Something new will happen at this year’s Advocates Gala! We’re excited to host a fireside chat during CLC’s annual Northern California fundraiser, which benefits CLC’s clients in the Sacramento and Placer County foster care systems. This dynamic conversation will feature a leader in child welfare, who will be joined by a lived foster care experience expert to discuss how we can best serve California’s children. 

We are honored to announce Justice Shama Mesiwala as one of our fireside chat speakers. Justice Mesiwala is a native Californian, whose family immigrated from Mumbai, India in the 1960s. After graduating from UC Davis Law School, Justice Mesiwala became a lawyer for indigent criminal defendants, where she argued cases before the California Supreme Court and Court of Appeal. 

Justice Mesiwala was appointed to the Sacramento bench in 2017. She has presided over a wide variety of hearings, including criminal jury trials, civil jury trials, juvenile dependency, drug court, and mental health hospital hearings. Justice Mesiwala created Northern California’s first Indian Child Welfare Act courtroom and has been honored many times because of her active role in community service. She was named a Sacramento Bee top 25 Asian American/Pacific Islander change maker! Justice Mesiwala was confirmed to the Third District Court of Appeal in 2023. She is the first South Asian female justice and first Muslim female justice on any California appellate court. 

We are thrilled Justice Mesiwala can join us and we hope you will too! It will be an incredible evening of delicious food, good conversation and giving back on May 29th at the Sawyer Hotel. You’ll have a chance to contribute to CLC’s client advocacy efforts by bidding on fun items, including cultural experiences, wine tastings, gift baskets, tickets to local events, and much more! 

Click here to buy your ticket today!


CLC is proud to co-sponsor five bills this legislative session focused on improving the lives and outcomes for children and families in the foster care system. 

Our policy team has been working hard with legislative staff and partner organizations to draft what we hope will become new laws in California. Since 2000, CLC has successfully sponsored over 60 pieces of legislation! 

Below is a brief summary of our bills. To learn more about our 2024 sponsored legislation, please visit our website or email our policy team at 

AB 866 (ASM B. RUBIO) 

In 2023, the Legislature amended Family Code Sections 6929 and 6929.1 to allow minors 16 years and older to consent to receive medications for opioid use disorder from a licensed narcotic treatment program as replacement narcotic therapy without the consent of the minor’s parent or guardian (AB 816, Haney).

AB 866 will clarify that youth in foster care 16 years and older may also consent to receive medications for opioid use disorder without court authorization. Many youth in foster care struggle with addiction and far too many have been lost to opioid overdose. This bill will ensure that youth who could benefit from medically assisted treatment will be able to access it in a timely manner. 


Co-sponsored with with Dependency Legal Services and Los Angeles Dependency Lawyers

Families involved in the child welfare system are entitled to reunification services, except in limited circumstances.

AB 2664 will ensure that families with child welfare cases receive a fair opportunity to reunify. It also reaffirms that the timeline for reunification services is triggered when the Court orders 1) the child(ren) to be removed from the custodial parent or legal guardian and 2) reunification services, both of which are made at the dispositional hearing.


Co-sponsored with Alliance for Children’s Rights, Children’s Advocacy Institute, and Alliance for Boys and Men of Color 

AB 2906 will disallow the practice of county agencies collecting survivor benefits to reimburse themselves for the cost of foster care. It will also create notification requirements for SSI reapplications.


Research shows that children in the foster care system who are placed with relatives have greater placement and school stability, fewer emotional and behavioral problems in placement, and more connections to their biological family and social-cultural communities. 

AB 2929 will strengthen existing requirements around social workers’ documentation of family finding efforts when children are not placed with relatives.


Co-sponsored with Disability Rights California and Public Counsel

In-home respite services offer caregivers much-needed relief from the constant demands of caring for children and adults with developmental disabilities, services that are crucial to maintaining regional center consumers in home settings. SB 1197 will clarify the availability of respite services through regional centers for certain children and non-minor dependents in the foster care system.

Staff Spotlight: Rosie Frihart

CLC is immensely proud of Regional Center Attorney, Rosie Frihart, who testified before the California budget committee on March 21. Ms. Frihart advocates for children in foster care who experience a broad array of developmental delays and disabilities and therefore qualify for Regional Center services, which grants them access to critical support and resources. 

She elevated the importance of remote Individual Program Planning (IPP) meetings for CLC’s clients and families who need to access Regional Center services. She was invited by the Senate Budget Review Committee to share her insight and expertise.  

Ms. Frihart’s testimony was called “brilliant” and “powerful” by many who heard her speak. Senator Caroline Menjivar specifically thanked her for bringing up the foster care perspective and issues involving complex care. 

Having worked at CLC for more than 3 years, Ms. Frihart is a fierce advocate for her clients and wholly committed to ensuring that all foster youth have the resources to which they are entitled, no matter how complicated the case. 

“This work is important to me because people with developmental disabilities are more likely to come into contact with the child welfare system than their typically developing peers (both as children and as parents). Regional Center services can help right this systemic imbalance,” Ms. Frihart said. “No child should be separated from their family just because the child or their parent has a disability and it’s an honor to work toward ending that practice.” 

Congratulations Rosie on your powerful testimony and continued excellence in advocacy! Click here to listen to her full speech.

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