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AB-2061 Child welfare services: families experiencing homelessness.(2013-2014)

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AB2061:v95#DOCUMENT

Amended  IN  Senate  June 26, 2014
Amended  IN  Senate  June 10, 2014
Amended  IN  Assembly  May 23, 2014
Amended  IN  Assembly  March 28, 2014

CALIFORNIA LEGISLATURE— 2013–2014 REGULAR SESSION

Assembly Bill
No. 2061


Introduced by Assembly Member Chau

February 20, 2014


An act to add Section 18262 to the Welfare and Institutions Code, relating to public social services.


LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


AB 2061, as amended, Chau. Child welfare services: families experiencing homelessness.
Existing law establishes the Aid to Families with Dependent Children-Foster Care (AFDC-FC) program, under which counties provide payments to foster care providers on behalf of qualified children in foster care. The program is funded by a combination of federal, state, and county funds, with moneys from the General Fund being continuously appropriated to pay for the state’s share of AFDC-FC costs.
Existing law authorizes the State Department of Social Services to conduct a demonstration project in up to 20 counties, to allow flexible use of federal and state foster care funds by utilizing a federal capped allocation model over a 5-year period, based on the terms and conditions of the federal Title IV-E waiver.
Existing law provides for child welfare services, which are public social services directed toward, among other purposes, protecting and promoting the welfare of all children, including those in foster care placement.
This bill would require the department, subject to federal approval, to include department to encourage counties participating in the demonstration project to consider use of innovative, evidence-based strategies in the with the optional portion of their federal Title IV-E waiver capped allocation demonstration project to achieve supportive housing, rapid rehousing, and permanent housing, as described, for families that include a child placed in foster care, who are receiving child welfare services, and who are experiencing homelessness. The bill would also provide that the continuous appropriation for the state’s share of the AFDC-FC costs would not be made for purposes of implementing the bill.
Vote: MAJORITY   Appropriation: NO   Fiscal Committee: YES   Local Program: NO  

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


SECTION 1.

 The Legislature finds and declares all of the following:
(a) A correlation exists between family homelessness and foster care placement. Though homelessness alone is not a basis for removing a child from a home, almost one-half of children in foster care have birth parents with a history of homelessness. Foster children with homeless birth parents are less likely to live with relative caregivers than children of families with stable housing, and these children remain separated from their families for longer than children of families with stable housing.
(b) Homelessness and housing instability interfere with the reunification of children in foster care with birth families. As many as 30 percent of children in foster care who cannot be reunited with birth families could be reunited if the family were able to access a safe place to live.
(c) Like children of homeless families, children involved with a child welfare system experience elevated school dropout rates, learning difficulties, worsening mental health conditions, and high levels of aggravation.
(d) A study of child-welfare-involved families experiencing long-term homelessness with at least one parent with a substance use disorder showed supportive housing allowed the majority of families’ child welfare cases to be resolved by reuniting families within 10 months. The study showed supportive housing reduced actual and potential use of foster care services by an average of 187 days.
(e) Studies have shown that providing low-cost short- and medium-term housing and services interventions, known as “rapid rehousing services,” to families experiencing brief episodes of homelessness results in housing stability, with families becoming 4.7 times less likely to return to homelessness than shelter interventions.
(f) A child’s experience with foster care perpetuates a cycle of homelessness. Data shows that 25 percent of children placed in foster care become homeless within four years of aging out.
(g) Jurisdictions are using evidence-based strategies to implement federal demonstration waivers that grant states flexibility in the use of federal foster care payment funds. These waivers allow child welfare agencies to use alternative services and supports that promote safety, permanency, and well-being for children.
(h) It is the intent of the Legislature to promote the use of innovative, evidence-based models to assess the housing needs of families who are receiving child welfare services and who are experiencing homelessness, and to coordinate and access resources available for rapid rehousing, supportive housing, and services that promote housing stability, with the goals of preventing foster care placement and reuniting children in foster care with their birth parents.

SEC. 2.

 Section 18262 is added to the Welfare and Institutions Code, to read:

18262.
 The department, subject to federal approval, shall include department shall encourage participating counties to consider the use of innovative, evidence-based strategies in the with the optional portion of their federal Title IV-E waiver capped allocation demonstration project pursuant to Section 18260 to assist families that include a child placed in foster care, who are receiving child welfare services, and who are experiencing homelessness to achieve the following:
(a) Supportive housing, including housing with no limit on length of stay, that is occupied by the target population, and that is linked to onsite or offsite services that assist the supportive housing resident in retaining the housing, improving his or her health status, and maximizing his or her ability to live and, when possible, work in the community.
(b) Rapid rehousing, including assistance that enables an individual or family experiencing homelessness to be quickly stabilized and housed in permanent housing affordable to the individual or family.
(c) Permanent housing, including housing without a limit on the length of stay that meets the affirmative standard characteristics of Section 1941.1 of the Civil Code.

SEC. 3.

 No appropriation pursuant to Section 15200 of the Welfare and Institutions Code shall be made for purposes of implementing this act.