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 5.5. Child Welfare Leadership and Performance Accountability [16540 - 16545]
  ( Chapter 5.5 added by Stats. 2006, Ch. 384, Sec. 3. )

16540.
  

The California Child Welfare Council is hereby established, which shall serve as an advisory body responsible for improving the collaboration and processes of the multiple agencies and the courts that serve the children and youth in the child welfare and foster care systems. The council shall monitor and report the extent to which child welfare and foster care programs and the courts are responsive to the needs of children in their joint care. The council shall issue advisory reports whenever it deems appropriate, but in any event, no less frequently than annually, to the Governor, the Legislature, the Judicial Council, and the public. A report of the Child Welfare Council shall, at a minimum, include recommendations for all of the following:

(a) Ensuring that all state child welfare, foster care, and judicial funding and services for children, youth, and families is, to the greatest extent possible, coordinated to eliminate fragmentation and duplication of services provided to children or families who would benefit from integrated multiagency services.

(b) Increasing the quality, appropriateness, and effectiveness of program services and judicial processes delivered to children, youth, and families who would benefit from integrated multiagency services to achieve better outcomes for these children, youth, and families.

(c) Promoting consistent program and judicial excellence across counties to the greatest extent possible while recognizing the demographic, geographic, and financial differences among the counties.

(d) Increasing collaboration and coordination between county agencies, state agencies, federal agencies, and the courts.

(e) Ensuring that all state Title IV-E plans, program improvement plans, and court improvement plans demonstrate effective collaboration between public agencies and the courts.

(f) Assisting the Secretary of California Health and Human Services and the chief justice in formulating policies for the effective administration of the child welfare and foster care programs and judicial processes.

(g)  Modifying program practices and court processes, rate structures, and other system changes needed to promote and support relative caregivers, family foster parents, therapeutic placements, and other placements for children who cannot remain in the family home.

(h) Developing data- and information-sharing agreements and protocols for the exchange of aggregate data across program and court systems that are providing services to children and families in the child welfare system. These data-sharing agreements shall allow child welfare agencies and the courts to access data concerning the health, mental health, special education, and educational status and progress of children served by county child welfare systems subject to state and federal confidentiality laws and regulations. They shall be developed in tandem with the establishment of judicial case management systems as well as additional or enhanced performance measures described in subdivision (b) of Section 16544.

(i) Developing systematic methods for obtaining policy recommendations from foster youth about the effectiveness and quality of program services and judicial processes, and ensuring that the interests of foster youth are adequately addressed in all policy development.

(j) Implementing legislative enactments in the child welfare and foster care programs and the courts, and reporting to the Legislature on the timeliness and consistency of the implementation.

(k) Monitoring the adequacy of resources necessary for the implementation of existing programs and court processes, and the prioritization of program and judicial responsibilities.

(l) Strengthening and increasing the independence and authority of the foster care ombudsperson.

(m) Coordinating available services for former foster youth and improving outreach efforts to those youth and their families.

(Amended by Stats. 2007, Ch. 130, Sec. 251. Effective January 1, 2008.)

16541.
  

The council shall be comprised of the following members:

(a) The Secretary of California Health and Human Services, who shall serve as cochair.

(b) The Chief Justice of the California Supreme Court, or his or her designee, who shall serve as cochair.

(c) The Superintendent of Public Instruction, or his or her designee.

(d) The Chancellor of the California Community Colleges, or his or her designee.

(e) The executive director of the State Board of Education.

(f) The Director of Social Services.

(g) The Director of Health Care Services.

(h) The Director of State Hospitals.

(i) The Director of Developmental Services.

(j) The Director of the Youth Authority.

(k) The Administrative Director of the Courts.

(l) The State Foster Care Ombudsperson.

(m) Four foster youth or former foster youth.

(n) The chairpersons of the Assembly Human Services Committee and the Assembly Judiciary Committee, or two other Members of the Assembly as appointed by the Speaker of the Assembly.

(o) The chairpersons of the Senate Human Services Committee and the Senate Judiciary Committee, or two other members appointed by the President pro Tempore of the Senate.

(p) Leaders and representatives of county child welfare, foster care, health, education, probation, and mental health agencies and departments, child advocacy organizations; labor organizations, recognized professional associations that represent child welfare and foster care social workers, tribal representatives, and other groups and stakeholders that provide benefits, services, and advocacy to families and children in the child welfare and foster care systems, as recommended by representatives of these groups and as designated by the cochairs.

(Amended by Stats. 2014, Ch. 442, Sec. 41. (SB 1465) Effective September 18, 2014.)

16541.5.
  

The council shall meet no less frequently than each quarter of the state fiscal year and at the call of the cochairs, at a time and location convenient to the public as it may deem appropriate. All meetings of the council shall be open to the public. Members shall serve without compensation, with the exception of foster youth members, who shall be entitled to reimbursement for all actual and necessary expenses incurred in the performance of their duties.

(Amended by Stats. 2007, Ch. 130, Sec. 252. Effective January 1, 2008.)

16542.
  

The cochairs may appoint committees composed of council members, experts in specialized fields, foster youth, program stakeholders, state and county child welfare and foster care staff, child advocacy organizations, members of the judiciary, foster care public health nurses, or any combination thereof, to advise the council on any functions of the council and the services provided through the child welfare and foster care programs and the courts. Members of these committees shall receive no compensation from the state for their services, with the exception of foster youth members, who shall be entitled to reimbursement for all actual and necessary expenses incurred in the performance of their duties. The committees may assemble information and make recommendations to the council, but shall not exercise any of the powers vested in the council. The council may seek input from groups and individuals as it deems appropriate, including, but not limited to, advisory committees, the judiciary and child welfare and foster care program stakeholders.

(Amended by Stats. 2007, Ch. 130, Sec. 253. Effective January 1, 2008.)

16543.
  

Consistent with state and federal law, the council shall have access to aggregate data and information concerning the child welfare and foster care systems held by any state or local department, agency, or court that serves children, youth, and families receiving child welfare and foster care services subject to state and federal confidentiality laws and regulations.

(Added by Stats. 2006, Ch. 384, Sec. 3. Effective January 1, 2007.)

16543.5.
  

It is the intent of the Legislature to inspect other state child welfare and foster care systems over the course of the 2007–08 Legislative Session, for the purpose of examining effective administrative structures of leadership. It is further the intent of the Legislature to conduct legislative hearings through the Assembly Select Committee on Foster Care, and other standing committees, and to review reports and recommendations of other commissions and bodies, including the California Blue Ribbon Commission on Foster Care and the Little Hoover Commission, to determine if a reconfigured administrative structure would provide statewide leadership and coordination between departments and agencies, which are essential to improving outcomes for current and former foster children and youth throughout the state.

(Added by Stats. 2006, Ch. 384, Sec. 3. Effective January 1, 2007.)

16544.
  

The secretary shall ensure that all of the federal Child and Family Services Review outcome measures and all of the California Child and Family Service Review System outcome indicators, along with any performance goals and federal outcome standards, are clearly posted on the State Department of Social Service’s Internet Web site. Before any of the federal goals or any of the California Child and Family Service Review System outcome indicators are added, deleted, or amended, the secretary shall consult with the Child Welfare Council and ensure that there has been a public process for the submission of comments and recommendations.

(Added by Stats. 2006, Ch. 384, Sec. 3. Effective January 1, 2007.)

16545.
  

By April 1, 2008, the Judicial Council shall adopt, through rules of court, performance measures designed to complement and promote those measures specified in Section 16544 so that courts are able to measure their performance and track their own progress in improving safety, permanency, timeliness, and well-being of children and to inform decisions about the allocation of court resources. In adopting performance measures, the Judicial Council shall consult with the council and the secretary. The performance measures shall be based on data that is available from current or planned data collection processes and to the greatest extent possible, shall ensure uniformity of data reporting.

(Amended by Stats. 2007, Ch. 130, Sec. 254. Effective January 1, 2008.)

WICWelfare and Institutions Code - WIC