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.

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AB 12 Question of the Week Index

2015 List of Child Welfare Legislation

2/17: Strengthening Kinship Families & Upcoming Policy Reforms Web Seminar

2/18 - 2/19: 2016 National Conference on Ending Family and Youth Homelessness

4/11 - 4/12: Foster Youth Education Summit
AB 12 Question of the Week

New Report on Parenting Foster Youth Highlights a Need for Child Care

State Issues New Guidance on Sibling Visitation

New Data Shows Decrease in NMDs for Third Straight Quarter

Reports Highlight Increased Utilization of Grandparents as Caregivers

Report Shows California Foster Care Caseload Growth Outpaces National Rate

AB 12 Question of the Week 

Q: I understand that Assembly Bill 592 gave the California Department of Social Services (CDSS) the authority to provide foster youth with written verification of their foster care status. I am working with a former foster youth to complete her Chafee application and we need this verification.
My question: has an All County Letter (ACL) been issued about how this former foster youth can to get written verification of her time spent in foster care?  For the answer, follow this LINK

New Report on Parenting Foster Youth Highlights Need for Child Care

First Place for Youth has released a new report, “More than Me,” that examines the experiences of parenting current and former foster youth. The analysis compares the experiences of 128 female custodial parents with those of 158 non-custodial parents in an effort to understand the differences and similarities between the two groups.
According the analysis, the foster care histories of the two groups were similar, with roughly the same amount of time spent in foster care, number of foster care placements and type of maltreatment experiences. Additionally, the analysis found no difference in the post-secondary education experiences between the two groups, or in the rates of participation in vocational education.
Differences emerged, however, when employment was examined. According to the analysis, parenting youth were less likely to employed at program exit, with 42 percent of parenting youth employed at program exit as compared to 64 percent of non-parenting youth. Additionally, parenting youth reported lower levels of earned income, at $414 per month as compared to $643 for non-parents. Interviews with parenting youth revealed that the key reason for lower rates of employment  was a lack of child care. 
The report concludes with a series of practice and policy recommendation to improve outcomes for parenting dependents, including improved access to child care and increased investment in pregnancy prevention for foster youth. 

State Issues New Guidance on Sibling Visitation

On January 12th, the California Department of Social Services released All County Letter 15-100 (ACL 15-100,) which outlines new requirements regarding sibling visitation provisions set forth in Senate Bill 1099 (Steinberg, 2014.) The new provisions pertain to both probation and dependency youth, and went into effect on January 1, 2015.

There are two new requirements for courts. First, when judges are making out-of-home placement decisions, the judge must now consider whether or not the youth has any siblings that are in the physical custody of their biological parent(s). Second, if for any reason the court suspends sibling visitation of a dependent, the court must renew this suspension in every subsequent case hearing in order for it to remain effective.

ACL 15-100 also specifies additional reporting requirements for child welfare and probation reports. They include: frequency and nature of visits between siblings; whether visits between siblings are supervised, and the reasons for why they are supervised; directives on how to gain unsupervised visits; length and location of each visit; and any plan to increase visits between siblings.
Finally, ACL 15-100 clarifies that youth can petition a court to establish sibling visitation rights even when that sibling is under the custody of the parent from whom the dependent youth was removed. For more information about the bill, contact California Youth Connection.

New Data Shows Decreased in NMDs for Third Straight Quarter

The latest quarterly child welfare data is available on Child Welfare Indicators Project website. According to the data, the number of Non-Minor Dependents has decreased for the third straight quarter, reaching a peak of 9,194 NMDs on January 1, 2015 and decreasing over the next three quarters to reach 8,880 on October 1, 2015.
The number of NMDs in THP-Plus Foster Care (THP+FC) decreased slightly, from 1,385 on July 1, 2015 to 1,375 on October 1, 2015. The number placed in a Supervised Independent Living Placement also decreased slightly, from 3,665 on January 1, 2015 to 3,647on October 1, 2015.
To look at foster care caseload trends for your county, visit the Child Welfare Indicators Project website. The California Child Welfare Indicators Project (CCWIP) is a collaborative venture between the University of California at Berkeley (UCB) and the California Department of Social Services (CDSS). 

Reports Highlight Increased Utilization of Grandparents as Caregivers

Two new studies published by GrandFamilies: The Contemporary Journal of Research, Practice and Policy (CJRPP) and Generations United (GU) offer insight into how practitioners can best meet the needs of grandparent headed households, or “Grandfamilies.” The amount of Grandfamilies has doubled in the United States since the 1970s, from three percent in 1970 to six percent in 2012. According to the Generations United report, approximately 7.8 million children are living in grandparent-led households, and approximately 2.7 million grandparents are raising 40% of these children.

The CJRPP study offers an in-depth analysis of the experiences of 40 grandmothers. One of the most notable findings to come from the report was the five specific themes related to service recommendations for mental health professionals. These include tailoring service provisions, offering services for grandchildren, monitoring biases, creating space, and engaging in advocacy.

The overall consensus of grandparents interviewed for the reports felt that mental health professionals need to be more educated about Grandfamilies and need to carefully monitor their biases and negative stereotypes; 48% of grandparents interviewed wanted mental health professionals to work alongside them to engage in advocacy efforts for increased grandparent’s rights. To read the CJRPP report, please click this LINK. To read the Generations United report please click HERE.

Report Shows California Foster Care Caseload Growth Outpaces National Rate

The Children’s Bureau of the US Department of Health and Human Services recently released national data for a number of foster youth demographics for the 2014 federal fiscal year (FY 2014.) The Adoption and Foster Care Analysis and Reporting System (AFCARS) provides national entry and exit rates into foster care, the number of children in foster care, the number of children waiting to be adopted, and the number of children adopted with assistance by a public agency.

Nationally, the amount of youth in foster care at the beginning of fiscal year 2012 (FY 2012) increased by four and a half percent, totaling 415,129 cases by the opening of FY 2014. In California, there has been an 11 percent statewide increase in the foster youth population from 60,575 in the beginning of FY 2012 to 67,159 at the opening of FY 2014.

Data found in this report about California was gathered from the California Child Welfare Indicator’s Project. The AFCARS data was also used in the companion Trends in Foster Care and Adoption report,which analyzes national tendencies in child welfare over the past decade.
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