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SB-1336 Dependent children: investigation: relatives.(2015-2016)

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SB1336:v91#DOCUMENT

Senate Bill No. 1336
CHAPTER 890

An act to amend Section 358 of the Welfare and Institutions Code, relating to dependent children.

[ Approved by Governor  September 30, 2016. Filed with Secretary of State  September 30, 2016. ]

LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


SB 1336, Jackson. Dependent children: investigation: relatives.
Existing law requires a county social worker to investigate the circumstances of each child taken into temporary custody by a peace officer who has reasonable cause to believe the child is the victim of abuse or neglect. Existing law requires the social worker to conduct an investigation to identify and locate adult relatives of the child and to provide him or her with a specified relative information form. Existing law further requires the social worker to initiate an assessment of the suitability of a relative who requests that the child be placed with him or her.
Under existing law, the juvenile court is required to hold a hearing to determine the proper disposition to be made of a child adjudged a dependent of the juvenile court. Existing law requires the court to consider the social study of the child made by the social worker before the court arrives at its judgment.
This bill would require the juvenile court to make a finding as to whether the social worker exercised due diligence in conducting his or her investigation to identify, locate, and notify the child’s relatives.
Vote: MAJORITY   Appropriation: NO   Fiscal Committee: NO   Local Program: NO  

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


SECTION 1.

 Section 358 of the Welfare and Institutions Code is amended to read:

358.
 (a) After finding that a child is a person described in Section 300, the court shall hear evidence on the question of the proper disposition to be made of the child. Prior to making a finding required by this section, the court may continue the hearing on its own motion, the motion of the parent or guardian, or the motion of the child, as follows:
(1) If the child is detained during the continuance, and the social worker is not alleging that subdivision (b) of Section 361.5 is applicable, the continuance shall not exceed 10 judicial days. The court may make an order for detention of the child or for the child’s release from detention, during the period of continuance, as is appropriate.
(2) If the child is not detained during the continuance, the continuance shall not exceed 30 days after the date of the finding pursuant to Section 356. However, the court may, for cause, continue the hearing for an additional 15 days.
(3) If the social worker is alleging that subdivision (b) of Section 361.5 is applicable, the court shall continue the proceedings for a period not to exceed 30 days. The social worker shall notify each parent of the content of subdivision (b) of Section 361.5 and shall inform each parent that if the court does not order reunification a permanency planning hearing will be held, and that his or her parental rights may be terminated within the timeframes specified by law.
(b) (1) Before determining the appropriate disposition, the court shall receive in evidence the social study of the child made by the social worker, any study or evaluation made by a child advocate appointed by the court, and other relevant and material evidence as may be offered, including, but not limited to, the willingness of the caregiver to provide legal permanency for the child if reunification is unsuccessful. In any judgment and order of disposition, the court shall specifically state that the social study made by the social worker and the study or evaluation made by the child advocate appointed by the court, if there be any, has been read and considered by the court in arriving at its judgment and order of disposition. Any social study or report submitted to the court by the social worker shall include the individual child’s case plan developed pursuant to Section 16501.1.
(2) Whenever a child is removed from a parent’s or guardian’s custody, the court shall make a finding as to whether the social worker has exercised due diligence in conducting the investigation, as required pursuant to paragraph (1) of subdivision (e) of Section 309, to identify, locate, and notify the child’s relatives, including both maternal and paternal relatives.
(3) When making the determination required pursuant to paragraph (2), the court may consider, among other examples of due diligence, the extent to which the social worker has complied with paragraph (1) of subdivision (e) of Section 309, and has done any of the following:
(A) Asked the child, in an age-appropriate manner and consistent with the child’s best interest, about his or her relatives.
(B) Obtained information regarding the location of the child’s relatives.
(C) Reviewed the child’s case file for any information regarding the child’s relatives.
(D) Telephoned, emailed, or visited all identified relatives.
(E) Asked located relatives for the names and locations of other relatives.
(F) Used Internet search tools to locate relatives identified as supports.
(c) If the court finds that a child is described by subdivision (h) of Section 300 or that subdivision (b) of Section 361.5 may be applicable, the court shall conduct the dispositional proceeding pursuant to subdivision (c) of Section 361.5.