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AB-1301 Child welfare: adoption.(2019-2020)

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Date Published: 07/01/2019 09:00 PM
AB1301:v96#DOCUMENT

Amended  IN  Senate  July 01, 2019
Amended  IN  Assembly  April 12, 2019
Amended  IN  Assembly  March 19, 2019

CALIFORNIA LEGISLATURE— 2019–2020 REGULAR SESSION

Assembly Bill
No. 1301


Introduced by Assembly Member Cooley

February 22, 2019


An act to amend, repeal, and add Section 16122 of the Welfare and Institutions Code, relating to child welfare services.


LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


AB 1301, as amended, Cooley. Child welfare: adoption.
Existing law provides for the Adoption Assistance Program, to be established and administered by the State Department of Social Services or the county, for the purpose of benefitting children residing in foster homes by providing the stability and security of permanent homes. Existing law requires the state to compensate licensed private adoption agencies for the cost of placing for adoption eligible children and nonminor dependents eligible for the program, as specified.
This bill would instead, beginning July 1, 2020, require county child welfare agencies to compensate licensed private adoption agencies for the costs of supporting families through the process of adopting children and nonminor dependents who are eligible for the Adoption Assistance Program. The bill would prescribe the amount and methodology for compensation, and would require the department to establish reimbursement procedures in consultation with the counties and private adoption agencies. After all reimbursements are made under these provisions, the bill would authorize a county to use any unspent funds for additional activities related to permanency, as specified. The bill would require the department to work with counties and representatives of adoption agencies to ensure a smooth transition under these provisions, as specified.
By imposing additional duties on local entities, this bill would create 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.

 Section 16122 of the Welfare and Institutions Code is amended to read:

16122.
 (a) It is the intent of the Legislature in enacting this chapter to provide children or nonminor dependents who would otherwise remain in long-term foster care with permanent adoptive homes. It is also the intent of this Legislature to encourage private adoption agencies to continue placing these children, and in so doing, to achieve a substantial savings to the state in foster care costs.
(b) From any funds appropriated for this purpose, the state shall compensate private adoption agencies licensed pursuant to Chapter 3 (commencing with Section 1500) of Division 2 of the Health and Safety Code for costs of placing for adoption children or nonminor dependents eligible for Adoption Assistance Program benefits pursuant to Section 16120.
These agencies shall be compensated for otherwise unreimbursed costs for the placement of these children in an amount not to exceed a total of three thousand five hundred dollars ($3,500) per child adopted. Half of the compensation shall be paid at the time the adoptive placement agreement is signed. The remainder shall be paid at the time the adoption petition is granted by the court. Requests for compensation shall conform to claims procedures established by the department. This section shall not be construed to authorize reimbursement to private agencies for intercountry adoption services.
(c) Effective July 1, 1999, the maximum amount of reimbursement pursuant to subdivision (b) shall be five thousand dollars ($5,000).
(d) Effective February 1, 2008, the maximum amount of reimbursement pursuant to subdivision (b) shall be ten thousand dollars ($10,000). This rate increase shall apply only to those cases for which the adoptive home study approval occurred on or after July 1, 2007.
(e) This section shall become inoperative on July 1, 2020, and, as of January 1, 2021, is repealed.

SEC. 2.

 Section 16122 is added to the Welfare and Institutions Code, to read:

16122.
 (a) It is the intent of the Legislature in enacting this chapter to support permanency for children and nonminor dependents who need permanent homes through adoption or guardianship. Historically, the adoption of children from foster care has been supported by private adoption agencies pursuant to the Private Agency Adoptions Reimbursement Program. It is the intent of the Legislature to encourage counties and private adoption agencies to continue supporting these children and families both pre- and post-permanency, which supports the counties and state in meeting federal and state-required permanency outcomes for foster children and also may result in savings to the county child welfare agencies. children. In light of the enactment and implementation of the 2011 Realignment and the Continuum of Care Reform, it is necessary to change the construction of the Private Agency Adoptions Reimbursement Program in order to allow for local control of the program and ensure the services provided are consistent with the Continuum of Care Reform, and to allow unspent funds to be utilized to support permanency activities undertaken outside of the Private Agency Adoptions Reimbursement Program.
(b) (1) A As set forth in this section, a county child welfare agency shall compensate private adoption agencies licensed pursuant to Chapter 3 (commencing with Section 1500) of Division 2 of the Health and Safety Code for the costs of supporting families through the process of adopting children or nonminor dependents eligible for the Adoption Assistance Program benefits pursuant to Section 16120.
(2) The agencies described in paragraph (1) shall be compensated for otherwise unreimbursed costs for the placement of these children. adoption services pursuant to this section, as authorized by the county placing agency pursuant to the child’s placement agreement. One-half of the compensation shall be paid at the time the adoptive placement agreement is signed. signed, unless the adoption agency opts to be paid in full at the time of finalization of the adoption. The remainder shall be paid at the time the adoption petition is granted by the court. Reimbursement procedures shall be established by the department in consultation with the counties and private adoption agencies.
(3) This subdivision shall not be construed to authorize reimbursement to private agencies for intercountry adoption services.
(c) Effective July 1, 2020, the reimbursement made pursuant to subdivision (b) shall be eight thousand dollars ($8,000) for children adopted from families approved by dually licensed private nonprofit foster family and adoption agencies, and six thousand six hundred dollars ($6,600) for all other children. These rates shall apply to children for whom an adoption placement agreement is signed on or after that effective date. Children for whom an adoption placement agreement was signed prior to that date shall be reimbursed pursuant to the rates in effect prior to July 1, 2020, and those claims shall be paid by the department pursuant to the process in effect at that time under former Section 16122.

(c)

(d) To the extent that reimbursements made pursuant to subdivision (b) total less than the amount provided to the county for those services, the county may, at its discretion, utilize unspent funds for additional activities related to permanency, including, but not limited to, pre- and post-permanency support related to the establishment of adoptions and guardianships for foster children. This may include services outlined in guidance from the department issued in All-County Letter 18-142.
(e) The department shall work with counties and representatives of adoption agencies to ensure a smooth transition to the new structure under this section, which shall include, but not be limited to, a review of existing guidance and claim forms and instructions and any necessary updates to reflect the new process.

(d)

(f) This section shall become operative on July 1, 2020.

SEC. 3.

 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.