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AB-2207 Commercially sexually exploited children.(2017-2018)

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Date Published: 04/13/2018 04:00 AM
AB2207:v97#DOCUMENT

Amended  IN  Assembly  April 12, 2018
Amended  IN  Assembly  April 02, 2018

CALIFORNIA LEGISLATURE— 2017–2018 REGULAR SESSION

Assembly Bill No. 2207


Introduced by Assembly Member Eggman

February 12, 2018


An act to add Sections 16524.12 and 16524.13 16524.12, 16524.13, and 16524.14 to the Welfare and Institutions Code, relating to sexual abuse.


LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


AB 2207, as amended, Eggman. Commercially sexually exploited children.
Existing law provides for the placement of children who have been removed from their homes due to neglect or abuse and governs the placement of those children under the supervision of the State Department of Social Services and county welfare departments. Existing law requires county child welfare agencies and probation departments to develop and implement policies and procedures or protocols that require social workers and probation officers to identify children who are at risk of becoming victims of commercial sexual exploitation, to determine whether a child or nonminor dependent is a possible victim of commercial sexual exploitation, and to document this information, as specified. Existing law also establishes the Commercially Sexually Exploited Children Program, which is administered by the State Department of Social Services, in order to adequately serve children who have been sexually exploited. The program allocates funding to participating counties to provide services to commercially sexually exploited children (CSEC), as specified.
This bill would require the State Department of Social Services to convene a working group comprised of relevant stakeholders, as specified, to examine the usefulness of restraining orders in protecting CSEC and whether revisions to state laws governing the issuance of restraining orders are necessary in order to provide additional protections to this population, and would require the working group to, no later than January 1, 2020, issue a report with its findings to the Legislature. The bill would require, commencing no later than July 1, 2019, and until March 1, July 1, 2021, the department to issue reports on a quarterly basis to the Legislature addressing the progress of each county in this state toward fully implementing policies and practices that consistently provide a safe environment, appropriate services, and specialized placements for CSEC who are receiving child welfare services. The bill would require these reports to be submitted semi-annually until July 1, 2020, and then annually thereafter. The bill would require the reports would to include, among other things, an accounting of how each county has expended specified General Fund moneys allocated to that county for CSEC programs since fiscal year 2014-15, as specified.
The bill would require, no later than July 1, 2021, the department to report to the Legislature whether each county in the state has fully implemented policies and practices for CSEC receiving child welfare services, as specified. The bill would require the State Department of Social Services to convene a working group comprised of relevant stakeholders, as specified, to examine the use of restraining orders in protecting CSEC and whether revisions to state laws governing the issuance of restraining orders are necessary in order to provide additional protections to this population, and would require the working group to, no later than January 1, 2020, make recommendations to the Legislature regarding how increased utilization of restraining orders may better protect CSEC. The bill would require the report to identify and list the policies, practices, and services used by each county to serve CSEC that, at minimum, result in certain outcomes, including, among others, the provision of services and placements for CSEC that are specifically tailored to their extreme trauma. The bill would also require the report to discuss whether each county utilizes the best practices identified by the department to achieve the specified outcomes described above. The bill would include a statement of legislative findings and declarations relating to CSEC.
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) According to a 2012 report by the Attorney General’s office, human trafficking is a $32 billion-a-year global industry, and California is one of the nation’s top destination states for the trafficking of human beings, which makes human trafficking “a substantial problem facing California.”
(b) The Child Welfare Council’s Commercially Sexually Exploited Children (CSEC) Action Team has reported that CSEC frequently have prior involvement with the child welfare system in California. For example, an analysis by several local agencies in San Diego found that between 80 and 90 percent of CSEC were known to the child welfare system.
(c) On September 29, 2014, the President of the United States signed into law the Preventing Sex Trafficking and Strengthening Families Act (Public Law 113-183), which included amendments to Title IV-E of the Social Security Act that addresses child sex trafficking. The act’s requirements were incorporated into state law with the passage of Senate Bill 794 in 2015, adding Section 16501.35 to the Welfare and Institutions Code, which, generally, but without deadlines or specifics, requires all county child welfare and probation departments to implement policies and procedures related to CSEC who are receiving child welfare services, and to implement protocols to expeditiously locate any child or nonminor dependent missing from foster care.
(d) In 2017, the State Department of Social Services released a report entitled “Commercially Sexually Exploited Children Program, 2017 Report to the Legislature.” The report’s conclusions and observations about recent county initiatives to provide services to CSEC include, but are not limited, to the following:
(1) Counties have encountered various challenges while developing and implementing CSEC interagency protocols.
(2) CSEC typically suffer from extreme levels of trauma that result in strong bonds with their exploiters. As a result, the overwhelming majority of CSEC do not initially recognize themselves as victims, and it often takes them many attempts to engage in services prior to making significant progress towards long-term stabilization.
(3) A universally acknowledged barrier to effectively serving CSEC in California is the lack of suitable placement options.
(4) Some counties have not yet been able to identify any CSEC or at-risk children.
(5) There are not yet enough identified best practices, services, and appropriate placements to identify and serve gender-fluid and LGBTQ lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning (LGBTQ) youth.
(6) Providers of CSEC services and placements have high rates of staff turnover, which negatively impacts the implementation of counties’ CSEC programs, as agency staff and community-based providers need introductory and in-depth CSEC training to meet their responsibilities.
(7) A total of $38 million from the General Fund has been allocated for CSEC programs since the 2014–15 fiscal year, and the State Department of Social Services has been responsible for distributing this funding to counties. However, there has not been reporting regarding whether or how counties have spent money allocated to them for their CSEC programs, nor has there been reporting regarding the outcomes of services or the number and types of placements provided with these funds.
(e) It is currently unclear whether CSEC are consistently receiving the specialized services and placements they need in each county, both of which have been identified by the State Department of Social Services as essential, and for which $38 million has been appropriated by the state. That information should be reported to the Legislature.
(f) State agencies need to continue to develop additional tools to aid CSEC in separating from their traffickers, potentially including, but not limited to, a clarification or an enhancement of the use of restraining orders against traffickers of CSEC.
SEC. 2.

(a)The State Department of Social Services shall convene a working group comprised of relevant stakeholders, including victims of commercial sexual exploitation, representatives of commercially sexually exploited children (CSEC), defense counsel, prosecutors, and dependency court judges, to examine the use of restraining orders in protecting CSEC and whether revisions to state laws governing the issuance of restraining orders are necessary in order to provide additional protections to this population.

(b)The working group shall, no later than January 1, 2020, make recommendations to the Legislature, in accordance with Section 9795 of the Government Code, regarding how increased utilization of restraining orders may better protect CSEC.

SEC. 2.

 Section 16524.12 is added to the Welfare and Institutions Code, to read:

16524.12.
 (a) The State Department of Social Services shall convene a working group comprised of relevant stakeholders, including victims of commercial sexual exploitation, representatives of commercially sexually exploited children (CSEC), defense counsel, prosecutors, and dependency court judges, to examine the usefulness of restraining orders in protecting CSEC and whether revisions to state laws governing the issuance of restraining orders are necessary in order to provide additional protections to this population.
(b) The working group shall, no later than January 1, 2020, issue a report with its findings to the Legislature, in accordance with Section 9795 of the Government Code.

SEC. 3.

 Section 16524.12 16524.13 is added to the Welfare and Institutions Code, to read:

16524.12.16524.13.
 Commencing no later than July 1, 2019, and until March July 1, 2021, the State Department of Social Services shall issue reports on a quarterly basis to the Legislature, in compliance with Section 9795 of the Government Code, addressing the progress of each county in this state, without regard to whether the county has opted to receive funding pursuant to this chapter, toward fully implementing policies and practices that consistently provide a safe environment, appropriate services, and specialized placements for each commercially sexually exploited children (CSEC) victim who is receiving child welfare services. The reports required by this section shall be issued on a semi-annual basis until July 1, 2020, and annually thereafter. The quarterly reports required pursuant to this section shall include all of the following broken down by county:
(a) The number of CSEC served and a description of the methodologies used to identify CSEC, including, but not limited to, the frequency of screenings for each foster youth, the screening tool or tools used, if any, whether a screening tool that has been used is validated, and a description of any data collection problems that may have contributed to a county’s overidentification or underidentification of CSEC.
(b) A description of the various CSEC services utilized, including, but not limited to, the number of CSEC who were provided with each type of service, the duration of those services, and the outcomes resulting from the provision of each type of service provided to CSEC.
(c) A description of the various placements provided for CSEC, including, but not limited to, all of the following:
(1) The number of CSEC assigned to placements specifically designed for CSEC and the number of CSEC assigned to other placements not specifically designed for CSEC.
(2) Descriptions of, and the length of time during which CSEC remain in, placements specifically designed for CSEC and placements not specifically designed for CSEC.
(3) The outcomes of CSEC assigned to placements specifically designed for CSEC, the outcomes of CSEC assigned to placements not specifically designed for CSEC, and the specific challenges resulting from a shortage of CSEC-specific placements, if applicable.
(d) The number of CSEC identified as gender-fluid or LGBTQ, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning (LGBTQ), the methodology for identifying these CSEC, and a description of services or placements specifically tailored to this subset of the CSEC population.
(e) The number of CSEC who were classified as runaways or missing, whether they returned home, the duration of their absences, and the duration of their returns.
(f) The number of CSEC who reached the age of majority or who were adopted while under the jurisdiction of the county child welfare system, compared to the number who entered the system.
(g) The number of CSEC who died or suffered significant injury that could have caused their death.
(h) The number of CSEC who were arrested.
(i) CSEC-related staff turnover and training staff turnover numbers and rates, what steps, if any, each county is taking to reduce that turnover, and whether turnover is remaining the same, increasing, or decreasing.
(j) CSEC-related community and interagency partnership rates of engagement, classifying each as above average, average, or below average based on criteria enumerated in the report.
(k) A classification of the difficulty in gathering and utilizing CSEC-related data as above average, average, or below average based on criteria enumerated in the report.
(l) An accounting of how each county has expended the General Fund moneys allocated to that county for CSEC programs since fiscal year 2014–15, including, but not limited to, all of the following:
(1) The total amount expended to provide CSEC with services, including the types of services provided and the number of CSEC served by each type of service.
(2) The amount expended to secure placements specifically tailored to CSEC and the amount expended to provide CSEC with other placements, including the number of CSEC placed and the duration of their stay in each type of placement.
(3) The total amount expended to administer the CSEC program.
(4) The amount, if any, expended to address CSEC-related staff turnover, either of county workers or of other community service providers.
(5) The amount, if any, expended to provide CSEC-related training to service providers or other community partners, the types of training provided, and the number of individuals trained.
(6) The amount, if any, expended to promote public awareness of sex trafficking in the community, including a description of the information provided and how it was disseminated into the community.
(7) An accounting of all other General Fund moneys appropriated to the county for CSEC programs since fiscal year 2014–15.

SEC. 4.Section 16524.13 is added to the Welfare and Institutions Code, to read:
16524.13.

No later than July 1, 2021, the State Department of Social Services shall report to the Legislature, in compliance with Section 9795 of the Government Code, whether each county in this state has fully implemented policies and practices for commercially sexually exploited children (CSEC) who are receiving child welfare services that consistently provide each victim with a safe environment, appropriate services, and specialized placements. The report shall include each county in the state without regard to whether the county has opted to receive funding pursuant to this chapter. The policies, practices, services, and placements for each county shall be compared to best practices as identified and listed by the department and shall include, but not be limited to, all of the following:

(a)Identification of and screening for CSEC.

(b)Identification of and screening for CSEC who are gender-fluid or LGBTQ.

(c)Services provided for CSEC that are specifically tailored to their extreme trauma.

(d)Placements provided for CSEC that are specifically tailored to their extreme trauma.

(e)Sufficient resources and services to assist parents of CSEC.

SEC. 4.

 Section 16524.14 is added to the Welfare and Institutions Code, to read:

16524.14.
 (a) By no later than July 1, 2021, the department shall report to the Legislature, in compliance with Section 9795 of the Government Code, whether each county in this state has fully implemented policies and practices that consistently provide CSEC who are receiving child welfare services with a safe environment, appropriate services, and specialized placements.
(b) The report shall include each county in the state without regard to whether the county has opted to receive funding pursuant to this chapter.
(c) The report shall identify and list the policies, practices, and services used by each county to serve CSEC that, at minimum, result in all of the following:
(1) The identification of, and screening for, CSEC, especially those who are gender-fluid or lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning (LGBTQ).
(2) The provision of services and placements for CSEC that are specifically tailored to their extreme trauma.
(3) The provision of sufficient resources and services to assist parents of CSEC.
(d) The report shall discuss whether each county utilizes the best practices identified by the department to achieve the outcomes described in paragraphs (1) to (3) of subdivision (c).