Bill Text

Bill Information

PDF |Add To My Favorites |Track Bill | print page

AB-1324 Foster children: immigration counsel.(2019-2020)

SHARE THIS:share this bill in Facebookshare this bill in Twitter
Date Published: 04/24/2019 09:00 PM
AB1324:v98#DOCUMENT

Amended  IN  Assembly  April 24, 2019

CALIFORNIA LEGISLATURE— 2019–2020 REGULAR SESSION

Assembly Bill
No. 1324


Introduced by Assembly Member Levine

February 22, 2019


An act to amend Sections 13300 and 13301 of, and to add Section 366.06 to, 13300, 13301, and 16010.6 of the Welfare and Institutions Code, relating to foster children.


LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


AB 1324, as amended, Levine. Foster children: immigration counsel.
Existing law requires the State Department of Social Services, subject to the availability of funding, to contract with qualified nonprofit legal services organizations to provide legal services to unaccompanied, undocumented minors, as defined, who are transferred to the care and custody of the federal Office of Refugee Resettlement and who are present in this state.
This bill would additionally require the department, subject to the availability of funding, to contract with nonprofit legal services organizations to provide legal services to children who are undocumented immigrants in foster care and undocumented immigrants who are dependent children or nonminor dependents of the juvenile court or who are the subject of an order for out-of-home placement through the juvenile court and would specify the required qualifications for those nonprofit legal services organizations.

Existing law requires the status of every dependent child in foster care to be reviewed periodically, as determined by the court, but no less frequently than once every 6 months and requires that a supplemental report be filed as part of that review.

The bill would also require social workers to include in any reports to the juvenile court regarding a dependent child who is an undocumented immigrant specified information relating to the minor’s immigration matter. By imposing additional duties on county social workers, this bill would impose a state-mandated local program.

Existing law requires, as soon as a placing agency makes a decision with respect to a placement or a change in placement of a dependent child, but not later than the close of the following business day, the placing agency to notify the child’s attorney and provide to the child’s attorney information regarding the child’s address, telephone number, and caregiver.
This bill would require, when a placing agency becomes aware that a dependent child or nonminor dependent is an undocumented immigrant, the placing agency to notify the dependent child’s or nonminor dependent’s attorney of that fact. The bill would require electronic or telephonic notice to be provided to the attorney within 72 hours of learning of the minor or nonminor dependent’s immigration status. By imposing additional duties on county agencies, this bill would impose a state-mandated local program.
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.
Vote: MAJORITY   Appropriation: NO   Fiscal Committee: YES   Local Program: YES  

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


SECTION 1.

 (a) The Legislature finds and declares all of the following:
(1) Almost all undocumented children in foster care qualify for immigration relief, but that relief is difficult to obtain without an attorney, especially in the current political climate.
(2) Children who emancipate from foster care without submitting an application for Special Juvenile Immigrant Status are unable to apply later and will subsequently be unable to work and to successfully transition to adulthood.
(3) Section 391 of the Welfare and Institutions Code requires that, prior to terminating dependency jurisdiction over a nonminor, the county welfare department ensure that, when applicable, a nonminor is provided with proof of citizenship or legal residency.
(4) Subdivision (e) of Section 317 of the Welfare and Institutions Code requires a minor’s counsel to inform the court of other legal needs outside of the juvenile court proceedings.
(b) It is the intent of the Legislature in enacting this act to create accountability in ensuring that foster children emancipating from foster care have received all immigration relief to which they are entitled. It is further the intent of the Legislature to identify a source of funding to enable counties to provide immigration counsel to all children in foster care.
SEC. 2.Section 366.06 is added to the Welfare and Institutions Code, to read:
366.06.

In all cases in which a minor who is an undocumented immigrant is adjudged a dependent child of the court on the ground that the minor is a person described by Section 300, the social worker shall include in all reports made to the court concerning the child a description of the efforts made to assist the minor with obtaining legal counsel and any immigration relief to which the minor is entitled and the status of any immigration matter concerning the minor.

SEC. 3.SEC. 2.

 Section 13300 of the Welfare and Institutions Code is amended to read:

13300.
 (a) (1) Subject to the availability of funding in the act that added this chapter or the annual Budget Act, funding, the department shall contract, as described in Section 13301, with qualified nonprofit legal services organizations to provide legal services to unaccompanied undocumented minors who are transferred to the care and custody of the federal Office of Refugee Resettlement and who are present in this state.
(2) Legal services provided in accordance with paragraph (1) shall be for the sole purpose of providing legal representation to unaccompanied undocumented minors who are in the physical custody of the federal Office of Refugee Resettlement or who are residing with a family member or other sponsor.
(b) Subject to the availability of funding in the act that added this subdivision or the annual Budget Act, funding, the department shall contract, as described in Section 13301, with qualified nonprofit legal services organizations to provide legal services to childrenwho are undocumented immigrants in foster care. undocumented immigrants who are dependent children or nonminor dependents or who are the subject of an order for out-of-home placement through the juvenile court.
(c) For purposes of this chapter, the term “unaccompanied undocumented minors” means unaccompanied alien children as defined in Section 279(g)(2) of Title 6 of the United States Code.
(d) For purposes of this chapter, the term “legal services” includes culturally and linguistically appropriate services provided by attorneys, paralegals, interpreters and other support staff for state court proceedings, federal immigration proceedings, and any appeals arising from those proceedings.

SEC. 4.SEC. 3.

 Section 13301 of the Welfare and Institutions Code is amended to read:

13301.
 Contracts awarded pursuant to Section 13300 shall fulfill all of the following:
(a) (1) With regard to contracts awarded pursuant to subdivision (a) of Section 13300, be executed only with nonprofit legal services organizations that meet all of the following requirements:
(A) Have at least three years of experience handling asylum, T-Visa, U-Visa, or special immigrant juvenile status cases and have represented at least 25 individuals in these matters.
(B) Have experience in representing individuals in removal proceedings and asylum applications.
(C) Have conducted trainings on these issues for practitioners beyond their staff.
(D) Have experience guiding and supervising the work of attorneys whom themselves do not regularly participate in this area of the law but nevertheless work pro bono on the types of cases described in paragraph (1).
(E) Are accredited by the Board of Immigration Appeals under the United States Department of Justice’s Executive Office for Immigration Review or meet the requirements to receive funding from the Trust Fund Program administered by the State Bar of California.
(2) With regard to contracts awarded pursuant to subdivision (b) of Section 13300, be executed only with nonprofit legal services organizations that meet either of the following requirements:
(A) Have at least three years of experience handling special immigrant juvenile status cases and have represented at least 25 individuals in these matters.
(B) Have at least three years of experience representing minors in dependency cases and have access to training and technical support on immigration matters.
(b) Provide for legal services on a fee-per-case basis, as determined by the department, which shall include all administrative and supervisory costs and court fees.
(c) Require reporting, monitoring, or audits of services provided, as determined by the department.
(d) Require contractors with contracts described in subdivision (a) of Section 13300 to coordinate efforts with the federal Office of Refugee Resettlement Legal Access Project in order to respond to and assist or represent unaccompanied undocumented minors who could benefit from the services provided under this chapter.
(e) Require contractors to maintain adequate legal malpractice insurance and to indemnify and hold the state harmless from any claims that arise from the legal services provided pursuant to this chapter.

SEC. 4.

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

16010.6.
 (a) As soon as a placing agency makes a decision with respect to a placement or a change in placement of a dependent child, but not later than the close of the following business day, the placing agency shall notify the child’s attorney and provide to the child’s attorney information regarding the child’s address, telephone number, and caregiver.
(b) (1) A placing agency shall not make a placement or a change in placement of a child outside the United States prior to a judicial finding that the placement is in the best interest of the child, except as required by federal law or treaty.
(2) The placing agency shall carry the burden of proof and show, by clear and convincing evidence, that placement outside the United States is in the best interest of the child.
(3) In determining the best interest of the child, the court shall consider, but not be limited to, the following factors:
(A) Placement with a relative.
(B) Placement of siblings in the same home.
(C) Amount and nature of any contact between the child and the potential guardian or caretaker.
(D) Physical and medical needs of the dependent child.
(E) Psychological and emotional needs of the dependent child.
(F) Social, cultural, and educational needs of the dependent child.
(G) Specific desires of any dependent child who is 12 years of age or older.
(4) If the court finds that a placement outside the United States is, by clear and convincing evidence, in the best interest of the child, the court may issue an order authorizing the placing agency to make a placement outside the United States. A child subject to this subdivision shall not leave the United States prior to the issuance of the order described in this paragraph.
(5) For purposes of this subdivision, “outside the United States” shall not include the lands of any federally recognized American Indian tribe or Alaskan Natives.
(6) This section shall not apply to the placement of a dependent child with a parent.
(c) Absent exigent circumstances, as soon as a placing agency becomes aware of the need for a change in placement of a dependent child or ward that will result in the separation of siblings currently placed together, the placing agency shall notify the child’s attorney and the child’s siblings’ attorney of this proposed separation no less than 10 calendar days prior to the planned change of placement so that the attorneys may investigate the circumstances of the proposed separation. If the placing agency first becomes aware, by written notification from a foster family agency, group home, or other foster care provider, of the need for a change in placement for a dependent child or ward that will result in the separation of siblings currently placed together, and that the child or children shall be removed within seven days, then notice shall be provided to the attorneys by the end of the next business day after the receipt of notice from the provider. In an emergency, the placing agency shall provide notice as soon as possible, but no later than the close of the first business day following the change of placement. This notification shall be deemed sufficient notice for the purposes of subdivision (a).
(d) When the required notice is given prior to a change in placement, the notice shall include information regarding the child’s address, telephone number, and caregiver or any one or more of these items of information to the extent that this information is known at the time that the placing agency provides notice to the child’s attorney. When the required notice is given after the change in placement, notice shall include information regarding the child’s address, telephone number, and caregiver.
(e) The Judicial Council shall adopt a rule of court directing the attorney for a child for whom a dependency petition has been filed, upon receipt from the agency responsible for placing the child of the name, address, and telephone number of the child’s caregiver, to timely provide the attorney’s contact information to the caregiver and, if the child is 10 years of age or older, to the child. This rule does not preclude an attorney from giving contact information to a child who is younger than 10 years of age.
(f) When the placing agency becomes aware that a dependent child or a nonminor dependent is an undocumented immigrant, the placing agency shall notify the dependent child’s or nonminor dependent’s attorney that the dependent child or nonminor dependent is an undocumented immigrant. Electronic or telephonic notice shall be provided to the attorney within 72 hours of learning of the dependent child’s or nonminor dependent’s immigration status.

SEC. 5.

 To the extent that this act has an overall effect of increasing the costs already borne by a local agency for programs or levels of service mandated by the 2011 Realignment Legislation within the meaning of Section 36 of Article XIII of the California Constitution, it shall apply to local agencies only to the extent that the state provides annual funding for the cost increase. Any new program or higher level of service provided by a local agency pursuant to this act above the level for which funding has been provided shall not require a subvention of funds by the state or otherwise be subject to Section 6 of Article XIII B of the California Constitution.