Health and Human Services
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Child Welfare Legislation
AB 845 (Bass) – Support
CSAC urges counties to contact their senators and urge them to support AB 845, by Assembly Member Bass. This measure provides the necessary statutory authority to allow $10.5 million in 2006-07 funds to be spent on the Transitional Housing Program (THP)-Plus.
This bill is necessary to ensure that THP-Plus is 100% state-funded as intended in the 2006-07 budget. Forty-six counties have committed to implementing THP-Plus in the current year (2006-07). However, the budget only includes $4.8 million, which is insufficient to provide services to the eligible youth in these counties. With the $10.5 million increase as outlined in AB 845, the participating counties will be able to provide housing and services to more than 1,200 foster youth.
SB 845 must be passed and signed into law by the Governor before June 30. This measure requires a 2/3 vote. The bill is currently scheduled for a third reading on the Senate floor on June 28. CSAC strongly urges counties to contact their Senators and urge them to vote ‘aye’ on AB 845.
AB 81 (Torrico) – Oppose Unless Amended
AB 81, as amended on June 1 by Assembly Member Alberto Torrico, makes changes to the Safely Surrendered Baby law. Under current law, a parent may safely surrender a baby within 72 hours of birth. AB 81 will expand the surrender time period to 30 days. Also, funding for a statewide awareness campaign was struck from the bill on June 1.
AB 81 was passed by the Assembly on June 6 and will be heard by the Senate Judiciary Committee on June 26.
AB 298 (Maze) – Support
AB 298, as amended on March 15 by Assembly Member Bill Maze, would specifically provide that a relative caregiver's preference for legal guardianship, rather than adoption, may not constitute a basis for recommending removal of the child from the relative caregiver for purposes of adoptive placement. The bill passed out of the Senate Judiciary Committee and will be heard next in Senate Appropriations Committee.
AB 714 (Maze) – Support
AB 714, as amended on May 29 by Assembly Member Bill Maze, would allow counties to search for and contact members of the child’s birth family, including non-related extended family members when the child was previously a dependent of the court, has been returned to the custody of the county child welfare agency, and no members of the adoptive family are willing or able to provide care. Currently, if the birth parent’s parental rights have been terminated, the birth family is no longer related to the child. Current law prohibits the county from approaching these birth family members to inquire about becoming caregivers for a child whose parental rights have been terminated.
AB 714 is scheduled for hearing in Senate Appropriations Committee on June 25.
AB 1331 (Evans) – Support
AB 1331, as amended on June 19 by Assembly Member Noreen Evans, will require a county to screen each foster youth in its care when that youth reaches 16½ years of age, in order to determine whether the youth is eligible for federal Social Security or Supplemental Security Income/State Supplemental Payment (SSI/SSP) benefits. After completion of the screening, the measure will also require the county to make the application for benefits on the youth's behalf.
AB 1331 is scheduled to be heard by the Senate Human Services on June 26.
AB 1462 (Adams) – Support
AB 1462, as amended on April 12 by Assembly Member Anthony Adams, would allow counties to receive federal and state funds for certain children with special behavioral or medical needs, who are placed in a for-profit foster care institution and for whom the county placing agency demonstrates that there are no alternative placement options. This bill would require the county placing agency to review and report to the juvenile court at the six-month case plan update regarding the continuing appropriateness of a child's placement under the bill. The measure is scheduled to be heard by the Senate Appropriations on June 25.
AB 1578 (Leno) – Support
AB 1578, as amended April 26 by Assembly Member Mark Leno, is called the Foster Youth Higher Education Preparation and Support Act and would provide grant funding to operate an education-based foster youth services program to provide educational and support services for foster children. Additionally, AB 1578 would also authorize new Cal Grant B awards for tuition and fees in the first year for current or former foster youth attend college. The bill would also establish the California Guardian Scholars Program for purposes of providing comprehensive support on college and university campuses to students who are former foster youth.
AB 1578 is scheduled for hearing in the Senate Education Committee on June 27.
SB 720 (Kuehl) – Support
SB 720, as amended on June 21 by Senator Shelia Kuehl, would provide clean-up language to SB 500 (Statutes of 2005). Recall that SB 500 encouraged the joint placements of infants and their teen parents when both fall within the jurisdiction of the juvenile dependency court. The bill created a new type of licensed placements called “whole family” placements in which the teens and their children were supported by trained foster parents. As SB 500 was implemented, the state Department of Social Services identified three areas that needed further clarification, including group home placements, existing placements, and non-related legal guardians. SB 720 will be heard by the Assembly Human Services Committee on June 26.
SB 785 (Steinberg) – Support
SB 785, as amended on April 26 by Senator Darrell Steinberg, will help to ensure that foster children placed outside of their home county are able to access mental health services. Due to the complexity of the state’s mental health program, when children are placed outside their home counties, they often have difficulty accessing needed care. This measure will assist in resolving this problem and meeting the mental health needs of children in the foster care system. SB 785 will be heard in the Assembly Human Services Committee on June 26.
AB 13 (Brownley) – Oppose
AB 13, by Assembly Member Brownley, was substantially amended on June 6. The amendments include the language that was formerly contained within AB 520.
AB 13 would require a general acute care, acute psychiatric, or special hospital to adopt a plan or procedure for determining the staffing of professional and technical classifications. The measure would authorize the State Public Health Officer to levy administrative penalties against a health facility for a violation of the staffing provisions.
AB 13 is scheduled to be heard by the Senate Health Committee on July 11.
AB 423 (Beall) – Support
Assembly Member Jim Beall’s AB 423, as amended on May 1 would require that a health care service plan contract and a health insurance policy issued, amended, or renewed on or after January 1, 2008, include the diagnosis and treatment of a mental illness of a person of any age. The measure would also define mental illness as a mental disorder defined in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual IV. AB 423 would build upon the original California mental health parity legislation, AB 88 (Thomson, Chapter 534, Statutes of 1999), which requires health plans to provide coverage for the diagnosis and medically necessary treatment of severe mental illnesses of a person of any age, and of serious emotional disturbances of a child, under the same terms and conditions applied to other medical conditions.
AB 423 will be heard in the Senate Health Committee on June 27.
SB 137 (Torlakson) -- Oppose Unless Amended
SB 137, as amended on March 21 by Senator Tom Torlakson, would change the eligibility for the Children’s Services Program, which provides treatment services for persons under age 21 diagnosed with severe chronic disease or severe physical limitations, from an annual gross income of $40,000 or less to an annual or monthly income equal to or less than 400 percent of the federal poverty level. SB 137 is scheduled before the Assembly Health Committee on June 26.
SB 840 (Kuehl) – Pending
SB 840, Senator Sheila Kuehl’s single payer health measure, passed off the Senate floor on June 6 on a largely party-line vote. SB 840 is scheduled to be heard by the Assembly Health Committee on July 3.
AB 308 (Galgiani) – Support
Specifically, AB 308, as amended on June 4 by Assembly Member Cathleen Galgiani, would require the state Department of Mental Health, in consultation with the state Department of Health Services, to adopt regulations to provide for the prompt reimbursement of counties for Medi-Cal claims for services they have already provided and paid for under the Early and Periodic Screening, Diagnosis, and Treatment (EPSDT). The June 4 amendments removed funding for developing the regulations.
AB 308 will be heard in the Senate Health Committee on June 27.
AB 1113 (Brownley) – Support
AB 1113, as amended on April 24 by Assembly Member Julia Brownley, would eliminate the sunset date on the 250 Percent Working Disabled Poverty Program, which provides Medi-Cal coverage to persons with disabilities who are employed and earning up to 250 percent of the federal poverty limit. AB 1113 was passed by the Assembly on June 6 and is scheduled to be heard by the Senate Health Committee on July 11.
AB 98 (Niello) – Support
AB 98, as amended on April 18, would enable counties to offer more subsidized employment opportunities for CalWORKs Welfare-to-Work participants, which could increase the state’s work participation rate and help more families move toward self-sufficiency through employment. This bill would also require the state to pay 50% of the wage subsidy to counties that include subsidized activities within their welfare-to-work activities.
AB 98 is scheduled in the Senate Human Services Committee on June 26.
AJR 4 (Beall) – Support
AJR 4, as amended on June 6 by Assembly Member Jim Beall, asks the United Stated Congress to revisit or repeal the Deficit Reduction Act of 2005 (DRA), as it negatively affects how the state and counties implement welfare-to-work and child support collection practices. AJR is scheduled to be heard in the Senate Human Services Committee on June 26.
AB 1062 (Ma) – Support
AB 1062, as amended on June 21 by Assembly Member Fiona Ma, would establish a three-year statewide pilot program to provide rental assistance for 1,500 CalWORKs families. AB 1062 is scheduled to be heard in the Senate Human Services Committee on June 26.