Hillsides provides a voice for the children and families who need it the most. Our blog, written by Joseph M. Costa, Hillsides chief executive officer, discusses and analyzes pressing and newsworthy issues that impact Hillsides and child welfare. Through our many advocacy opportunities, we take a stand to continually create lasting change for at-risk children, youth, and their families.
Below are Hillsides 2015 child welfare priority bills.
AB 1299; Ridley-Thomas SIGNED INTO LAW
Summary: Establishes protocols and mandates to ensure that children and youth in foster care who are served outside of their counties of jurisdiction are able to access mental health services.
AB 1838; Ting VETOED BY GOVERNOR
Summary: Increases the infant supplement payment provided to parenting foster youth to make it equal to the foster care rate (basically doubles it).
AB 1843; Stone SIGNED INTO LAW
Summary: Prohibits employers from requiring employees to disclose juvenile court actions or custodial detentions.
AB 2442; Holden SIGNED INTO LAW
Summary: Provides a “density bonus” to housing developers that construct developments which include at least 5% of total units to be set aside for transitional foster youth, to increase housing available for that population.
AB 2506; Thurmond SIGNED INTO LAW
Summary: Expands access to Chafee Educational and Training Vouchers to ensure that all eligible students who apply by the deadline receive a grant, while also setting standards at qualifying post-secondary institutions to improve outcomes.
AB 2552; Holden DIED IN SENATE
Summary: Requires counties to provide annual clothing allowances of $240 for approved relative caregivers.
SB 906; Beall SIGNED INTO LAW
Summary: Extends community college priority enrollment for current and former foster youth (set to expire in 2017) and expands definition of qualifying youth.
SB 1056; Liu DIED IN SENATE
Summary: Requires counties to document the steps they are taking and services they are offering to help parents secure appropriate housing in cases where lack of housing is the sole impediment to family reunification.
SB 1060; Leno SIGNED INTO LAW
Summary: Requires courts to convene a child and family team meeting during adoption proceedings for the purposes of developing a sibling contract agreement to ensure continued connections with siblings.
SB 1291; Beall SIGNED INTO LAW
Summary: Requires each -Cal certified mental health plan to annual submit a “foster care mental health service plan” that details the service array, from prevention to crisis services, available to -Cal children and youth under the jurisdiction of juvenile court and their families.
** In addition to the 2016 bills listed above, the 3 bills below were endorsed by Hillsides last year and are continuing to work their way through the legislative process this year as “two-year” bills.
AB 423; Cooley (D) DIED IN SENATE
Summary: Makes improvements to the new Approved Relative Caregiver program; provides access for ARC families to supplemental benefits like the infant supplement.
AB 741; Williams (D) VETOED BY GOVERNOR
Summary: Expands EPSDT services under -Cal to include a range of comprehensive mental health services (crisis intervention, stabilization, residential treatment, rehabilitative mental health, mobile crisis support, ).
SB 12; Beall (D) DIED IN ASSEMBLY
Summary: Makes youth who had a prior foster care placement but were in the probation system on their 18th birthday eligible for extending foster care benefits up to age 21.
- $3.625 million to increase the availability of Chafee Education and Training Vouchers for transition age foster youth FUNDED AT $3 MILLION
- $22.4 million to reduce dependence attorney caseloads NOT FUNDED
- $30 million for emergency child care vouchers for foster families NOT FUNDED
- $10 million for pregnancy prevention programs FUNDED AT $4 MILLION
- $25 million for runaway and homeless youth shelters and transitional care NOT FUNDED
- $10 million for housing units for reunifying families involved in the child welfare system FUNDED AT $10 MILLION