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AB-861 Juveniles.(2019-2020)

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Date Published: 06/27/2019 09:00 PM
AB861:v96#DOCUMENT

Amended  IN  Senate  June 27, 2019
Amended  IN  Assembly  May 17, 2019
Amended  IN  Assembly  March 21, 2019

CALIFORNIA LEGISLATURE— 2019–2020 REGULAR SESSION

Assembly Bill
No. 861


Introduced by Assembly Member Chen

February 20, 2019


An act to amend Sections 329 and 331 of the Welfare and Institutions Code, relating to juveniles.


LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


AB 861, as amended, Chen. Juveniles.
Existing law establishes the jurisdiction of the juvenile court, which may adjudge a child to be a dependent of the court under certain circumstances. Existing law specifies that a proceeding to declare a juvenile a dependent is commenced by the social worker filing a petition with the juvenile court and authorizes a person to apply to the social worker to commence dependency proceedings. If the social worker does not undertake a program of supervision of the child or file a petition in the juvenile court within 3 weeks after the application, the social worker is required to document that decision and the person who applied to the social worker may apply to the juvenile court to review the social worker’s decision.
This bill would shorten that time period to 10 business days after the application if the child about whom an application is made is homeless, has been a dependent or ward of the juvenile court, or has received informal probation or child welfare services. The bill would also require the juvenile court to review those applications and issue a decision no more than 14 days after the application is made. By requiring a higher level of service from county social workers, this bill would impose a state-mandated local program.
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 no reimbursement is required by this act for a specified reason.
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 that it is concerned about the welfare of minors on the street who have been victims of abuse and neglect. Often these youth, who include former foster youth, do not know where to turn for help and there may not be local services to support them.

SEC. 2.

 Section 329 of the Welfare and Institutions Code is amended to read:

329.
 (a) If a person applies to a social worker to commence proceedings in the juvenile court, the application shall be in the form of an affidavit alleging that there was or is within the county, or residing therein, a child within the provisions of Section 300, and setting forth facts in support thereof. The social worker shall immediately investigate as the social worker deems necessary to determine whether proceedings in the juvenile court should be commenced. Except as provided in subdivision (b), if the social worker does not take action under Section 301 and does not file a petition in the juvenile court within three weeks after the application, the social worker shall endorse upon the affidavit of the applicant their decision not to proceed further, including any recommendation made to the applicant, if one is made, to consider commencing a probate guardianship for the child, and their reasons therefor and shall immediately notify the applicant of the action taken or the decision rendered by the social worker under this section. The social worker shall retain the affidavit and the endorsement thereon for a period of 30 days after notifying the applicant.
(b) If the child about whom an application is made, as described in subdivision (a), is homeless, a homeless youth has been a dependent or ward of the juvenile court, or has received informal probation or child welfare services, then, if the social worker does not take action under Section 301 and does not file a petition in the juvenile court within 10 business days after the application, the social worker shall endorse upon the affidavit of the applicant their decision not to proceed further, including any recommendation made to the applicant, if one is made, to consider commencing a probate guardianship for the child, and their reasons therefor and shall immediately notify the applicant of the action taken or the decision rendered by the social worker under this section.
(c) For purposes of this section, “homeless” means sleeping on the street or in a vehicle, a shelter, or other temporary accommodations without a permanent residence to which the person can return, or moving frequently between temporary living arrangements with local households, including, but not limited to, households of extended family, friends, friends’ parents, and acquaintances, while lacking a permanent or stable home. “homeless youth” has the same meaning as the term “homeless children and youths” as defined in Section 11434a(2) of Title 42 of the United States Code.

SEC. 3.

 Section 331 of the Welfare and Institutions Code is amended to read:

331.
 (a) If a person has applied to the social worker, pursuant to Section 329, to commence juvenile court proceedings and the social worker fails to file a petition within the time period required under Section 329, the person may, within one month after making the application, apply to the juvenile court to review the decision of the social worker, and the court may either affirm the decision of the social worker or order the social worker to commence juvenile court proceedings.
(b) A juvenile court shall review applications received pursuant to subdivision (a) and shall either affirm the decision of the social worker or order the social worker to commence juvenile court proceedings no more than 14 days after application is made the person applied to the juvenile court to review the decision of the social worker.

SEC. 4.

 To the extent that this act has an overall effect of increasing the costs already borne by a local agency for programs or levels of service mandated by the 2011 Realignment Legislation within the meaning of Section 36 of Article XIII of the California Constitution, it shall apply to local agencies only to the extent that the state provides annual funding for the cost increase. Any new program or higher level of service provided by a local agency pursuant to this act above the level for which funding has been provided shall not require a subvention of funds by the state or otherwise be subject to Section 6 of Article XIII B of the California Constitution.