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AB-490 Education: foster children.(2003-2004)

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AB490:v92#DOCUMENT

Assembly Bill No. 490
CHAPTER 862

An act to amend Sections 48645.5, 48850, 48859, 49061, 49069.5, 49076, and 56055 of, and to add Sections 48853 and 48853.5 to, the Education Code, and to amend Sections 361, 366.27, 726, 727.2, 4570, 16000, and 16501.1 of the Welfare and Institutions Code, relating to minors.

[ Filed with Secretary of State  October 12, 2003. Approved by Governor  October 12, 2003. ]

LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


AB 490, Steinberg. Education: foster children.
(1) Existing law requires a school district to accept for credit any coursework satisfactorily completed by a pupil while in juvenile court school or in any county or state-operated institution.
This bill would instead require a school district and county office of education to accept for credit full or partial coursework satisfactorily completed by a pupil while attending a public school, juvenile court school, or nonpublic, nonsectarian school or agency, thus imposing a state-mandated local program.
(2) Existing law requires every county office of education to make available to agencies that place children in licensed children’s institutions information on educational options for children residing in licensed children’s institutions within its jurisdiction. Existing law requires every agency that places a child in a licensed children’s institution to notify the local educational agency at the time a pupil is placed and requires a local educational agency to invite at least one noneducational agency representative that has placement responsibility for a pupil residing in a licensed children’s institution to collaborate with the local educational agency in the monitoring of a placement in a nonpublic, nonsectarian school or agency.
This bill would declare the Legislature’s intent to ensure that pupils in foster care and those who are homeless, as defined by specified federal law, have a meaningful opportunity to meet the academic achievement standards to which all pupils are held, are placed in the least restrictive educational programs, and have access to the academic resources, services, and extracurricular and enrichment activities as all other pupils.
This bill would require pupils placed in licensed children’s institutions or foster family homes to attend programs operated by the local educational agency, under specified circumstances, thus imposing a state-mandated local program. The bill would require the parent, guardian, or person holding the right to make educational decisions for the pupil to first consider placement of the pupil in the regular public school before any decision to place the pupil in a juvenile court school.
This bill would require each local educational agency to designate a staff person as the educational liaison for foster children who are a ward or dependent child of the court, to ensure and facilitate the proper educational placement, enrollment in school, and transfer between schools of foster children and to assist foster children when transferring schools or school districts, and would impose various related responsibilities on the person holding the right regarding educational placement of the child. The bill would require all educational and school placement decisions to meet specified criteria. The bill would require the local educational agency serving a foster child, at the initial detention or placement, or any subsequent change in placement of the foster child, to allow the foster child to continue his or her education in the school the foster child is currently attending for the duration of the school year, except as provided. By imposing these additional duties involving foster children upon local educational agencies, this bill would impose a state-mandated local program.
(3) Existing law requires a local educational agency with which a pupil in foster care has been most recently enrolled that has been informed of the next educational placement of the pupil to cooperate with the county social service or probation department to, upon request, ensure that the educational and other background record of the pupil, is transferred to the receiving local educational agency and the foster children services program in a timely manner.
This bill would delete those provisions and, instead, would provide that the timely transfer between schools of pupils in foster care is the responsibility of both the local educational agency and the county placing agency, as defined. The bill would require the county placing agency, as soon as it becomes aware of the need to transfer the pupil between schools, to contact the appropriate person at the pupil’s local educational agency regarding the transfer. The bill would require the local educational agency, upon receiving the transfer request, to, within 2 business days, transfer the pupil and deliver the pupil’s educational information and records to the next educational placement. By imposing a higher level of service on these local agencies, the bill would impose a state-mandated local program.
(4) Existing law prohibits a school district from permitting access to pupil records to any person without parental consent or without a judicial order, except under certain circumstances, including, among others, access by a probation officer or district attorney for the purposes of conducting a criminal investigation, or an investigation regarding the declaration of a person to be a ward of the court, or involving a violation of a condition of probation.
This bill would also authorize a school district to permit access to any county placing agency for the purpose of fulfilling the requirements of a certain health and education summary or fulfilling educational case management responsibilities required by the juvenile court or by law and to assist with the school transfer or placement of a pupil.
(5) Existing law permits a foster parent to represent the foster child for the duration of the foster parent-foster child relationship in matters relating to public education of the foster child.
This bill would limit the representation to situations in which the foster child is placed in a planned permanent living arrangement and in which the juvenile court has limited the right of the parent or guardian to make educational decisions. The bill would require specified criteria to be met in selecting the most appropriate home.
(6) Existing law requires area boards on developmental disabilities to, with the consent of the consumer and, when appropriate, a family member, conduct life quality assessments, as provided, with consumers living in out-of-home placements, supported living arrangements, or independent living arrangements. Existing law requires the area board to develop a report of its findings following each life quality assessment and to provide a copy of the report to the consumer, when appropriate, family members, and the regional center providing case management services to the consumer.
This bill would authorize a life quality assessment to be conducted with the consent of the juvenile court or social services agency if the consumer is a dependent of the juvenile court and would require the area board to provide a copy of the life quality assessment of that consumer, upon request, to the court or social services agency, thus imposing a state-mandated local program.
(7) This bill would further declare the intent of the Legislature to ensure that a pupil in foster care or who is homeless, as defined by specified federal law, has the opportunity to meet the academic achievement standards to which all pupils are held, is placed in the least restrictive educational programs, and has access to the academic resources, services, and extracurricular and enrichment activities as all other pupils.
(8) The bill would also update cross-references and make conforming and other technical changes.
(9) The bill would incorporate further changes to Section 16501.1 of the Government Code proposed by AB 408, AB 1151, and SB 591, contingent upon their prior enactment. (10) The California Constitution requires the state to reimburse local agencies and school districts for certain costs mandated by the state. Statutory provisions establish procedures for making that reimbursement.
This bill would provide that no reimbursement is required by this act for a specified reason.

The people of the State of California do enact as follows:


SECTION 1.

 Section 48645.5 of the Education Code is amended to read:

48645.5.
 Each public school district and county office of education shall accept for credit full or partial coursework satisfactorily completed by a pupil while attending a public school, juvenile court school, or nonpublic, nonsectarian school or agency. The coursework shall be transferred by means of the standard state transcript. If a pupil completes the graduation requirements of his or her school district of residence while being detained, the school district of residence shall issue to the pupil a diploma from the school the pupil last attended before detention or in the alternative, the county superintendent of schools may issue the diploma.

SEC. 2.

 Section 48850 of the Education Code is amended to read:

48850.
 (a) It is 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 a meaningful opportunity to meet the challenging state pupil academic achievement standards to which all pupils are held. In fulfilling their responsibilities to these pupils, 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 must be based on the best interests of the child.
(b) Every county office of education shall make available to agencies that place children in licensed children’s institutions information on educational options for children residing in licensed children’s institutions within the jurisdiction of the county office of education for use by the placing agencies in assisting parents and foster children to choose educational placements.
(c) For purposes of individuals with exceptional needs residing in licensed children’s institutions, making a copy of the annual service plan, prepared pursuant to subdivision (b) of Section 56205, available to those special education local plan areas that have revised their local plans pursuant to Section 56836.03 shall meet the requirements of subdivision (b).

SEC. 3.

 Section 48853 is added to the Education Code, to read:

48853.
 (a) A pupil placed in a licensed children’s institution or foster family home shall attend programs operated by the local educational agency, unless one of the following applies:
(1) The pupil has an individualized education program requiring placement in a nonpublic, nonsectarian school or agency, or in another local educational agency.
(2) The parent or guardian, or other person holding the right to make educational decisions for the pupil pursuant to Section 361 or 727 of the Welfare and Institutions Code or Section 56055, determines that it is in the best interest of the pupil to be placed in another educational program, or that the pupil continue in his or her school of origin pursuant to paragraph (1) of subdivision (d) of Section 48853.5.
(b) Before any decision is made to place a pupil in a juvenile court school as defined by Section 48645.1, the parent or guardian, or person holding the right to make educational decisions for the pupil pursuant to Section 361 or 726 of the Welfare and Institutions Code or Section 56055, shall first consider placement in the regular public school.
(c) If any dispute arises as to the school placement of a pupil subject to this section, the pupil has the right to remain in his or her school of origin, as defined in subdivision (e) of Section 48853.5, pending resolution of the dispute.
(d) This section does not supersede other laws that govern pupil expulsion.
(e) This section does not supersede any other law governing the educational placement in a juvenile court school, as defined by Section 48645.1, of a pupil detained in a county juvenile hall, or committed to a county juvenile ranch, camp, forestry camp, or regional facility.
(f) Foster children living in emergency shelters, as referenced in McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act (42 U.S.C. Sec. 11431 et seq.), may receive educational services at the emergency shelter as necessary for short periods of time for either of the following reasons:
(1) For health and safety emergencies.
(2) To provide temporary, special, and supplementary services to meet the child’s unique needs if a decision regarding whether it is in the child’s best interest to attend the school of origin cannot be made promptly, it is not practical to transport the child to the school of origin, and the child would otherwise not receive educational services.
The educational services may be provided at the shelter pending a determination by the person holding the right regarding the educational placement of the child.
(g) All educational and school placement decisions shall be made to ensure that the child is placed in the least restrictive educational programs and has access to 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.

SEC. 4.

 Section 48853.5 is added to the Education Code, to read:

48853.5.
 (a) This section applies to any foster child who has been removed from his or her home pursuant to Section 309 of the Welfare and Institutions Code, is the subject of a petition filed under Section 300 or 602 of the Welfare and Institutions Code, or has been removed from his or her home and is the subject of a petition filed under Section 300 or 602 of the Welfare and Institutions Code.
(b) Each local educational agency shall designate a staff person as the educational liaison for foster children. In a school district that operates a foster children services program pursuant to Chapter 11.3 (commencing with Section 42920) of Part 24, the educational liaison shall be affiliated with the local foster children services program. The liaison shall do all of the following:
(1) Ensure and facilitate the proper educational placement, enrollment in school, and checkout from school of foster children.
(2) Assist foster children when transferring from one school to another or from one school district to another in ensuring proper transfer of credits, records, and grades.
(c) This section does not grant authority to the educational liaison that supersedes the authority granted under state and federal law to a parent or guardian retaining educational rights, a responsible adult appointed by the court to represent the child pursuant to Section 361 or 726 of the Welfare and Institutions Code, a surrogate parent, or a foster parent exercising the authority granted under Section 56055. The role of the educational liaison is advisory with respect to placement decisions and determination of school of origin.
(d) (1) At the initial detention or placement, or any subsequent change in placement of a foster child, the local educational agency serving the foster child shall allow the foster child to continue his or her education in the school of origin for the duration of the academic school year.
(2) The liaison, in consultation with and the agreement of the foster child and the person holding the right to make educational decisions for the foster child may, in accordance with the foster child’s best interest, recommend that the foster child’s right to attend the school of origin be waived and the foster child be enrolled in any public school that pupils living in the attendance area in which the foster child resides are eligible to attend.
(3) Prior to making any recommendation to move a foster child from his or her school of origin, the liaison shall provide the foster child and the person holding the right to make educational decisions for the foster child with a written explanation stating the basis for the recommendation and how this recommendation serves the foster child’s best interest.
(4) (A) If the liaison in consultation with the foster child and the person holding the right to make educational decisions for the foster child agree that the best interests of the foster child would be served by his or her transfer to a school other than the school of origin, the foster child shall immediately be enrolled in the new school.
(B) The new school shall immediately enroll the foster child even if the foster child is unable to produce records or clothing normally required for enrollment, such as previous academic records, medical records, proof of residency, other documentation, or school uniforms.
(C) The liaison for the new school shall, within two business days of the foster child’s request for enrollment, contact the school last attended by the foster child to obtain all academic and other records. The school liaison for the school last attended shall provide all records to the new school within two business days of receiving the request.
(5) If any dispute arises regarding the request of a foster child to remain in the school of origin, the foster child has the right to remain in the school of origin pending resolution of the dispute.
(6) The local educational agency and the county placing agency are encouraged to collaborate to ensure maximum utilization of available federal moneys, explore public-private partnerships, and access any other funding sources to promote the well-being of foster children through educational stability.
(e) For purposes of this section, “school of origin” means the school that the foster child attended when permanently housed or the school in which the foster child was last enrolled. If the school the foster child attended when permanently housed is different from the school in which the foster child was last enrolled, or if there is some other school that the foster child attended with which the foster child is connected, the liaison, in consultation with and the agreement of the foster child and the person holding the right to make educational decisions for the foster child, shall determine in the best interest of the foster child, the school that shall be deemed the school of origin.
(f) This section does not supersede other law governing the educational placements in juvenile court schools, as defined by Section 48645.1, by the juvenile court under Section 602 of the Welfare and Institutions Code.

SEC. 5.

 Section 48859 of the Education Code is amended to read:

48859.
 For purposes of this chapter, the following terms have the following meanings:
(a) “County placing agency” means the county social service department or county probation department.
(b) “Educational authority” means an entity designated to represent the interests of a child for educational and related services.

SEC. 6.

 Section 49061 of the Education Code is amended to read:

49061.
 As used in this chapter:
(a) “Parent” means a natural parent, an adopted parent, or legal guardian. If the parents are divorced or legally separated, only a parent having legal custody of the pupil may challenge the content of a record pursuant to Section 49070, offer a written response to a record pursuant to Section 49072, or consent to release records to others pursuant to Section 49075. Either parent may grant consent if both parents have notified, in writing, the school or school district that an agreement has been made. If a pupil has attained the age of 18 years or is attending an institution of postsecondary education, the permission or consent required of, and the rights accorded to, the parents or guardian of the pupil shall thereafter only be required of, and accorded to, the pupil.
(b) “Pupil record” means any item of information directly related to an identifiable pupil, other than directory information, which is maintained by a school district or required to be maintained by an employee in the performance of his or her duties whether recorded by handwriting, print, tapes, film, microfilm or other means.
“Pupil record” does not include informal notes related to a pupil compiled by a school officer or employee which remain in the sole possession of the maker and are not accessible or revealed to any other person except a substitute. For purposes of this subdivision, “substitute” means a person who performs the duties of the individual who made the notes on a temporary basis, and does not refer to a person who permanently succeeds the maker of the notes in his or her position.
(c) “Directory information” means one or more of the following items: pupil’s name, address, telephone number, date and place of birth, major field of study, participation in officially recognized activities and sports, weight and height of members of athletic teams, dates of attendance, degrees and awards received, and the most recent previous public or private school attended by the pupil.
(d) “School district” means any school district maintaining any of grades kindergarten through 12, any public school providing instruction in any of grades kindergarten through 12, the office of the county superintendent of schools, or any special school operated by the department.
(e) “Access” means a personal inspection and review of a record or an accurate copy of a record, or receipt of an accurate copy of a record, an oral description or communication of a record or an accurate copy of a record, and a request to release a copy of any record.
(f) “County placing agency” means the county social service department or county probation department.

SEC. 7.

 Section 49069.5 of the Education Code is amended to read:

49069.5.
 (a) The Legislature finds and declares that the mobility of pupils in foster care often disrupts their educational experience. The Legislature also finds that efficient transfer procedures and transfer of pupil records is a critical factor in the swift placement of foster children in educational settings.
(b) The proper and timely transfer between schools of pupils in foster care is the responsibility of both the local educational agency and the county placing agency.
(c) As soon as the county placing agency becomes aware of the need to transfer a pupil in foster care out of his or her current school, the county placing agency shall contact the appropriate person at the local educational agency of the pupil. The county placing agency shall notify the local educational agency of the date that the pupil will be leaving the school and request that the pupil be transferred out.
(d) Upon receiving a transfer request from a county placing agency, the local educational agency shall, within two business days, transfer the pupil out of school and deliver the educational information and records of the pupil to the next educational placement.
(e) As part of the transfer process described under subdivisions (c) and (d), the local educational agency shall compile the complete educational record of the pupil including a determination of seat time, full or partial credits earned, current classes and grades, immunization and other records, and, if applicable, a copy of the pupil’s plan adopted pursuant to Section 504 of the federal Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (29 U.S.C. Sec. 794 et seq.) or individualized education program adopted pursuant to the federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (20 U.S.C. Sec. 1400 et seq.).
(f) The local educational agency shall assign the duties listed in this section to a person competent to handle the transfer procedure and aware of the specific educational record keeping needs of homeless, foster, and other transient children who transfer between schools.
(g) The local educational agency shall ensure that if the pupil in foster care is absent from school due to a decision to change the placement of a pupil made by a court or placing agency, the grades and credits of the pupil will be calculated as of the date the pupil left school, and no lowering of grades will occur as a result of the absence of the pupil under these circumstances.
(h) The local educational agency shall ensure that if the pupil in foster care is absent from school due to a verified court appearance or related court ordered activity, no lowering of his or her grades will occur as a result of the absence of the pupil under these circumstances.

SEC. 8.

 Section 49076 of the Education Code is amended to read:

49076.
 A school district is not authorized to permit access to pupil records to any person without written parental consent or under judicial order except that:
(a) Access to those particular records relevant to the legitimate educational interests of the requester shall be permitted to the following:
(1) School officials and employees of the district, members of a school attendance review board appointed pursuant to Section 48321, and any volunteer aide, 18 years of age or older, who has been investigated, selected, and trained by a school attendance review board for the purpose of providing followup services to pupils referred to the school attendance review board, provided that the person has a legitimate educational interest to inspect a record.
(2) Officials and employees of other public schools or school systems, including local, county, or state correctional facilities where educational programs leading to high school graduation are provided or where the pupil intends to or is directed to enroll, subject to the rights of parents as provided in Section 49068.
(3) Authorized representatives of the Comptroller General of the United States, the Secretary of Education, and administrative head of an education agency, state education officials, or their respective designees, or the United States Office of Civil Rights, where the information is necessary to audit or evaluate a state or federally supported education program or pursuant to a federal or state law, provided that except when collection of personally identifiable information is specifically authorized by federal law, any data collected by those officials shall be protected in a manner which will not permit the personal identification of pupils or their parents by other than those officials, and any personally identifiable data shall be destroyed when no longer needed for the audit, evaluation, and enforcement of federal legal requirements.
(4) Other state and local officials to the extent that information is specifically required to be reported pursuant to state law adopted prior to November 19, 1974.
(5) Parents of a pupil 18 years of age or older who is a dependent as defined in Section 152 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1954.
(6) A pupil 16 years of age or older or having completed the 10th grade who requests access.
(7) Any district attorney who is participating in or conducting a truancy mediation program pursuant to Section 48263.5, or Section 601.3 of the Welfare and Institutions Code, or participating in the presentation of evidence in a truancy petition pursuant to Section 681 of the Welfare and Institutions Code.
(8) A prosecuting agency for consideration against a parent or guardian for failure to comply with the Compulsory Education Law (Chapter 2 (commencing with Section 48200) of Part 27) or with Compulsory Continuation Education (Chapter 3 (commencing with Section 48400) of Part 27).
(9) Any probation officer or district attorney for the purposes of conducting a criminal investigation or an investigation in regards to declaring a person a ward of the court or involving a violation of a condition of probation.
(10) Any judge or probation officer for the purpose of conducting a truancy mediation program for a pupil, or for purposes of presenting evidence in a truancy petition pursuant to Section 681 of the Welfare and Institutions Code. The judge or probation officer shall certify in writing to the school district that the information will be used only for truancy purposes. A school district releasing pupil information to a judge or probation officer pursuant to this paragraph shall inform, or provide written notification to, the parent or guardian of the pupil within 24 hours of the release of the information.
(11) Any county placing agency for the purpose of fulfilling the requirements of the health and education summary required pursuant to Section 16010 of the Welfare and Institutions Code or for the purpose of fulfilling educational case management responsibilities required by the juvenile court or by law and to assist with the school transfer or enrollment of a pupil. School districts, county offices of education, and county placing agencies may develop cooperative agreements to facilitate confidential access to and exchange of the pupil information by electronic mail, facsimile, electronic format, or other secure means.
(b) School districts may release information from pupil records to the following:
(1) Appropriate persons in connection with an emergency if the knowledge of the information is necessary to protect the health or safety of a pupil or other persons.
(2) Agencies or organizations in connection with the application of a pupil for, or receipt of, financial aid. However, information permitting the personal identification of a pupil or his or her parents may be disclosed only as may be necessary for purposes as to determine the eligibility of the pupil for financial aid, to determine the amount of the financial aid, to determine the conditions which will be imposed regarding the financial aid, or to enforce the terms or conditions of the financial aid.
(3) The county elections official, for the purpose of identifying pupils eligible to register to vote, and for conducting programs to offer pupils an opportunity to register to vote. The information, however, shall not be used for any other purpose or given or transferred to any other person or agency.
(4) Accrediting associations in order to carry out their accrediting functions.
(5) Organizations conducting studies for, or on behalf of, educational agencies or institutions for the purpose of developing, validating, or administering predictive tests, administering student aid programs, and improving instruction, if the studies are conducted in a manner that will not permit the personal identification of pupils or their parents by persons other than representatives of the organizations and the information will be destroyed when no longer needed for the purpose for which it is obtained.
(6) Officials and employees of private schools or school systems where the pupil is enrolled or intends to enroll, subject to the rights of parents as provided in Section 49068. This information shall be in addition to the pupil’s permanent record transferred pursuant to Section 49068.
A person, persons, agency, or organization permitted access to pupil records pursuant to this section may not permit access to any information obtained from those records by any other person, persons, agency, or organization without the written consent of the pupil’s parent. However, this paragraph does not require prior parental consent when information obtained pursuant to this section is shared with other persons within the educational institution, agency, or organization obtaining access, so long as those persons have a legitimate interest in the information.
(c) Notwithstanding any other provision of law, any school district, including any county office of education or superintendent of schools, may participate in an interagency data information system that permits access to a computerized database system within and between governmental agencies or districts as to information or records which are nonprivileged, and where release is authorized as to the requesting agency under state or federal law or regulation, if each of the following requirements are met:
(1) Each agency and school district shall develop security procedures or devices by which unauthorized personnel cannot access data contained in the system.
(2) Each agency and school district shall develop procedures or devices to secure privileged or confidential data from unauthorized disclosure.
(3) Each school district shall comply with the access log requirements of Section 49064.
(4) The right of access granted shall not include the right to add, delete, or alter data without the written permission of the agency holding the data.
(5) An agency or school district may not make public or otherwise release information on an individual contained in the database where the information is protected from disclosure or release as to the requesting agency by state or federal law or regulation.

SEC. 9.

 Section 56055 of the Education Code is amended to read:

56055.
 (a) (1) Except as provided in subdivisions (b), (c), and (d), a foster parent may exercise, to the extent permitted by federal law, including, but not limited to, Section 300.20 of Title 34 of the Code of Federal Regulations, the rights related to his or her foster child’s education that a parent has under Title 20 (commencing with Section 1400) of the United States Code and pursuant to Part 300 (commencing with Section 300.1) of Title 34 of the Code of Federal Regulations. The foster parent may represent the foster child for the duration of the foster parent-foster child relationship in matters relating to identification, assessment, instructional planning and development, educational placement, reviewing and revising an individualized education program, if necessary, and in all other matters relating to the provision of a free appropriate public education of the child. Notwithstanding any other provision of law, this representation shall include the provision of written consent to the individualized education program, including nonemergency medical services, mental health treatment services, and occupational or physical therapy services pursuant to this chapter. The foster parent may sign any consent relating to individualized education program purposes.
(2) A foster parent exercising rights relative to a foster child under this section may consult with the parent or guardian of the child to ensure continuity of health, mental health, or other services.
(b) A foster parent who had been excluded by court order from making educational decisions on behalf of a pupil does not have the rights relative to the pupil set forth in subdivision (a).
(c) This section only applies if the juvenile court has limited the right of the parent or guardian to make educational decisions on behalf of the child, and the child has been placed in a planned permanent living arrangement pursuant to paragraph (3) of subdivision (g) of Section 366.21, Section 366.22, Section 366.26, or paragraph (5) or (6) of subdivision (b) of Section 727.3 of the Welfare and Institutions Code.
(d) For purposes of this section, a foster parent shall include a person, relative caretaker, or nonrelative extended family member as defined in Section 362.7 of the Welfare and Institutions Code, who has been licensed or approved by the county welfare department, county probation department, or the State Department of Social Services, or who has been designated by the court as a specified placement.

SEC. 10.

 Section 361 of the Welfare and Institutions Code is amended to read:

361.
 (a) In all cases in which a minor is adjudged a dependent child of the court on the ground that the minor is a person described by Section 300, the court may limit the control to be exercised over the dependent child by any parent or guardian and shall by its order clearly and specifically set forth all those limitations. Any limitation on the right of the parent or guardian to make educational decisions for the child shall be specifically addressed in the court order. The limitations may not exceed those necessary to protect the child. If the court specifically limits the right of the parent or guardian to make educational decisions for the child, the court shall at the same time appoint a responsible adult to make educational decisions for the child until one of the following occurs:
(1) The minor reaches 18 years of age, unless the child chooses not to make educational decisions for himself or herself, or is deemed by the court to be incompetent.
(2) Another responsible adult is appointed to make educational decisions for the minor pursuant to this section.
(3) The right of the parent or guardian to make educational decisions for the minor is fully restored.
(4) A successor guardian or conservator is appointed.
(5) The child is placed into a planned permanent living arrangement pursuant to paragraph (3) of subdivision (g) of Section 366.21, Section 366.22, or Section 366.26, at which time the foster parent, relative caretaker, or nonrelative extended family member as defined in Section 362.7 has the right to represent the child in educational matters pursuant to Section 56055 of the Education Code.
An individual who would have a conflict of interest in representing the child may not be appointed to make educational decisions. For purposes of this section, “an individual who would have a conflict of interest,” means a person having any interests that might restrict or bias his or her ability to make educational decisions, including, but not limited to, those conflicts of interest prohibited by Section 1126 of the Government Code, and the receipt of compensation or attorneys’ fees for the provision of services pursuant to this section. A foster parent may not be deemed to have a conflict of interest solely because he or she receives compensation for the provision of services pursuant to this section.
If the court is unable to appoint a responsible adult to make educational decisions for the child and paragraphs (1) to (5), inclusive, do not apply, and the child has either been referred to the local educational agency for special education and related services, or has a valid individualized education program, the court shall refer the child to the local educational agency for appointment of a surrogate parent pursuant to Section 7579.5 of the Government Code.
All educational and school placement decisions shall seek to ensure that the child is 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.
(b) Subdivision (a) does not limit the ability of a parent to voluntarily relinquish his or her child to the State Department of Social Services or to a licensed county adoption agency at any time while the child is a dependent child of the juvenile court, if the department or agency is willing to accept the relinquishment.
(c) A dependent child may not be taken from the physical custody of his or her parents or guardian or guardians with whom the child resides at the time the petition was initiated, unless the juvenile court finds clear and convincing evidence of any of the following:
(1) There is a substantial danger to the physical health, safety, protection, or physical or emotional well-being of the minor or would be if the minor were returned home, and there are no reasonable means by which the minor’s physical health can be protected without removing the minor from the minor’s parents’ or guardians’ physical custody. The fact that a minor has been adjudicated a dependent child of the court pursuant to subdivision (e) of Section 300 shall constitute prima facie evidence that the minor cannot be safely left in the custody of the parent or guardian with whom the minor resided at the time of injury. The court shall consider, as a reasonable means to protect the minor, the option of removing an offending parent or guardian from the home. The court shall also consider, as a reasonable means to protect the minor, allowing a nonoffending parent or guardian to retain custody as long as that parent or guardian presents a plan acceptable to the court demonstrating that he or she will be able to protect the child from future harm.
(2) The parent or guardian of the minor is unwilling to have physical custody of the minor, and the parent or guardian has been notified that if the minor remains out of their physical custody for the period specified in Section 366.26, the minor may be declared permanently free from their custody and control.
(3) The minor is suffering severe emotional damage, as indicated by extreme anxiety, depression, withdrawal, or untoward aggressive behavior toward himself or herself or others, and there are no reasonable means by which the minor’s emotional health may be protected without removing the minor from the physical custody of his or her parent or guardian.
(4) The minor or a sibling of the minor has been sexually abused, or is deemed to be at substantial risk of being sexually abused, by a parent, guardian, or member of his or her household, or other person known to his or her parent, and there are no reasonable means by which the minor can be protected from further sexual abuse or a substantial risk of sexual abuse without removing the minor from his or her parent or guardian, or the minor does not wish to return to his or her parent or guardian.
(5) The minor has been left without any provision for his or her support, or a parent who has been incarcerated or institutionalized cannot arrange for the care of the minor, or a relative or other adult custodian with whom the child has been left by the parent is unwilling or unable to provide care or support for the child and the whereabouts of the parent is unknown and reasonable efforts to locate him or her have been unsuccessful.
(d) The court shall make a determination as to whether reasonable efforts were made to prevent or to eliminate the need for removal of the minor from his or her home or, if the minor is removed for one of the reasons stated in paragraph (5) of subdivision (c), whether it was reasonable under the circumstances not to make any of those efforts. The court shall state the facts on which the decision to remove the minor is based.
(e) The court shall make all of the findings required by subdivision (a) of Section 366 in either of the following circumstances:
(1) The minor has been taken from the custody of his or her parent or guardian and has been living in an out-of-home placement pursuant to Section 319.
(2) The minor has been living in a voluntary out-of-home placement pursuant to Section 16507.4.

SEC. 11.

 Section 366.27 of the Welfare and Institutions Code is amended to read:

366.27.
 (a) If a court, pursuant to paragraph (3) of subdivision (g) of Section 366.21, Section 366.22, or Section 366.26, orders the placement of a minor in a planned permanent living arrangement with a relative, the court may authorize the relative to provide the same legal consent for the minor’s medical, surgical, and dental care as the custodial parent of the minor.
(b) If a court orders the placement of a minor in a planned permanent living arrangement with a foster parent, relative caretaker, or nonrelative extended family member as defined in Section 362.7, the court may limit the right of the minor’s parent or guardian to make educational decisions on the minor’s behalf, so that the foster parent, relative caretaker, or nonrelative extended family member may exercise the educational consent duties pursuant to Section 56055 of the Education Code.
(c) If a court orders the placement of a minor in a planned permanent living arrangement, for purposes of this section, a foster parent shall include a person, relative caretaker, or a nonrelative extended family member as defined in Section 362.7, who has been licensed or approved by the county welfare department, county probation department, or the State Department of Social Services, or has been designated by the court as a specified placement.

SEC. 12.

 Section 726 of the Welfare and Institutions Code is amended to read:

726.
 (a) In all cases in which a minor is adjudged a ward or dependent child of the court, the court may limit the control to be exercised over the ward or dependent child by any parent or guardian and shall in its order, clearly and specifically set forth all those limitations, but no ward or dependent child shall be taken from the physical custody of a parent or guardian, unless upon the hearing the court finds one of the following facts:
(1) That the parent or guardian is incapable of providing or has failed or neglected to provide proper maintenance, training, and education for the minor.
(2) That the minor has been tried on probation while in custody and has failed to reform.
(3) That the welfare of the minor requires that custody be taken from the minor’s parent or guardian.
(b) Whenever the court specifically limits the right of the parent or guardian to make educational decisions for the minor, the court shall at the same time appoint a responsible adult to make educational decisions for the child until one of the following occurs:
(1)The minor reaches 18 years of age, unless the child chooses not to make educational decisions for himself or herself, or is deemed by the court to be incompetent.
(2) Another responsible adult is appointed to make educational decisions for the minor pursuant to this section.
(3) The right of the parent or guardian to make educational decisions for the minor is fully restored.
(4) A successor guardian or conservator is appointed.
(5) The child is placed into a planned permanent living arrangement pursuant to paragraph (5) or (6) of subdivision (b) of Section 727.3, at which time the foster parent, relative caretaker, or nonrelative extended family member as defined in Section 362.7 has the right to represent the child in educational matters pursuant to Section 56055 of the Education Code.
An individual who would have a conflict of interest in representing the child, as specified under federal regulations, may not be appointed to make educational decisions. For purposes of this section, “an individual who would have a conflict of interest,” means a person having any interests that might restrict or bias his or her ability to make educational decisions, including, but not limited to, those conflicts of interest prohibited by Section 1126 of the Government Code, and the receipt of compensation or attorneys’ fees for the provision of services pursuant to this section. A foster parent may not be deemed to have a conflict of interest solely because he or she receives compensation for the provision of services pursuant to this section.
If the court is unable to appoint a responsible adult to make educational decisions for the child and paragraphs (1) to (5), inclusive, do not apply, and the child has either been referred to the local educational agency for special education and related services, or has a valid individualized education program, the court shall refer the child to the local educational agency for appointment of a surrogate parent pursuant to Section 7579.5 of the Government Code.
All educational and school placement decisions shall seek to ensure that the child is 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.
(c) If the minor is removed from the physical custody of his or her parent or guardian as the result of an order of wardship made pursuant to Section 602, the order shall specify that the minor may not be held in physical confinement for a period in excess of the maximum term of imprisonment which could be imposed upon an adult convicted of the offense or offenses which brought or continued the minor under the jurisdiction of the juvenile court.
As used in this section and in Section 731, “maximum term of imprisonment” means the longest of the three time periods set forth in paragraph (2) of subdivision (a) of Section 1170 of the Penal Code, but without the need to follow the provisions of subdivision (b) of Section 1170 of the Penal Code or to consider time for good behavior or participation pursuant to Sections 2930, 2931, and 2932 of the Penal Code, plus enhancements which must be proven if pled.
If the court elects to aggregate the period of physical confinement on multiple counts or multiple petitions, including previously sustained petitions adjudging the minor a ward within Section 602, the “maximum term of imprisonment” shall be the aggregate term of imprisonment specified in subdivision (a) of Section 1170.1 of the Penal Code, which includes any additional term imposed pursuant to Section 667, 667.5, 667.6, or 12022.1 of the Penal Code, and Section 11370.2 of the Health and Safety Code.
If the charged offense is a misdemeanor or a felony not included within the scope of Section 1170 of the Penal Code, the “maximum term of imprisonment” is the longest term of imprisonment prescribed by law.
“Physical confinement” means placement in a juvenile hall, ranch, camp, forestry camp or secure juvenile home pursuant to Section 730, or in any institution operated by the Youth Authority.
This section does not limit the power of the court to retain jurisdiction over a minor and to make appropriate orders pursuant to Section 727 for the period permitted by Section 607.

SEC. 13.

 Section 727.2 of the Welfare and Institutions Code is amended to read:

727.2.
 The purpose of this section is to provide a means to monitor the safety and well-being of every minor in foster care who has been declared a ward of the juvenile court pursuant to Section 601 or 602 and to ensure that everything reasonably possible is done to facilitate the safe and early return of the minor to his or her home or to establish an alternative permanent plan for the minor.
(a) If the court orders the care, custody, and control of the minor to be under the supervision of the probation officer for placement pursuant to subdivision (a) of Section 727, the juvenile court shall order the probation department to ensure the provision of reunification services to facilitate the safe return of the minor to his or her home or the permanent placement of the minor, and to address the needs of the minor while in foster care, except as provided in subdivision (b).
(b) Reunification services need not be provided to a parent or legal guardian if the court finds by clear and convincing evidence that one or more of the following is true:
(1) Reunification services were previously terminated for that parent or guardian, pursuant to Section 366.21 or 366.22, or not offered, pursuant to subdivision (b) of Section 361.5, in reference to the same minor.
(2) The parent has been convicted of any of the following:
(A) Murder of another child of the parent.
(B) Voluntary manslaughter of another child of the parent.
(C) Aiding or abetting, attempting, conspiring, or soliciting to commit that murder or manslaughter described in subparagraph (A) or (B).
(D) A felony assault that results in serious bodily injury to the minor or another child of the parent.
(3) The parental rights of the parent with respect to a sibling have been terminated involuntarily, and it is not in the best interest of the minor to reunify with his or her parent or legal guardian.
If no reunification services are offered to the parent or guardian, the permanency planning hearing, as described in Section 727.3, shall occur within 30 days of the date of the hearing at which the decision is made not to offer services.
(c) The status of every minor declared a ward and ordered to be placed in foster care shall be reviewed by the court no less frequently than once every six months. The six-month time periods shall be calculated from the date the minor entered foster care, as defined in paragraph (4) of subdivision (d) of Section 727.4. If the court so elects, the court may declare the hearing at which the court orders the care, custody, and control of the minor to be under the supervision of the probation officer for foster care placement pursuant to subdivision (a) of Section 727 at the first status review hearing. It shall be the duty of the probation officer to prepare a written social study report including an updated case plan, pursuant to subdivision (b) of Section 706.5, and submit the report to the court prior to each status review hearing, pursuant to subdivision (b) of Section 727.4. The social study report shall include all reports the probation officer relied upon in making his or her recommendations.
(d) Prior to any status review hearing involving a minor in the physical custody of a community care facility or foster family agency, the facility or agency may provide the probation officer with a report containing its recommendations. Prior to any status review hearing involving the physical custody of a foster parent, relative caregiver, preadoptive parent, or legal guardian, that person may present to the court a report containing his or her recommendations. The court shall consider all reports and recommendations filed pursuant to subdivision (c) and pursuant to this subdivision.
(e) At any status review hearing prior to the first permanency planning hearing, the court shall consider the safety of the minor and make findings and orders which determine the following:
(1) The continuing necessity for and appropriateness of the placement.
(2) The extent of the probation department’s compliance with the case plan in making reasonable efforts to safely return the minor to the minor’s home or to complete whatever steps are necessary to finalize the permanent placement of the minor.
(3) Whether there should be any limitation on the right of the parent or guardian to make educational decisions for the minor. That limitation shall be specifically addressed in the court order and may not exceed what is necessary to protect the minor. If the court specifically limits the right of the parent or guardian to make educational decisions for the minor, the court shall at the same time appoint a responsible adult to make educational decisions for the minor pursuant to Section 726.
(4) The extent of progress that has been made by the minor and parent or guardian toward alleviating or mitigating the causes necessitating placement in foster care.
(5) The likely date by which the minor may be returned to and safely maintained in the home or placed for adoption, appointed a legal guardian, permanently placed with a fit and willing relative or referred to another planned permanent living arrangement.
(6) In the case of a minor who has reached 16 years of age, the court shall, in addition, determine the services needed to assist the minor to make the transition from foster care to independent living.
The court shall make these determinations on a case-by-case basis and reference in its written findings the probation officer’s report and any other evidence relied upon in reaching its decision.
(f) At any status review hearing prior to the first permanency hearing, the court shall order return of the minor to the physical custody of his or her parent or legal guardian unless the court finds, by a preponderance of evidence, that the return of the minor to his or her parent or legal guardian would create a substantial risk of detriment to the safety, protection, or physical or emotional well-being of the minor. The probation department shall have the burden of establishing that detriment. In making its determination, the court shall review and consider the social study report, recommendations, and the case plan pursuant to subdivision (b) of Section 706.5, the report and recommendations of any child advocate appointed for the minor in the case, and any other reports submitted to the court pursuant to subdivision (d), and shall consider the efforts or progress, or both, demonstrated by the minor and family and the extent to which the minor availed himself or herself of the services provided.
(g) At all status review hearings subsequent to the first permanency planning hearing, the court shall consider the safety of the minor and make the findings and orders as described in paragraphs (1) to (4), inclusive, and (6) of subdivision (e). The court shall either make a finding that the previously ordered permanent plan continues to be appropriate or shall order that a new permanent plan be adopted pursuant to subdivision (b) of Section 727.3. However, the court shall not order a permanent plan of “return to the physical custody of the parent or legal guardian after further reunification services are offered,” as described in paragraph (2) of subdivision (b) of Section 727.3.
(h) The status review hearings required by subdivision (c) may be heard by an administrative review panel, provided that the administrative panel meets all of the requirements listed in subparagraph (B) of paragraph (7) of subdivision (d) of Section 727.4.

SEC. 14.

 Section 4570 of the Welfare and Institutions Code is amended to read:

4570.
 (a) In order to remain informed regarding the quality of services in the area and to protect the legal, civil, and service rights of persons with developmental disabilities, the Legislature finds that it is necessary to conduct life quality assessments with consumers served by the regional centers.
(b) The department shall enter into an interagency agreement with the state council, on behalf of the area boards, to conduct the life quality assessments described in this section. This interagency agreement shall include assurances that the state council shall not direct the area boards in their conduct of these assessments or in the content or format of the annual reports submitted to the council by the area boards.
(c) Consistent with the responsibilities described in this chapter, the area board, with the consent of the consumer and, when appropriate, a family member, shall conduct life quality assessments with consumers living in out-of-home placements, supported living arrangements, or independent living arrangements no less than once every three years or more frequently upon the request of a consumer, or, when appropriate, a family member. If a consumer who is eligible to receive a life quality assessment is a dependent of a juvenile court pursuant to Section 300, 601, or 602, the assessment may be conducted with the consent of the court or social services agency. A regional center or the department shall annually provide the local area board with a list, including, but not limited to, the name, address, and telephone number of each consumer, and, when appropriate, a family member, the consumer’s date of birth, and the consumer’s case manager, for all consumers living in out-of-home placements, supported living arrangements, or independent living arrangements, in order to facilitate area board contact with consumers and, when appropriate, family members, for the purpose of conducting life quality assessments.
(d) The life quality assessments shall be conducted by utilizing the “Looking at Life Quality Handbook” or subsequent revisions developed by the department.
(e) The assessments shall be conducted by consumers, families, providers, and others, including volunteer surveyors. Each area board shall recruit, train, supervise, and coordinate surveyors. Upon request, and if feasible, the area board shall respect the request of a consumer and, when appropriate, family member, for a specific surveyor to conduct the life quality assessment. An area board may provide stipends to surveyors.
(f) A life quality assessment shall be conducted within 90 days prior to a consumer’s triennial individual program plan meeting, so that the consumer and regional center may use this information as part of the planning process.
(g) Prior to conducting a life quality assessment, the area board shall meet with the regional center to coordinate the exchange of appropriate information necessary to conduct the assessment and ensure timely followup to identified violations of any legal, civil, or service rights.
(h) Following the completion of each life quality assessment, the area board shall develop a report of its findings and provide a copy of the report to the consumer, when appropriate, family members, and the regional center providing case management services to the consumer. A copy of the life quality assessment of a consumer who is a dependent of a juvenile court pursuant to Section 300, 601, or 602 shall be provided, upon request, to the court or social services agency. In the event that a report identifies alleged violations of any legal, civil, or service right, the area board shall notify the regional center and the department of the alleged violation. The department shall monitor the regional center to ensure that violations are addressed and resolved in a timely manner.
(i) Regional centers shall review information from the life quality assessments on a systemic basis in order to identify training and resource development needs.
(j) (1) On an annual basis, each area board shall prepare and submit a report to the state council describing its activities and accomplishments related to the implementation of this section. The report shall include, but not be limited to, the number of life quality assessments conducted, the number of surveyors, including those provided stipends, a description of the surveyor recruitment process and training program, including any barriers to recruitment, the number, nature, and outcome of any identified violations of legal, civil, or service rights reported to regional centers, and recommendations for improvement in the life quality assessment process.
(2) By September 15 of each year, the state council shall compile these reports and forward to the Governor, the Legislature, and the department.
(k) Implementation of this section shall be subject to an annual appropriation of funds in the Budget Act for this purpose.

SEC. 15.

 Section 16000 of the Welfare and Institutions Code is amended to read:

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, most familylike setting 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 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 must be based on the best interests of the child.

SEC. 16.

 Section 16501.1 of the Welfare and Institutions Code is amended to read:

16501.1.
 (a) The Legislature finds and declares that the foundation and central unifying tool in child welfare services is the case plan.
(b) The Legislature further finds and declares that a case plan ensures that the child receives protection and safe and proper care and case management, and that services are provided to the child and parents or other caretakers as appropriate in order to improve conditions in the parent’s home, to facilitate the safe return of the child to a safe home or the permanent placement of the child, and to address the needs of the child while in foster care. A case plan shall be based upon the principles of this section and shall document that a preplacement assessment of the service needs of the child and family, and preplacement preventive services, have been provided, and that reasonable efforts to prevent out-of-home placement have been made. In determining the reasonable services to be offered or provided, the child’s health and safety shall be the paramount concerns. Reasonable services shall be offered or provided to make it possible for a child to return to a safe home environment, unless, pursuant to subdivisions (b) and (e) of Section 361.5, the court determines that reunification services shall not be provided. If reasonable services are not ordered, or are terminated, reasonable efforts shall be made to place the child in a timely manner in accordance with the permanent plan and to complete all steps necessary to finalize the permanent placement of the child.
(c) (1) If out-of-home placement is used to attain case plan goals, the decision regarding choice of placement shall be based upon selection of a safe setting that is the least restrictive or most familylike and the most appropriate setting that is available and in close proximity to the parent’s home, proximity to the child’s school, consistent with the selection of the environment best suited to meet the child’s special needs and best interest, or both. The selection shall consider, in order of priority, placement with relatives, tribal members, and foster family, group care, and residential treatment pursuant to Section 7950 of the Family Code.
(2) In addition to the requirements of paragraph (1), and taking into account other statutory considerations regarding placement, the selection of the most appropriate home that will meet the child’s special needs and best interests shall also promote educational stability by taking into consideration proximity to the child’s school attendance area.
(d) A written case plan shall be completed within 30 days of the initial removal of the child or of the in-person response required under subdivision (f) of Section 16501 if the child has not been removed from his or her home, or by the date of the dispositional hearing pursuant to Section 358, whichever occurs first. The case plan shall be updated, as the service needs of the child and family dictate. At a minimum, the case plan shall be updated in conjunction with each status review hearing conducted pursuant to Section 366.21, and the hearing conducted pursuant to Section 366.26, but no less frequently than once every six months. Each updated case plan shall include a description of the services that have been provided to the child under the plan and an evaluation of the appropriateness and effectiveness of those services.
(e) The child welfare services case plan shall be comprehensive enough to meet the juvenile court dependency proceedings requirements pursuant to Article 6 (commencing with Section 300) of Chapter 2 of Part 1 of Division 2.
(f) The case plan shall be developed as follows:
(1) The case plan shall be based upon an assessment of the circumstances that required child welfare services intervention.
(2) The case plan shall identify specific goals and the appropriateness of the planned services in meeting those goals.
(3) The case plan shall identify the original allegations of abuse or neglect, as defined in Article 2.5 (commencing with Section 11164) of Chapter 2 of Title 1 of Part 4 of the Penal Code, or the conditions cited as the basis for declaring the child a dependent of the court pursuant to Section 300, or all of these, and the other precipitating incidents that led to child welfare services intervention.
(4) The case plan shall include a description of the schedule of the social worker contacts with the child and the family or other caretakers. The frequency of these contacts shall be in accordance with regulations adopted by the State Department of Social Services. If the child has been placed in foster care out of state, the county social worker or a social worker on the staff of the social service agency in the state in which the child has been placed shall visit the child in a foster family home or the home of a relative at least every 12 months and submit a report to the court on each visit. For children in out-of-state group home facilities, visits shall be conducted at least monthly, pursuant to Section 16516.5. At least once every six months, at the time of a regularly scheduled social worker contact with the foster child, the child’s social worker shall inform the child of his or her rights as a foster child, as specified in Section 16001.9. The social worker shall provide the information to the child in a manner appropriate to the age or developmental level of the child.
(5) When out-of-home services are used, the frequency of contact between the natural parents or legal guardians and the child shall be specified in the case plan. The frequency of those contacts shall reflect overall case goals, and consider other principles outlined in this section.
(6) When out-of-home placement is made, the case plan shall include provisions for the development and maintenance of sibling relationships as specified in subdivisions (b), (c), and (d) of Section 16002. If appropriate, when siblings who are dependents of the juvenile court are not placed together, the social worker for each child, if different, shall communicate with each of the other social workers and ensure that the child’s siblings are informed of significant life events that occur within their extended family. Unless it has been determined that it is inappropriate in a particular case to keep siblings informed of significant life events that occur within the extended family, the social worker shall determine the appropriate means and setting for disclosure of this information to the child commensurate with the child’s age and emotional well-being. These significant life events shall include, but shall not be limited to, the following:
(A) The death of an immediate relative.
(B) The birth of a sibling.
(C) Significant changes regarding a dependent child, unless the child objects to the sharing of the information with his or her siblings, including changes in placement, major medical or mental health diagnoses, treatments, or hospitalizations, arrests, and changes in the permanent plan.
(7) If out-of-home placement is made in a foster family home, group home or other child care institution that is either a substantial distance from the home of the child’s parent or out of state, the case plan shall specify the reasons why that placement is in the best interest of the child. When an out-of-state group home placement is recommended or made, the case plan shall, in addition, specify compliance with Section 7911.1 of the Family Code.
(8) If out-of-home services are used, or if parental rights have been terminated and the case plan is placement for adoption, the case plan shall include a recommendation regarding the appropriateness of unsupervised visitation between the child and any of the child’s siblings. This recommendation shall include a statement regarding the child’s and the siblings’ willingness to participate in unsupervised visitation. If the case plan includes a recommendation for unsupervised sibling visitation, the plan shall also note that information necessary to accomplish this visitation has been provided to the child or to the child’s siblings.
(9) If out-of-home services are used and the goal is reunification, the case plan shall describe the services to be provided to assist in reunification and the services to be provided concurrently to achieve legal permanency if efforts to reunify fail. The plan shall also consider the importance of developing and maintaining sibling relationships pursuant to Section 16002.
(10) If out-of-home services are used, the child has been in care for at least 12 months, and the goal is not adoptive placement, the case plan shall include documentation of the compelling reason or reasons why termination of parental rights is not in the child’s best interest. A determination completed or updated within the past 12 months by the department when it is acting as an adoption agency or by a licensed adoption agency that it is unlikely that the child will be adopted, or that one of the conditions described in paragraph (1) of subdivision (c) of Section 366.26 applies, shall be deemed a compelling reason.
(11) (A) Parents and legal guardians shall have an opportunity to review the case plan, sign it whenever possible, and then shall receive a copy of the plan. In any voluntary service or placement agreement, the parents or legal guardians shall be required to review and sign the case plan. Whenever possible, parents and legal guardians shall participate in the development of the case plan.
(B) Parents and legal guardians shall be advised that, pursuant to Section 1228.1 of the Evidence Code, neither their signature on the child welfare services case plan nor their acceptance of any services prescribed in the child welfare services case plan shall constitute an admission of guilt or be used as evidence against the parent or legal guardian in a court of law. However, they shall also be advised that the parent’s or guardian’s failure to cooperate, except for good cause, in the provision of services specified in the child welfare services case plan may be used in any hearing held pursuant to Section 366.21 or 366.22 as evidence.
(12) The case plan shall be included in the court report and shall be considered by the court at the initial hearing and each review hearing. Modifications to the case plan made during the period between review hearings need not be approved by the court if the casework supervisor for that case determines that the modifications further the goals of the plan. If out-of-home services are used with the goal of family reunification, the case plan shall consider and describe the application of subdivision (b) of Section 11203.
(13) If the case plan has as its goal for the child a permanent plan of adoption or placement in another permanent home, it shall include documentation of the steps the agency is taking to find an adoptive family or other permanent living arrangements for the child; to place the child with an adoptive family, an appropriate and willing relative, a legal guardian, or in another planned permanent living arrangement; and to finalize the adoption or legal guardianship. At a minimum, the documentation shall include child specific recruitment efforts, such as the use of state, regional, and national adoption exchanges, including electronic exchange systems, when the child has been freed for adoption.
(g) If the court finds, after considering the case plan, that unsupervised sibling visitation is appropriate and has been consented to, the court shall order that the child or the child’s siblings, and the child’s prospective adoptive parents, if applicable, be provided with information necessary to accomplish this visitation. This section does not require or prohibit the social worker’s facilitation, transportation, or supervision of visits between the child and his or her siblings.
(h) The case plan documentation on sibling placements required under this section shall not require modification of existing case plan forms until the Child Welfare Services Case Management System is implemented on a statewide basis.
(i) The department, in consultation with the County Welfare Directors Association and other advocates, shall develop standards and guidelines for a model relative placement search and assessment process based on the criteria established in Section 361.3. These guidelines shall be incorporated in the training described in Section 16206. These model standards and guidelines shall be developed by March 1, 1999.

SEC. 16.1.

 Section 16501.1 of the Welfare and Institutions Code is amended to read:

16501.1.
 (a) The Legislature finds and declares that the foundation and central unifying tool in child welfare services is the case plan.
(b) The Legislature further finds and declares that a case plan ensures that the child receives protection and safe and proper care and case management, and that services are provided to the child and parents or other caretakers as appropriate in order to improve conditions in the parent’s home, to facilitate the safe return of the child to a safe home or the permanent placement of the child, and to address the needs of the child while in foster care. A case plan shall be based upon the principles of this section and shall document that a preplacement assessment of the service needs of the child and family, and preplacement preventive services, have been provided, and that reasonable efforts to prevent out-of-home placement have been made. In determining the reasonable services to be offered or provided, the child’s health and safety shall be the paramount concerns. Reasonable services shall be offered or provided to make it possible for a child to return to a safe home environment, unless, pursuant to subdivisions (b) and (e) of Section 361.5, the court determines that reunification services shall not be provided. If reasonable services are not ordered, or are terminated, reasonable efforts shall be made to place the child in a timely manner in accordance with the permanent plan and to complete all steps necessary to finalize the permanent placement of the child.
(c) (1) If out-of-home placement is used to attain case plan goals, the decision regarding choice of placement shall be based upon selection of a safe setting that is the least restrictive or most familylike and the most appropriate setting that is available and in close proximity to the parent’s home, proximity to the child’s school, consistent with the selection of the environment best suited to meet the child’s special needs and best interest, or both. The selection shall consider, in order of priority, placement with relatives, tribal members, and foster family, group care, and residential treatment pursuant to Section 7950 of the Family Code.
(2) In addition to the requirements of paragraph (1), and taking into account other statutory considerations regarding placement, the selection of the most appropriate home that will meet the child’s special needs and best interests shall also promote educational stability by taking into consideration proximity to the child’s school attendance area.
(d) A written case plan shall be completed within 30 days of the initial removal of the child or of the in-person response required under subdivision (f) of Section 16501 if the child has not been removed from his or her home, or by the date of the dispositional hearing pursuant to Section 358, whichever occurs first. The case plan shall be updated, as the service needs of the child and family dictate. At a minimum, the case plan shall be updated in conjunction with each status review hearing conducted pursuant to Section 366.21, and the hearing conducted pursuant to Section 366.26, but no less frequently than once every six months. Each updated case plan shall include a description of the services that have been provided to the child under the plan and an evaluation of the appropriateness and effectiveness of those services.
(e) The child welfare services case plan shall be comprehensive enough to meet the juvenile court dependency proceedings requirements pursuant to Article 6 (commencing with Section 300) of Chapter 2 of Part 1 of Division 2.
(f) The case plan shall be developed as follows:
(1) The case plan shall be based upon an assessment of the circumstances that required child welfare services intervention.
(2) The case plan shall identify specific goals and the appropriateness of the planned services in meeting those goals.
(3) The case plan shall identify the original allegations of abuse or neglect, as defined in Article 2.5 (commencing with Section 11164) of Chapter 2 of Title 1 of Part 4 of the Penal Code, or the conditions cited as the basis for declaring the child a dependent of the court pursuant to Section 300, or all of these, and the other precipitating incidents that led to child welfare services intervention.
(4) The case plan shall include a description of the schedule of the social worker contacts with the child and the family or other caretakers. The frequency of these contacts shall be in accordance with regulations adopted by the State Department of Social Services. If the child has been placed in foster care out of state, the county social worker or a social worker on the staff of the social services agency in the state in which the child has been placed shall visit the child in a foster family home or the home of a relative at least every 12 months and submit a report to the court on each visit. For children in out-of-state group home facilities, visits shall be conducted at least monthly, pursuant to Section 16516.5. At least once every six months, at the time of a regularly scheduled social worker contact with the foster child, the child’s social worker shall inform the child of his or her rights as a foster child, as specified in Section 16001.9. The social worker shall provide the information to the child in a manner appropriate to the age or developmental level of the child.
(5) When out-of-home services are used, the frequency of contact between the natural parents or legal guardians and the child shall be specified in the case plan. The frequency of those contacts shall reflect overall case goals, and consider other principles outlined in this section.
(6) When out-of-home placement is made, the case plan shall include provisions for the development and maintenance of sibling relationships as specified in subdivisions (b), (c), and (d) of Section 16002. If appropriate, when siblings who are dependents of the juvenile court are not placed together, the social worker for each child, if different, shall communicate with each of the other social workers and ensure that the child’s siblings are informed of significant life events that occur within their extended family. Unless it has been determined that it is inappropriate in a particular case to keep siblings informed of significant life events that occur within the extended family, the social worker shall determine the appropriate means and setting for disclosure of this information to the child commensurate with the child’s age and emotional well-being. These significant life events shall include, but shall not be limited to, the following:
(A) The death of an immediate relative.
(B) The birth of a sibling.
(C) Significant changes regarding a dependent child, unless the child objects to the sharing of the information with his or her siblings, including changes in placement, major medical or mental health diagnoses, treatments, or hospitalizations, arrests, and changes in the permanent plan.
(7) If out-of-home placement is made in a foster family home, group home or other child care institution that is either a substantial distance from the home of the child’s parent or out of state, the case plan shall specify the reasons why that placement is in the best interest of the child. When an out-of-state group home placement is recommended or made, the case plan shall, in addition, specify compliance with Section 7911.1 of the Family Code.
(8) If out-of-home services are used, or if parental rights have been terminated and the case plan is placement for adoption, the case plan shall include a recommendation regarding the appropriateness of unsupervised visitation between the child and any of the child’s siblings. This recommendation shall include a statement regarding the child’s and the siblings’ willingness to participate in unsupervised visitation. If the case plan includes a recommendation for unsupervised sibling visitation, the plan shall also note that information necessary to accomplish this visitation has been provided to the child or to the child’s siblings.
(9) If out-of-home services are used and the goal is reunification, the case plan shall describe the services to be provided to assist in reunification and the services to be provided concurrently to achieve legal permanency if efforts to reunify fail. The plan shall also consider the importance of developing and maintaining sibling relationships pursuant to Section 16002.
(10) If out-of-home services are used, the child has been in care for at least 12 months, and the goal is not adoptive placement, the case plan shall include documentation of the compelling reason or reasons why termination of parental rights is not in the child’s best interest. A determination completed or updated within the past 12 months by the department when it is acting as an adoption agency or by a licensed adoption agency that it is unlikely that the child will be adopted, or that one of the conditions described in paragraph (1) of subdivision (c) of Section 366.26 applies, shall be deemed a compelling reason.
(11) (A) Parents and legal guardians shall have an opportunity to review the case plan, sign it whenever possible, and then shall receive a copy of the plan. In any voluntary service or placement agreement, the parents or legal guardians shall be required to review and sign the case plan. Whenever possible, parents and legal guardians shall participate in the development of the case plan.
(B) Parents and legal guardians shall be advised that, pursuant to Section 1228.1 of the Evidence Code, neither their signature on the child welfare services case plan nor their acceptance of any services prescribed in the child welfare services case plan shall constitute an admission of guilt or be used as evidence against the parent or legal guardian in a court of law. However, they shall also be advised that the parent’s or guardian’s failure to cooperate, except for good cause, in the provision of services specified in the child welfare services case plan may be used in any hearing held pursuant to Section 366.21 or 366.22 as evidence.
(12) The case plan shall be included in the court report and shall be considered by the court at the initial hearing and each review hearing. Modifications to the case plan made during the period between review hearings need not be approved by the court if the casework supervisor for that case determines that the modifications further the goals of the plan. If out-of-home services are used with the goal of family reunification, the case plan shall consider and describe the application of subdivision (b) of Section 11203.
(13) If the case plan has as its goal for the child a permanent plan of adoption or placement in another permanent home, it shall include documentation of the steps the agency is taking to find an adoptive family or other permanent living arrangements for the child; to place the child with an adoptive family, an appropriate and willing relative, a legal guardian, or in another planned permanent living arrangement; and to finalize the adoption or legal guardianship. At a minimum, the documentation shall include child specific recruitment efforts, such as the use of state, regional, and national adoption exchanges, including electronic exchange systems, when the child has been freed for adoption.
(14) When appropriate, for a child who is 16 years of age or older, the case plan shall include a written description of the programs and services that will help the child prepare for the transition from foster care to independent living. The case plan shall be developed with the child and individuals identified as important to the child, and shall include steps the agency is taking to ensure that the child has a connection to a caring adult.
(g) If the court finds, after considering the case plan, that unsupervised sibling visitation is appropriate and has been consented to, the court shall order that the child or the child’s siblings, and the child’s prospective adoptive parents, if applicable, be provided with information necessary to accomplish this visitation. This section does not require or prohibit the social worker’s facilitation, transportation, or supervision of visits between the child and his or her siblings.
(h) The case plan documentation on sibling placements required under this section shall not require modification of existing case plan forms until the Child Welfare Services Case Management System is implemented on a statewide basis.
(i) When a child who is 10 years of age or older has been in out-of-home placement in a group home for six months or longer from the date the child entered foster care, the case plan shall include an identification of individuals, other than the child’s siblings, who are important to the child and actions necessary to maintain the child’s relationship with those individuals, provided that those relationships are in the best interest of the child. The social worker shall ask every child who is 10 years of age or older who is not placed in a group home to identify any individuals other than the child’s siblings who are important to the child, and may ask any child who is younger than 10 years of age to provide that information, as appropriate. The social worker shall make efforts to identify other individuals who are important to the child, consistent with the child’s best interests.
(j) The department, in consultation with the County Welfare Directors Association and other advocates, shall develop standards and guidelines for a model relative placement search and assessment process based on the criteria established in Section 361.3. These guidelines shall be incorporated in the training described in Section 16206. These model standards and guidelines shall be developed by March 1, 1999.

SEC. 16.2.

 Section 16501.1 of the Welfare and Institutions Code is amended to read:

16501.1.
 (a) The Legislature finds and declares that the foundation and central unifying tool in child welfare services is the case plan.
(b) The Legislature further finds and declares that a case plan ensures that the child receives protection and safe and proper care and case management, and that services are provided to the child and parents or other caretakers as appropriate in order to improve conditions in the parent’s home, to facilitate the safe return of the child to a safe home or the permanent placement of the child, and to address the needs of the child while in foster care. A case plan shall be based upon the principles set forth in this section and shall document that a preplacement assessment of the service needs of the child and family, and preplacement preventive services, have been provided, and that reasonable efforts to prevent out-of-home placement have been made. In determining the reasonable services to be offered or provided, the child’s health and safety shall be the paramount concerns. Reasonable services shall be offered or provided to make it possible for a child to return to a safe home environment, unless, pursuant to subdivisions (b) and (e) of Section 361.5, the court determines that reunification services shall not be provided. If reasonable services are not ordered, or are terminated, reasonable efforts shall be made to place the child in a timely manner in accordance with the permanent plan and to complete all steps necessary to finalize the permanent placement of the child.
(c) (1) If out-of-home placement is used to attain case plan goals, the decision regarding choice of placement shall be based upon selection of a safe setting that is the least restrictive or most familylike and the most appropriate setting that is available and in close proximity to the parent’s home, proximity to the child’s school, consistent with the selection of the environment best suited to meet the child’s special needs and best interest, or both. The selection shall consider, in order of priority, placement with relatives, tribal members, and foster family, group care, and residential treatment pursuant to Section 7950 of the Family Code.
(2) In addition to the requirements of paragraph (1), and taking into account other statutory considerations regarding placement, the selection of the most appropriate home that will meet the child’s special needs and best interests shall also promote educational stability by taking into consideration proximity to the child’s school attendance area.
(d) As used in subdivisions (b) and (c), a home or setting that is “safe” means that the home or setting is free from abuse or neglect, as described in Section 11165.5 of the Penal Code.
(e) A written case plan shall be completed within 30 days of the initial removal of the child or of the in-person response required under subdivision (f) of Section 16501 if the child has not been removed from his or her home, or by the date of the dispositional hearing pursuant to Section 358, whichever occurs first. The case plan shall be updated, as the service needs of the child and family dictate. At a minimum, the case plan shall be updated in conjunction with each status review hearing conducted pursuant to Section 366.21, and the hearing conducted pursuant to Section 366.26, but no less frequently than once every six months. Each updated case plan shall include a description of the services that have been provided to the child under the plan and an evaluation of the appropriateness and effectiveness of those services.
(f) The child welfare services case plan shall be comprehensive enough to meet the juvenile court dependency proceedings requirements pursuant to Article 6 (commencing with Section 300) of Chapter 2 of Part 1 of Division 2.
(g) The case plan shall be developed as follows:
(1) The case plan shall be based upon an assessment of the circumstances that required child welfare services intervention.
(2) The case plan shall identify specific goals and the appropriateness of the planned services in meeting those goals.
(3) The case plan shall identify the original allegations of abuse or neglect, as defined in Article 2.5 (commencing with Section 11164) of Chapter 2 of Title 1 of Part 4 of the Penal Code, or the conditions cited as the basis for declaring the child a dependent of the court pursuant to Section 300, or all of these, and the other precipitating incidents that led to child welfare services intervention.
(4) The case plan shall include a description of the schedule of the social worker contacts with the child and the family or other caretakers. The frequency of these contacts shall be in accordance with regulations adopted by the State Department of Social Services. If the child has been placed in foster care out of state, the county social worker or a social worker on the staff of the social service agency in the state in which the child has been placed shall visit the child in a foster family home or the home of a relative at least every 12 months and submit a report to the court on each visit. For children in out-of-state group home facilities, visits shall be conducted at least monthly, pursuant to Section 16516.5. At least once every six months, at the time of a regularly scheduled social worker contact with the foster child, the child’s social worker shall inform the child of his or her rights as a foster child, as specified in Section 16001.9. The social worker shall provide the information to the child in a manner appropriate to the age or developmental level of the child.
(5) When out-of-home services are used, the frequency of contact between the natural parents or legal guardians and the child shall be specified in the case plan. The frequency of those contacts shall reflect overall case goals, and consider other principles outlined in this section.
(6) When out-of-home placement is made, the case plan shall include provisions for the development and maintenance of sibling relationships as specified in subdivisions (b), (c), and (d) of Section 16002. If appropriate, when siblings who are dependents of the juvenile court are not placed together, the social worker for each child, if different, shall communicate with each of the other social workers and ensure that the child’s siblings are informed of significant life events that occur within their extended family. Unless it has been determined that it is inappropriate in a particular case to keep siblings informed of significant life events that occur within the extended family, the social worker shall determine the appropriate means and setting for disclosure of this information to the child commensurate with the child’s age and emotional well-being. These significant life events shall include, but shall not be limited to, the following:
(A) The death of an immediate relative.
(B) The birth of a sibling.
(C) Significant changes regarding a dependent child, unless the child objects to the sharing of the information with his or her siblings, including changes in placement, major medical or mental health diagnoses, treatments, or hospitalizations, arrests, and changes in the permanent plan.
(7) If out-of-home placement is made in a foster family home, group home or other child care institution that is either a substantial distance from the home of the child’s parent or out of state, the case plan shall specify the reasons why that placement is in the best interest of the child. When an out-of-state group home placement is recommended or made, the case plan shall, in addition, specify compliance with Section 7911.1 of the Family Code.
(8) If out-of-home services are used, or if parental rights have been terminated and the case plan is placement for adoption, the case plan shall include a recommendation regarding the appropriateness of unsupervised visitation between the child and any of the child’s siblings. This recommendation shall include a statement regarding the child’s and the siblings’ willingness to participate in unsupervised visitation. If the case plan includes a recommendation for unsupervised sibling visitation, the plan shall also note that information necessary to accomplish this visitation has been provided to the child or to the child’s siblings.
(9) If out-of-home services are used and the goal is reunification, the case plan shall describe the services to be provided to assist in reunification and the services to be provided concurrently to achieve legal permanency if efforts to reunify fail. The plan shall also consider the importance of developing and maintaining sibling relationships pursuant to Section 16002.
(10) If out-of-home services are used, the child has been in care for at least 12 months, and the goal is not adoptive placement, the case plan shall include documentation of the compelling reason or reasons why termination of parental rights is not in the child’s best interest. A determination completed or updated within the past 12 months by the department when it is acting as an adoption agency or by a licensed adoption agency that it is unlikely that the child will be adopted, or that one of the conditions described in paragraph (1) of subdivision (c) of Section 366.26 applies, shall be deemed a compelling reason.
(11) (A) Parents and legal guardians shall have an opportunity to review the case plan, sign it whenever possible, and then shall receive a copy of the plan. In any voluntary service or placement agreement, the parents or legal guardians shall be required to review and sign the case plan. Whenever possible, parents and legal guardians shall participate in the development of the case plan.
(B) Parents and legal guardians shall be advised that, pursuant to Section 1228.1 of the Evidence Code, neither their signature on the child welfare services case plan nor their acceptance of any services prescribed in the child welfare services case plan shall constitute an admission of guilt or be used as evidence against the parent or legal guardian in a court of law. However, they shall also be advised that the parent’s or guardian’s failure to cooperate, except for good cause, in the provision of services specified in the child welfare services case plan may be used in any hearing held pursuant to Section 366.21 or 366.22 as evidence.
(12) The case plan shall be included in the court report and shall be considered by the court at the initial hearing and each review hearing. Modifications to the case plan made during the period between review hearings need not be approved by the court if the casework supervisor for that case determines that the modifications further the goals of the plan. If out-of-home services are used with the goal of family reunification, the case plan shall consider and describe the application of subdivision (b) of Section 11203.
(13) If the case plan has as its goal for the child a permanent plan of adoption or placement in another permanent home, it shall include documentation of the steps the agency is taking to find an adoptive family or other permanent living arrangements for the child; to place the child with an adoptive family, an appropriate and willing relative, a legal guardian, or in another planned permanent living arrangement; and to finalize the adoption or legal guardianship. At a minimum, the documentation shall include child specific recruitment efforts, such as the use of state, regional, and national adoption exchanges, including electronic exchange systems, when the child has been freed for adoption.
(h) If the court finds, after considering the case plan, that unsupervised sibling visitation is appropriate and has been consented to, the court shall order that the child or the child’s siblings, and the child’s prospective adoptive parents, if applicable, be provided with information necessary to accomplish this visitation. This section does not require or prohibit the social worker’s facilitation, transportation, or supervision of visits between the child and his or her siblings.
(i) The case plan documentation on sibling placements required under this section shall not require modification of existing case plan forms until the Child Welfare Services Case Management System is implemented on a statewide basis.
(j) The department, in consultation with the County Welfare Directors Association and other advocates, shall develop standards and guidelines for a model relative placement search and assessment process based on the criteria established in Section 361.3. These guidelines shall be incorporated in the training described in Section 16206. These model standards and guidelines shall be developed by March 1, 1999.

SEC. 16.3.

 Section 16501.1 of the Welfare and Institutions Code is amended to read:

16501.1.
 (a) (1) The Legislature finds and declares that the foundation and central unifying tool in child welfare services is the case plan.
(2) The Legislature further finds and declares that a case plan ensures that the child receives protection and safe and proper care and case management, and that services are provided to the child and parents or other caretakers, as appropriate, in order to improve conditions in the parent’s home, to facilitate the safe return of the child to a safe home or the permanent placement of the child, and to address the needs of the child while in foster care.
(b) (1) A case plan shall be based upon the principles of this section and shall document that a preplacement assessment of the service needs of the child and family, and preplacement preventive services, have been provided, and that reasonable efforts to prevent out-of-home placement have been made.
(2) In determining the reasonable services to be offered or provided, the child’s health and safety shall be the paramount concerns.
(3) Reasonable services shall be offered or provided to make it possible for a child to return to a safe home environment, unless, pursuant to subdivisions (b) and (e) of Section 361.5, the court determines that reunification services shall not be provided.
(4) If reasonable services are not ordered, or are terminated, reasonable efforts shall be made to place the child in a timely manner in accordance with the permanent plan and to complete all steps necessary to finalize the permanent placement of the child.
(c) (1) If out-of-home placement is used to attain case plan goals, the decision regarding choice of placement shall be based upon selection of a safe setting that is the least restrictive or most familylike and the most appropriate setting that is available and in close proximity to the parent’s home, proximity to the child’s school, consistent with the selection of the environment best suited to meet the child’s special needs and best interests, or both. The selection shall consider, in order of priority, placement with relatives, tribal members, and foster family, group care, and residential treatment pursuant to Section 7950 of the Family Code.
(2) In addition to the requirements of paragraph (1), and taking into account other statutory considerations regarding placement, the selection of the most appropriate home that will meet the child’s special needs and best interests shall also promote educational stability by taking into consideration proximity to the child’s school attendance area.
(d) A written case plan shall be completed within 30 days of the initial removal of the child or of the in-person response required under subdivision (f) of Section 16501 if the child has not been removed from his or her home, or by the date of the dispositional hearing pursuant to Section 358, whichever occurs first. The case plan shall be updated, as the service needs of the child and family dictate. At a minimum, the case plan shall be updated in conjunction with each status review hearing conducted pursuant to Section 366.21, and the hearing conducted pursuant to Section 366.26, but no less frequently than once every six months. Each updated case plan shall include a description of the services that have been provided to the child under the plan and an evaluation of the appropriateness and effectiveness of those services.
(e) The child welfare services case plan shall be comprehensive enough to meet the juvenile court dependency proceedings requirements pursuant to Article 6 (commencing with Section 300) of Chapter 2 of Part 1 of Division 2.
(f) The case plan shall be developed as follows:
(1) The case plan shall be based upon an assessment of the circumstances that required child welfare services intervention.
(2) The case plan shall identify specific goals and the appropriateness of the planned services in meeting those goals.
(3) The case plan shall identify the original allegations of abuse or neglect, as defined in Article 2.5 (commencing with Section 11164) of Chapter 2 of Title 1 of Part 4 of the Penal Code, or the conditions cited as the basis for declaring the child a dependent of the court pursuant to Section 300, or all of these, and the other precipitating incidents that led to child welfare services intervention.
(4) The case plan shall include a description of the schedule of the social worker contacts with the child and the family or other caretakers. The frequency of these contacts shall be in accordance with regulations adopted by the State Department of Social Services. If the child has been placed in foster care out of state, the county social worker or a social worker on the staff of the social service agency in the state in which the child has been placed shall visit the child in a foster family home or the home of a relative at least every 12 months and submit a report to the court on each visit. For children in out-of-state group home facilities, visits shall be conducted at least monthly, pursuant to Section 16516.5. At least once every six months, at the time of a regularly scheduled social worker contact with the foster child, the child’s social worker shall inform the child of his or her rights as a foster child, as specified in Section 16001.9. The social worker shall provide the information to the child in a manner appropriate to the age or developmental level of the child.
(5) (A) When out-of-home services are used, the frequency of contact between the natural parents or legal guardians and the child shall be specified in the case plan. The frequency of those contacts shall reflect overall case goals, and consider other principles outlined in this section.
(B) Information regarding any court-ordered visitation between the child and the natural parents or legal guardians, and the terms and conditions needed to facilitate the visits while protecting the safety of the child, shall be provided to the child’s out-of-home caregiver as soon as possible after the court order is made.
(6) When out-of-home placement is made, the case plan shall include provisions for the development and maintenance of sibling relationships as specified in subdivisions (b), (c), and (d) of Section 16002. If appropriate, when siblings who are dependents of the juvenile court are not placed together, the social worker for each child, if different, shall communicate with each of the other social workers and ensure that the child’s siblings are informed of significant life events that occur within their extended family. Unless it has been determined that it is inappropriate in a particular case to keep siblings informed of significant life events that occur within the extended family, the social worker shall determine the appropriate means and setting for disclosure of this information to the child commensurate with the child’s age and emotional well-being. These significant life events shall include, but shall not be limited to, the following:
(A) The death of an immediate relative.
(B) The birth of a sibling.
(C) Significant changes regarding a dependent child, unless the child objects to the sharing of the information with his or her siblings, including changes in placement, major medical or mental health diagnoses, treatments, or hospitalizations, arrests, and changes in the permanent plan.
(7) If out-of-home placement is made in a foster family home, group home or other child care institution that is either a substantial distance from the home of the child’s parent or out of state, the case plan shall specify the reasons why that placement is in the best interest of the child. When an out-of-state group home placement is recommended or made, the case plan shall, in addition, specify compliance with Section 7911.1 of the Family Code.
(8) (A) If out-of-home services are used, or if parental rights have been terminated and the case plan is placement for adoption, the case plan shall include a recommendation regarding the appropriateness of unsupervised visitation between the child and any of the child’s siblings. This recommendation shall include a statement regarding the child’s and the siblings’ willingness to participate in unsupervised visitation. If the case plan includes a recommendation for unsupervised sibling visitation, the plan shall also note that information necessary to accomplish this visitation has been provided to the child or to the child’s siblings.
(B) Information regarding the schedule and frequency of the visits between the child and siblings, as well as any court-ordered terms and conditions needed to facilitate the visits while protecting the safety of the child, shall be provided to the child’s out-of-home caregiver as soon as possible after the court order is made.
(9) If out-of-home services are used and the goal is reunification, the case plan shall describe the services to be provided to assist in reunification and the services to be provided concurrently to achieve legal permanency if efforts to reunify fail. The plan shall also consider the importance of developing and maintaining sibling relationships pursuant to Section 16002, and the desire and willingness of the caregiver to provide legal permanency for the child if reunification is unsuccessful.
(10) If out-of-home services are used, the child has been in care for at least 12 months, and the goal is not adoptive placement, the case plan shall include documentation of the compelling reason or reasons why termination of parental rights is not in the child’s best interest. A determination completed or updated within the past 12 months by the department when it is acting as an adoption agency or by a licensed adoption agency that it is unlikely that the child will be adopted, or that one of the conditions described in paragraph (1) of subdivision (c) of Section 366.26 applies, shall be deemed a compelling reason.
(11) (A) Parents and legal guardians shall have an opportunity to review the case plan, and to sign it whenever possible, and then shall receive a copy of the plan. In any voluntary service or placement agreement, the parents or legal guardians shall be required to review and sign the case plan. Whenever possible, parents and legal guardians shall participate in the development of the case plan.
(B) Parents and legal guardians shall be advised that, pursuant to Section 1228.1 of the Evidence Code, neither their signature on the child welfare services case plan nor their acceptance of any services prescribed in the child welfare services case plan shall constitute an admission of guilt or be used as evidence against the parent or legal guardian in a court of law. However, they shall also be advised that the parent’s or guardian’s failure to cooperate, except for good cause, in the provision of services specified in the child welfare services case plan may be used in any hearing held pursuant to Section 366.21 or 366.22 as evidence.
(12) The case plan shall be included in the court report and shall be considered by the court at the initial hearing and each review hearing. Modifications to the case plan made during the period between review hearings need not be approved by the court if the casework supervisor for that case determines that the modifications further the goals of the plan. If out-of-home services are used with the goal of family reunification, the case plan shall consider and describe the application of subdivision (b) of Section 11203.
(13) If the case plan has as its goal for the child a permanent plan of adoption or placement in another permanent home, it shall include documentation of the steps the agency is taking to find an adoptive family or other permanent living arrangements for the child; to place the child with an adoptive family, an appropriate and willing relative, a legal guardian, or in another planned permanent living arrangement; and to finalize the adoption or legal guardianship. At a minimum, the documentation shall include child specific recruitment efforts, such as the use of state, regional, and national adoption exchanges, including electronic exchange systems, when the child has been freed for adoption.
(g) If the court finds, after considering the case plan, that unsupervised sibling visitation is appropriate and has been consented to, the court shall order that the child or the child’s siblings, the child’s current caregiver, and the child’s prospective adoptive parents, if applicable, be provided with information necessary to accomplish this visitation. This section does not require or prohibit the social worker’s facilitation, transportation, or supervision of visits between the child and his or her siblings.
(h) The case plan documentation on sibling placements required under this section shall not require modification of existing case plan forms until the Child Welfare Services Case Management System is implemented on a statewide basis.
(i) The child’s caregiver shall be provided a copy of a plan outlining the child’s needs and services.
(j) The department, in consultation with the County Welfare Directors Association and other advocates, shall develop standards and guidelines for a model relative placement search and assessment process based on the criteria established in Section 361.3. These guidelines shall be incorporated in the training described in Section 16206. These model standards and guidelines shall be developed by March 1, 1999.

SEC. 16.4.

 Section 16501.1 of the Welfare and Institutions Code is amended to read:

16501.1.
 (a) The Legislature finds and declares that the foundation and central unifying tool in child welfare services is the case plan.
(b) The Legislature further finds and declares that a case plan ensures that the child receives protection and safe and proper care and case management, and that services are provided to the child and parents or other caretakers as appropriate in order to improve conditions in the parent’s home, to facilitate the safe return of the child to a safe home or the permanent placement of the child, and to address the needs of the child while in foster care. A case plan shall be based upon the principles set forth in this section and shall document that a preplacement assessment of the service needs of the child and family, and preplacement preventive services, have been provided, and that reasonable efforts to prevent out-of-home placement have been made. In determining the reasonable services to be offered or provided, the child’s health and safety shall be the paramount concerns. Reasonable services shall be offered or provided to make it possible for a child to return to a safe home environment, unless, pursuant to subdivisions (b) and (e) of Section 361.5, the court determines that reunification services shall not be provided. If reasonable services are not ordered, or are terminated, reasonable efforts shall be made to place the child in a timely manner in accordance with the permanent plan and to complete all steps necessary to finalize the permanent placement of the child.
(c) (1) If out-of-home placement is used to attain case plan goals, the decision regarding choice of placement shall be based upon selection of a safe setting that is the least restrictive or most familylike and the most appropriate setting that is available and in close proximity to the parent’s home, proximity to the child’s school, consistent with the selection of the environment best suited to meet the child’s special needs and best interest, or both. The selection shall consider, in order of priority, placement with relatives, tribal members, and foster family, group care, and residential treatment pursuant to Section 7950 of the Family Code.
(2) In addition to the requirements of paragraph (1), and taking into account other statutory considerations regarding placement, the selection of the most appropriate home that will meet the child’s special needs and best interests shall also promote educational stability by taking into consideration proximity to the child’s school attendance area.
(d) As used in subdivisions (b) and (c), a home or setting that is “safe” means that the home or setting is free from abuse or neglect, as described in Section 11165.5 of the Penal Code.
(e) A written case plan shall be completed within 30 days of the initial removal of the child or of the in-person response required under subdivision (f) of Section 16501 if the child has not been removed from his or her home, or by the date of the dispositional hearing pursuant to Section 358, whichever occurs first. The case plan shall be updated, as the service needs of the child and family dictate. At a minimum, the case plan shall be updated in conjunction with each status review hearing conducted pursuant to Section 366.21, and the hearing conducted pursuant to Section 366.26, but no less frequently than once every six months. Each updated case plan shall include a description of the services that have been provided to the child under the plan and an evaluation of the appropriateness and effectiveness of those services.
(f) The child welfare services case plan shall be comprehensive enough to meet the juvenile court dependency proceedings requirements pursuant to Article 6 (commencing with Section 300) of Chapter 2 of Part 1 of Division 2.
(g) The case plan shall be developed as follows:
(1) The case plan shall be based upon an assessment of the circumstances that required child welfare services intervention.
(2) The case plan shall identify specific goals and the appropriateness of the planned services in meeting those goals.
(3) The case plan shall identify the original allegations of abuse or neglect, as defined in Article 2.5 (commencing with Section 11164) of Chapter 2 of Title 1 of Part 4 of the Penal Code, or the conditions cited as the basis for declaring the child a dependent of the court pursuant to Section 300, or all of these, and the other precipitating incidents that led to child welfare services intervention.
(4) The case plan shall include a description of the schedule of the social worker contacts with the child and the family or other caretakers. The frequency of these contacts shall be in accordance with regulations adopted by the State Department of Social Services. If the child has been placed in foster care out of state, the county social worker or a social worker on the staff of the social services agency in the state in which the child has been placed shall visit the child in a foster family home or the home of a relative at least every 12 months and submit a report to the court on each visit. For children in out-of-state group home facilities, visits shall be conducted at least monthly, pursuant to Section 16516.5. At least once every six months, at the time of a regularly scheduled social worker contact with the foster child, the child’s social worker shall inform the child of his or her rights as a foster child, as specified in Section 16001.9. The social worker shall provide the information to the child in a manner appropriate to the age or developmental level of the child.
(5) When out-of-home services are used, the frequency of contact between the natural parents or legal guardians and the child shall be specified in the case plan. The frequency of those contacts shall reflect overall case goals, and consider other principles outlined in this section.
(6) When out-of-home placement is made, the case plan shall include provisions for the development and maintenance of sibling relationships as specified in subdivisions (b), (c), and (d) of Section 16002. If appropriate, when siblings who are dependents of the juvenile court are not placed together, the social worker for each child, if different, shall communicate with each of the other social workers and ensure that the child’s siblings are informed of significant life events that occur within their extended family. Unless it has been determined that it is inappropriate in a particular case to keep siblings informed of significant life events that occur within the extended family, the social worker shall determine the appropriate means and setting for disclosure of this information to the child commensurate with the child’s age and emotional well-being. These significant life events shall include, but shall not be limited to, the following:
(A) The death of an immediate relative.
(B) The birth of a sibling.
(C) Significant changes regarding a dependent child, unless the child objects to the sharing of the information with his or her siblings, including changes in placement, major medical or mental health diagnoses, treatments, or hospitalizations, arrests, and changes in the permanent plan.
(7) If out-of-home placement is made in a foster family home, group home or other child care institution that is either a substantial distance from the home of the child’s parent or out of state, the case plan shall specify the reasons why that placement is in the best interest of the child. When an out-of-state group home placement is recommended or made, the case plan shall, in addition, specify compliance with Section 7911.1 of the Family Code.
(8) If out-of-home services are used, or if parental rights have been terminated and the case plan is placement for adoption, the case plan shall include a recommendation regarding the appropriateness of unsupervised visitation between the child and any of the child’s siblings. This recommendation shall include a statement regarding the child’s and the siblings’ willingness to participate in unsupervised visitation. If the case plan includes a recommendation for unsupervised sibling visitation, the plan shall also note that information necessary to accomplish this visitation has been provided to the child or to the child’s siblings.
(9) If out-of-home services are used and the goal is reunification, the case plan shall describe the services to be provided to assist in reunification and the services to be provided concurrently to achieve legal permanency if efforts to reunify fail. The plan shall also consider the importance of developing and maintaining sibling relationships pursuant to Section 16002.
(10) If out-of-home services are used, the child has been in care for at least 12 months, and the goal is not adoptive placement, the case plan shall include documentation of the compelling reason or reasons why termination of parental rights is not in the child’s best interest. A determination completed or updated within the past 12 months by the department when it is acting as an adoption agency or by a licensed adoption agency that it is unlikely that the child will be adopted, or that one of the conditions described in paragraph (1) of subdivision (c) of Section 366.26 applies, shall be deemed a compelling reason.
(11) (A) Parents and legal guardians shall have an opportunity to review the case plan, sign it whenever possible, and then shall receive a copy of the plan. In any voluntary service or placement agreement, the parents or legal guardians shall be required to review and sign the case plan. Whenever possible, parents and legal guardians shall participate in the development of the case plan.
(B) Parents and legal guardians shall be advised that, pursuant to Section 1228.1 of the Evidence Code, neither their signature on the child welfare services case plan nor their acceptance of any services prescribed in the child welfare services case plan shall constitute an admission of guilt or be used as evidence against the parent or legal guardian in a court of law. However, they shall also be advised that the parent’s or guardian’s failure to cooperate, except for good cause, in the provision of services specified in the child welfare services case plan may be used in any hearing held pursuant to Section 366.21 or 366.22 as evidence.
(12) The case plan shall be included in the court report and shall be considered by the court at the initial hearing and each review hearing. Modifications to the case plan made during the period between review hearings need not be approved by the court if the casework supervisor for that case determines that the modifications further the goals of the plan. If out-of-home services are used with the goal of family reunification, the case plan shall consider and describe the application of subdivision (b) of Section 11203.
(13) If the case plan has as its goal for the child a permanent plan of adoption or placement in another permanent home, it shall include documentation of the steps the agency is taking to find an adoptive family or other permanent living arrangements for the child; to place the child with an adoptive family, an appropriate and willing relative, a legal guardian, or in another planned permanent living arrangement; and to finalize the adoption or legal guardianship. At a minimum, the documentation shall include child specific recruitment efforts, such as the use of state, regional, and national adoption exchanges, including electronic exchange systems, when the child has been freed for adoption.
(14) When appropriate, for a child who is 16 years of age or older, the case plan shall include a written description of the programs and services that will help the child prepare for the transition from foster care to independent living. The case plan shall be developed with the child and individuals identified as important to the child, and shall include steps the agency is taking to ensure that the child has a connection to a caring adult.
(h) If the court finds, after considering the case plan, that unsupervised sibling visitation is appropriate and has been consented to, the court shall order that the child or the child’s siblings, and the child’s prospective adoptive parents, if applicable, be provided with information necessary to accomplish this visitation. This section does not require or prohibit the social worker’s facilitation, transportation, or supervision of visits between the child and his or her siblings.
(i) The case plan documentation on sibling placements required under this section shall not require modification of existing case plan forms until the Child Welfare Services Case Management System is implemented on a statewide basis.
(j) When a child who is 10 years of age or older has been in out-of-home placement in a group home for six months or longer from the date the child entered foster care, the case plan shall include an identification of individuals, other than the child’s siblings, who are important to the child and actions necessary to maintain the child’s relationship with those individuals, provided that those relationships are in the best interest of the child. The social worker shall ask every child who is 10 years of age or older who is placed in a group home to identify any individuals other than the child’s siblings who are important to the child, and may ask any child who is younger than 10 years of age to provide that information, as appropriate. The social worker shall make efforts to identify other individuals who are important to the child, consistent with the child’s best interests.
(k) The department, in consultation with the County Welfare Directors Association and other advocates, shall develop standards and guidelines for a model relative placement search and assessment process based on the criteria established in Section 361.3. These guidelines shall be incorporated in the training described in Section 16206. These model standards and guidelines shall be developed by March 1, 1999.

SEC. 16.5.

 Section 16501.1 of the Welfare and Institutions Code is amended to read:

16501.1.
 (a) (1) The Legislature finds and declares that the foundation and central unifying tool in child welfare services is the case plan.
(2) The Legislature further finds and declares that a case plan ensures that the child receives protection and safe and proper care and case management, and that services are provided to the child and parents or other caretakers, as appropriate, in order to improve conditions in the parent’s home, to facilitate the safe return of the child to a safe home or the permanent placement of the child, and to address the needs of the child while in foster care.
(b) (1) A case plan shall be based upon the principles of this section and shall document that a preplacement assessment of the service needs of the child and family, and preplacement preventive services, have been provided, and that reasonable efforts to prevent out-of-home placement have been made.
(2) In determining the reasonable services to be offered or provided, the child’s health and safety shall be the paramount concerns.
(3) Reasonable services shall be offered or provided to make it possible for a child to return to a safe home environment, unless, pursuant to subdivisions (b) and (e) of Section 361.5, the court determines that reunification services shall not be provided.
(4) If reasonable services are not ordered, or are terminated, reasonable efforts shall be made to place the child in a timely manner in accordance with the permanent plan and to complete all steps necessary to finalize the permanent placement of the child.
(c) (1) If out-of-home placement is used to attain case plan goals, the decision regarding choice of placement shall be based upon selection of a safe setting that is the least restrictive or most familylike and the most appropriate setting that is available and in close proximity to the parent’s home, proximity to the child’s school, consistent with the selection of the environment best suited to meet the child’s special needs and best interests, or both. The selection shall consider, in order of priority, placement with relatives, tribal members, and foster family, group care, and residential treatment pursuant to Section 7950 of the Family Code.
(2) In addition to the requirements of paragraph (1), and taking into account other statutory considerations regarding placement, the selection of the most appropriate home that will meet the child’s special needs and best interests shall also promote educational stability by taking into consideration proximity to the child’s school attendance area.
(d) A written case plan shall be completed within 30 days of the initial removal of the child or of the in-person response required under subdivision (f) of Section 16501 if the child has not been removed from his or her home, or by the date of the dispositional hearing pursuant to Section 358, whichever occurs first. The case plan shall be updated, as the service needs of the child and family dictate. At a minimum, the case plan shall be updated in conjunction with each status review hearing conducted pursuant to Section 366.21, and the hearing conducted pursuant to Section 366.26, but no less frequently than once every six months. Each updated case plan shall include a description of the services that have been provided to the child under the plan and an evaluation of the appropriateness and effectiveness of those services.
(e) The child welfare services case plan shall be comprehensive enough to meet the juvenile court dependency proceedings requirements pursuant to Article 6 (commencing with Section 300) of Chapter 2 of Part 1 of Division 2.
(f) The case plan shall be developed as follows:
(1) The case plan shall be based upon an assessment of the circumstances that required child welfare services intervention.
(2) The case plan shall identify specific goals and the appropriateness of the planned services in meeting those goals.
(3) The case plan shall identify the original allegations of abuse or neglect, as defined in Article 2.5 (commencing with Section 11164) of Chapter 2 of Title 1 of Part 4 of the Penal Code, or the conditions cited as the basis for declaring the child a dependent of the court pursuant to Section 300, or all of these, and the other precipitating incidents that led to child welfare services intervention.
(4) The case plan shall include a description of the schedule of the social worker contacts with the child and the family or other caretakers. The frequency of these contacts shall be in accordance with regulations adopted by the State Department of Social Services. If the child has been placed in foster care out of state, the county social worker or a social worker on the staff of the social services agency in the state in which the child has been placed shall visit the child in a foster family home or the home of a relative at least every 12 months and submit a report to the court on each visit. For children in out-of-state group home facilities, visits shall be conducted at least monthly, pursuant to Section 16516.5. At least once every six months, at the time of a regularly scheduled social worker contact with the foster child, the child’s social worker shall inform the child of his or her rights as a foster child, as specified in Section 16001.9. The social worker shall provide the information to the child in a manner appropriate to the age or developmental level of the child.
(5) (A) When out-of-home services are used, the frequency of contact between the natural parents or legal guardians and the child shall be specified in the case plan. The frequency of those contacts shall reflect overall case goals, and consider other principles outlined in this section.
(B) Information regarding any court-ordered visitation between the child and the natural parents or legal guardians, and the terms and conditions needed to facilitate the visits while protecting the safety of the child, shall be provided to the child’s out-of-home caregiver as soon as possible after the court order is made.
(6) When out-of-home placement is made, the case plan shall include provisions for the development and maintenance of sibling relationships as specified in subdivisions (b), (c), and (d) of Section 16002. If appropriate, when siblings who are dependents of the juvenile court are not placed together, the social worker for each child, if different, shall communicate with each of the other social workers and ensure that the child’s siblings are informed of significant life events that occur within their extended family. Unless it has been determined that it is inappropriate in a particular case to keep siblings informed of significant life events that occur within the extended family, the social worker shall determine the appropriate means and setting for disclosure of this information to the child commensurate with the child’s age and emotional well-being. These significant life events shall include, but shall not be limited to, the following:
(A) The death of an immediate relative.
(B) The birth of a sibling.
(C) Significant changes regarding a dependent child, unless the child objects to the sharing of the information with his or her siblings, including changes in placement, major medical or mental health diagnoses, treatments, or hospitalizations, arrests, and changes in the permanent plan.
(7) If out-of-home placement is made in a foster family home, group home or other child care institution that is either a substantial distance from the home of the child’s parent or out of state, the case plan shall specify the reasons why that placement is in the best interest of the child. When an out-of-state group home placement is recommended or made, the case plan shall, in addition, specify compliance with Section 7911.1 of the Family Code.
(8) (A) If out-of-home services are used, or if parental rights have been terminated and the case plan is placement for adoption, the case plan shall include a recommendation regarding the appropriateness of unsupervised visitation between the child and any of the child’s siblings. This recommendation shall include a statement regarding the child’s and the siblings’ willingness to participate in unsupervised visitation. If the case plan includes a recommendation for unsupervised sibling visitation, the plan shall also note that information necessary to accomplish this visitation has been provided to the child or to the child’s siblings.
(B) Information regarding the schedule and frequency of the visits between the child and siblings, as well as any court-ordered terms and conditions needed to facilitate the visits while protecting the safety of the child, shall be provided to the child’s out-of-home caregiver as soon as possible after the court order is made.
(9) If out-of-home services are used and the goal is reunification, the case plan shall describe the services to be provided to assist in reunification and the services to be provided concurrently to achieve legal permanency if efforts to reunify fail. The plan shall also consider the importance of developing and maintaining sibling relationships pursuant to Section 16002, and the desire and willingness of the caregiver to provide legal permanency for the child if reunification is unsuccessful.
(10) If out-of-home services are used, the child has been in care for at least 12 months, and the goal is not adoptive placement, the case plan shall include documentation of the compelling reason or reasons why termination of parental rights is not in the child’s best interest. A determination completed or updated within the past 12 months by the department when it is acting as an adoption agency or by a licensed adoption agency that it is unlikely that the child will be adopted, or that one of the conditions described in paragraph (1) of subdivision (c) of Section 366.26 applies, shall be deemed a compelling reason.
(11) (A) Parents and legal guardians shall have an opportunity to review the case plan, and to sign it whenever possible, and then shall receive a copy of the plan. In any voluntary service or placement agreement, the parents or legal guardians shall be required to review and sign the case plan. Whenever possible, parents and legal guardians shall participate in the development of the case plan.
(B) Parents and legal guardians shall be advised that, pursuant to Section 1228.1 of the Evidence Code, neither their signature on the child welfare services case plan nor their acceptance of any services prescribed in the child welfare services case plan shall constitute an admission of guilt or be used as evidence against the parent or legal guardian in a court of law. However, they shall also be advised that the parent’s or guardian’s failure to cooperate, except for good cause, in the provision of services specified in the child welfare services case plan may be used in any hearing held pursuant to Section 366.21 or 366.22 as evidence.
(12) The case plan shall be included in the court report and shall be considered by the court at the initial hearing and each review hearing. Modifications to the case plan made during the period between review hearings need not be approved by the court if the casework supervisor for that case determines that the modifications further the goals of the plan. If out-of-home services are used with the goal of family reunification, the case plan shall consider and describe the application of subdivision (b) of Section 11203.
(13) If the case plan has as its goal for the child a permanent plan of adoption or placement in another permanent home, it shall include documentation of the steps the agency is taking to find an adoptive family or other permanent living arrangements for the child; to place the child with an adoptive family, an appropriate and willing relative, a legal guardian, or in another planned permanent living arrangement; and to finalize the adoption or legal guardianship. At a minimum, the documentation shall include child specific recruitment efforts, such as the use of state, regional, and national adoption exchanges, including electronic exchange systems, when the child has been freed for adoption.
(14) When appropriate, for a child who is 16 years of age or older, the case plan shall include a written description of the programs and services that will help the child prepare for the transition from foster care to independent living. The case plan shall be developed with the child and individuals identified as important to the child, and shall include steps the agency is taking to ensure that the child has a connection to a caring adult.
(g) If the court finds, after considering the case plan, that unsupervised sibling visitation is appropriate and has been consented to, the court shall order that the child or the child’s siblings, the child’s current caregiver, and the child’s prospective adoptive parents, if applicable, be provided with information necessary to accomplish this visitation. This section does not require or prohibit the social worker’s facilitation, transportation, or supervision of visits between the child and his or her siblings.
(h) The case plan documentation on sibling placements required under this section shall not require modification of existing case plan forms until the Child Welfare Services Case Management System is implemented on a statewide basis.
(i) When a child who is 10 years of age or older has been in out-of-home placement in a group home for six months or longer from the date the child entered foster care, the case plan shall include an identification of individuals, other than the child’s siblings, who are important to the child and actions necessary to maintain the child’s relationship with those individuals, provided that those relationships are in the best interest of the child. The social worker shall ask every child who is 10 years of age or older who is not placed in a group home to identify any individuals other than the child’s siblings who are important to the child, and may ask any child who is younger than 10 years of age to provide that information, as appropriate. The social worker shall make efforts to identify other individuals who are important to the child, consistent with the child’s best interests.
(j) The child’s caregiver shall be provided a copy of a plan outlining the child’s needs and services.
(k) The department, in consultation with the County Welfare Directors Association and other advocates, shall develop standards and guidelines for a model relative placement search and assessment process based on the criteria established in Section 361.3. These guidelines shall be incorporated in the training described in Section 16206. These model standards and guidelines shall be developed by March 1, 1999.

SEC. 16.6.

 Section 16501.1 of the Welfare and Institutions Code is amended to read:

16501.1.
 (a) (1) The Legislature finds and declares that the foundation and central unifying tool in child welfare services is the case plan.
(2) The Legislature further finds and declares that a case plan ensures that the child receives protection and safe and proper care and case management, and that services are provided to the child and parents or other caretakers, as appropriate, in order to improve conditions in the parent’s home, to facilitate the safe return of the child to a safe home or the permanent placement of the child, and to address the needs of the child while in foster care.
(b) (1) A case plan shall be based upon the principles set forth in this section and shall document that a preplacement assessment of the service needs of the child and family, and preplacement preventive services, have been provided, and that reasonable efforts to prevent out-of-home placement have been made.
(2) In determining the reasonable services to be offered or provided, the child’s health and safety shall be the paramount concerns.
(3) Reasonable services shall be offered or provided to make it possible for a child to return to a safe home environment, unless, pursuant to subdivisions (b) and (e) of Section 361.5, the court determines that reunification services shall not be provided.
(4) If reasonable services are not ordered, or are terminated, reasonable efforts shall be made to place the child in a timely manner in accordance with the permanent plan and to complete all steps necessary to finalize the permanent placement of the child.
(c) (1) If out-of-home placement is used to attain case plan goals, the decision regarding choice of placement shall be based upon selection of a safe setting that is the least restrictive or most familylike and the most appropriate setting that is available and in close proximity to the parent’s home, proximity to the child’s school, consistent with the selection of the environment best suited to meet the child’s special needs and best interests, or both. The selection shall consider, in order of priority, placement with relatives, tribal members, and foster family, group care, and residential treatment pursuant to Section 7950 of the Family Code.
(2) In addition to the requirements of paragraph (1), and taking into account other statutory considerations regarding placement, the selection of the most appropriate home that will meet the child’s special needs and best interests shall also promote educational stability by taking into consideration proximity to the child’s school attendance area.
(d) As used in subdivisions (b) and (c), a home or setting that is “safe” means that the home or setting is free from abuse or neglect, as described in Section 11165.5 of the Penal Code.
(e) A written case plan shall be completed within 30 days of the initial removal of the child or of the in-person response required under subdivision (f) of Section 16501 if the child has not been removed from his or her home, or by the date of the dispositional hearing pursuant to Section 358, whichever occurs first. The case plan shall be updated, as the service needs of the child and family dictate. At a minimum, the case plan shall be updated in conjunction with each status review hearing conducted pursuant to Section 366.21, and the hearing conducted pursuant to Section 366.26, but no less frequently than once every six months. Each updated case plan shall include a description of the services that have been provided to the child under the plan and an evaluation of the appropriateness and effectiveness of those services.
(f) The child welfare services case plan shall be comprehensive enough to meet the juvenile court dependency proceedings requirements pursuant to Article 6 (commencing with Section 300) of Chapter 2 of Part 1 of Division 2.
(g) The case plan shall be developed as follows:
(1) The case plan shall be based upon an assessment of the circumstances that required child welfare services intervention.
(2) The case plan shall identify specific goals and the appropriateness of the planned services in meeting those goals.
(3) The case plan shall identify the original allegations of abuse or neglect, as defined in Article 2.5 (commencing with Section 11164) of Chapter 2 of Title 1 of Part 4 of the Penal Code, or the conditions cited as the basis for declaring the child a dependent of the court pursuant to Section 300, or all of these, and the other precipitating incidents that led to child welfare services intervention.
(4) The case plan shall include a description of the schedule of the social worker contacts with the child and the family or other caretakers. The frequency of these contacts shall be in accordance with regulations adopted by the State Department of Social Services. If the child has been placed in foster care out of state, the county social worker or a social worker on the staff of the social service agency in the state in which the child has been placed shall visit the child in a foster family home or the home of a relative at least every 12 months and submit a report to the court on each visit. For children in out-of-state group home facilities, visits shall be conducted at least monthly, pursuant to Section 16516.5. At least once every six months, at the time of a regularly scheduled social worker contact with the foster child, the child’s social worker shall inform the child of his or her rights as a foster child, as specified in Section 16001.9. The social worker shall provide the information to the child in a manner appropriate to the age or developmental level of the child.
(5) (A) When out-of-home services are used, the frequency of contact between the natural parents or legal guardians and the child shall be specified in the case plan. The frequency of those contacts shall reflect overall case goals, and consider other principles outlined in this section.
(B) Information regarding any court-ordered visitation between the child and the natural parents or legal guardians, and the terms and conditions needed to facilitate the visits while protecting the safety of the child, shall be provided to the child’s out-of-home caregiver as soon as possible after the court order is made.
(6) When out-of-home placement is made, the case plan shall include provisions for the development and maintenance of sibling relationships as specified in subdivisions (b), (c), and (d) of Section 16002. If appropriate, when siblings who are dependents of the juvenile court are not placed together, the social worker for each child, if different, shall communicate with each of the other social workers and ensure that the child’s siblings are informed of significant life events that occur within their extended family. Unless it has been determined that it is inappropriate in a particular case to keep siblings informed of significant life events that occur within the extended family, the social worker shall determine the appropriate means and setting for disclosure of this information to the child commensurate with the child’s age and emotional well-being. These significant life events shall include, but shall not be limited to, the following:
(A) The death of an immediate relative.
(B) The birth of a sibling.
(C) Significant changes regarding a dependent child, unless the child objects to the sharing of the information with his or her siblings, including changes in placement, major medical or mental health diagnoses, treatments, or hospitalizations, arrests, and changes in the permanent plan.
(7) If out-of-home placement is made in a foster family home, group home or other child care institution that is either a substantial distance from the home of the child’s parent or out of state, the case plan shall specify the reasons why that placement is in the best interest of the child. When an out-of-state group home placement is recommended or made, the case plan shall, in addition, specify compliance with Section 7911.1 of the Family Code.
(8) (A) If out-of-home services are used, or if parental rights have been terminated and the case plan is placement for adoption, the case plan shall include a recommendation regarding the appropriateness of unsupervised visitation between the child and any of the child’s siblings. This recommendation shall include a statement regarding the child’s and the siblings’ willingness to participate in unsupervised visitation. If the case plan includes a recommendation for unsupervised sibling visitation, the plan shall also note that information necessary to accomplish this visitation has been provided to the child or to the child’s siblings.
(B) Information regarding the schedule and frequency of the visits between the child and siblings, as well as any court-ordered terms and conditions needed to facilitate the visits while protecting the safety of the child, shall be provided to the child’s out-of-home caregiver as soon as possible after the court order is made.
(9) If out-of-home services are used and the goal is reunification, the case plan shall describe the services to be provided to assist in reunification and the services to be provided concurrently to achieve legal permanency if efforts to reunify fail. The plan shall also consider the importance of developing and maintaining sibling relationships pursuant to Section 16002, and the desire and willingness of the caregiver to provide legal permanency for the child if reunification is unsuccessful.
(10) If out-of-home services are used, the child has been in care for at least 12 months, and the goal is not adoptive placement, the case plan shall include documentation of the compelling reason or reasons why termination of parental rights is not in the child’s best interest. A determination completed or updated within the past 12 months by the department when it is acting as an adoption agency or by a licensed adoption agency that it is unlikely that the child will be adopted, or that one of the conditions described in paragraph (1) of subdivision (c) of Section 366.26 applies, shall be deemed a compelling reason.
(11) (A) Parents and legal guardians shall have an opportunity to review the case plan, and to sign it whenever possible, and then shall receive a copy of the plan. In any voluntary service or placement agreement, the parents or legal guardians shall be required to review and sign the case plan. Whenever possible, parents and legal guardians shall participate in the development of the case plan.
(B) Parents and legal guardians shall be advised that, pursuant to Section 1228.1 of the Evidence Code, neither their signature on the child welfare services case plan nor their acceptance of any services prescribed in the child welfare services case plan shall constitute an admission of guilt or be used as evidence against the parent or legal guardian in a court of law. However, they shall also be advised that the parent’s or guardian’s failure to cooperate, except for good cause, in the provision of services specified in the child welfare services case plan may be used in any hearing held pursuant to Section 366.21 or 366.22 as evidence.
(12) The case plan shall be included in the court report and shall be considered by the court at the initial hearing and each review hearing. Modifications to the case plan made during the period between review hearings need not be approved by the court if the casework supervisor for that case determines that the modifications further the goals of the plan. If out-of-home services are used with the goal of family reunification, the case plan shall consider and describe the application of subdivision (b) of Section 11203.
(13) If the case plan has as its goal for the child a permanent plan of adoption or placement in another permanent home, it shall include documentation of the steps the agency is taking to find an adoptive family or other permanent living arrangements for the child; to place the child with an adoptive family, an appropriate and willing relative, a legal guardian, or in another planned permanent living arrangement; and to finalize the adoption or legal guardianship. At a minimum, the documentation shall include child specific recruitment efforts, such as the use of state, regional, and national adoption exchanges, including electronic exchange systems, when the child has been freed for adoption.
(h) If the court finds, after considering the case plan, that unsupervised sibling visitation is appropriate and has been consented to, the court shall order that the child or the child’s siblings, the child’s current caregiver, and the child’s prospective adoptive parents, if applicable, be provided with information necessary to accomplish this visitation. This section does not require or prohibit the social worker’s facilitation, transportation, or supervision of visits between the child and his or her siblings.
(i) The case plan documentation on sibling placements required under this section shall not require modification of existing case plan forms until the Child Welfare Services Case Management System is implemented on a statewide basis.
(j) The child’s caregiver shall be provided a copy of a plan outlining the child’s needs and services.
(k) The department, in consultation with the County Welfare Directors Association and other advocates, shall develop standards and guidelines for a model relative placement search and assessment process based on the criteria established in Section 361.3. These guidelines shall be incorporated in the training described in Section 16206. These model standards and guidelines shall be developed by March 1, 1999.

SEC. 16.7.

 Section 16501.1 of the Welfare and Institutions Code is amended to read:

16501.1.
 (a) (1) The Legislature finds and declares that the foundation and central unifying tool in child welfare services is the case plan.
(2) The Legislature further finds and declares that a case plan ensures that the child receives protection and safe and proper care and case management, and that services are provided to the child and parents or other caretakers, as appropriate, in order to improve conditions in the parent’s home, to facilitate the safe return of the child to a safe home or the permanent placement of the child, and to address the needs of the child while in foster care.
(b) (1) A case plan shall be based upon the principles set forth in this section and shall document that a preplacement assessment of the service needs of the child and family, and preplacement preventive services, have been provided, and that reasonable efforts to prevent out-of-home placement have been made.
(2) In determining the reasonable services to be offered or provided, the child’s health and safety shall be the paramount concerns.
(3) Reasonable services shall be offered or provided to make it possible for a child to return to a safe home environment, unless, pursuant to subdivisions (b) and (e) of Section 361.5, the court determines that reunification services shall not be provided.
(4) If reasonable services are not ordered, or are terminated, reasonable efforts shall be made to place the child in a timely manner in accordance with the permanent plan and to complete all steps necessary to finalize the permanent placement of the child.
(c) (1) If out-of-home placement is used to attain case plan goals, the decision regarding choice of placement shall be based upon selection of a safe setting that is the least restrictive or most familylike and the most appropriate setting that is available and in close proximity to the parent’s home, proximity to the child’s school, consistent with the selection of the environment best suited to meet the child’s special needs and best interests, or both. The selection shall consider, in order of priority, placement with relatives, tribal members, and foster family, group care, and residential treatment pursuant to Section 7950 of the Family Code.
(2) In addition to the requirements of paragraph (1), and taking into account other statutory considerations regarding placement, the selection of the most appropriate home that will meet the child’s special needs and best interests shall also promote educational stability by taking into consideration proximity to the child’s school attendance area.
(d) As used in subdivisions (b) and (c), a home or setting that is “safe” means that the home or setting is free from abuse or neglect, as described in Section 11165.5 of the Penal Code.
(e) A written case plan shall be completed within 30 days of the initial removal of the child or of the in-person response required under subdivision (f) of Section 16501 if the child has not been removed from his or her home, or by the date of the dispositional hearing pursuant to Section 358, whichever occurs first. The case plan shall be updated, as the service needs of the child and family dictate. At a minimum, the case plan shall be updated in conjunction with each status review hearing conducted pursuant to Section 366.21, and the hearing conducted pursuant to Section 366.26, but no less frequently than once every six months. Each updated case plan shall include a description of the services that have been provided to the child under the plan and an evaluation of the appropriateness and effectiveness of those services.
(f) The child welfare services case plan shall be comprehensive enough to meet the juvenile court dependency proceedings requirements pursuant to Article 6 (commencing with Section 300) of Chapter 2 of Part 1 of Division 2.
(g) The case plan shall be developed as follows:
(1) The case plan shall be based upon an assessment of the circumstances that required child welfare services intervention.
(2) The case plan shall identify specific goals and the appropriateness of the planned services in meeting those goals.
(3) The case plan shall identify the original allegations of abuse or neglect, as defined in Article 2.5 (commencing with Section 11164) of Chapter 2 of Title 1 of Part 4 of the Penal Code, or the conditions cited as the basis for declaring the child a dependent of the court pursuant to Section 300, or all of these, and the other precipitating incidents that led to child welfare services intervention.
(4) The case plan shall include a description of the schedule of the social worker contacts with the child and the family or other caretakers. The frequency of these contacts shall be in accordance with regulations adopted by the State Department of Social Services. If the child has been placed in foster care out of state, the county social worker or a social worker on the staff of the social services agency in the state in which the child has been placed shall visit the child in a foster family home or the home of a relative at least every 12 months and submit a report to the court on each visit. For children in out-of-state group home facilities, visits shall be conducted at least monthly, pursuant to Section 16516.5. At least once every six months, at the time of a regularly scheduled social worker contact with the foster child, the child’s social worker shall inform the child of his or her rights as a foster child, as specified in Section 16001.9. The social worker shall provide the information to the child in a manner appropriate to the age or developmental level of the child.
(5) (A) When out-of-home services are used, the frequency of contact between the natural parents or legal guardians and the child shall be specified in the case plan. The frequency of those contacts shall reflect overall case goals, and consider other principles outlined in this section.
(B) Information regarding any court-ordered visitation between the child and the natural parents or legal guardians, and the terms and conditions needed to facilitate the visits while protecting the safety of the child, shall be provided to the child’s out-of-home caregiver as soon as possible after the court order is made.
(6) When out-of-home placement is made, the case plan shall include provisions for the development and maintenance of sibling relationships as specified in subdivisions (b), (c), and (d) of Section 16002. If appropriate, when siblings who are dependents of the juvenile court are not placed together, the social worker for each child, if different, shall communicate with each of the other social workers and ensure that the child’s siblings are informed of significant life events that occur within their extended family. Unless it has been determined that it is inappropriate in a particular case to keep siblings informed of significant life events that occur within the extended family, the social worker shall determine the appropriate means and setting for disclosure of this information to the child commensurate with the child’s age and emotional well-being. These significant life events shall include, but shall not be limited to, the following:
(A) The death of an immediate relative.
(B) The birth of a sibling.
(C) Significant changes regarding a dependent child, unless the child objects to the sharing of the information with his or her siblings, including changes in placement, major medical or mental health diagnoses, treatments, or hospitalizations, arrests, and changes in the permanent plan.
(7) If out-of-home placement is made in a foster family home, group home or other child care institution that is either a substantial distance from the home of the child’s parent or out of state, the case plan shall specify the reasons why that placement is in the best interest of the child. When an out-of-state group home placement is recommended or made, the case plan shall, in addition, specify compliance with Section 7911.1 of the Family Code.
(8) (A) If out-of-home services are used, or if parental rights have been terminated and the case plan is placement for adoption, the case plan shall include a recommendation regarding the appropriateness of unsupervised visitation between the child and any of the child’s siblings. This recommendation shall include a statement regarding the child’s and the siblings’ willingness to participate in unsupervised visitation. If the case plan includes a recommendation for unsupervised sibling visitation, the plan shall also note that information necessary to accomplish this visitation has been provided to the child or to the child’s siblings.
(B) Information regarding the schedule and frequency of the visits between the child and siblings, as well as any court-ordered terms and conditions needed to facilitate the visits while protecting the safety of the child, shall be provided to the child’s out-of-home caregiver as soon as possible after the court order is made.
(9) If out-of-home services are used and the goal is reunification, the case plan shall describe the services to be provided to assist in reunification and the services to be provided concurrently to achieve legal permanency if efforts to reunify fail. The plan shall also consider the importance of developing and maintaining sibling relationships pursuant to Section 16002, and the desire and willingness of the caregiver to provide legal permanency for the child if reunification is unsuccessful.
(10) If out-of-home services are used, the child has been in care for at least 12 months, and the goal is not adoptive placement, the case plan shall include documentation of the compelling reason or reasons why termination of parental rights is not in the child’s best interest. A determination completed or updated within the past 12 months by the department when it is acting as an adoption agency or by a licensed adoption agency that it is unlikely that the child will be adopted, or that one of the conditions described in paragraph (1) of subdivision (c) of Section 366.26 applies, shall be deemed a compelling reason.
(11) (A) Parents and legal guardians shall have an opportunity to review the case plan, and to sign it whenever possible, and then shall receive a copy of the plan. In any voluntary service or placement agreement, the parents or legal guardians shall be required to review and sign the case plan. Whenever possible, parents and legal guardians shall participate in the development of the case plan.
(B) Parents and legal guardians shall be advised that, pursuant to Section 1228.1 of the Evidence Code, neither their signature on the child welfare services case plan nor their acceptance of any services prescribed in the child welfare services case plan shall constitute an admission of guilt or be used as evidence against the parent or legal guardian in a court of law. However, they shall also be advised that the parent’s or guardian’s failure to cooperate, except for good cause, in the provision of services specified in the child welfare services case plan may be used in any hearing held pursuant to Section 366.21 or 366.22 as evidence.
(12) The case plan shall be included in the court report and shall be considered by the court at the initial hearing and each review hearing. Modifications to the case plan made during the period between review hearings need not be approved by the court if the casework supervisor for that case determines that the modifications further the goals of the plan. If out-of-home services are used with the goal of family reunification, the case plan shall consider and describe the application of subdivision (b) of Section 11203.
(13) If the case plan has as its goal for the child a permanent plan of adoption or placement in another permanent home, it shall include documentation of the steps the agency is taking to find an adoptive family or other permanent living arrangements for the child; to place the child with an adoptive family, an appropriate and willing relative, a legal guardian, or in another planned permanent living arrangement; and to finalize the adoption or legal guardianship. At a minimum, the documentation shall include child specific recruitment efforts, such as the use of state, regional, and national adoption exchanges, including electronic exchange systems, when the child has been freed for adoption.
(14) When appropriate, for a child who is 16 years of age or older, the case plan shall include a written description of the programs and services that will help the child prepare for the transition from foster care to independent living. The case plan shall be developed with the child and individuals identified as important to the child, and shall include steps the agency is taking to ensure that the child has a connection to a caring adult.
(h) If the court finds, after considering the case plan, that unsupervised sibling visitation is appropriate and has been consented to, the court shall order that the child or the child’s siblings, the child’s current caregiver, and the child’s prospective adoptive parents, if applicable, be provided with information necessary to accomplish this visitation. This section does not require or prohibit the social worker’s facilitation, transportation, or supervision of visits between the child and his or her siblings.
(i) The case plan documentation on sibling placements required under this section shall not require modification of existing case plan forms until the Child Welfare Services Case Management System is implemented on a statewide basis.
(j) When a child who is 10 years of age or older has been in out-of-home placement in a group home for six months or longer from the date the child entered foster care, the case plan shall include an identification of individuals, other than the child’s siblings, who are important to the child and actions necessary to maintain the child’s relationship with those individuals, provided that those relationships are in the best interest of the child. The social worker shall ask every child who is 10 years of age or older who is placed in group home to identify any individuals other than the child’s siblings who are important to the child, and may ask any child who is younger than 10 years of age to provide that information, as appropriate. The social worker shall make efforts to identify other individuals who are important to the child, consistent with the child’s best interests.
(k) The child’s caregiver shall be provided a copy of a plan outlining the child’s needs and services.
(l) The department, in consultation with the County Welfare Directors Association and other advocates, shall develop standards and guidelines for a model relative placement search and assessment process based on the criteria established in Section 361.3. These guidelines shall be incorporated in the training described in Section 16206. These model standards and guidelines shall be developed by March 1, 1999.

SEC. 17.

 Section 16.1 of this bill incorporates amendments to Section 16501.1 of the Welfare and Institutions Code proposed by both this bill and AB 408. It shall only become operative if (1) both bills are enacted and become effective on or before January 1, 2004, and AB 1151 and SB 591 are not enacted or do not amend Section 16501.1 of the Welfare and Institutions Code, (2) each bill amends Section 16501.1 of the Welfare and Institutions Code, and (3) this bill is enacted after AB 408, in which case Sections 16, 16.2, 16.3, 16.4, 16.5, and 16.6 of this bill shall not become operative.

SEC. 18.

 Section 16.2 of this bill incorporates amendments to Section 16501.1 of the Welfare and Institutions Code proposed by both this bill and AB 1151. It shall only become operative if (1) both bills are enacted and become effective on or before January 1, 2004, and AB 408 and SB 591 are not enacted or do not amend Section 16501.1 of the Welfare and Institutions Code, (2) each bill amends Section 16501.1 of the Welfare and Institutions Code, and (3) this bill is enacted after AB 1151, in which case Sections 16, 16.1, 16.3, 16.4, 16.5, 16.6, and 16.7 of this bill shall not become operative.

SEC. 19.

 Section 16.3 of this bill incorporates amendments to Section 16501.1 of the Welfare and Institutions Code proposed by both this bill and SB 591. It shall only become operative if (1) both bills are enacted and become effective on or before January 1, 2004, and AB 408 and AB 1151 are not enacted or do not amend Section 16501.1 of the Welfare and Institutions Code (2) each bill amends Section 16501.1 of the Welfare and Institutions Code, and (3) this bill is enacted after AB 490, in which case Sections 16, 16.1, 16.2, 16.4, 16.5, 16.6, and 16.7 of this bill shall not become operative.

SEC. 20.

 Section 16.4 of this bill incorporates amendments to Section 16501.1 of the Welfare and Institutions Code proposed by this bill, AB 408, and AB 1151. It shall only become operative if (1) these 3 bills are enacted and become effective on or before January 1, 2004, and SB 591 is not enacted or does not amend Section 16501 of the Welfare and Institutions Code, (2) each bill amends Section 16501.1 of the Welfare and Institutions Code, and (3) this bill is enacted after AB 408 and AB 1151, in which case Sections 16, 16.1, 16.2, 16.3, 16.5, 16.6, and 16.7 of this bill shall not become operative.

SEC. 21.

 Section 16.5 of this bill incorporates amendments to Section 16501.1 of the Welfare and Institutions Code proposed by this bill, AB 408, and SB 591. It shall only become operative if (1) these 3 bills are enacted and become effective on or before January 1, 2004, and AB 1151 is not enacted or does not amend Section 16501 of the Welfare and Institutions Code, (2) each bill amends Section 16501.1 of the Welfare and Institutions Code, and (3) this bill is enacted after AB 408 and SB 591, in which case Sections 16, 16.1, 16.2, 16.3, 16.4, 16.6, and 16.7 of this bill shall not become operative.

SEC. 22.

 Section 16.6 of this bill incorporates amendments to Section 16501.1 of the Welfare and Institutions Code proposed by this bill, AB 1151, and SB 591. It shall only become operative if (1) these 2 bills are enacted and become effective on or before January 1, 2004, and AB 408 is not enacted or does not amend Section 16501.1 of the Welfare and Institutions Code (2) each bill amends Section 16501.1 of the Welfare and Institutions Code, and (3) this bill is enacted after AB 1151 and SB 591, which case Sections 16, 16.1, 16.2, 16.3, 16.4, 16.5, and 16.7 of this bill shall not become operative.

SEC. 1.7.

 

SEC. 24.

 Section 16.7 of this bill incorporates amendments to Section 16501.1 of the Welfare and Institutions Code proposed by both this bill, AB 408, AB 1151, and SB 591. It shall only become operative if (1) all 4 bills are enacted and become effective on or before January 1, 2004, (2) each bill amends Section 16501.1 of the Welfare and Institutions Code, and (3) this bill is enacted after AB 408, AB 1151, and SB 591, in which case Sections 16, 16.1, 16.2, 16.3, 16.4, 16.5, and 16.6 of this bill shall not become operative.

SEC. 25.

 No reimbursement is required by this act pursuant to Section 6 of Article XIII B of the California Constitution because this act implements a federal law or regulation and results only in costs mandated by the federal government, within the meaning of Section 17556 of the Government Code.