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AB-938 Relative caregivers and foster parents.(2009-2010)



Current Version: 10/11/09 - Chaptered         Compare Versions information image


AB938:v91#DOCUMENT

Assembly Bill No. 938
CHAPTER 261

An act to amend Sections 309 and 628 of the Welfare and Institutions Code, relating to children.

[ Approved by Governor  October 11, 2009. Filed with Secretary of State  October 11, 2009. ]

LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


AB 938, Committee on Judiciary. Relative caregivers and foster parents.
(1) Existing law authorizes a social worker to take a child who is at risk of abuse or neglect into temporary custody under specified circumstances. Existing law requires the social worker to investigate the circumstances of the child and the facts surrounding the taking of the child into custody. Existing law requires that the social worker immediately release the child to the custody of the child’s parent or guardian, or other responsible relative, except under certain conditions. If the child is not released to the custody of his or her parent or guardian, the child is deemed to be detained, and a detention hearing must be conducted before the expiration of the next judicial day after a petition to declare the minor a dependent child of the juvenile court has been filed.
This bill would require a social worker, when a child is removed from the home, to conduct, within 30 days, an investigation, as specified, in order to identify and locate all grandparents, adult siblings, and other adult relatives of the child, in order to provide, except when that relative’s history of family or domestic violence makes notification inappropriate, those persons with specified information, including that the child has been removed from the custody of his or her parents or guardians and an explanation of various options to participate in the care and placement of the child, as specified, and to report to the court at the initial petition hearing regarding that effort. The bill would require the State Department of Social Services to develop the written notice providing that information to relatives.
The bill would also require the Judicial Council to develop a relative information form, as specified. The form would provide information regarding the needs of the child, and would include a provision whereby the relative may request the permission of the court to address the court. The bill would require a social worker to provide that form, on and after January 1, 2011, to the adult relatives identified pursuant to the provision described above. By imposing new duties on social workers, the bill would impose a state-mandated local program.
(2) Existing law authorizes a peace officer to take a minor into temporary custody without a warrant and to deliver that minor to a probation officer under specified circumstances.
This bill would enact provisions similar to those described in paragraph (1) that would be applicable to minors who are taken into temporary custody and delivered to a probation officer. The bill would impose new duties on probation officers, similar to those imposed upon social workers, as described above in paragraph (1), with respect to conducting an investigation to locate adult relatives and providing those relatives with specified information. These provisions would not, however, require probation officers to develop the relative information form or provide it to those relatives. By imposing new duties upon probation officers, this bill would impose a state-mandated local program.
(3) 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, if the Commission on State Mandates determines that the bill contains costs mandated by the state, reimbursement for those costs shall be made pursuant to these statutory provisions.
Vote: MAJORITY   Appropriation: NO   Fiscal Committee: YES   Local Program: YES  

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


SECTION 1.

 Section 309 of the Welfare and Institutions Code is amended to read:

309.
 (a) Upon delivery to the social worker of a child who has been taken into temporary custody under this article, the social worker shall immediately investigate the circumstances of the child and the facts surrounding the child’s being taken into custody and attempt to maintain the child with the child’s family through the provision of services. The social worker shall immediately release the child to the custody of the child’s parent, guardian, or responsible relative unless one or more of the following conditions exist:
(1) The child has no parent, guardian, or responsible relative; or the child’s parent, guardian, or responsible relative is not willing to provide care for the child.
(2) Continued detention of the child is a matter of immediate and urgent necessity for the protection of the child and there are no reasonable means by which the child can be protected in his or her home or the home of a responsible relative.
(3) There is substantial evidence that a parent, guardian, or custodian of the child is likely to flee the jurisdiction of the court.
(4) The child has left a placement in which he or she was placed by the juvenile court.
(5) The parent or other person having lawful custody of the child voluntarily surrendered physical custody of the child pursuant to Section 1255.7 of the Health and Safety Code and did not reclaim the child within the 14-day period specified in subdivision (e) of that section.
(b) In any case in which there is reasonable cause for believing that a child who is under the care of a physician and surgeon or a hospital, clinic, or other medical facility and cannot be immediately moved and is a person described in Section 300, the child shall be deemed to have been taken into temporary custody and delivered to the social worker for the purposes of this chapter while the child is at the office of the physician and surgeon or the medical facility.
(c) If the child is not released to his or her parent or guardian, the child shall be deemed detained for purposes of this chapter.
(d) (1) If an able and willing relative, as defined in Section 319, or an able and willing nonrelative extended family member, as defined in Section 362.7, is available and requests temporary placement of the child pending the detention hearing, the county welfare department shall initiate an assessment of the relative’s or nonrelative extended family member’s suitability, which shall include an in-home inspection to assess the safety of the home and the ability of the relative or nonrelative extended family member to care for the child’s needs, and a consideration of the results of a criminal records check conducted pursuant to subdivision (a) of Section 16504.5 and a check of allegations of prior child abuse or neglect concerning the relative or nonrelative extended family member and other adults in the home. Upon completion of this assessment, the child may be placed in the assessed home. For purposes of this paragraph, and except for the criminal records check conducted pursuant to subdivision (a) of Section 16504.5, the standards used to determine suitability shall be the same standards set forth in the regulations for the licensing of foster family homes.
(2) Immediately following the placement of a child in the home of a relative or a nonrelative extended family member, the county welfare department shall evaluate and approve or deny the home for purposes of AFDC-FC eligibility pursuant to Section 11402. The standards used to evaluate and grant or deny approval of the home of the relative and of the home of a nonrelative extended family member, as described in Section 362.7, shall be the same standards set forth in regulations for the licensing of foster family homes which prescribe standards of safety and sanitation for the physical plant and standards for basic personal care, supervision, and services provided by the caregiver.
(3) To the extent allowed by federal law, as a condition of receiving funding under Title IV-E of the federal Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. Sec. 670 et seq.), if a relative or nonrelative extended family member meets all other conditions for approval, except for the receipt of the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s criminal history information for the relative or nonrelative extended family member, and other adults in the home, as indicated, the county welfare department may approve the home and document that approval, if the relative or nonrelative extended family member, and each adult in the home, has signed and submitted a statement that he or she has never been convicted of a crime in the United States, other than a traffic infraction as defined in paragraph (1) of subdivision (a) of Section 42001 of the Vehicle Code. If, after the approval has been granted, the department determines that the relative or nonrelative extended family member or other adult in the home has a criminal record, the approval may be terminated.
(4) If the criminal records check indicates that the person has been convicted of a crime for which the Director of Social Services cannot grant an exemption under Section 1522 of the Health and Safety Code, the child shall not be placed in the home. If the criminal records check indicates that the person has been convicted of a crime for which the Director of Social Services may grant an exemption under Section 1522 of the Health and Safety Code, the child shall not be placed in the home unless a criminal records exemption has been granted by the county based on substantial and convincing evidence to support a reasonable belief that the person with the criminal conviction is of such good character as to justify the placement and not present a risk of harm to the child.
(e) (1) If the child is removed, the social worker shall conduct, within 30 days, an investigation in order to identify and locate all grandparents, adult siblings, and other adult relatives of the child, as defined in paragraph (2) of subdivision (f) of Section 319, including any other adult relatives suggested by the parents. The social worker shall provide to all adult relatives who are located, except when that relative’s history of family or domestic violence makes notification inappropriate, within 30 days of removal of the child, written notification and shall also, whenever appropriate, provide oral notification, in person or by telephone, of all the following information:
(A) The child has been removed from the custody of his or her parent or parents, or his or her guardians.
(B) An explanation of the various options to participate in the care and placement of the child and support for the child’s family, including any options that may be lost by failing to respond. The notice shall provide information about providing care for the child while the family receives reunification services with the goal of returning the child to the parent or guardian, how to become a foster family home or approved relative or nonrelative extended family member as defined in Section 362.7, and additional services and support that are available in out-of-home placements. The notice shall also include information regarding the Kin-GAP Program (Article 4.5 (commencing with Section 11360) of Chapter 2 of Part 3 of Division 9), the CalWORKs program for approved relative caregivers (Chapter 2 (commencing with Section 11200) of Part 3 of Division 9), adoption, and adoption assistance (Chapter 2.1 (commencing with Section 16115) of Part 4 of Division 9), as well as other options for contact with the child, including, but not limited to, visitation. The State Department of Social Services, in consultation with the County Welfare Directors Association and other interested stakeholders, shall develop the written notice.
(2) On and after January 1, 2011, the social worker shall also provide the adult relatives notified pursuant to paragraph (1) with a relative information form to provide information to the social worker and the court regarding the needs of the child. The form shall include a provision whereby the relative may request the permission of the court to address the court, if the relative so chooses. The Judicial Council, in consultation with the State Department of Social Services and the County Welfare Directors Association, shall develop the form.
(3) The social worker shall use due diligence in investigating the names and locations of the relatives pursuant to paragraph (1), including, but not limited to, asking the child in an age-appropriate manner about relatives important to the child, consistent with the child’s best interest, and obtaining information regarding the location of the child’s adult relatives. Each county welfare department shall create and make public a procedure by which relatives of a child who has been removed from his or her parents or guardians may identify themselves to the county welfare department and be provided with the notices required by paragraphs (1) and (2).

SEC. 2.

 Section 628 of the Welfare and Institutions Code is amended to read:

628.
 (a) Upon delivery to the probation officer of a minor who has been taken into temporary custody under the provisions of this article, the probation officer shall immediately investigate the circumstances of the minor and the facts surrounding his or her being taken into custody and shall immediately release the minor to the custody of his or her parent, legal guardian, or responsible relative unless it can be demonstrated upon the evidence before the court that continuance in the home is contrary to the minor’s welfare and one or more of the following conditions exist:
(1) The minor is in need of proper and effective parental care or control and has no parent, legal guardian, or responsible relative; or has no parent, legal guardian, or responsible relative willing to exercise or capable of exercising that care or control; or has no parent, legal guardian, or responsible relative actually exercising that care or control.
(2) The minor is destitute or is not provided with the necessities of life or is not provided with a home or suitable place of abode.
(3) The minor is provided with a home which is an unfit place for him or her by reason of neglect, cruelty, depravity or physical abuse by either of his or her parents, or by his or her legal guardian or other person in whose custody or care he or she is entrusted.
(4) Continued detention of the minor is a matter of immediate and urgent necessity for the protection of the minor or reasonable necessity for the protection of the person or property of another.
(5) The minor is likely to flee the jurisdiction of the court.
(6) The minor has violated an order of the juvenile court.
(7) The minor is physically dangerous to the public because of a mental or physical deficiency, disorder or abnormality.
(b) If the probation officer has reason to believe that the minor is at risk of entering foster care placement as defined in paragraphs (1) and (2) of subdivision (d) of Section 727.4, then the probation officer shall, as part of the investigation undertaken pursuant to subdivision (a), make reasonable efforts, as described in paragraph (5) of subdivision (d) of Section 727.4, to prevent or eliminate the need for removal of the minor from his or her home.
(c) In any case in which there is reasonable cause for believing that a minor who is under the care of a physician or surgeon or a hospital, clinic, or other medical facility and cannot be immediately moved is a person described in subdivision (d) of Section 300, the minor shall be deemed to have been taken into temporary custody and delivered to the probation officer for the purposes of this chapter while he or she is at the office of the physician or surgeon or that medical facility.
(d) (1) It is the intent of the Legislature that this subdivision shall comply with paragraph (29) of subsection (a) of Section 671 of Title 42 of the United States Code as added by the Fostering Connections to Success and Increasing Adoptions Act of 2008 (Public Law 110-351). It is further the intent of the Legislature that the identification and notification of relatives shall be made as early as possible after the removal of a youth who is at risk of entering foster care placement.
(2) If the minor is detained and the probation officer has reason to believe that the minor is at risk of entering foster care placement, as defined in paragraphs (1) and (2) of subdivision (d) of Section 727.4, then the probation officer shall conduct, within 30 days, an investigation in order to identify and locate all grandparents, adult siblings, and other relatives of the child, as defined in paragraph (2) of subdivision (f) of Section 319, including any other adult relatives suggested by the parents. The probation officer shall provide to all adult relatives who are located, except when that relative’s history of family or domestic violence makes notification inappropriate, within 30 days of the date on which the child is detained, written notification and shall also, whenever appropriate, provide oral notification, in person or by telephone, of all the following information:
(A) The child has been removed from the custody of his or her parent or parents, or his or her guardians.
(B) An explanation of the various options to participate in the care and placement of the child and support for the child’s family, including any options that may be lost by failing to respond. The notice shall provide information about providing care for the child, how to become a foster family home or approved relative or nonrelative extended family member as defined in Section 362.7, and additional services and support that are available in out-of-home placements. The notice shall also include information regarding the Kin-GAP Program (Article 4.5 (commencing with Section 11360) of Chapter 2 of Part 3 of Division 9), the CalWORKs program for approved relative caregivers (Chapter 2 (commencing with Section 11200) of Part 3 of Division 9), adoption and adoption assistance (Chapter 2.1 (commencing with Section 16115) of Part 4 of Division 9), as well as other options for contact with the child, including, but not limited to, visitation. When oral notification is provided, the probation officer is not required to provide detailed information about the various options to help with the care and placement of the child.
(3) The probation officer shall use due diligence in investigating the names and locations of the relatives pursuant to paragraph (2), including, but not limited to, asking the child in an age-appropriate manner about relatives important to the child, consistent with the child’s best interest, and obtaining information regarding the location of the child’s adult relatives.
(4) To the extent allowed by federal law as a condition of receiving funding under Title IV-E of the federal Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. Sec. 670 et seq.), if the probation officer did not conduct the identification and notification of relatives, as required in paragraph (2), but the court orders foster care placement, the probation officer shall conduct the investigation to find and notify relatives within 30 days of the placement order. Nothing in this section shall be construed to delay foster care placement for an individual child.

SEC. 3.

 If the Commission on State Mandates determines that this act contains costs mandated by the state, reimbursement to local agencies and school districts for those costs shall be made pursuant to Part 7 (commencing with Section 17500) of Division 4 of Title 2 of the Government Code.