Code Section Group

Welfare and Institutions Code - WIC

DIVISION 9. PUBLIC SOCIAL SERVICES [10000 - 18999.98]

  ( Division 9 added by Stats. 1965, Ch. 1784. )

PART 4. SERVICES FOR THE CARE OF CHILDREN [16000 - 16589]

  ( Heading of Part 4 amended by Stats. 1978, Ch. 429. )

CHAPTER 5. State Child Welfare Services [16500 - 16523.59]

  ( Heading of Chapter 5 amended by Stats. 1982, Ch. 978, Sec. 33. )

ARTICLE 3. Miscellaneous Provisions [16520 - 16521.8]
  ( Article 3 heading added by Stats. 2016, Ch. 612, Sec. 126. )

16520.
  

The Legislature recognizes that wards and dependent children share many characteristics, often have similar family histories, and often require similar services such as out-of-home placement. The Legislature also recognizes that while there are similarities in the characteristics and service needs of the ward and dependent populations, there are also significant differences, the first being that the wards have been found responsible for committing offenses. Given this difference, the Legislature deems it imperative that placement agencies give special consideration when placing wards to factors which are not as significant when placing dependent children, including the effect on, including safety of, the community in which the out-of-home placement facility is located. However, the Legislature also acknowledges that for some wards, separate from the issue of accountability and punishment with regard to the offense, after satisfying the orders of the court with regard to the offense, placement in the out-of-home care system, with board and care funded through the Aid to Families with Dependent Children-Foster Care program, is appropriate and in their best interest.

In order to ensure that wards in the out-of-home care system, with board and care funded through the Aid to Families with Dependent Children-Foster Care program, receive appropriate services, and to ensure that applicable federal and state statutory requirements are met, it is the intent of the Legislature that the State Department of Social Services, regulate and monitor these placement activities.

(Added by Stats. 1993, Ch. 1089, Sec. 36. Effective January 1, 1994.)

16521.
  

The State Department of Social Services, in consultation with representatives of local probation departments, foster care providers, and other interested parties, shall review federal and state statutes, federal requirements, and state regulations pertaining to the placement of children whose board and care is funded through the Aid to Families with Dependent Children-Foster Care program, and shall by January 1, 1995, develop regulations which identify specific initial and ongoing placement activities which must be performed by the probation department to ensure the needs of wards in placement whose board and care is funded through the Aid to Families with Dependent Children-Foster Care program are met.

(Added by Stats. 1993, Ch. 1089, Sec. 37. Effective January 1, 1994.)

16521.3.
  

(a) The Department of General Services and all other affected state agencies shall cooperate with the State Department of Social Services and the California Health and Human Services Agency Data Center to expedite and achieve timely completion and review of the Technical Architecture Alternatives Analysis Plan and all procurements related to child welfare services.

(b) Notwithstanding Section 11040 of the Government Code, the State Department of Social Services may obtain outside legal counsel to assist in negotiations for automation contracts related to child welfare services.

(c) The State Department of Social Services shall consult with stakeholders, including the County Welfare Directors Association, during the development of procurement and automation strategies related to child welfare services.

(Added by Stats. 2004, Ch. 229, Sec. 58.5. Effective August 16, 2004.)

16521.5.
  

(a) A foster care provider, in consultation with the county case manager, shall be responsible for ensuring that adolescents, including nonminor dependents, as described in subdivision (v) of Section 11400, who remain in long-term foster care, as defined by the department, receive age-appropriate pregnancy prevention information to the extent state and county resources are provided.

(b) A foster care provider, in consultation with the county case manager, shall be responsible for ensuring that a foster youth or nonminor dependent is provided with appropriate referrals to health services when the foster youth either reaches 18 years of age or the nonminor dependent exits foster care, and to the extent county and state resources are provided.

(c) As part of the home study process, the prospective foster care provider shall notify the county if the provider objects to participating in adolescent pregnancy prevention training or the dissemination of information pursuant to subdivisions (a) and (b). A licensed foster care provider shall notify the county if the provider objects to participation. If the provider objects, the county case manager shall assume this responsibility.

(d) Subdivisions (a), (b), and (c) shall not take effect until the department, in consultation with the workgroup, develops guidelines that describe the duties and responsibilities of foster care providers and county case managers in delivering pregnancy prevention services and information.

(e) (1) The department, in consultation with the State Department of Health Care Services, shall convene a working group for the purpose of developing a pregnancy prevention plan that will effectively address the needs of adolescent male and female foster youth. The workgroup shall meet not more than three times and thereafter shall provide consultation to the department upon request.

(2) The working group shall include representatives from the California Youth Connection, the Foster Parent’s Association, group home provider associations, the County Welfare Director’s Association, providers of teen pregnancy prevention programs, a foster care caseworker, an expert in pregnancy prevention curricula, a representative of the Independent Living Program, and an adolescent health professional.

(f) The plan required pursuant to subdivision (e) shall include, but not be limited to, all of the following:

(1) Effective strategies and programs for preteen and older teen foster youth and nonminor dependents.

(2) The role of foster care and group home care providers.

(3) The role of the assigned case management worker.

(4) How to involve foster youth and nonminor peers.

(5) Selecting and providing appropriate materials to educate foster youth and nonminors in family life education.

(6) The training of foster care and group home care providers and, when necessary, county case managers in adolescent pregnancy prevention.

(g) Counties currently mandating foster care provider training shall be encouraged to include the pregnancy prevention curricula guidelines and educational materials that may be developed by the workgroup pursuant to subdivision (f).

(h) In order to train case management workers and foster care providers, the department shall develop a curriculum that is consistent with, and in addition to, the pregnancy prevention plan and the curricula guidelines and educational materials developed by the workgroup pursuant to subdivisions (e) and (f).

(i) The curriculum created pursuant to subdivision (h) shall include, but not be limited to, all of the following:

(1) The rights of youth and nonminor dependents in foster care to sexual and reproductive health care and information, to confidentiality of sensitive health information, and the reasonable and prudent parent standard.

(2) How to document sensitive health information, including, but not limited to, sexual and reproductive health issues, in a case plan.

(3) The duties and responsibilities of the assigned case management worker and the foster care provider in ensuring youth and nonminor dependents in foster care can obtain sexual and reproductive health services and information.

(4) Guidance about how to engage and talk with youth and nonminor dependents about healthy sexual development and reproductive and sexual health in a manner that is medically accurate, developmentally and age appropriate, trauma informed, and strengths based.

(5) Information about current contraception methods and how to select and provide appropriate referral resources and materials for information and service delivery.

(j) (1) Subject to an appropriation for this purpose, the department shall compile and report annual performance and outcome data on the implementation of sexual and reproductive health training and education and the availability and use of sexual and reproductive health care services.

(A) Performance data shall include the total number and rate of all of the following:

(i) County social workers and probation officers who have received the information described in subdivision (i) through a training program described in Section 16206.

(ii) Judges who have received the information described in subdivision (i) through a training program described in Section 304.7.

(iii) Group home administrators who have received the information described in subdivision (i) through a training described in subdivision (c) of Section 1522.41 of the Health and Safety Code.

(B) (i) Outcome data shall include integrated data drawn from data maintained by the State Department of Social Services, the State Department of Health Care Services, and the State Department of Public Health. The categories included in the outcome data, as well as the specific indicators used within each category, shall be determined in consultation with the work group convened pursuant to subdivision (e) and shall include, but not be limited to, those categories listed in clause (ii). Outcome indicators used within each category may include, but are not limited to, measures found in the Core Set of Children’s Health Care Quality Measure for Medicaid and CHIP (Child Core Set), and the Healthcare Effectiveness Data and Information Set (HEDIS), or measures developed using Medi-Cal, Family PACT, and other administrative and claims data codes.

(ii) Categories of outcome data shall include, but not be limited to, all of the following:

(I) The total number and rate of youth who gave birth, the number of live births, and the number of live births weighing less than 2,500 grams, such as indicator National Quality Forum (NQF) 1382 from the Child Core Set.

(II) Maternal health outcomes for youth, such as indicator NQF 0471 from the Child Core Set.

(III) Prenatal care received by youth, including, but not limited to, date of initiation of prenatal care by trimester, frequency of service delivery, and type of provider of care, such as indicator NQF 1517 from the Child Core Set.

(IV) Postnatal care received by youth, including, but not limited to, frequency, type of service delivery, and type of provider of care.

(V) The total number and rate of youth who received contraceptive counseling, initiated contraception, and contraception method selected, such as indicators NQF 2902, 2903, and 2904 from the Child Core Set.

(VI) Testing and treatment for sexually transmitted infection in youth, such as indicator NQF 0033 from the Child Core Set or Chlamydia Screening in Women Ages 16-20 (CHL-CH) from HEDIS.

(VII) Frequency with which treatment of youth for sexually transmitted infection was followed by testing the same youth for reinfection within a one- to six-month time span.

(VIII) Receipt of annual wellness exam, such as Adolescent Well-Care Visits (AWC) from HEDIS, and frequency with which a general health exam or annual exam was paired with contraceptive counseling, pregnancy testing, sexually transmitted infection testing, or contraceptive initiation.

(iii) Outcome data shall be disaggregated and reported by age, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identity, county, and county placement type, if possible.

(iv) Outcome data shall be reported in a way that does not identify individual youth and complies with all applicable state and federal confidentiality and privacy laws and regulations.

(2) The department shall consult the working group convened pursuant to subdivision (e) in the selection of additional performance and outcome data categories and measures to include in the report and in the development of the report framework. Every three years, or earlier if needed, the department shall consult the State Department of Health Care Services and the State Department of Public Health and revise measures, if necessary.

(3) The report shall be completed annually, commencing on January 1, 2023, and shall be posted on the department’s internet website in a manner that is publicly accessible.

(4) For the purposes of this subdivision, “youth” means foster youth 10 years of age and older and nonminor dependents.

(k) The department shall adopt regulations to implement this section.

(Amended by Stats. 2021, Ch. 696, Sec. 25. (AB 172) Effective October 8, 2021.)

16521.6.
  

To ensure that coordinated, timely, and trauma-informed services are provided to children and youth in foster care who have experienced severe trauma, all of the following shall occur:

(a) (1) Each county shall develop and implement a memorandum of understanding setting forth the roles and responsibilities of agencies and other entities that serve children and youth in foster care who have experienced severe trauma. Participants in the development and implementation of the memorandum of understanding shall include, but not be limited to, all of the following:

(A) The county child welfare agency.

(B) The county probation department.

(C) The county behavioral health departments.

(D) The county office of education.

(E) The regional center or centers that serve children and youth with developmental disabilities in the county.

(F) Foster care or other child welfare advocacy groups, as deemed appropriate by the organizations that will be parties to the memorandum, serving in an advisory capacity.

(2) The memorandum of understanding shall include, at a minimum, provisions addressing all of the following:

(A) Establishment and operation of an interagency leadership team.

(B) Establishment and operation of an interagency placement committee, as defined in Section 4096.

(C) Commitment to implementation of an integrated core practice model.

(D) Processes for screening, assessment, and entry to care.

(E) Processes for child and family teaming and universal service planning.

(F) Alignment and coordination of transportation and other foster youth services.

(G) Recruitment and management of resource families and delivery of therapeutic foster care services.

(H) Information and data sharing agreements.

(I) Staff recruitment, training, and coaching.

(J) Financial resource management and cost sharing.

(K) Dispute resolution.

(L) Processes, as developed through tribal consultation with the federally recognized tribes within each county, for engaging and coordinating with these tribes in the ongoing implementation of the memorandums of understanding described in this section.

(3) (A) No later than October 1, 2021, members of the interagency leadership team, or its designees, shall establish a process to provide, arrange for, or ensure the provision of, at least six months of family-based aftercare service to children and youth, as described in Section 4096.6, and acknowledgment that federal financial participation under the Medi-Cal program is only available if all state and federal requirements are met and the service is medically necessary.

(B) Members of the interagency leadership team described in subparagraph (A) of paragraph (2), or its designees, may, to the extent permitted by federal law, and subject to the limitations described in subparagraph (C), disclose to, and exchange with, one another information or a writing that may be designated as confidential under state law if the member of the team having that information or writing reasonably believes it is generally relevant to the identification, reduction, or elimination of barriers to services for, or to placement of, children and youth in foster care or to improve provision of those services or those placements.

(C) Members of the interagency leadership team, or its designees, who receive disclosed or exchanged information or a writing pursuant to subparagraph (B) shall destroy or return that information or writing once the purposes for which it was disclosed or exchanged are satisfied. The information or writing shall be used only for the purposes described in subparagraph (B). Any information or writing disclosed or exchanged pursuant to subparagraph (B) shall be confidential and shall not be open to public inspection, unless the information or writing is aggregated and deidentified in a manner that prevents the identification of an individual who is a subject of that information or writing. Any discussion concerning the disclosed or exchanged information or writing during a team meeting shall be confidential and shall not be open to public inspection.

(D) Members of an interagency placement committee, as defined in Section 4096, child abuse multidisciplinary personnel team, as defined in Section 18961.7, or child and family team, as defined in paragraph (4) of subdivision (a) of Section 16501, that is convened for the purpose of implementing the provisions of the memorandum of understanding developed pursuant to this subdivision shall comply with applicable statutory confidentiality provisions for that committee or team. Members of teams convened for purposes of implementing the memorandum of understanding shall comply with applicable records retention policies for their respective agencies or programs.

(4) To the extent possible, the implementation of the memorandum of understanding shall utilize existing processes and structures within and across the respective organizations that are parties to it.

(b) (1) (A) No later than June 1, 2019, the Secretary of California Health and Human Services and the Superintendent of Public Instruction shall establish a joint interagency resolution team consisting of representatives from the State Department of Social Services, the State Department of Health Care Services, the State Department of Developmental Services, and the State Department of Education.

(B) (i) The primary roles of the joint interagency resolution team shall be to develop guidance to counties, county offices of education, and regional centers with regard to developing the memoranda of understanding required by this section, to support the implementation of those memoranda of understanding, and to provide technical assistance to counties to identify and secure the appropriate level of services to meet the needs of children and youth in foster care who have experienced severe trauma.

(ii) The agencies shall ensure that a process is developed for counties and partner agencies that are parties to the memorandum of understanding to request interdepartmental technical assistance from the joint interagency resolution team.

(2) (A) No later than January 1, 2020, the joint interagency resolution team, in consultation with county agencies, service providers, and advocates for children and resource families, shall review the placement and service options available to county child welfare agencies and county probation departments for children and youth in foster care who have experienced severe trauma and shall develop and submit recommendations to the Legislature addressing any identified gaps in placement types or availability, needed services to resource families, or other identified issues. The joint interagency resolution team shall update its review and provide recommendations to the Legislature no later than December 31, 2022, that take into account the specific needs and characteristics of youth with unplanned discharges from short-term residential therapeutic programs and youth for whom counties were unable to, or have difficulty with, securing placements and providing trauma-informed services, which may include, but is not limited to, as applicable, youth impacted by commercial sexual exploitation, youth with acute behavioral needs, and youth with intellectual or developmental disabilities. The recommendations shall also articulate a statewide plan for any additional development needed for a trauma-informed, therapeutic continuum of care to support youth in-state in the least restrictive setting.

(B) A report submitted to the Legislature pursuant to this paragraph shall be submitted in compliance with Section 9795 of the Government Code.

(3) No later than June 1, 2020, the joint interagency resolution team, in consultation with county agencies, service providers, behavioral health professionals, schools of social work, and advocates for children and resource families, shall develop a multiyear plan for increasing the capacity and delivery of trauma-informed care to children and youth in foster care served by short-term residential therapeutic programs and other foster care and behavioral health providers.

(4) (A) Members of the joint interagency resolution team described in this subdivision may, to the extent permitted by federal law, and subject to the limitations described in subparagraph (B), disclose to, and exchange with, one another information or a writing that may be designated as confidential under state law if the member of the team or committee having that information or writing reasonably believes it is generally relevant to the identification, reduction, or elimination of barriers to services for, or to placement of, children and youth in foster care or to improve provision of those services or those placements.

(B) Members of the joint interagency resolution team who receive disclosed or exchanged information, or a writing, pursuant to subparagraph (A), shall destroy or return that information or writing once the purposes for which it was disclosed or exchanged are satisfied. The information or writing shall be used only for the purposes described in subparagraph (A). Any information or writing disclosed or exchanged pursuant to subparagraph (A) shall be confidential and shall not be open to public inspection, unless the information or writing is aggregated and deidentified in a manner that prevents the identification of an individual who is a subject of that information or writing. Any discussion concerning the disclosed or exchanged information or writing during a team meeting shall be confidential and shall not be open to public inspection.

(5) The joint interagency resolution team shall track and report deidentified information of children and nonminor dependents in foster care who have been assisted to preserve, or secure new, intensive therapeutic options. This information shall be posted on the internet website of the California Health and Human Services Agency beginning July 1, 2022, shall be updated annually, and shall include the number of children and nonminor dependents served through its technical assistance process, characteristics of individuals served, and, as applicable, local and statewide systemic issues identified by the team.

(Amended by Stats. 2021, Ch. 86, Sec. 50. (AB 153) Effective July 16, 2021.)

16521.7.
  

(a) It is the intent of the Legislature in enacting this section to establish a methodology for reconciling the state’s and each county’s costs and savings resulting from implementation of the Continuum of Care Reform (CCR), as directed through legislation and administrative directives, in light of the requirements of Section 36 of Article XIII of the California Constitution, which pertains to state or federal legislation enacted after September 30, 2012, that has an overall effect of increasing the costs already borne by a local agency for certain programs or levels of service.

(b) The Department of Finance, in consultation with the State Department of Social Services, the County Welfare Directors Association of California, the Chief Probation Officers of California, and the California State Association of Counties, shall develop and implement a methodology for determining the state’s and each county’s overall actual costs and savings resulting from the CCR initiative. The methodology shall take into account the CCR-related assistance and administration costs and savings of the state and each county associated with the implementation of the CCR initiative, based on the best available data.

(c) (1) The overall CCR-related assistance and administration costs and savings for each county shall be reconciled at least once for each fiscal year, beginning in the 2018–19 fiscal year, to determine the amount of state funding, if any, that is owed to each county or the amount of county savings, if any, that are available to offset state funding from the General Fund. The Department of Finance, in collaboration with the entities listed in subdivision (b), shall determine the process by which any state funding owed to counties is provided or any county savings offsets state funding.

(2) If any state funding owed is not provided to the county, the county is not obligated to continue implementation of the CCR initiative beyond the level of state funding provided.

(3) The overall CCR-related assistance and administration costs and savings of each county incurred since July 1, 2016, shall be included in the first reconciliation done pursuant to this section.

(Added by Stats. 2018, Ch. 35, Sec. 37. (AB 1811) Effective June 27, 2018.)

16521.8.
  

(a) (1) A child welfare public health nursing early intervention program shall be conducted in the County of Los Angeles, as provided in this section, and with the county’s consent. The purpose of the program is to improve outcomes for the expanded population of youth at risk of entering the foster care system by maximizing access to health care and health education, and connecting youth and families to safety net services. It is the intent of the Legislature for the program to maximize the use of county public health nurses in the field in order to provide families with children who are at risk of being placed in the child welfare system with preventative services to meet their medical, mental, and behavioral health needs.

(2) The program shall be administered by the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health (DPH), in cooperation with the county’s Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS).

(3) Funding appropriated for purposes of the program shall be used for, but not limited to, the following:

(A) Hiring a sufficient number of new public health nurses, with the goal of achieving an average caseload ratio of 200:1.

(B) Hiring additional public health nursing supervisors to provide necessary guidance and support.

(C) Hiring senior and intermediate typist clerks to assist with data entry.

(D) Establishing an accountability mechanism and a shared information and data exchange system.

(b) A county public health nurse providing services under the program may do all of the following:

(1) Respond to emergency response referrals with social workers.

(2) Conduct emergency and routine home visits with social workers.

(3) Educate social workers on behavioral, mental and physical health conditions.

(4) Identify behavioral and health conditions that social workers are not trained to identify.

(5) Provide followup with families of youth who remain in the home to monitor compliance with the medical, dental, and mental health care plans to promote wellbeing and minimize repeat referrals.

(6) Conduct routine followups and monitoring of medically fragile and medically at-risk children and youth in the Family Maintenance and Reunification programs.

(7) Provide parents and guardians with educational tools and resources to ensure the child’s physical, mental, and behavioral health needs are being met.

(8) Interpret medical records and reports for social workers.

(c) (1) The DPH, in cooperation with the DCFS, shall develop appropriate outcome measures to determine the effectiveness of the program, including established triaging tools and visitation protocols, in achieving the objectives described in paragraph (1) of subdivision (a). Commencing on January 1 during the fiscal year when funding has been provided to the DPH by the State Department of Social Services, and each January 1 thereafter, the DPH shall report to the Legislature on the effectiveness of the program using those outcome measures, including any recommendations for continuation or expansion of the program.

(2) A report submitted under this subdivision shall be submitted in compliance with Section 9795 of the Government Code.

(d) (1) Before January 1, 2021, and to the extent enabled by existing resources or appropriated funds, the State Department of Health Care Services, in consultation with the County of Los Angeles, shall determine the steps required to seek any federal approvals necessary to claim federal financial participation for those allowable Medicaid activities of the program described in subdivision (a) and shall seek any federal approvals necessary to claim federal financial participation available for those identified Medicaid activities.

(2) The County of Los Angeles shall submit to the State Department of Health Care Services any information deemed relevant to the determination described in paragraph (1) at the time and in the form and manner specified by that department.

(3) With respect to any Medicaid activities identified pursuant to paragraph (1) for which federal approval is sought, those activities shall be implemented only to the extent that the State Department of Health Care Services obtains any necessary federal Medicaid approvals.

(4) Notwithstanding Chapter 3.5 (commencing with Section 11340) of Part 1 of Division 3 of Title 2 of the Government Code, the department may implement, interpret, or make specific this subdivision, in whole or in part, by means of provider bulletins, plan letters, or other similar instructions, without taking any further regulatory action.

(e) Contingent upon an appropriation in the annual Budget Act, the State Department of Social Services shall provide funds to the DPH for the purposes described in this section.

(f) Notwithstanding any other law, including the personal services contracting requirements of Article 4 (commencing with Section 19130) of Chapter 5 of Part 2 of Division 5 of Title 2 of the Government Code, Part 2 (commencing with Section 10100) of Division 2 of the Public Contract Code, and the State Contracting Manual, any state funds annually appropriated to the State Department of Social Services for the purposes described this section that are not used as the nonfederal share for Medicaid expenditures approved pursuant to subdivision (d) shall be passed through in a single lump-sum to the DPH.

(Amended by Stats. 2021, Ch. 86, Sec. 51. (AB 153) Effective July 16, 2021.)

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