Code Section Group

Welfare and Institutions Code - WIC

DIVISION 9. PUBLIC SOCIAL SERVICES [10000 - 18999.8]

  ( 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. )

16000.
  

(a) It is the intent of the Legislature to preserve and strengthen a child’s family ties whenever possible, removing the child from the custody of his or her parents only when necessary for his or her welfare or for the safety and protection of the public. If a child is removed from the physical custody of his or her parents, preferential consideration shall be given whenever possible to the placement of the child with the relative as required by Section 7950 of the Family Code. If the child is removed from his or her own family, it is the purpose of this chapter to secure as nearly as possible for the child the custody, care, and discipline equivalent to that which should have been given to the child by his or her parents. It is further the intent of the Legislature to reaffirm its commitment to children who are in out-of-home placement to live in the least restrictive family setting promoting normal childhood experiences that is suited to meet the child’s or youth’s individual needs, and to live as close to the child’s family as possible pursuant to subdivision (c) of Section 16501.1. Family reunification services shall be provided for expeditious reunification of the child with his or her family, as required by law. If reunification is not possible or likely, a permanent alternative shall be developed.

(b) It is further the intent of the Legislature that all children live with a committed, permanent, and nurturing family. Services and supports should be tailored to meet the needs of the individual child and family being served, with the ultimate goal of maintaining the family, or when this is not possible, transitioning the child or youth to a permanent family or preparing the child or youth for a successful transition into adulthood. When needed, short-term residential therapeutic program services are a short-term, specialized, and intensive intervention that is just one part of a continuum of care available for children, youth, young adults, and their families.

(c) It is further the intent of the Legislature to ensure that all pupils in foster care and those who are homeless as defined by the federal McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act (42 U.S.C. Sec. 11301 et seq.) have the opportunity to meet the challenging state pupil academic achievement standards to which all pupils are held. In fulfilling their responsibilities to pupils in foster care, educators, county placing agencies, care providers, advocates, and the juvenile courts shall work together to maintain stable school placements and to ensure that each pupil is placed in the least restrictive educational programs, and has access to the academic resources, services, and extracurricular and enrichment activities that are available to all pupils. In all instances, educational and school placement decisions shall be based on the best interests of the child.

(Amended by Stats. 2016, Ch. 612, Sec. 113. (AB 1997) Effective January 1, 2017.)

16000.1.
  

(a) The Legislature finds and declares all of the following:

(1) The state has a duty to care for and protect the children that the state places into foster care, and as a matter of public policy, the state assumes an obligation of the highest order to ensure the safety of children in foster care.

(2) A judicial order establishing jurisdiction over a child placed into foster care supplants or limits parental or previous adult authority.

(3) Nothing in this section is intended to change the balance of liability between the state and the counties as it existed prior to the decision of the California Court of Appeal in County of Los Angeles v. Superior Court of Los Angeles: Real Party in Interest Terrell R. (2002) 102 Cal.App.4th 627, as established by the decision of the California Court of Appeal in Scott v. County of Los Angeles (1994) 27 Cal.App.4th 125. Furthermore, nothing in this section is intended to increase or decrease the liability of the state as it existed prior to the Terrell R. case.

(b) (1) It is the intent of the Legislature that nothing in the decision of the California Court of Appeal in County of Los Angeles v. Superior Court of Los Angeles: Real Party in Interest Terrell R. (2002) 102 Cal.App.4th 627, shall be held to change the standards of liability and immunity for injuries to children in protective custody that existed prior to that decision.

(2) It is the intent of the Legislature to confirm the state’s duty to comply with all requirements under Part B of Title IV of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. Sec. 620 et seq.) and Part E of Title IV of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. Sec. 670 et seq.) that are relevant to the protection and welfare of children in foster care.

(Added by Stats. 2003, Ch. 847, Sec. 5. Effective January 1, 2004.)

16000.5.
  

The Legislature finds and declares all of the following:

(a) The Fostering Connections to Success and Increasing Adoptions Act of 2008 (Public Law 110-351) provides Indian tribes with the option, effective October 1, 2009, to operate a foster care, adoption assistance, and, at tribal option, a kinship guardianship assistance program under Title IV-E of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. Sec. 671 et seq.). The federal government will share the costs of a tribe operating an approved Title IV-E program.

(b) It shall be the policy of the state to maximize the opportunities for Indian tribes to operate foster care programs for Indian children pursuant to the federal Fostering Connections to Success and Increasing Adoptions Act of 2008.

(Added by Stats. 2009, Ch. 124, Sec. 1. (AB 770) Effective January 1, 2010.)

16000.6.
  

The State Department of Social Services shall negotiate in good faith with the Indian tribe, organization, or consortium in the state that requests development of an agreement with the state to administer all or part of the programs under Title IV-E of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. Sec. 671 et seq.) on behalf of the Indian children who are under the authority of the tribe, organization, or consortium.

(Added by Stats. 2009, Ch. 124, Sec. 2. (AB 770) Effective January 1, 2010.)

16001.
  

(a) The State Department of Social Services shall provide technical assistance to encourage and facilitate the county placement agency’s evaluation of placement needs and the development of needed placement resources and programs. County placement agencies shall, on a regular basis, conduct an evaluation of the county’s placement resources and programs in relation to the needs of children placed in out-of-home care. County placement agencies shall examine the adequacy of existing placement resources and programs and identify the type of additional placement resources and programs needed. The county placement agency shall specifically examine placements which are out of county and shall determine the reason the placement was necessary, and identify the additional placement resources and programs which need to be developed and available to allow a child to remain within the county and as close as possible to his or her home. The department shall also support the development and operation of a consortia of county placement agencies on a regional basis for the purpose of developing specialized programs serving a multicounty area.

(b) It is the intent of the Legislature that the reason for each out-of-county and out-of-state placement be included in the Child Welfare Services Case Management System, and that the State Department of Social Services utilize that data to evaluate out-of-county and out-of-state placements and to assist in the identification of resource and placement needs.

(c) It is the intent of the Legislature that the State Department of Social Services review the out-of-state placement of children to determine the reason for out-of-state placement. The department shall make the information available to the Legislature upon request.

(Added by Stats. 1993, Ch. 1089, Sec. 31. Effective January 1, 1994.)

16001.5.
  

The State Department of Social Services shall annually distribute information declaring the importance of promoting self-esteem with respect to foster children to all of the following:

(a) Each county independent living program administrator.

(b) Each licensed foster family agency, group home, and small family home.

(c) Each county welfare department.

(d) Each county director of child protective services.

(e) Each county director of social services.

(f) Each county foster home services director.

(g) The Director of the Community Care Licensing Division of the State Department of Social Services.

(h) The Director of State Adoptions Branch of the State Department of Social Services.

(Added by Stats. 1997, Ch. 542, Sec. 3. Effective January 1, 1998.)

16001.7.
  

(a) The department shall promote the participation of current and former foster youth in the development of state foster care and child welfare policy. Subject to the availability of funds, the department shall contract with the California Youth Connection to provide technical assistance and outreach to current and former foster youth. In executing this contract, the responsibilities of the California Youth Connection shall include, but are not limited to, all of the following:

(1) Providing leadership training to current and former foster youth between the ages of 14 and 21 years.

(2) Providing outreach and technical assistance to current and former foster youth to form and maintain California Youth Connection chapters, including recruiting and training adult volunteer supporters.

(3) Enabling foster youth to be represented in policy discussions pertinent to foster care and child welfare issues.

(4) Enhancing the well-being of foster youth and increasing public understanding of foster care and child welfare issues.

(5) Developing educational materials and forums related to foster care.

(b) Funds provided to the California Youth Connection pursuant to the contract shall not be used for activities not allowed under federal law relating to the receipt of federal financial participation for independent living services, including, but not limited to, lobbying and litigation.

(Added by Stats. 2000, Ch. 108, Sec. 50. Effective July 10, 2000.)

16001.8.
  

(a) The State Department of Social Services shall convene a working group regarding the rights of all minors and nonminors in foster care, as specified in Section 16001.9, in order to educate foster youth, foster care providers, and others. Responsibilities of the working group shall include all of the following:

(1) By January 1, 2018, make recommendations to the Legislature for revising the rights based on a review of state law.

(2) By July 1, 2018, develop standardized information regarding the revised rights in an age-appropriate manner and reflective of any relevant licensing requirements with respect to the foster care providers’ responsibilities to adequately supervise children in care.

(3) By July 1, 2018, develop recommendations regarding methods for disseminating the standardized information specified in paragraph (2), including whether to require the signature of a foster child verifying that he or she has received and understands his or her rights.

(4) By July 1, 2018, develop recommendations for measuring and improving, if necessary, the degree to which foster youth are adequately informed of their rights.

(b) The working group shall be composed of all of the following:

(1) The Office of the State Foster Care Ombudsperson.

(2) The bureau at the Department of Justice whose mission is to protect the rights of children.

(3) The County Welfare Directors Association of California.

(4) The Chief Probation Officers of California.

(5) The County Behavioral Health Directors Association of California.

(6) Current and former foster youth.

(7) Foster parents and caregivers.

(8) Foster children advocacy groups.

(9) Foster care provider associations.

(10) Any other interested parties.

(Added by Stats. 2016, Ch. 851, Sec. 1. (AB 1067) Effective January 1, 2017.)

16001.9.
  

(a) It is the policy of the state that all minors and nonminors in foster care shall have the following rights:

(1) To live in a safe, healthy, and comfortable home where he or she is treated with respect.

(2) To be free from physical, sexual, emotional, or other abuse, or corporal punishment.

(3) To receive adequate and healthy food, adequate clothing, and, for youth in group homes, an allowance.

(4) To receive medical, dental, vision, and mental health services.

(5) To be free of the administration of medication or chemical substances, unless authorized by a physician.

(6) To contact family members, unless prohibited by court order, and social workers, attorneys, foster youth advocates and supporters, Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASAs), and probation officers.

(7) To visit and contact brothers and sisters, unless prohibited by court order.

(8) To contact the Community Care Licensing Division of the State Department of Social Services or the State Foster Care Ombudsperson regarding violations of rights, to speak to representatives of these offices confidentially, and to be free from threats or punishment for making complaints.

(9) To make and receive confidential telephone calls and send and receive unopened mail, unless prohibited by court order.

(10) To attend religious services and activities of his or her choice.

(11) To maintain an emancipation bank account and manage personal income, consistent with the child’s age and developmental level, unless prohibited by the case plan.

(12) To not be locked in a room, building, or facility premises, unless placed in a community treatment facility.

(13) To attend school and participate in extracurricular, cultural, and personal enrichment activities, consistent with the child’s age and developmental level, with minimal disruptions to school attendance and educational stability.

(14) To work and develop job skills at an age-appropriate level, consistent with state law.

(15) To have social contacts with people outside of the foster care system, including teachers, church members, mentors, and friends.

(16) To attend Independent Living Program classes and activities if he or she meets the age requirements.

(17) To attend court hearings and speak to the judge.

(18) To have storage space for private use.

(19) To be involved in the development of his or her own case plan and plan for permanent placement. This involvement includes, but is not limited to, the development of case plan elements related to placement and gender affirming health care, with consideration of their gender identity.

(20) To review his or her own case plan and plan for permanent placement, if he or she is 12 years of age or older and in a permanent placement, and to receive information about his or her out-of-home placement and case plan, including being told of changes to the plan.

(21) To be free from unreasonable searches of personal belongings.

(22) To the confidentiality of all juvenile court records consistent with existing law.

(23) To have fair and equal access to all available services, placement, care, treatment, and benefits, and to not be subjected to discrimination or harassment on the basis of actual or perceived race, ethnic group identification, ancestry, national origin, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, mental or physical disability, or HIV status.

(24) To be placed in out-of-home care according to their gender identity, regardless of the gender or sex listed in their court or child welfare records.

(25) To have caregivers and child welfare personnel who have received instruction on cultural competency and sensitivity relating to, and best practices for, providing adequate care to lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender youth in out-of-home care.

(26) At 16 years of age or older, to have access to existing information regarding the educational options available, including, but not limited to, the coursework necessary for vocational and postsecondary educational programs, and information regarding financial aid for postsecondary education.

(27) To have access to age-appropriate, medically accurate information about reproductive health care, the prevention of unplanned pregnancy, and the prevention and treatment of sexually transmitted infections at 12 years of age or older.

(b) This section does not require and shall not be interpreted to require a foster care provider to take any action that would impair the health and safety of children in out-of-home placement.

(c) The State Department of Social Services and each county welfare department are encouraged to work with the Student Aid Commission, the University of California, the California State University, and the California Community Colleges to receive information pursuant to paragraph (26) of subdivision (a).

(Amended by Stats. 2018, Ch. 385, Sec. 2. (AB 2119) Effective January 1, 2019.)

16002.
  

(a) (1) It is the intent of the Legislature to maintain the continuity of the family unit, and ensure the preservation and strengthening of the child’s family ties by ensuring that when siblings have been removed from their home, either as a group on one occurrence or individually on separate occurrences, the siblings will be placed in foster care together, unless it has been determined that placement together is contrary to the safety or well-being of any sibling. The Legislature recognizes that in order to ensure the placement of a sibling group in the same foster care placement, placement resources need to be expanded.

(2) It is also the intent of the Legislature to preserve and strengthen a child’s sibling relationship so that when a child has been removed from his or her home and he or she has a sibling or siblings who remain in the custody of a mutual parent subject to the court’s jurisdiction, the court has the authority to develop a visitation plan for the siblings, unless it has been determined that visitation is contrary to the safety or well-being of any sibling.

(b) The responsible local agency shall make a diligent effort in all out-of-home placements of dependent children and wards in foster care, including those with relatives, to place siblings together in the same placement, and to develop and maintain sibling relationships. If siblings are not placed together in the same home, the social worker or probation officer shall explain why the siblings are not placed together and what efforts he or she is making to place the siblings together or why making those efforts would be contrary to the safety and well-being of any of the siblings. When placement of siblings together in the same home is not possible, a diligent effort shall be made, and a case plan prepared, to provide for ongoing and frequent interaction among siblings until family reunification is achieved, or, if parental rights are terminated, as part of developing the permanent plan for the child. If the court determines by clear and convincing evidence that sibling interaction is contrary to the safety and well-being of any of the siblings, the reasons for the determination shall be noted in the court order, and interaction shall be suspended.

(c) When there has been a judicial suspension of sibling interaction, the reasons for the suspension shall be reviewed at each periodic review hearing pursuant to Section 366 or 727.3. In order for the suspension to continue, the court shall make a renewed finding that sibling interaction is contrary to the safety or well-being of either child. When the court determines that sibling interaction can be safely resumed, that determination shall be noted in the court order and the case plan shall be revised to provide for sibling interaction.

(d) If the case plan for the child has provisions for sibling interaction, the child, or his or her parent or legal guardian, shall have the right to comment on those provisions. If a person wishes to assert a sibling relationship with a dependent child or ward, he or she may file a petition in the juvenile court having jurisdiction over the dependent child pursuant to subdivision (b) of Section 388 or the ward in foster care pursuant to Section 778.

(e) If parental rights are terminated and the court orders a dependent child or ward to be placed for adoption, the county adoption agency or the State Department of Social Services shall take all of the following steps to facilitate ongoing sibling contact, except in those cases provided in subdivision (b) where the court determines by clear and convincing evidence that sibling interaction is contrary to the safety or well-being of the child:

(1) Include in training provided to prospective adoptive parents information about the importance of sibling relationships to the adopted child and counseling on methods for maintaining sibling relationships.

(2) Provide prospective adoptive parents with information about siblings of the child, except the address where the siblings of the children reside. However, this address may be disclosed by court order for good cause shown.

(3) (A) To the extent practicable, the county placing agency shall convene a meeting with the child, the sibling or siblings of the child, the prospective adoptive parent or parents, and a facilitator for the purpose of deciding whether to voluntarily execute a postadoption sibling contact agreement pursuant to Section 8616.5 of the Family Code on a date after termination of parental rights and prior to finalization of the adoption. The county placing agency may comply with the requirements of this paragraph by allowing a nonprofit organization authorized to provide permanency placement and postadoption mediation for adoptive and birth families to facilitate the meeting and develop the agreement.

(B) The county placing agency is not required to convene a meeting to decide whether to voluntarily execute a postadoption sibling contact agreement pursuant to Section 8616.5 of the Family Code in either of the following circumstances:

(i) The county placing agency determines that such a meeting or postadoption sibling contact agreement would be contrary to the safety and well-being of the child.

(ii) The child requests that a meeting shall not occur.

(C) The child may petition the court for an order requiring the county placing agency to convene a meeting to decide whether to voluntarily execute a postadoption sibling contact agreement pursuant to Section 8616.5 of the Family Code. If the court determines by a preponderance of the evidence that a postadoption sibling contact agreement or a meeting for the purpose of deciding whether to voluntarily execute such an agreement is contrary to the safety and well-being of the child, the reasons for the determination shall be noted in the court order, and the meeting is not required to occur.

(D) Counsel to the child and counsel to the siblings who are dependents of the court shall be notified of, and may attend, both the meeting and the hearing described in this paragraph.

(E) This paragraph shall not require attendance by a child, sibling, or other party at a meeting to decide whether to voluntarily execute a postadoption sibling contact agreement pursuant to Section 8616.5 of the Family Code if the child, sibling, or other party cannot be located or does not wish to attend the meeting. This paragraph shall not prohibit a county placing agency from convening a meeting if not all of the parties are secured to attend.

(f) Information regarding sibling interaction, contact, or visitation that has been authorized or ordered by the court shall be provided to the foster parent, relative caretaker, or legal guardian of the child as soon as possible after the court order is made, in order to facilitate the interaction, contact, or visitation.

(g) As used in this section, “sibling” means a person related to the identified child by blood, adoption, or affinity through a common legal or biological parent.

(h) The court documentation on sibling placements required under this section shall not require the modification of existing court order forms until the Child Welfare Services/Case Management System (CWS/CMS) is implemented on a statewide basis.

(Amended by Stats. 2016, Ch. 719, Sec. 4. (SB 1060) Effective January 1, 2017.)

16002.5.
  

It is the intent of the Legislature to maintain the continuity of the family unit and to support and preserve families headed by minor parents and nonminor dependent parents who are themselves under the jurisdiction of the juvenile court by ensuring that minor parents and nonminor dependent parents and their children are placed together in as family-like a setting as possible, unless it has been determined that placement together poses a risk to the child. It is also the intent of the Legislature to ensure that complete and accurate data on parenting minor and nonminor dependents is collected, and that the State Department of Social Services shall ensure that the following information is publicly available on a quarterly basis by county about parenting minor and nonminor dependents: total number of parenting minor and nonminor dependents in each county, their age, their ethnic group, their placement type, their time in care, the number of children they have, and whether their children are court dependents.

(a) To the greatest extent possible, minor parents and nonminor dependent parents and their children shall be provided with access to existing services for which they may be eligible, that are specifically targeted at supporting, maintaining, and developing both the parent-child bond and the dependent parent’s ability to provide a permanent and safe home for the child. Examples of these services may include, but are not limited to, child care, parenting classes, child development classes, and frequent visitation.

(b) Child welfare agencies may provide minor parents and nonminor dependent parents with access to social workers or resource specialists who have received training on the needs of teenage parents and available resources, including, but not limited to, maternal and child health programs, child care, and child development classes. Child welfare agencies are encouraged to update the case plans for pregnant and parenting dependents within 60 calendar days of the date the agency is informed of a pregnancy. When updating the case plan, child welfare agencies may hold a specialized conference to assist pregnant or parenting foster youth and nonminor dependents with planning for healthy parenting and identifying appropriate resources and services, and to inform the case plan. The specialized conference shall include the pregnant or parenting minor or nonminor dependent, family members, and other supportive adults, and the specially trained social worker or resource specialist. The specialized conference may include other individuals, including, but not limited to, a public health nurse, a community health worker, or other personnel with a comprehensive knowledge of available maternal and child resources, including public benefit programs. Participation in the specialized conference shall be voluntary on the part of the foster youth or nonminor dependent and assistance in identifying and accessing resources shall not be dependent on participation in the conference.

(c) The minor parents and nonminor dependent parents shall be given the ability to attend school, complete homework, and participate in age and developmentally appropriate activities unrelated to and separate from parenting.

(d) Child welfare agencies, local educational agencies, and child care resource and referral agencies may make reasonable and coordinated efforts to ensure that minor parents and nonminor dependent parents who have not completed high school have access to school programs that provide onsite or coordinated child care.

(e) Foster care placements for minor parents and nonminor dependent parents and their children shall demonstrate a willingness and ability to provide support and assistance to minor parents and nonminor dependent parents and their children, shall support the preservation of the family unit, and shall refer a minor parent or nonminor dependent parent to preventive services to address any concerns regarding the safety, health, or well-being of the child, and to help prevent, whenever possible, the filing of a petition to declare the child a dependent of the juvenile court pursuant to Section 300.

(f) Contact between the child, the custodial parent, and the noncustodial parent shall be facilitated if that contact is found to be in the best interest of the child.

(g) For the purpose of this section, “child” refers to the child born to the minor parent.

(h) For the purpose of this section, “minor parent” refers to a dependent child who is also a parent.

(i) For the purpose of this section, “nonminor dependent parent” refers to a nonminor dependent, as described in subdivision (v) of Section 11400, who also is a parent.

(Amended by Stats. 2015, Ch. 511, Sec. 3. (AB 260) Effective January 1, 2016.)

16003.5.
  

(a) Any state funding allocated to counties for the purpose of recruiting, retaining, and supporting foster parents, relative caregivers, and resource families shall be used to increase the capacity and use of home-based family care and the provision of services and supports to such caregivers. Allowable expenditures of those funds shall include, but not be limited to, and shall be used to supplement and not supplant, resources used by a county for any of the following purposes:

(1) Staffing to provide and improve direct services and supports to licensed foster family homes, approved resource families, and relative caregivers, and to remove any barriers in those areas defined as priorities in the county implementation plan and subsequent reports on outcomes.

(2) Exceptional child needs not covered by the caregiver-specific rate that would normalize the child’s experience, stabilize the placement, or enhance the child’s well-being.

(3) Child care for licensed foster parents, approved resource families, and relative caregivers.

(4) Intensive relative finding, engagement, and navigation efforts.

(5) Emerging technological, evidence-informed, or other nontraditional approaches to outreach to potential foster family homes, resource families, and relatives.

(b) (1) The department shall provide available funding to counties based upon its approval of plans submitted by each county that requests funding described in subdivision (a). Each county plan shall be submitted by September 1 of any year in which funding is available. Each county plan shall include all of the following:

(A) A definition of the specific goal or goals related to increasing the capacity and use of home-based family care and the provision of services and supports to such caregivers that the county intends to achieve.

(B) A description of the strategy or strategies the county proposes to pursue to address the goal or goals identified in subparagraph (A).

(C) An explanation or rationale for the proposed strategy or strategies relative to the goal or goals identified in subparagraph (A).

(D) A list or description of the outcomes that shall be reported pursuant to subdivision (c), including baseline data for those outcomes.

(2) The department shall develop, following consultation with the County Welfare Directors Association of California and the Chief Probation Officers of California, criteria for the approval of county plans submitted pursuant to paragraph (1).

(c) As a condition of accepting state funding described in subdivision (a), counties receiving that funding shall, by September 30 of the year following the end of the fiscal year in which the funding was available, report to the department the outcomes achieved through the use of that funding and the activities that contributed to those outcomes. This report from each receiving county shall be made in a manner prescribed by the department, following consultation with the County Welfare Directors Association of California and the Chief Probation Officers of California. Using these reports, the department shall share best practices among counties and shall periodically update the Legislature.

(d) Funding for the purposes of this section shall be subject to an appropriation by the Legislature.

(Added by Stats. 2015, Ch. 773, Sec. 107. (AB 403) Effective January 1, 2016.)

16004.
  

(a) The Legislature finds and declares that there is an urgent need to develop placement resources to permit sibling groups to remain together in out-of-home care when removed from the custody of their parents due to child abuse or neglect. Multiple barriers exist, including local ordinances and community care licensing standards, that limit or prevent the county placement agency from fulfilling its obligation pursuant to subdivision (b) of Section 16002 to place siblings together.

Therefore, the Legislature declares its intent to develop specific placement resources to accommodate sibling groups.

(b) The State Department of Social Services shall, in consultation with the County Welfare Directors Association, the Judicial Council, organizations representing foster youth, and other similar, interested organizations, make recommendations to increase the available sibling placement resources. The possible policy changes to be addressed shall include, but shall not be limited to, the following:

(1) The creation of a special licensing category for sibling care, including sibling group foster homes.

(2) Development of children’s villages with separate cottages to provide a home for each sibling group.

(3) Funding for targeted recruitment of foster parents for large sibling groups.

(4) Establishment of a higher foster care payment rate for caretakers who accept sibling groups.

(5) Funding for one-time capital improvement costs to remodel homes to accommodate placement of siblings and provide for other up-front costs, such as vans, car seats, and other items.

(6) Establishment of guidelines for placing siblings, who cannot be placed in the same home, within geographic proximity to each other and exploration of the possibility of permitting these siblings to have the option of enrolling in the same school district even when the siblings reside in different school districts.

(c) The department shall develop recommendations for the Legislature, in consultation with the Chief Probation Officers Association and the County Welfare Directors Association, regarding procedures for doing both of the following:

(1) Placing siblings together when one or more siblings are in the juvenile dependency system and one or more siblings are in the juvenile delinquency systems, when such placements are appropriate.

(2) Maintaining contact and sharing information between siblings who are placed separately in out-of-home care under the juvenile dependency and the juvenile delinquency systems.

(d) The department shall submit the recommendations described in subdivisions (b) and (c) to the Legislature by November 1, 2001.

(Added by Stats. 2000, Ch. 909, Sec. 9. Effective January 1, 2001.)

16004.5.
  

(a) The Legislature finds and declares that there is an urgent need to develop placement resources to permit minor parents and their children to remain together in out-of-home care when the minor parent is removed from the custody of his or her parents due to abuse or neglect.

(b) To the greatest extent possible, child welfare agencies, in conjunction with providers and the state, and in conjunction with ongoing development of placements and the allocation of existing placement resources, shall identify and utilize whole family placements and other placement models that provide supportive family focused care for dependent teens and their children. In identifying these placements, child welfare agencies shall work with providers and stakeholders to identify and develop programs and program models designed to meet these goals.

(c) In order to effectively plan, identify, and develop needed resources, and effectively address the needs of this population, the department and local child welfare agencies are encouraged to collect data on the number of minors in foster care who give birth and the number of minor parents who remain in placement with their minor children. The department shall aggregate the data annually.

(d) In order to recruit, train, and retain qualified and supportive foster care providers for this population, the department and local child welfare agencies, in consultation with other interested stakeholders, are encouraged to collect information to be used to develop a more cost-effective infant supplemental payment rate structure that more adequately reimburses caregivers for the costs of infant care and teen parent mentoring.

(Added by Stats. 2004, Ch. 841, Sec. 4. Effective January 1, 2005.)

16005.
  

Siblings shall be assigned to the same social worker when there is a prospective adoptive family that intends to adopt the children as a sibling group, unless the responsible local agency finds that assigning the siblings to the same social worker would not be in the best interest of the child or the siblings or the operation of the county office.

(Added by Stats. 2001, Ch. 353, Sec. 4. Effective January 1, 2002.)

16006.
  

Children and nonminor dependents in out-of-home care shall be placed according to their gender identity, regardless of the gender or sex listed in their court or child welfare records.

(Added by Stats. 2015, Ch. 805, Sec. 3. (SB 731) Effective January 1, 2016.)

16010.
  

(a) (1) When a child is placed in foster care, the case plan for each child recommended pursuant to Section 358.1 shall include a summary of the health and education information or records, including mental health information or records, of the child. The summary may be maintained in the form of a health and education passport, or a comparable format designed by the child protective agency. The health and education summary shall include, but not be limited to, the names and addresses of the child’s health, dental, and education providers; the child’s grade level performance; the child’s school record; assurances that the child’s placement in foster care takes into account proximity to the school in which the child is enrolled at the time of placement; the number of school transfers the child has already experienced; the child’s educational progress, as demonstrated by factors, including, but not limited to, academic proficiency scores; credits earned toward graduation; a record of the child’s immunizations and allergies; the child’s known medical problems; the child’s current medications, past health problems, and hospitalizations; a record of the child’s relevant mental health history; the child’s known mental health condition and medications; and any other relevant mental health, dental, health, and education information concerning the child determined to be appropriate by the Director of Social Services. The health and education summary may also include the name and contact information of the person or persons currently holding the right to make educational decisions for the child; the name and contact information for the educational liaison, as described in subdivision (c) of Section 48853.5 of the Education Code, of the child’s local educational agency; and the contact information for the nearest foster youth services coordinating program. If any other law imposes more stringent information requirements, then that section shall prevail.

(2) In instances where it is determined that disclosure pursuant to paragraph (1) of the contact information of the person or persons currently holding the right to make educational decisions for the child poses a threat to the health and safety of that individual or those individuals, that contact information shall be redacted or withheld from the evaluation.

(b) Additionally, a court report or assessment required pursuant to subdivision (g) of Section 361.5, Section 366.1, subdivision (d) of Section 366.21, or subdivision (c) of Section 366.22 shall include a copy of the current health and education summary described in subdivision (a), including the name and contact information of the person or persons currently holding the right to make educational decisions for the child. With respect to a nonminor dependent, as described in subdivision (v) of Section 11400, a copy of the current health and education summary shall be included in the court report only if and when the nonminor dependent consents in writing to its inclusion.

(c) As soon as possible, but not later than 30 days after initial placement of a child into foster care, the child protective agency shall provide the caregiver with the child’s current health and education summary as described in subdivision (a). For each subsequent placement of a child or nonminor dependent, the child protective agency shall provide the caregiver with a current summary as described in subdivision (a) within 48 hours of the placement. With respect to a nonminor dependent, as described in subdivision (v) of Section 11400, the social worker or probation officer shall advise the young adult of the social worker’s or probation officer’s obligation to provide the health and education summary to the new caregiver and the court, and shall discuss with the youth the benefits and liabilities of sharing that information.

(d) (1) Notwithstanding Section 827 or any other law, the child protective agency may disclose any information described in this section to a prospective caregiver or caregivers prior to placement of a child if all of the following requirements are met:

(A) The child protective agency intends to place the child with the prospective caregiver or caregivers.

(B) The prospective caregiver or caregivers are willing to become the adoptive parent or parents of the child.

(C) The prospective caregiver or caregivers have an approved adoption assessment or home study, a foster family home license, certification by a licensed foster family agency, or approval pursuant to the requirements in Sections 361.3 and 361.4.

(2) In addition to the information required to be provided under this section, the child protective agency may disclose to the prospective caregiver specified in paragraph (1), placement history or underlying source documents that are provided to adoptive parents pursuant to subdivisions (a) and (b) of Section 8706 of the Family Code.

(e) The child’s caregiver shall be responsible for reviewing and receiving pupil records pursuant to subdivision (a) of Section 49069.3 of the Education Code for the purposes specified in subdivision (b) of Section 49069.3 of the Education Code. The child’s caregiver shall be responsible for obtaining and maintaining accurate and thorough information from physicians and educators for the child’s summary as described in subdivision (a) during the time that the child is in the care of the caregiver. On each required visit, the child protective agency or its designee foster family agency shall inquire of the caregiver whether there is any new information that should be added to the child’s summary as described in subdivision (a). The child protective agency shall update the summary with the information as appropriate, but not later than the next court date or within 48 hours of a change in placement. The child protective agency or its designee foster family agency shall take all necessary steps to assist the caregiver in obtaining relevant health and education information for the child’s health and education summary as described in subdivision (a). These steps shall include, but are not limited to, obtaining educational information to share with caregivers, providing appropriate notation on documentation caregivers receive that confirms their status as approved caregivers and their right to access information, and explaining caregiver rights and responsibilities with regard to accessing educational information under Sections 49069.3 and 56055 of the Education Code. The caregiver of a nonminor dependent, as described in subdivision (v) of Section 11400, is not responsible for obtaining and maintaining the nonminor dependent’s health and educational information, but may assist the nonminor dependent with any recordkeeping that the nonminor requests of the caregiver.

(f) At the initial hearing, the court shall direct each parent to provide to the child protective agency complete medical, dental, mental health, and educational information, and medical background, of the child and of the child’s mother and the child’s biological father if known. The Judicial Council shall create a form for the purpose of obtaining health and education information from the child’s parents or guardians at the initial hearing. The court shall determine at the hearing held pursuant to Section 358 whether the medical, dental, mental health, and educational information has been provided to the child protective agency.

(Amended by Stats. 2017, Ch. 829, Sec. 9. (SB 233) Effective January 1, 2018.)

16010.2.
  

(a) The department, in consultation with pediatricians, other health care experts, including public health nurses, and experts in and recipients of child welfare services, including parents, shall develop a plan for the ongoing oversight and coordination of health care services for a child in a foster care placement. The plan shall ensure a coordinated strategy to identify and respond to the health care needs of foster children, including mental health and dental needs, consistent with Section 205 of the federal Fostering Connections to Success and Increasing Adoptions Act of 2008 (Public Law 110-351).

(b) (1) The right of minors and nonminors in foster care to health care and mental health care described in paragraph (4) of subdivision (a) of Section 16001.9 includes covered gender affirming health care and gender affirming mental health care. This right is subject to existing laws governing consent to health care for minors and nonminors and does not limit, add, or otherwise affect applicable laws governing consent to health care.

(2) The department shall, in consultation with the State Department of Health Care Services and other stakeholders, develop guidance and describe best practices to identify, coordinate, and support foster youth seeking access to gender affirming health care and gender affirming mental health care and shall incorporate current guidance on ensuring access to Medi-Cal services for transgender beneficiaries. This consultation may be incorporated into existing departmental workgroups focused on foster youth rights or on foster youth sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression. The department shall issue written guidance by January 1, 2020.

(3) For purposes of this section, the following definitions apply:

(A) “Gender affirming health care” means medically necessary health care that respects the gender identity of the patient, as experienced and defined by the patient, and may include, but is not limited to, the following:

(i) Interventions to suppress the development of endogenous secondary sex characteristics.

(ii) Interventions to align the patient’s appearance or physical body with the patient’s gender identity.

(iii) Interventions to alleviate symptoms of clinically significant distress resulting from gender dysphoria, as defined in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5th Edition.

(B) “Gender affirming mental health care” means mental health care or behavioral health care that respects the gender identity of the patient, as experienced and defined by the patient, and may include, but is not limited to, developmentally appropriate exploration and integration of identity, reduction of distress, adaptive coping, and strategies to increase family acceptance.

(Amended by Stats. 2018, Ch. 385, Sec. 3. (AB 2119) Effective January 1, 2019.)

16010.4.
  

The Legislature finds and declares all of the following:

(a) Foster parents are one of the most important sources of information about the children in their care. Courts, lawyers, and social workers should have the benefit of caregivers’ perceptions. Both federal and state law recognize the importance of foster parents’ participation in juvenile court proceedings. Federal law requires that foster parents and other caregivers receive expanded opportunities for notice, the right to participate in dependency court review and permanency hearings, and the right to communicate concerns to the courts. State law similarly provides that caregivers may submit their concerns to courts in writing.

(b) It is in the children’s best interests that their caregivers are privy to important information about them. This information is necessary to obtain social and health services for children, enroll children in school and extracurricular activities, and update social workers and court personnel about important developments affecting foster children.

(c) Most school districts and extracurricular organizations require proof of age before enrolling a child in their programs. Moreover, caregivers are required to obtain a medical appointment for their foster children within the first month of receiving the children into their homes. It would therefore be in both the children’s and the caregivers’ best interests to be provided with any available medical information, medications and instructions for use, and identifying information about the children upon receiving the children into their homes.

(d) Caregivers should have certain basic information in order to provide for the needs of children placed in their care, including all of the following:

(1) The name, mailing address, telephone number, facsimile number, and email address of the child’s social worker and the social worker’s supervisor.

(2) The name, mailing address, telephone number, facsimile number, and email address of the child’s attorney and court-appointed special advocate (CASA), if any.

(3) The name, address, and department number of the juvenile court in which the child’s juvenile court case is pending.

(4) The case number assigned to the child’s juvenile court case.

(5) A copy of the child’s birth certificate, passport, or other identifying documentation of age as may be required for enrollment in school and extracurricular activities.

(6) The child’s State Department of Social Services identification number.

(7) The child’s Medi-Cal identification number or group health insurance plan number.

(8) Medications or treatments in effect for the child at the time of placement, and instructions for their use.

(9) A plan outlining the child’s needs and services, including information on family and sibling visitation.

(10) A copy of the health and education summary as required under Section 16010, with the name and current contact information of the person or persons currently holding the right to make educational decisions for the child.

(e) Caregivers should have knowledge of all of the following:

(1) Their right to receive notice of all review and permanency hearings concerning the child during the placement.

(2) Their right to attend those hearings or submit information they deem relevant to the court in writing.

(3) The “Caregiver Information Form” (Judicial Council Form JV-290), which allows the caregiver to provide information directly to the court.

(4) Information about and referrals to any existing services, including transportation, translation, training, forms, and other available services.

(5) The caregiver’s obligation to cooperate with any reunification, concurrent, or permanent planning for the child.

(6) Any known siblings or half-siblings of the child, whether the child has, expects, or desires to have contact or visitation with any or all siblings, and how and when caregivers facilitate the contact or visitation.

(7) The importance of the caregiver’s role in education, educational protections specific to foster youth under state and federal law, and the rights and obligations of caregivers to access and maintain educational and health information, including the requirements under Sections 49069.3, 49076, and 56055 of the Education Code and Section 16010 of this code.

(f) Courts should know, at the earliest possible date, the interest of the caretaker in providing legal permanency for the child.

(Amended by Stats. 2017, Ch. 829, Sec. 10. (SB 233) Effective January 1, 2018.)

16010.5.
  

(a) When initially placing a child into foster care or kinship care, and within 48 hours of any subsequent placement of that child, the placing agency shall provide to the child’s caretaker both of the following:

(1) Prescribed medications for the child that are in the possession of the placing agency, with instructions for the use of the medication.

(2) Information regarding any treatments that are known to the placing agency and that are in effect for the child at the time of the placement.

(b) As soon as possible after placing a child into foster care or kinship care, and no later than 30 days after placing the child, the placing agency shall provide to the child’s caregiver any available documentation or proof of the child’s age that may be required for enrollment in school or activities that require proof of age.

(c) Within 30 days of receiving a copy of a child’s birth certificate or passport, a placing agency shall provide a copy of that document to the child’s caregiver.

(d) Nothing shall preclude the placing agency from providing the name, mailing address, telephone number, and facsimile number of the child’s attorney and the child’s court-appointed special advocate, if any, to the child or the child’s caregiver upon their request.

(Added by Stats. 2003, Ch. 812, Sec. 6. Effective January 1, 2004.)

16010.6.
  

(a) As soon as a placing agency makes a decision with respect to a placement or a change in placement of a dependent child, but not later than the close of the following business day, the placing agency shall notify the child’s attorney and provide to the child’s attorney information regarding the child’s address, telephone number, and caregiver.

(b) (1) A placing agency shall not make a placement or a change in placement of a child outside the United States prior to a judicial finding that the placement is in the best interest of the child, except as required by federal law or treaty.

(2) The placing agency shall carry the burden of proof and show, by clear and convincing evidence, that placement outside the United States is in the best interest of the child.

(3) In determining the best interest of the child, the court shall consider, but not be limited to, the following factors:

(A) Placement with a relative.

(B) Placement of siblings in the same home.

(C) Amount and nature of any contact between the child and the potential guardian or caretaker.

(D) Physical and medical needs of the dependent child.

(E) Psychological and emotional needs of the dependent child.

(F) Social, cultural, and educational needs of the dependent child.

(G) Specific desires of any dependent child who is 12 years of age or older.

(4) If the court finds that a placement outside the United States is, by clear and convincing evidence, in the best interest of the child, the court may issue an order authorizing the placing agency to make a placement outside the United States. A child subject to this subdivision shall not leave the United States prior to the issuance of the order described in this paragraph.

(5) For purposes of this subdivision, “outside the United States” shall not include the lands of any federally recognized American Indian tribe or Alaskan Natives.

(6) This section shall not apply to the placement of a dependent child with a parent.

(c) Absent exigent circumstances, as soon as a placing agency becomes aware of the need for a change in placement of a dependent child or ward that will result in the separation of siblings currently placed together, the placing agency shall notify the child’s attorney and the child’s siblings’ attorney of this proposed separation no less than 10 calendar days prior to the planned change of placement so that the attorneys may investigate the circumstances of the proposed separation. If the placing agency first becomes aware, by written notification from a foster family agency, group home, or other foster care provider, of the need for a change in placement for a dependent child or ward that will result in the separation of siblings currently placed together, and that the child or children shall be removed within seven days, then notice shall be provided to the attorneys by the end of the next business day after the receipt of notice from the provider. In an emergency, the placing agency shall provide notice as soon as possible, but no later than the close of the first business day following the change of placement. This notification shall be deemed sufficient notice for the purposes of subdivision (a).

(d) When the required notice is given prior to a change in placement, the notice shall include information regarding the child’s address, telephone number, and caregiver or any one or more of these items of information to the extent that this information is known at the time that the placing agency provides notice to the child’s attorney. When the required notice is given after the change in placement, notice shall include information regarding the child’s address, telephone number, and caregiver.

(e) The Judicial Council shall adopt a rule of court directing the attorney for a child for whom a dependency petition has been filed, upon receipt from the agency responsible for placing the child of the name, address, and telephone number of the child’s caregiver, to timely provide the attorney’s contact information to the caregiver and, if the child is 10 years of age or older, to the child. This rule does not preclude an attorney from giving contact information to a child who is younger than 10 years of age.

(Amended by Stats. 2014, Ch. 772, Sec. 18. (SB 1460) Effective January 1, 2015.)

16010.7.
  

(a) It is the intent of the Legislature to prevent children or youth in foster care from experiencing unnecessary or abrupt placement changes that negatively impact their well-being or sense of security. It is the intent of the Legislature to preserve and strengthen the placement of a child or youth whenever possible. It is also the intent of the Legislature to ensure that placement changes do not occur due to gender, gender identity, race, or cultural differences. The Legislature finds and declares that unnecessary or abrupt placement changes undermine the essential duties that resource families have an obligation to uphold.

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

(c) A social worker or placing agency shall include a strategy developed and implemented pursuant to subdivision (b) within the dependent child’s case notes 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 dependent child’s 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 dependent child’s child and family team.

(e) If, after implementing the placement preservation strategy developed and implemented pursuant to subdivision (b), the social worker or placement agency finds that a placement change is necessary, the social worker or placing agency shall serve written notice on all of the following parties at least 14 days prior to the change:

(1) The dependent child’s parent or guardian.

(2) The dependent child’s caregiver.

(3) The dependent child’s attorney.

(4) The dependent child, if he or she is 10 years of age or older.

(f) A 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 dependent child, if he or she is 10 years of age or older, or the representative of the dependent child, if he or she is under 10 years of age.

(2) The dependent child’s current caregiver.

(3) The dependent child’s prospective caregiver.

(4) The dependent child’s social worker.

(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 the county child welfare director, or his or her designee, for the purposes of training, technical assistance, and quality improvement.

(h) Notwithstanding subdivisions (b) and (e), a social worker or placing agency may change a dependent child’s 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 placement or providing prior written notice of that placement change poses an imminent risk to the health or safety of the dependent child or other children in the home or facility.

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

(i) This section shall apply only to children and youth for whom the dependency court has entered a judgment pursuant to Section 360.

(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 dependent child’s child and family team and that is described in the dependent child’s case plan.

(Added by Stats. 2018, Ch. 674, Sec. 1. (AB 2247) Effective January 1, 2019.)

16010.8.
  

It is the intent of the Legislature that no child or youth in foster care reside in group care for longer than one year. The State Department of Social Services shall provide updates to the Legislature, commencing no later than January 1, 2014, regarding the outcomes of assessments of children and youth who have been in group homes for longer than one year and the corresponding outcomes of transitions, or plans to transition, them into family settings.

(Added by Stats. 2013, Ch. 21, Sec. 41. (AB 74) Effective June 27, 2013.)

16011.
  

(a) Subject to the conditions prescribed by this section, Los Angeles County may pursue the development and evaluation of a pilot Internet-based health and education passport system. The system shall be known as the Passport System. The Passport System shall collect and maintain health and education records for foster children under the supervision of the county social services or probation department, as required by Section 16010. The Passport System shall initially be conducted as a limited pilot project in a subset of Los Angeles County, and upon successful evaluation, may be expanded statewide.

(1) Los Angeles County shall be responsible for the planning, development, and implementation of the Passport System. Los Angeles County is responsible for the development of the advance planning document (APD) as prescribed by federal regulations, requesting funding consistent with the child welfare services program. The APD shall include, but not be limited to, the design of an interface between the web-based Passport System and the Child Welfare Services/Case Management System (CWS/CMS) so that information entered into the Passport System shall automatically and permanently reside in the CWS/CMS. In addition, the APD shall include the scope of the pilot project, the evaluation plan pursuant to subdivisions (b) and (d), and the county shall address a plan for compliance with pertinent provisions in state and federal law requiring that privacy of confidential information be maintained.

(2) The department shall review and, upon approval by the appropriate state agencies, shall transmit the APD to the federal Department of Health and Human Services. The department shall facilitate assistance as appropriate to gain federal approval of the APD. Implementation of the pilot system shall be contingent upon federal approval of the APD and of the request for federal funding consistent with the child welfare services program. It shall also be contingent upon assurance by the United States Secretary of Health and Human Services that the federal funding for the CWS/CMS shall not be adversely impacted by the development and implementation of the Passport System. If the department is unable to gain federal approval of the pilot project by January 1, 2004, authorization for the pilot project established by this section shall cease.

(3) The Passport System shall provide real-time access to health, mental health, and educational information by health and mental health care providers, educators, licensed or approved foster care givers, and local agency staff in order to improve the accuracy and reliability of information necessary to ensure receipt of appropriate services for children in foster care, to improve health and educational outcomes, and to reduce and eliminate the risk of inadequate treatment by service providers, multiple immunizations, other severe health and education problems, and death.

(4) The Passport System shall meet all the operational and administrative needs of local participating agencies; be scalable and flexible to interface with and integrate data from multiple Los Angeles County and other county departments and state agencies that provide services to children, using data matching algorithms that provide a high level of confidence and reliability; maximize the use and availability of information in a secured and reliable environment; allow relevant county staff, health, mental health, education providers, and licensed or approved foster care givers to update or view appropriate data through a web-enabled application via the Internet; contain fire walls and safeguards to ensure that only authorized persons inquire and update only those cases which they have been authorized to access; and to ensure the integrity and confidentiality of the system.

(b) Prior to commencement of the pilot project, Los Angeles County, in consultation with the department, shall develop a pilot evaluation plan subject to approval by the department and the United States Secretary of Health and Human Services. The plan shall include, but is not limited to, identification of measurable objectives, and benefits that the pilot project is expected to achieve, the methodology, and plan criteria for evaluating the pilot project.

(c) The pilot plan shall include a strategy to incentivize health, mental health, and educational providers servicing foster children to utilize and update the Internet-based system.

(d) Implementation of the interface between the Internet-based Passport System and the CWS/CMS shall be contingent upon approval of federal reimbursement consistent with the child welfare services program. Funding shall be subject to the sharing ratios that apply to the administration of child welfare services programs. Any funds appropriated for this purpose not expended in the 2001–02 fiscal year shall be available for the purposes of this section as expenditure in subsequent years. After one year of operation of the pilot project, Los Angeles County shall complete a pilot evaluation as described in the pilot evaluation plan. The results of the evaluation shall be provided to the chairpersons of the fiscal and policy committees of each house of the Legislature, the Chairperson of the Joint Legislative Budget Committee, and the Department of Finance.

(Amended by Stats. 2002, Ch. 1022, Sec. 52. Effective September 28, 2002.)

16013.
  

(a) It is the policy of this state that all persons engaged in providing care and services to foster children, including, but not limited to, foster parents, adoptive parents, relative caregivers, and other caregivers contracting with a county welfare department, shall have fair and equal access to all available programs, services, benefits, and licensing processes, and shall not be subjected to discrimination or harassment on the basis of their clients’ or their own actual or perceived race, ethnic group identification, ancestry, national origin, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, mental or physical disability, or HIV status.

(b) Nothing in this section shall be interpreted to create or modify existing preferences for foster placements or to limit the local placement agency’s ability to make placement decisions for a child based on the child’s best interests.

(Amended by Stats. 2008, Ch. 557, Sec. 5. Effective January 1, 2009.)

16014.
  

(a) It is the intent of the Legislature to maximize federal funding for foster youth services provided by local educational agencies.

(b) The State Department of Education and the State Department of Social Services shall collaborate with the County Welfare Directors Association, representatives from local educational agencies, and representatives of private, nonprofit foster care providers to establish roles and responsibilities, claiming requirements, and sharing of eligibility information eligible for funding under Part E (commencing with Section 470) of Title IV of the federal Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. Sec. 301 et seq.). These state agencies shall also assist counties and local educational agencies in drafting memorandums of understanding between agencies to access funding for case management activities associated with providing foster youth services for eligible children. That federal funding shall be an augmentation to the current program and shall not supplant existing state general funds allocated to this program.

(c) School districts shall be responsible for 100 percent of the nonfederal share of payments received under that act.

(Added by Stats. 2004, Ch. 914, Sec. 16. Effective January 1, 2005.)

WICWelfare and Institutions Code - WIC