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SB-384 Juveniles: relative placement: family finding.(2021-2022)

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Date Published: 03/11/2021 09:00 PM
SB384:v98#DOCUMENT

Amended  IN  Senate  March 11, 2021

CALIFORNIA LEGISLATURE— 2021–2022 REGULAR SESSION

Senate Bill
No. 384


Introduced by Senator Cortese

February 10, 2021


An act to amend Sections 309 and 628 of the Welfare and Institutions Code, relating to juveniles.


LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


SB 384, as amended, Cortese. Juveniles: relative placement: family finding.
Existing law requires a county social worker to investigate the circumstances of each child taken into temporary custody by a peace officer who has reasonable cause to believe the child is the victim of abuse or neglect. Existing law similarly requires a probation officer to investigate the circumstances of a minor who has been taken into temporary custody due to the commission of a crime or truancy. Existing law requires the social worker, and the probation officer if the probation officer has reason to believe that the minor is at risk of entering a foster care placement, to conduct an investigation to identify and locate adult relatives of the child, as specified, and to provide them with a notification that the child has been removed from the custody of the child’s parents, guardians, or Indian custodian, and an explanation of the various options to participate in the care and placement of the child. Existing law further requires the social worker and probation officer to use due diligence in investigating the names and locations of the relatives, including, but not limited to, asking the child in an age-appropriate manner about relatives important to the child and obtaining information regarding the location of the child’s adult relatives.
This bill would require county welfare departments and probation departments to notify the State Department of Social Services and the Office of the State Foster Care Ombudsperson, on or before January 1, 2023, as to whether it has adopted certain suggested practices for family finding and whether the practice has been implemented. If a county welfare department or probation department has not adopted one of the suggested practices for family finding, the bill would require the county department to provide a copy to the State Department of Social Services and the Office of the State Foster Care Ombudsperson of its existing family finding policies and practices in existence prior to January 1, 2022. The bill would specify that the required due diligence of the social worker or probation officer shall include family finding, which the bill defines as identifying conducting an investigation to identify relatives and kin through a computer-based search engine, which connects and to connect a child or youth, who may be disconnected from their parents, with those relatives and kin in an effort to provide family support and possible placement. By imposing new duties on county officials, the 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.

 Section 309 of the Welfare and Institutions Code is amended to read:

309.
 (a) Upon delivery to the social worker of a child who has been taken into temporary custody under this article, the social worker shall immediately investigate the circumstances of the child and the facts surrounding the child’s being taken into custody and attempt to maintain the child with the child’s family through the provision of services. The social worker shall immediately release the child to the custody of the child’s parent, guardian, Indian custodian, or relative, regardless of the parent’s, guardian’s, Indian custodian’s, or relative’s immigration status, unless one or more of the following conditions exist:
(1) The child has no parent, guardian, Indian custodian, or relative willing to provide care for the child.
(2) Continued detention of the child is a matter of immediate and urgent necessity for the protection of the child and there are no reasonable means by which the child can be protected in the child’s home or the home of a relative.
(3) If it is known or there is reason to know the child is an Indian child, the child has been physically removed from the custody of a parent or parents or an Indian custodian, continued detention of the child continues to be necessary to prevent imminent physical damage or harm to the child, and there are no reasonable means by which the child can be protected if maintained in the physical custody of the child’s parent or parents or Indian custodian.
(4) There is substantial evidence that a parent, guardian, or Indian custodian of the child is likely to flee the jurisdiction of the court, and, in the case of an Indian child, fleeing the jurisdiction will place the child at risk of imminent physical damage or harm.
(5) The child has left a placement in which the child was placed by the juvenile court.
(6) The parent or other person having lawful custody of the child voluntarily surrendered physical custody of the child pursuant to Section 1255.7 of the Health and Safety Code and did not reclaim the child within the 14-day period specified in subdivision (g) of that section.
(b) In any case in which there is reasonable cause for believing that a child who is under the care of a physician and surgeon or a hospital, clinic, or other medical facility, cannot be immediately moved, and is a person described in Section 300, the child shall be deemed to have been taken into temporary custody and delivered to the social worker for the purposes of this chapter while the child is at the office of the physician and surgeon or the medical facility.
(c) If the child is not released to the child’s parent or guardian, the child shall be deemed detained for purposes of this chapter.
(d) (1) If a relative, as defined in Section 319, an extended family member of an Indian child, as defined in Section 224.1 and Section 1903 of the federal Indian Child Welfare Act of 1978 (25 U.S.C. Sec. 1901 et seq.), or a nonrelative extended family member, as defined in Section 362.7, is available and requests emergency placement of the child pending the detention hearing, or after the detention hearing and pending the dispositional hearing conducted pursuant to Section 358, the county welfare department shall initiate an assessment of the relative’s or nonrelative extended family member’s suitability for emergency placement pursuant to Section 361.4.
(2) Upon completion of the assessment pursuant to Section 361.4, the child may be placed in the home on an emergency basis. Following the emergency placement of the child, the county welfare department shall evaluate and approve or deny the home pursuant to Section 16519.5. If the home in which the Indian child is placed is licensed or approved by the child’s tribe, the provisions of Section 16519.5 do not apply for further approval. The county shall require the relative or nonrelative extended family member to submit an application for approval as a resource family and initiate the home environment assessment no later than five business days after the placement.
(e) (1) If the child is removed, the social worker shall conduct, within 30 days, an investigation in order to identify and locate all grandparents, parents of a sibling of the child, if the parent has legal custody of the sibling, adult siblings, other adult relatives of the child, as defined in paragraph (2) of subdivision (f) of Section 319, including any other adult relatives suggested by the parents, and, if it is known or there is reason to know the child is an Indian child, any extended family members, as defined in Section 224.1 and Section 1903 of the federal Indian Child Welfare Act of 1978 (25 U.S.C. Sec. 1901 et seq.). As used in this section, “sibling” means a person related to the identified child by blood, adoption, or affinity through a common legal or biological parent. The social worker shall provide to all adult relatives who are located, except when that relative’s history of family or domestic violence makes notification inappropriate, within 30 days of removal of the child, written notification and shall also, whenever appropriate, provide oral notification, in person or by telephone, of all the following information:
(A) The child has been removed from the custody of the child’s parent or parents, guardian or guardians, or Indian custodian.
(B) An explanation of the various options to participate in the care and placement of the child and support for the child’s family, including any options that may be lost by failing to respond. The notice shall provide information about providing care for the child while the family receives reunification services with the goal of returning the child to the parent or guardian, how to become a resource family, and additional services and support that are available in out-of-home placements, and, if it is known or there is reason to know the child is an Indian child, the option of obtaining approval for placement through the tribe’s license or approval procedure. The notice shall also include information regarding the Kin-GAP Program (Article 4.5 (commencing with Section 11360) of Chapter 2 of Part 3 of Division 9), the CalWORKs program for approved relative caregivers (Chapter 2 (commencing with Section 11200) of Part 3 of Division 9), adoption, and adoption assistance (Chapter 2.1 (commencing with Section 16115) of Part 4 of Division 9), as well as other options for contact with the child, including, but not limited to, visitation. The State Department of Social Services, in consultation with the County Welfare Directors Association of California and other interested stakeholders, shall develop the written notice.
(2) The social worker shall also provide the adult relatives notified pursuant to paragraph (1) with a relative information form to provide information to the social worker and the court regarding the needs of the child. The form shall include a provision whereby the relative may request the permission of the court to address the court, if the relative so chooses. The Judicial Council, in consultation with the State Department of Social Services and the County Welfare Directors Association of California, shall develop the form.
(3) (A) The social worker shall use due diligence in investigating the names and locations of the relatives, including as well as any parent and alleged parent, pursuant to paragraph (1), including, but not limited to, asking the child in an age-appropriate manner about any parent, alleged parent, and relatives important to the child, consistent with the child’s best interest, and obtaining information regarding the location of the child’s parents, alleged parents, and adult relatives. Each county welfare department shall do both of the following:
(i) Create and make public a procedure by which a parent and relatives of a child who has been removed from their parents or guardians may identify themselves to the county welfare department and be provided the county welfare department shall provide parents and relatives with the notices required by paragraphs (1) and (2).
(ii) Notify the State Department of Social Services and the Office of the State Foster Care Ombudsperson, on or before January 1, 2023, in an email or other correspondence, whether it has adopted one of the suggested practices for family finding described in All-County Letter 18-42 and, generally, whether the practice has been implemented through training, memoranda, manuals, or comparable documents. If a county welfare department has not adopted one of the suggested practices for family finding described in All-County Letter 18-42, the county welfare department shall provide a copy to the State Department of Social Services and the Office of the State Foster Care Ombudsperson of its existing family finding policies and practices, as reflected in memoranda, handbooks, manuals, training manuals, or any other document, that are in existence prior to January 1, 2022.
(B) The due diligence required under subparagraph (A) shall include family finding. For purposes of this section, “family finding” means identifying conducting an investigation, including, but not limited to, through a computer-based search engine, to identify relatives and kin through a computer-based search engine, which connects and to connect a child or youth, who may be disconnected from their parents, with those relatives and kin in an effort to provide family support and possible placement.

SEC. 2.

 Section 628 of the Welfare and Institutions Code is amended to read:

628.
 (a) (1) Upon delivery to the probation officer of a minor who has been taken into temporary custody under the provisions of this article, the probation officer shall immediately investigate the circumstances of the minor and the facts surrounding their being taken into custody and shall immediately release the minor to the custody of their parent, legal guardian, or responsible relative unless it can be demonstrated upon the evidence before the court that continuance in the home is contrary to the minor’s welfare and one or more of the following conditions exist:
(A) Continued detention of the minor is a matter of immediate and urgent necessity for the protection of the minor or reasonable necessity for the protection of the person or property of another.
(B) The minor is likely to flee the jurisdiction of the court.
(C) The minor has violated an order of the juvenile court.
(2) The probation officer’s decision to detain a minor who is currently a dependent of the juvenile court pursuant to Section 300 or the subject of a petition to declare the minor a dependent of the juvenile court pursuant to Section 300 and who has been removed from the custody of their parent or guardian by the juvenile court shall not be based on any of the following:
(A) The minor’s status as a dependent of the juvenile court or as the subject of a petition to declare the minor a dependent of the juvenile court.
(B) A determination that continuance in the minor’s current placement is contrary to the minor’s welfare.
(C) The child welfare services department’s inability to provide a placement for the minor.
(3) The probation officer shall immediately release a minor described in paragraph (2) to the custody of the child welfare services department or the minor’s current foster parent or other caregiver unless the probation officer determines that one or more of the conditions in paragraph (1) exist.
(4) This section does not limit a probation officer’s authority to refer a minor to child welfare services.
(b) If the probation officer has reason to believe that the minor is at risk of entering foster care placement, as defined in paragraphs (1) and (2) of subdivision (d) of Section 727.4, the probation officer shall, as part of the investigation undertaken pursuant to subdivision (a), make reasonable efforts, as described in paragraph (5) of subdivision (d) of Section 727.4, to prevent or eliminate the need for removal of the minor from their home.
(c) In any case in which there is reasonable cause for believing that a minor who is under the care of a physician or surgeon or a hospital, clinic, or other medical facility and cannot be immediately moved is a person described in subdivision (d) of Section 300, the minor shall be deemed to have been taken into temporary custody and delivered to the probation officer for the purposes of this chapter while the minor is at the office of the physician or surgeon or that medical facility.
(d) (1) It is the intent of the Legislature that this subdivision shall comply with paragraph (29) of subsection (a) of Section 671 of Title 42 of the United States Code as added by the Fostering Connections to Success and Increasing Adoptions Act of 2008 (Public Law 110-351). It is further the intent of the Legislature that the identification and notification of relatives shall be made as early as possible after the removal of a youth who is at risk of entering foster care placement.
(2) If the minor is detained and the probation officer has reason to believe that the minor is at risk of entering foster care placement, as defined in paragraphs (1) and (2) of subdivision (d) of Section 727.4, then the probation officer shall conduct, within 30 days, an investigation in order to identify and locate all grandparents, adult siblings, and other relatives of the child, as defined in paragraph (2) of subdivision (f) of Section 319, including any other adult relatives suggested by the parents. The probation officer shall provide to all adult relatives who are located, except when that relative’s history of family or domestic violence makes notification inappropriate, within 30 days of the date on which the child is detained, written notification and shall also, whenever appropriate, provide oral notification, in person or by telephone, of all the following information:
(A) The child has been removed from the custody of the child’s parent or parents, or guardians.
(B) An explanation of the various options to participate in the care and placement of the child and support for the child’s family, including any options that may be lost by failing to respond. The notice shall provide information about providing care for the child, how to become a foster family home, approved relative or nonrelative extended family member, as defined in Section 362.7, or resource family home, and additional services and support that are available in out-of-home placements. The notice shall also include information regarding the Kin-GAP Program (Article 4.5 (commencing with Section 11360) of Chapter 2 of Part 3 of Division 9), the CalWORKs program for approved relative caregivers (Chapter 2 (commencing with Section 11200) of Part 3 of Division 9), adoption and adoption assistance (Chapter 2.1 (commencing with Section 16115) of Part 4 of Division 9), as well as other options for contact with the child, including, but not limited to, visitation. When oral notification is provided, the probation officer is not required to provide detailed information about the various options to help with the care and placement of the child.
(3) (A) The probation officer shall use due diligence in investigating the names and locations of the relatives, including any parent and alleged parent, pursuant to paragraph (2), including, but not limited to, asking the child in an age-appropriate manner about any parent, alleged parent, and relatives important to the child, consistent with the child’s best interest, and obtaining information regarding the location of the child’s parents, alleged parents, and adult relatives. Each county probation department shall do both of the following:
(i) Create and make public a procedure by which a parent and relatives of a child who has been removed from their parents or guardians may identify themselves to the county probation department and be provided with the notices required by paragraphs (1) and (2).
(ii) Notify the State Department of Social Services and the Office of the State Foster Care Ombudsperson, on or before January 1, 2023, in an email or other correspondence, whether it has adopted one of the suggested practices for family finding described in All-County Letter 18-42 and, generally, whether the practice has been implemented through training, memoranda, manuals, or comparable documents. If a county probation department has not adopted one of the suggested practices for family finding described in All-County Letter 18-42, the county probation department shall provide a copy to the State Department of Social Services and the Office of the State Foster Care Ombudsperson of its existing family finding policies and practices, as reflected in memoranda, handbooks, manuals, training manuals, or any other document, that are in existence prior to January 1, 2022.
(B) The due diligence required under subparagraph (A) shall include family finding. For purposes of this section, “family finding” means identifying conducting an investigation, including, but not limited to, through a computer-based search engine, to identify relatives and kin through a computer-based search engine, which connects and to connect a child or youth, who may be disconnected from their parents, with those relatives and kin in an effort to provide family support and possible placement.
(4) To the extent allowed by federal law as a condition of receiving funding under Title IV-E of the federal Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. Sec. 670 et seq.), if the probation officer did not conduct the identification and notification of relatives, as required in paragraph (2), but the court orders foster care placement, the probation officer shall conduct the investigation to find and notify relatives within 30 days of the placement order. Nothing in this section shall be construed to delay foster care placement for an individual child.

SEC. 3.

 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.