Today's Law As Amended


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AB-829 Foster children: immigration counsel and guardianship.(2021-2022)



As Amends the Law Today
As Amends the Law on Nov 18, 2021


SECTION 1.
 (a) The Legislature finds and declares all of the following:
(1) Almost all undocumented children in foster care qualify for immigration relief, but that relief is difficult to obtain without an attorney, especially in the current political climate.
(2) Children who emancipate from foster care without submitting an application for special juvenile immigrant status are unable to apply later and will subsequently be unable to work and to successfully transition to adulthood.
(3) Section 391 of the Welfare and Institutions Code requires that, before terminating dependency jurisdiction over a nonminor, the county welfare department ensure that, when applicable, a nonminor is provided with proof of citizenship or legal residency.
(4) Subdivision (e) of Section 317 of the Welfare and Institutions Code requires a minor’s counsel to inform the court of other legal needs outside of the juvenile court proceedings.
(b) It is the intent of the Legislature in enacting this act to create accountability in ensuring that foster children emancipating from foster care have received all immigration relief to which they are entitled. It is further the intent of the Legislature to identify a source of funding to enable counties to provide immigration counsel to all children in foster care.

SEC. 2.

 Section 2104.1 of the Probate Code is amended to read:

2104.1.
 (a)  A nonprofit charitable corporation not incorporated in this state may be appointed as the guardian of a minor if all of the following requirements are met:
(1) (a)  The articles of incorporation specifically authorize the nonprofit charitable corporation to accept appointments as a guardian.
(2) (b)  The nonprofit charitable corporation is contracted by the federal Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Refugee Resettlement, or its successor federal government entity, to provide care and custody of the minor.
(3) (c)  The petition for guardianship is filed in connection with a petition to make the necessary findings regarding special immigrant juvenile status pursuant to subdivision (b) of Section 155 of the Code of Civil Procedure.
(4) (d)  The nonprofit charitable corporation is licensed by this state to provide care for minors.
(5) (e)  The nonprofit charitable corporation complies with all of the requirements of Section 2104, except for paragraphs (1) and (2) of subdivision (a) of Section 2104.
(b) This section shall remain in effect only until January 1, 2022, and as of that date is repealed.

SEC. 3.

 Section 13310 is added to the Welfare and Institutions Code, to read:

13310.
 A county shall make its best efforts to provide an undocumented minor or nonminor dependent in foster care under the jurisdiction of the juvenile court with access to immigration legal services. This access may be provided by the child welfare agency through outside legal service providers.

SEC. 4.

 Section 16010.6 of the Welfare and Institutions Code is amended to read:

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  before  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 a  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  before  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 a  federally recognized American Indian tribe or Alaskan Natives.
(6) This section shall does  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  before  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  before  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.
(f) When the placing agency becomes aware that a dependent child or a nonminor dependent is an undocumented immigrant, the placing agency shall notify the dependent child’s or nonminor dependent’s attorney that the dependent child or nonminor dependent is an undocumented immigrant. Electronic or telephonic notice shall be provided to the attorney within five business days of learning of the dependent child’s or nonminor dependent’s immigration status.
SEC. 5.
 To the extent that this act has an overall effect of increasing the costs already borne by a local agency for programs or levels of service mandated by the 2011 Realignment Legislation within the meaning of Section 36 of Article XIII of the California Constitution, it shall apply to local agencies only to the extent that the state provides annual funding for the cost increase. Any new program or higher level of service provided by a local agency pursuant to this act above the level for which funding has been provided shall not require a subvention of funds by the state or otherwise be subject to Section 6 of Article XIII B of the California Constitution.