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AB-734 Resource families: supportive services pilot program.(2019-2020)

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Date Published: 05/17/2019 04:00 AM
AB734:v97#DOCUMENT

Amended  IN  Assembly  May 16, 2019
Amended  IN  Assembly  March 18, 2019

CALIFORNIA LEGISLATURE— 2019–2020 REGULAR SESSION

Assembly Bill No. 734


Introduced by Assembly Member Maienschein
(Coauthor: Assembly Member Voepel)
(Coauthors: Senators Bates and Wilk)

February 19, 2019


An act to add and repeal Section 16519.66 of the Welfare and Institutions Code, relating to foster care.


LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


AB 734, as amended, Maienschein. Resource families: supportive services pilot program.
Existing law provides for the implementation, by counties and foster family agencies, of the resource family approval process, which is a unified, family-friendly, and child-centered approval process that replaces the multiple processes for licensing foster family homes, approving relatives and nonrelative extended family members as foster care providers, and approving adoptive families. Existing law also establishes the Kinship Support Services Program, which provides community-based family support services to relative caregivers and the children placed in their homes by the juvenile court or who are at risk of dependency or delinquency.
Existing law, the Mental Health Services Act (MHSA), an initiative measure enacted by the voters as Proposition 63 at the November 2, 2004, statewide general election, establishes the continuously appropriated Mental Health Services Fund to fund various county mental health programs, such as innovative programs and prevention and early intervention programs. Under existing law, an amount not to exceed 5% of the fund is reserved for the costs for specified entities, including the Mental Health Services Oversight and Accountability Commission, to implement their duties pursuant to the programs specified in the act.
This bill would require the State Department of Social Services to establish and facilitate a pilot program, including, but not limited to, services similar to the Kinship Support Services Program, program in up to 5 counties that voluntarily apply and are selected by the department, to increase placement stability for foster youth and facilitate greater resource family retention through the provision of community-based and family support services, including strengths-based, skills-based, trauma-informed coaching. The bill would specify that the pilot program is not intended to supplant any existing obligation on counties to provide core services, or to duplicate services already available to foster children in the community. The bill would require the pilot program to be funded with moneys appropriated by the Legislature for its purposes, and would additionally authorize funding from Mental Health Services Act state operations funds allocated to the Mental Health Services Oversight and Accountability Commission, if the commission so elects.
The bill would set forth the components of the pilot program and the responsibilities of the department and the participating counties, and would require the department, by June 30, 2020, to consult with relevant stakeholders and to consider the stakeholders’ recommendations to the department regarding certain parameters of the pilot program, as specified. The bill would require a county that elects to participate in the pilot program to conduct at least one evaluation of the program’s impact and effectiveness on increasing placement stability for foster youth and retaining resource families in accordance with, and upon issuance of guidance from, the department, and to submit the evaluation to the department no later than December 31, 2022. The bill would require the department to report the information provided by the counties to the Legislature, as prescribed. The provisions of the bill would be repealed on January 1, 2023.
Vote: MAJORITY   Appropriation: NO   Fiscal Committee: YES   Local Program: NO  

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


SECTION 1.

 Section 16519.66 is added to the Welfare and Institutions Code, to read:

16519.66.
 (a) (1) The department shall establish and facilitate a pilot program in up to five counties, including both rural and urban counties, that voluntarily apply and are selected by the department, to increase placement stability for foster youth and facilitate greater resource family retention through the provision of community-based family support services, similar to the Kinship Support Services Program, as established pursuant to Section 16605. strengths-based, skills-based, trauma-informed coaching services to caregivers. The pilot program shall be funded with moneys appropriated by the Legislature for this purpose. Funding may include Mental Health Services Act state operations funds allocated to the Mental Health Services Oversight and Accountability Commission under subdivision (d) of Section 5892, to the extent that the commission determines that the activities of the pilot program fall within the purposes described in that subdivision and elects to provide funding for those activities. The pilot program is not intended to supplant any existing obligation on counties to provide core services, or to duplicate services already available to foster children in the community, but instead to support access to those services and supports to the extent already available and to supplement the supports available to caregivers. The pilot program shall provide guidance for the future implementation of coaching for caregivers in counties across the state that elect to implement coaching for caregivers.
(2) Implementation of the pilot program shall commence after the department has received and reviewed the recommendations of the stakeholder workgroup described in subdivision (e), (e) but no later than January 1, 2021.
(b) A participating county shall meet all of the following conditions and requirements:
(1) Have a demonstrated capacity for collaboration and interagency coordination.
(2) Have a viable plan for ongoing financial support of the program.
(3) Have strong and viable public or private agencies to operate the program.
(4) Describe how the county will develop and maintain the necessary community supports. resources for implementing the pilot program.

(c)The pilot program shall provide coaching to resource families who volunteer to participate in the pilot program through a trained mentor, social worker, or mental health care provider who has received the pilot program coaching training.

(1)Coaches shall assist resource families to effectively utilize and implement skills and information covered in their preapproval training pursuant to subdivision (g) of Section 16519.5 in order to promote a stable and nurturing home environment for youth placed in the resource family home.

(2)Coaches shall inform participating resource families of available state and county supportive services, including, but not limited to, the availability of respite services for emergency and nonemergency situations, availability of, and access to, 24-hour resource hotlines where available, and mental health services for foster youth, among others.

(3)Participation in the pilot program shall not be a condition of resource family approval or a requirement for a resource family to receive or maintain the placement of a youth.

(d)The program shall provide family support services appropriate for the target populations. These services may include, but are not limited to, all of the following:

(1)Assessment and case management.

(2)Social services referral and intervention aimed at maintaining the family unit, including, but not limited to, housing, homemaker services, respite care, legal services, and daycare.

(3)Transportation for medical care and educational and recreational activities.

(4)Information and referral services.

(5)Individual and group counseling in the area of parent-child relationships and group conflict.

(6)Counseling and referral services aimed at promoting permanency, including adoption and guardianship.

(7)Tutoring and mentoring.

(8)Strengths-based, skills-based, trauma-informed coaching.

(d)(1)A participating county shall first seek to employ current social workers who meet the criteria established by the department under subdivision (e) to serve as coaches for the pilot program. A participating county may hire new social workers who meet the established criteria, if necessary. A social worker with a current caseload shall not be eligible to serve as a coach.

(2)A county that is unable to fill a coach position with a current social worker or new hire as provided in paragraph (1) may contract with a private individual or entity to fill the position. A coach hired under this paragraph shall meet the criteria established by the department under subdivision (e).

(c) The pilot program shall provide coaching to resource families who volunteer to participate in the pilot program through a trained mentor, social worker, or mental health care provider who has received the pilot program coaching training.
(1) Coaches shall assist resource families to effectively utilize and implement skills and information covered in their preapproval training, annual training, and any specialized training received pursuant to subdivision (g) of Section 16519.5 in order to promote a stable and nurturing home environment for youth placed in the resource family home.
(2) Coaches shall inform participating resource families of available state and county supportive services, including, but not limited to, the availability of respite services for emergency and nonemergency situations, availability of, and access to, 24-hour resource hotlines where available, and mental health services for foster youth, among others.
(3) Participation in the pilot program shall not be a condition of resource family approval or a requirement for a resource family to receive or maintain the placement of a youth.
(d) A social worker with a current caseload shall not be eligible to serve as a coach. A coach hired under this section shall meet the criteria established by the department under subdivision (e).
(e) No later than June 30, 2020, the department shall consult relevant stakeholders, including, but not limited to, foster youth, resource families, biological families, representatives of child and family services agencies, and foster family agencies. The department shall consider stakeholder recommendations regarding certain parameters of the pilot program, including, but not limited to, all of the following:
(1) Application and selection criteria for participating counties.
(2) A skills-based, strengths-based, trauma-informed coaching program curriculum, which may include trauma-informed principles and skills for improving attachment, empathy, and self-esteem, as well as practices from California’s core practice model.
(3) Application and selection criteria for coaches.
(4) Criteria used by counties to evaluate the effectiveness of the program in achieving the overall goals of the pilot program.
(f) (1) A participating county shall conduct at least one evaluation of the program’s impact and effectiveness on increasing placement stability for foster youth and retaining resource families in accordance with, and upon issuance of guidance from, the department. The evaluation also may include a survey of resource families exiting the program. A participating county shall submit its evaluation to the department no later than December 31, 2022.
(2) The department shall report the information provided by counties under paragraph (1) to the Legislature. The report shall be submitted in compliance with Section 9795 of the Government Code.
(g) This section shall remain in effect only until January 1, 2023, and as of that date is repealed.