Today's Law As Amended

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AB-1784 Resource families: pilot program: supportive services.(2017-2018)

As Amends the Law Today


 Section 16519.66 is added to the Welfare and Institutions Code, to read:

 (a) (1) The department shall establish and facilitate a pilot program in up to five counties, including both rural and urban counties, that voluntarily apply and are selected by the department, to increase placement stability for foster youth and facilitate greater resource family retention through strengths-based, skills-based, trauma-informed coaching.
(2) Implementation of the pilot project shall commence after the department has received and reviewed the recommendations of the stakeholder work group described in subdivision (c), but no later than January 1, 2020.
(3) (A) A participating county shall first seek to employ current social workers who meet the criteria established by the department under subdivision (c) to serve as coaches for the pilot program. A participating county may hire new social workers who meet the established criteria, if necessary. A social worker with a current caseload shall not be eligible to serve as a coach.
(B) A county that is unable to fill a coach position with a current social worker or new hire as provided in subparagraph (A) may contract with a private individual or entity to fill the position. A coach hired under this subparagraph shall meet the criteria established by the department under subdivision (c).
(b) The pilot program shall provide coaching to resource families who volunteer to participate in the pilot project through a trained mentor, social worker, or mental health care provider who has received the pilot program coaching training.
(1) Coaches shall assist resource families to effectively utilize and implement skills and information covered in their preapproval training pursuant to subdivision (g) of Section 16519.5 in order to promote a stable and nurturing home environment for youth placed in the resource family home.
(2) Coaches shall inform participating resource families of available state and county supportive services, including, but not limited to, the availability of respite services for emergency and nonemergency situations, availability of, and access to, 24-hour resource hotlines where available, and mental health services for foster youth, among others.
(3) Participation in the pilot program shall not be a condition of resource family approval or a requirement for a resource family to receive or maintain the placement of a youth.
(c) No later than June 30, 2019, the department shall consult relevant stakeholders, including, but not limited to, foster youth, resource families, biological families, representatives of child and family services agencies, and foster family agencies. The department shall consider stakeholder recommendations regarding certain parameters of the pilot program, including, but not limited to, all of the following:
(1) Application and selection criteria for participating counties.
(2) A skills-based, strengths-based, trauma-informed coaching program curriculum, which may include trauma-informed principles and skills for improving attachment, empathy, and self-esteem, as well as practices from California’s core practice model.
(3) Application and selection criteria for coaches.
(4) Criteria used by counties to evaluate the effectiveness of the program in achieving the overall goals of the pilot program.
(d) (1) A county that elects to participate in the pilot program pursuant to this section shall conduct at least one evaluation of the program’s impact and effectiveness on increasing placement stability for foster youth and retaining resource families in accordance with, and upon issuance of guidance from, the department. The evaluation also may include a survey of resource families exiting the program. A participating county shall submit its evaluation to the department no later than December 31, 2021.
(2) The department shall report the information provided by counties under paragraph (1) to the Legislature. The report shall be submitted in compliance with Section 9795 of the Government Code.
(e) This section shall remain in effect only until January 1, 2022, and as of that date is repealed.