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 2017 child welfare priority bills.
Addressing the lack of school-based mental health services & IEP issues
SB 191 (Beall): Authorizes counties and mental health providers to partner with local education agencies to create a program aimed at providing targeted interventions for pupils with social-emotional, behavioral, and academic needs; authorizes creation of a county-level mental health and substance abuse provider to deliver services in schools and ensure IEP students with those needs are provided with them.
SB 233 (Beall): Expands the education records that foster family agencies have access to, including records of attendance, discipline, special education assessments, etc.
SB 354 (Portantino): Expands the definition of “parent” to include educational rights holder and conservator of child for students with an IEP. Ensures that information is shared in native language of parent when IEP is being developed.
Post-secondary access for foster youth
SB 12 (Beall): Requires the Student Aid Commission and CDSS to work cooperatively to develop an automated system to pre-screen foster youth for Pell Grant eligibility and to assist them in applying.
AB 1567 (Holden): Requires the sharing of data related to foster youth access and enrollment in postsecondary support programs, including EOPS.
Transition age youth issues and homelessness
AB 210 (Santiago): Authorizes counties to establish coordinating teams for homeless adults, children and families to improve coordination between, and expedited access to, housing and supportive services.
AB 604 (Gipson): Expands jurisdiction of juvenile court to adjudge as dependents of the court youth who would be IV-E eligible so that they can access extended foster care benefits.
AB 625 Quirk-Silva): AB 625 Requires CDSS to request a USDA waiver to make nonminor dependents in SILPs categorically eligible for the maximum CalFresh benefit without regard to income or resources.
AB 1406 (Gloria): Establishes the Homeless Youth Advocacy and Housing Program, awarding grants to 10 local continuums of care involving service providers delivering housing assistance and supportive services with a goal of transitioning homeless youth under age 25 to self-sufficiency.
Supporting children in crisis
AB 340 (Arambula): Requires that services provided under EPSDT include screenings for trauma, and authorizes the state to share best practices for trauma screening with counties.
AB 501 (Ridley-Thomas): Authorizes STRTPs to be operated as a children’s crises residential center and establishes interim Medi-Cal rates for those services.
Supporting children in family-based settings
AB 507 (Rubio): Requires the training resource family caregivers receive to be based upon a collaborative and individualized plan developed by the child and family team.
AB 1006 (Maienschein): Ensures that prospective adoptive families and guardians are provided with specified mental health treatment information before the adoption is finalized.
AB 1164 (Thurmond): Establishes the Child Care Bridge Program for Foster Children, authorizing emergency child care vouchers for resource families caring for children 0 to 4 years old.
Sexual education and reproductive health
SB 245 (Leyva): Requires the case plan for all foster youth age 10 and older to include comprehensive sex education, including access to reproductive and sexual health care services.