Legislative Priorities in 2018

SB 1083: Reducing Barriers to Resource Family Approval (Senator Holly J. Mitchell)

Resource Family Approval (RFA), intended to unify and streamline approval standards for all caregivers, took effect statewide in 2017. However, more than a year since its implementation, failure to meet timelines, and lack of accountability and transparency has left families facing long delays in funding and support resulting in financial burdens which discourages recruitment and retention of families stepping up to care for our most vulnerable youth.

SB 1083 will reduce approval burdens on families by requiring child welfare agencies to complete RFA in 90 days. It will allow families licensed and/or approved prior to implementation of RFA to be grandfathered into RFA if they had a placement in 2017. The bill also ensures a child’s exit to permanency is not delayed by allowing the months in placement prior to approval to satisfy the durational requirement that exists in our subsidized guardianship program. Addressing these barriers will help ensure children live in and are successful in nurturing and permanent homes.

SB 1083 is scheduled for hearing in the Senate Committee on Human Services on April 10, 2018. You can download a sample template (Word Doc) to assist in submitting your own support letter.

AB 2183: Funding for Families at the Time of Placement (Assemblymember Blanca Rubio)

Last year, the California Department of Social Services implemented a new process for approving an individual as a foster parent. Known as Resource Family Approval (RFA), the process is intended to provide a more comprehensive assessment of a family to enable better placement matching and ensure that an individual is approved to both foster or adopt without having to go through a duplicative adoption home study. While there are benefits to a more comprehensive approval process, one unintended consequence of the more extensive review of a family is that it takes much longer for a family to complete the review. This has a particularly harmful impact on relatives and extended family members who often step up and accept placement of a child in a moment of crisis prior to being approved.

Under current law, counties are required to immediately locate and place with relatives or extended family whenever a child is removed. This is beneficial for the child, who suffers less trauma when connected to someone they know. However, because the new process takes so long to get through, it presents a real hardship to families who accept placement on an emergency basis prior to approval, as they do not receive monthly foster care payments until they are fully approved. Families are struggling to make ends meet and the lengthy delays in the approval process is jeopardizing placement stability.

AB 2183 will secure funding for individuals who accept children into their care prior to being approved. This will ensure that relatives and nonrelated extended family members can support the child from the moment they are placed in their care and provide a stable placement while the family works to complete the RFA process.

AB 2183 is scheduled for hearing in the Assembly Committee on Human Services on April 10, 2018. You can download a sample template (Word Doc) to assist in submitting your own support letter.