(g) If the court finds, after considering the case plan, that unsupervised sibling visitation is appropriate and has been consented to, the court shall order that the child or the child’s siblings, the child’s current caregiver, and the child’s prospective adoptive parents, if applicable, be provided with information necessary to accomplish this visitation. This section does not require or prohibit the social worker’s facilitation, transportation, or supervision of visits between the child and his or her siblings.
(h) The case plan documentation on sibling placements required under this section shall not require modification of existing case plan forms until the Child Welfare Services Case Management System is implemented on a statewide basis.
(i) When a child who is 10 years of age or older and who has been in out-of-home placement for six months or longer, the case plan shall include an identification of individuals, other than the child’s siblings, who are important to the child and actions necessary to maintain the child’s relationship with those individuals, provided that those relationships are in the best interest of the child. The social worker shall ask every child who is 10 years of age or older and who has been in out-of-home placement for six months or longer to identify individuals other than the child’s siblings who are important to the child, and may ask any other child to provide that information, as appropriate. The social worker shall make efforts to identify other individuals who are important to the child, consistent with the child’s best interests.
(j) The child’s caregiver shall be provided a copy of a plan outlining the child’s needs and services.
(k) On or before June 30, 2008, the department, in consultation with the County Welfare Directors Association and other advocates, shall develop a comprehensive plan to ensure that 90 percent of foster children are visited by their caseworkers on a monthly basis by October 1, 2011, and that the majority of the visits occur in the residence of the child. The plan shall include any data reporting requirements necessary to comply with the provisions of the federal Child and Family Services Improvement Act of 2006 (Public Law 109-288).
(l) The implementation and operation of the amendments to subdivision (i) enacted at the 2005–06 Regular Session shall be subject to appropriation through the budget process and by phase, as provided in Section 366.35.

SEC. 4.

 (a) Section 3.1 of this bill incorporates amendments to Section 16501.1 of the Welfare and Institutions Code proposed by both this bill and AB 12. It shall only become operative if (1) both bills are enacted and become effective on or before January 1, 2011, (2) each bill amends Section 16501.1 of the Welfare and Institutions Code, and (3) SB 1353 is not enacted or as enacted does not amend that section, and (4) this bill is enacted after AB 12, in which case Sections 3, 3.2, and 3.3 of this bill shall not become operative.
(b) Section 3.2 of this bill incorporates amendments to Section 16501.1 of the Welfare and Institutions Code proposed by both this bill and SB 1353. It shall only become operative if (1) both bills are enacted and become effective on or before January 1, 2011, (2) each bill amends Section 16501.1 of the Welfare and Institutions Code, (3) AB 12 is not enacted or as enacted does not amend that section, and (4) this bill is enacted after SB 1353, in which case Sections 3, 3.1, and 3.3 of this bill shall not become operative.
(c) Section 3.3 of this bill incorporates amendments to Section 16501.1 of the Welfare and Institutions Code proposed by this bill, AB 12, and SB 1353. It shall only become operative if (1) all three bills are enacted and become effective on or before January 1, 2011, (2) all three bills amend Section 16501.1 of the Welfare and Institutions Code, and (3) this bill is enacted after AB 12 and SB 1353, in which case Sections 3, 3.1, and 3.2 of this bill shall not become operative.

SEC. 5.

 If the Commission on State Mandates determines that this act contains costs mandated by the state, reimbursement to local agencies and school districts for those costs shall be made pursuant to Part 7 (commencing with Section 17500) of Division 4 of Title 2 of the Government Code.