The John Burton Foundation for Children Without Homes is dedicated to improving the quality of life for California’s homeless children and developing policy solutions to prevent homelessness.

John Burton Foundation
235 Montgomery, Suite 1142
San Francisco, CA 94104
AB 12 Question of the Week Index

5/12: Web Seminar: Non-Minor Dependents & CalFresh: Questions Answered

6/29: San Diego Foster Care Education Summit
AB 12 Question of the Week

Changes Made to California's Reasonable and Prudent Parent Standard

State Releases Guidance on Psychotropic Medication for Foster Youth

New Policy Brief Dispels Myth of Overreliance on Foster Care

Proposal Could Offer Free Tuition for San Francisco Foster Youth

15th Annual National Day to Prevent Teen Pregnancy is May 4th

AB 12 Question of the Week

Q: Can an Adult Residential Treatment Facility be considered a Supervised Independent Living Placement (SILP) for a Non-Minor Dependent (NMD)? For the answer, follow this LINK

Changes Made to California's Reasonable and Prudent Parent Standard

The California Department of Social Services has issued a new All County Letter (ACL) to inform counties about changes to California’s Reasonable and Prudent Parent Standard, which were made in state law through adoption of Senate Bill 794. These new standards were required following the September 2014 passage of the Preventing Sex Trafficking and Strengthening Families Act (P.L. 113-183).
According to the ACL, the goal of the new standards is to, “eliminate unreasonable limitations on everyday activities and to ensure normalcy for youth in the foster care system” and to promote normalcy for youth in foster care. Several changes were made to California’s existing definition to make it comply with the federal definition. First, it defines reasonable and prudent parent standard as, “careful and sensible parental decisions that maintain the health, safety, and best interests of a child while at the same time encouraging the emotional and developmental growth of the child.” Second, the new law defines “age-appropriate.”
The document also includes a list of questions for a caregiver to ask to ensure that the standard is being met and includes information about how caregivers will be trained on the new standard.
Assembly Member Eric Linder has introduced Assembly Bill 1984, which would promote normalcy among youth in foster care by providing them with to $500 to support their participation in enrichment activities, such as sports, art programs and other activities that are often not available to youth in foster care.

State Releases Guidance on Psychotropic Medication for Foster Youth

CDSS has issued All County Letter 16-37  informing county child welfare agencies and probation departments about the changes impacting the use and authorization of psychotropic medication for youth in foster care due to the passage of Senate Bill 238. SB 238 was sponsored by the National Center for Youth Law. A five-part series on the topic by the San Jose Mercury News found that foster youth are prescribed psychotropic drugs at a rate that is 3.5 times greater than adolescents nationwide.
The letter explains that the legislation requires three changes in California. First, it requires that staff and caregivers, including Court Appointed Special Advocates, to receive training regarding the authorization and administration of psychotropic medications for foster youth. Second, it requires the Judicial Council to amend rules of court and develop new forms for a range of circumstances, including, “the rationale for the proposed medication, provided in the context of past and current treatment efforts.”
Finally, the ACL explains that SB 238 requires CDSS and the California Department of Health Care Services to enter into a data sharing agreement and provide specific information about psychotropic medication use, including Psychotropic medications that have been authorized for the child and pharmacy data, among other data elements.

New Policy Brief Dispels Myth of Overreliance on Foster Care

In April 2016, a coalition of California child welfare advocacy organizations including Alliance for Children’s Rights, Children Now, Public Counsel and Social Change Partners released a policy brief, “Are There Too Many Children in Foster Care?” The brief draws from various California data, dispelling the common misconception of an overreliance on foster care as an intervention.

Analysis of the data shows both the promise of some reforms, as well as the risks and pitfalls of insufficiently nuanced reform efforts, such as pitting the need for expanded funding for prevention and in-home services against the need for funding for the foster care system.

Foster care caseloads have already declined dramatically over the past fifteen years, both in California (40% reduction) and nationally (approximately a 30% reduction). Systems have been able to reduce caseloads primarily through progress in expediting permanency for foster youth, thus reducing the average length of time in care. Reports of maltreatment and foster care entries, however, have remained relatively stable.

The brief concludes that prevention, in-home, and foster care services each play a critical role in the child welfare continuum, and further caseload reductions are likely unrealistic without compromising child safety unless progress is made in reducing the actual rate of maltreatment. Further, crafting federal policies or fiscal incentives that either seek or presume continued caseload decline threatens to jeopardize long-term funding for child welfare and risks undermining the protective role of the foster care system. Download a one-pager or the full brief.

Proposal Could Offer Free Tuition for San Francisco Foster Youth   

San Francisco Supervisor Jane Kim has introduced a proposal that would eliminate tuition fees at City College of San Francisco for students who are residents of San Francisco or who work at least half-time in the city.

This proposal is intended to offer additional support for low-income students, such as foster youth, who often have zero family contribution. This would benefit students who are working to pay for tuition and do not have the ability to pay any additional education-related costs such as transportation, childcare, purchasing textbooks and supplies. Students whose fees are already covered by financial aid would be eligible for up to $1,000 in grants to cover educational expenses.

To cover the estimated $12.8 million cost, Kim is proposing placing on the November ballot a measure entitled the “Mansion Tax” which is projected to generate approximately $29 million annually in new General Fund dollars. If the “Free City” proposal passes, the resolution would be implemented at the college no later than Fall 2017. To read the press release for Free City proposition, click here.

15th Annual National Day to Prevent Teen Pregnancy is May 4th

Hundreds of thousands of teens nationwide are expected to participate in the 15th annual National Day to Prevent Teen Pregnancy on May 4, 2016. Organized by the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy, the purpose of National Day is to focus the attention of teens on the importance of avoiding too-early pregnancy and parenthood through an interactive online quiz and game.

Since the early 1990s, teen pregnancy and birth rates for the general population in the United States have declined by 55% and 61% respectively and are now at record low levels both nationally and in California. However, for foster youth the rate of teen pregnancy remains high. A 2014 study found that 26 percent of 17 year-olds in foster care had been pregnant at least once, a rate that is over ten times higher than that for non-foster youth, aged 15-19 in California. Foster youth and others who may benefit can visit to access the National Day Quiz. To learn more about how to get involved with National Day, follow this link.
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