Code Section

Welfare and Institutions Code - WIC

DIVISION 9. PUBLIC SOCIAL SERVICES [10000 - 18999.81]

  ( Division 9 added by Stats. 1965, Ch. 1784. )
  

PART 4. SERVICES FOR THE CARE OF CHILDREN [16000 - 16545]

  ( Heading of Part 4 amended by Stats. 1978, Ch. 429. )
  

CHAPTER 1. Foster Care Placement [16000 - 16014]
  ( Chapter 1 added by Stats. 1990, Ch. 1370, Sec. 1. )

  
16010.7.  

(a) It is the intent of the Legislature to prevent children or youth in foster care placement from experiencing unnecessary or abrupt foster care placement changes that negatively impact their well-being or sense of security. It is the intent of the Legislature to preserve and strengthen the foster care placement of a child or youth whenever possible. It is also the intent of the Legislature to ensure that foster care placement changes do not occur due to gender, gender identity, race, or cultural differences. The Legislature finds and declares that unnecessary or abrupt foster care placement changes undermine the essential duties that foster caregivers have an obligation to uphold. It is the intent of the Legislature that prior to a caregiver or provider requesting a child or youth to be removed from the caregiver’s or provider’s care, the caregiver or provider shall participate in a placement preservation strategy meeting.

(b) Prior to making a change in the foster care placement of a child or youth, a social worker or probation officer shall develop with the caregiver a placement preservation strategy, which shall be done in consultation with the child and family team pursuant to clause (ii) of subparagraph (A) of paragraph (4) of subdivision (a) of Section 16501, to preserve the child’s or youth’s foster care placement. The strategy may include, but is not limited to, conflict resolution practices and facilitated meetings.

(c) A social worker or probation officer shall include the strategy developed and implemented pursuant to subdivision (b) within the child’s contact notes or equivalent in the statewide child welfare information system.

(d) For purposes of this subdivision, the following definitions shall apply:

(1) “Child and family team” has the same meaning as defined in Section 16501.

(2) “Conflict resolution practices” means a process designed to begin a dialogue to address conflict or concerns and identify agreements or solutions, which may be incorporated as part of a meeting of a child and family team.

(3) “Facilitated meeting” means a facilitated process designed to acknowledge, address, and respond to the underlying needs of all parties, that may include, but is not limited to, a meeting of a child and family team.

(4) “Representative for a child under 10 years of age” means the attorney or another individual as authorized by the child’s attorney.

(e) If, after implementing the placement preservation strategy developed pursuant to subdivision (b), the social worker or probation officer receives a placement change request from the caregiver or provider, or otherwise finds that a foster care placement change is necessary, the social worker, probation officer, or placement agency shall serve written notice on all of the following parties at least 14 calendar days prior to the change:

(1) The child’s parent or guardian.

(2) The child’s caregiver.

(3) The child’s attorney.

(4) The child, if the child is 10 years of age or older.

(f) An unplanned foster care placement change shall not take place between 9 p.m. and 7 a.m., except by the mutual agreement of all of the following persons:

(1) The child, if the child is 10 years of age or older, or the representative of the child, if the child is under 10 years of age.

(2) The child’s current caregiver.

(3) The child’s prospective caregiver.

(4) The child’s social worker or probation officer.

(g) If a complaint is made to the Office of the State Foster Care Ombudsperson alleging that a placement change occurred in violation of this section, and that complaint is investigated pursuant to Section 16164, the office shall provide the findings of the investigation to, as applicable, the county child welfare director, or the director’s designee, or to the chief probation officer, or the chief probation officer’s designee, for the purposes of training, technical assistance, and quality improvement.

(h) Notwithstanding subdivisions (b) and (e), a social worker or probation officer may change a child’s foster care placement without fulfilling the requirements of subdivisions (b) and (e) in either of the following circumstances:

(1) If it is determined that remaining in the existing foster care placement or providing prior written notice of that foster care placement change poses an imminent risk to the health or safety of the child, youth, other children, or others in the home or facility.

(2) If either the child and family team and the child, if the child is 10 years of age or older, or the child and family team and the representative of that child, if the child is less than 10 years of age, unanimously agree to waive the requirements described in subdivisions (b) and (e).

(i) This section applies to children and youth for whom the juvenile court has entered a judgment pursuant to Section 360 or 727. This section does not apply to a change in placement pursuant to Section 777 or due to a hospitalization.

(j) This section does not apply to a nonminor dependent, as defined in subdivision (v) of Section 11400, who is placed in a Transitional Housing Placement program for nonminor dependents, as defined in subparagraph (B) of paragraph (2) of subdivision (a) of Section 1559.110 of the Health and Safety Code, or a supervised independent living placement, as defined in subdivision (w) of Section 11400.

(k) This section does not apply to a planned placement change as informed by the child and family team or that is as described in the child’s case plan.

(Amended by Stats. 2019, Ch. 817, Sec. 1. (AB 1061) Effective January 1, 2020.)