CLC is a leader in policy advocacy and system reform work. Our efforts are informed by the voices and experiences of the thousands of youth we represent. We work at the local, state and national level to accomplish concrete and immediate improvements to the child welfare system, such as helping to protect sibling rights and relative placements, extending foster care up to age 21, improving educational stability and attainment, and supporting expectant and parenting youth. 

Since 2000, CLC has successfully sponsored over 60 pieces of legislation. We also lobbied the California Legislature to increase funding for dependency counsel statewide, leading to a significant reduction in caseloads.

Current Legislative Work

Our team is currently focusing on the following legislation and policy work. Find fact sheets, bill language, and support letter templates below.

More legislation to come in 2024.

AB 20 (ASM GIPSON)

Strengthening Family Connections for Adopted Children

STATUS: Vetoed by Governor.

Co-sponsored with Children’s Legal Services of San Diego 

Many children and young adults adopted through the child welfare system report that maintaining a connection to their biological family and community is critical to their well-being. This bill would strengthen family connections for adoptees when appropriate by promoting ongoing contact between siblings and allowing parental rights to be reinstated for children and nonminor dependents in foster care after an adoption has failed. 


AB 448 (ASM Carrillo)

Promoting Family Connections for Youth in Foster Care

STATUS: Vetoed by Governor.

Co-sponsored with Children’s Legal Services of San Diego 

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.  This bill would strengthen existing requirements around social workers and/or probation officers’ documentation of family finding efforts. 


AB 866 (ASM B. Rubio)

Preventing Food Insecurity for Transition Age Youth

STATUS: Two year bill

Co-sponsored with Alliance for Children’s Rights 

Transition age youth in foster care are among the most vulnerable populations in California. Through no fault of their own, these youth are often faced with a multitude of difficulties, including hunger and insufficient healthy food. This bill would allow CalFresh benefits to be provided at the maximum amount to non-minor dependents (NMDs) in Supervised Independent Living Placements (SILPs) regardless of income or resources, including NMDs who are custodial parents. 


AB 867 (ASM Friedman)

Ensuring Youth Exiting Foster Care Can Succeed

STATUS: Vetoed by Governor.

Co-sponsored with Public Counsel and Youth Law Center 

With AB 12 (2010) and the extension of foster care to age 21, California made a commitment that youth exiting foster care have the tools, resources, and support they need to live independently. However, without proper enforcement mechanisms in the law, too many youth leave the system vulnerable to unemployment, food insecurity, and housing instability. This bill would require the county agency to make active efforts to ensure youth have housing stability before exiting the system and would give the court the ability to keep a case open past age 21 if the requirements to terminate jurisdiction have not been satisfactorily met. 


AB 1756 (ASM Rivas)

Clarifying the Court’s Jurisdiction Following the Death of a Child

STATUS: Signed into law!

Co-sponsored with Dependency Legal Services 

Existing law is ambiguous regarding the court’s authority to maintain dependency jurisdiction after a child in foster care has passed away. As a result, there are situations where the case is closed before the court and parties – including the child’s attorney– are provided complete information regarding the circumstances of the death. Without this information, the child’s attorney cannot fulfill their statutory duties to their young clients. 


AB 937 (ASM McKinnor)

Reuniting Families

STATUS: Signed into law!

Co-sponsored with All of Us or None – Orange County, A New Way of Life, Dependency Legal Services, Los Angeles Dependency Lawyers, and Root & Rebound  

State and federal law mandate that social workers provide services to reunify a family that has been separated by the child welfare system. However, under current law, even if a Court has found that the services were insufficient, a family who has been separated for 18- months is not guaranteed further reunification services. 

This bill would state that if reasonable services have not been provided to a parent — even at the 18-month date — the court must order an additional six (6) months of reunification services.  This change would resolve ambiguities in case law by specifying that family reunification timelines can be extended if reasonable services are not met (In Re Michael G, 69 Cal.App.5th 1133 (2021)). 


AB 1112 (McKinnor)

Providing Supplemental Support for Youth Experiencing Housing Instability

STATUS: Vetoed by Governor.

Co-sponsored with Public Counsel 

Current law ties certain supplemental benefits for youth in foster care to a placement. Given the housing crisis, this bill would ensure that youth experiencing housing instability are still able to receive these critical benefits.  


AB 1512 (ASM Bryan)

Foster Youth Benefits

STATUS: Vetoed by Governor.

Co-sponsored with Alliance for Children’s Rights, Children’s Advocacy Institute, Children’s Legal Services of San Diego, and Youth Law Center 

Disallow the practice of county agencies collecting disability and survivor benefits to pay for the cost of foster care. 

This bill would: 

  1. Require county agency to screen and begin applying for benefits within 60 days of a child’s entry into care; 
  1. Provide notice to child and attorney when benefits are applied for/received. Engage youth in planning for conserved funds; 
  1. Ensure funds are used for child’s unmet current needs or conserved for their foreseeable future needs, and monitor annual accounting on use of funds; 
  1. Provide financial counseling or training to new representative payees on establishing proper accounts to preserve eligibility/managing/disbursing funds 

SB 824 (Senator Ashby)

Addressing Racial Disparities in Child Welfare by Removing Additional Barriers to Relative/NREFM Placement

STATUS: This bill failed to move in Appropriations committee.

Co-sponsored with Alliance for Children’s Rights, A New Way of Life Reentry Project, California Tribal Families Coalition, County Welfare Directors Association of California, Legal Services for Prisoners with Children, Starting Over, Inc., and Underground Scholars at UC Riverside 

California’s placement and approval processes exclude far too many extended family members who are fit and willing to care for children. The barriers to placement, especially those related to criminal history reviews and judgments, disproportionately impact communities of color. 

Building on the changes made to relative placement and approval processes by SB 354 (Skinner, 2021), this bill would: 

  1. Clarify the court’s authority to place with non-relative extended family members (NREFMs) who have a criminal history when there are no child safety concerns; 
  1. Provide the child welfare agency more discretion to place with NREFMs when there are no child safety concerns; 
  1. Clarify that the term “relative” in the statute includes the tribal definition of a relative; 
  1. Ensure placements with relatives or non-relative family members are eligible for funding if the caregiver seeks to become a guardian or adopt.  

AB 740 (ASM MCCARTY, Co-Authors ASM BONTA & ASM GIPSON)

Foster Youth Suspension and Expulsion

STATUS: Signed into law!

This bill ensures that whenever disciplinary action is taken by a school against a child in foster care, the child’s attorney and the appropriate representative of the county child welfare receive notice – including suspension and expulsion documents and related information – and have the right to attend suspension and expulsion meetings and conferences.


AB 1735 (ASM BRYAN)

Eliminating Language Barriers for Youth in Foster Care

STATUS: Signed into law!

This bill requires that essential court documents, such as court reports, case plans, and transition to independent living plans, be translated into a youth’s native language so they can meaningfully participate in their case.


AB 1794 (ASM GIPSON)

Strengthening Family Connections for Adopted Children

STATUS: Vetoed, but reintroduced for 2023 session.

Many children and young adults adopted through the child welfare system report that maintaining a connection to their biological family and community is critical to their well-being. This bill would strengthen family connections for adoptees when appropriate by promoting ongoing contact between siblings and allowing parental rights to be reinstated for children and nonminor dependents in foster care after an adoption has failed.


AB 2085 (ASM HOLDEN)

Addressing Racial Disparities through Mandated Reporting Reform

STATUS: Signed into law!

Mandated reporting laws in California play a central role in the oversurveillance and overrepresentation of families of color in the child welfare system. Children of color are significantly more likely to be reported for allegations of abuse and neglect, despite the vast majority of those allegations being unfounded or unsubstantiated. This bill will address racial disparities and ensure families are not unnecessarily brought to the attention of the child welfare system by revising the standards for mandated reporting.


AB 2189 (ASM FRIEDMAN)

Providing Supplemental Support for Youth Experiencing Housing Instability/Ensuring Youth Exiting Foster Care Can Succeed 

STATUS: Vetoed by Governor.

With AB 12 (2010) and the extension of foster care to age 21, California made a commitment that youth exiting foster care have the tools, resources, and support they need to live independently. However, without proper enforcement mechanisms in the law, too many youth leave the system vulnerable to unemployment, food insecurity, and housing instability. This bill would require the county agency to make active efforts to ensure youth have housing stability before exiting the system and would give the court the ability to keep a case open past age 21 if the requirements to terminate jurisdiction have not been satisfactorily met.

Additionally, current law ties certain supplemental benefits for youth in foster care to a placement. Given the housing crisis, this bill would ensure that youth experiencing housing instability are still able to receive these critical benefits.


AB 2665 (ASM CARRILLO)

Addressing Racial Disparities in Child Welfare by Establishing a Blind Removal Pilot Project

STATUS: Vetoed by Governor.

Data shows a reduction in the disproportionate rate of black children in foster care when a child welfare agency uses a “blind removal” strategy to make decisions about whether to separate a family. This bill would establish a pilot project where participating counties would create and implement a process to remove identifiable information from the case file prior to deciding to remove a child from their parent’s custody.

AB 366 (ASM RUBIO)

Status: Signed into Law!

Recognizing the importance of sibling connections, AB 366 (Rubio) strengthens existing law such that siblings who enter the foster care system must be placed together unless there is a safety risk. We have seen firsthand the unnecessary additional trauma inflicted upon our clients when they are separated from their siblings. This legislation will make an instant and meaningful impact in the day-to-day lives of our clients.


AB 670 (ASM CALDERON)

Status: Signed into Law!

This bill, authored by Assembly Member Lisa Calderon, will enhance California law which currently states a strong Building on a pilot project launched by CLC last year, AB 670 (Calderon) provides essential protections to parenting foster youth to prevent their children from entering the foster care system. This legislation promotes a strength-based approach for working with young parents to ensure they receive the support they need rather than being unduly scrutinized.


AB 829 (ASM LEVINE)

Status: Signed into Law!

CLC is well versed in the importance of vigorous, competent legal representation for children and parents involved in the child welfare system. We recognize that our clients’ need for counsel extends beyond the dependency courts. Almost all of the undocumented children in the foster care system qualify for immigration relief, but that relief can be challenging to obtain without an attorney. AB 829 (Levine) will help undocumented children and youth in foster care access life-changing immigration legal services. Access to Immigration Counsel for Youth in Foster Care (AB 1324 from 2019-2020).


SB 354 (SEN SKINNER)

Status: Signed into Law!

Grounded in research that children who live with a family member have far better outcomes than those placed in an institutional or non-familial foster care setting, SB 354 (Skinner) removes obstacles that prevent children from being placed with relatives while also ensuring that the placement is safe. One of the bill co-sponsors – who is also a relative caregiver – said it best: “This bill restores hope so that we can restore families.”


Budget Request: Urgent Need for Dependency Counsel Augmentation

Our budget request includes $10 million in one-time funding to account for rising caseloads and extraordinary pandemic expenses, and up to $30 million in ongoing funding to correct for shortfalls in federal funding. This funding will ensure that dependency counsel can continue to provide essential legal services during this unprecedented crisis.


Budget Request: Extending the Infant Supplement

The 2021-22 California state budget includes ongoing funding, championed by Assemblymember Blanca Rubio and Senator Melissa Hurtado to establish a monthly expectant parent payment for foster youth for 3 months prior to giving birth and add new health and education information to court reports to ensure foster youth receive information and services they need and increase accountability for reproductive and sexual health outcomes.

AB 2051 (ASM Reyes)

Status: This bill failed in committee.

It protects the strong connection between foster siblings by including them into the visitation provisions of WIC 16002.


AB 1979 (ASM Friedman)

Status: Signed into law!

It would require the use of housing navigators for non-minor dependents, increase housing capacity, allow for longer holds on beds, and allow resource families to transition to THP-NMD host families.


SB 912 (Beall)

Status: Enacted through the budget process.

It would allow NMDs to remain in EFC regardless of age or participation requirements during a Governor declared State of Emergency.


AB 1068 (ASM Cooley)

Juveniles: dependency: child and family teams

It strengthens the child and family team (CFT) process by ensuring a child in foster care, the child’s family, and other individuals important to the family have a meaningful voice in case planning and placement decisions. This bill is co-sponsored by CLC, Alliance for Children’s Rights.

It was signed by the Governor on 10-12-19.

AB 748 (ASM Gipson)

Nonminor Dependents

Current law unjustly deprives a small subset of youth who experienced foster care as minors from accessing the supports and services of the foster care system after age 18. AB 748 would eliminate barriers to ensure that youth are able to access Extended Foster Care as intended. This bill is co-sponsored by CLC, Alliance for Children’s Rights, CYC,

It was signed by the Governor on 10-9-19.

AB 718 (ASM Eggman)

Dependent Children: documents

It requires the county welfare department to submit reports at review hearings verifying that the county has provided documents, services, and additional financial literacy information, to children approaching the age of nonminor dependency.

It was signed by the Governor on 10-2-19.

AB 2992 (ASM Daly) 

Promoting Positive Law Enforcement Interaction with Victims of Commercial Sexual Exploitation

It requires the Commission on Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST) to develop a course on commercially sexually exploited children (CSEC) and victims of human trafficking. Training would further prepare first responders to utilize appropriate interview techniques and would cover available local and state resources.

AB 2337 (ASM GIPSON)

Closing the Gap for Vulnerable Transition Age Foster Youth

Eliminates barriers to ensure that youth are able to enter or re-enter extended foster care. This proposed legislation will allow a youth, who had been found to be in need of a temporary foster care placement and was in that placement on his or her 18th birthday, to be eligible to be formally “declared” a foster youth after turning 18.

AB 1446 (ASM Cooley)

Foster Child Emergency Placement Check In

It promotes stable placements in foster care by providing increased court oversight of youth residing in temporary, transitional or emergency shelter placements. It requires a periodic review hearing for youth residing in emergency shelter.

SB 1083 (ASM Mitchell)

Making RFA Work: Reducing Barriers for Families

It addresses hurdles in the Resource Family Approval (RFA) process to ensure that the process is supportive of caregivers and foster youth. It requires counties to complete RFA within 90-days and grandfathers-in families who were approved as caregivers prior to RFA. Further requires documentation in the court record regarding the amount and source of financial support a youth is receiving, and permits months spent with a caregiver prior to approval to count toward the durational requirement for exiting foster care to the Kinship Guardianship Assistance Payment program.

AB 2183 (ASM Rubio)

Making RFA Works for Families – Providing Critical Resources at Time of Placement

It initiates foster care funding at the point that a family has met health and safety standards required in federal law. It requires counties to secure short-term funding for individuals who accept emergency placement while they work to complete the RFA requirements; and initiates School of Origin (SOO) funding at the time of placement.

SB 89

Omnibus Human Services Trailer Bill – Preventing Unintended Pregnancies for Foster Youth

It made statutory changes to implement the 2017-2018 budget. One important change provides funding to increase access to reproductive health information and services for youth in foster care.

AB 97 (ASM Ting)

Budget Act of 2017

It allocated an additional $22 million for court-appointed dependency counsel in order to decrease caseloads for attorneys representing children and families under the jurisdiction of the dependency court.

SB 213 (Mitchell)

Expanding Placements for Children in Foster Care

It reduces unnecessary delays for relative placements for children in foster care and expands the availability of placements by repealing redundant state criminal history restrictions and streamlining the process by which a prospective caregiver’s criminal history is reviewed.

AB 1371 (ASM Stone)

Parenting Dependents and Wards

It requires that parenting foster youth and wards have an opportunity to consult with an attorney prior to relinquishing any custody of their children. This ensures that parenting youth have a full understanding of the terms and implications of a custody agreement.

AB 766 (ASM Friedman)

Support for Minors in College

It provides important support for minors who are accepted into college by enabling them to reside in the dorms while still getting the services and benefits of the foster care system.

SB 831

Omnibus Human Services Trailer Bill – Infant Supplemental Language

It made statutory changes to implement the 2016-2017 budget.  One such change was a substantial increase to the infant supplement, which is a monetary supplement provided for the care of children of dependents. This increase lends critical support to parenting foster youth.

AB 1688 (ASM Rodriguez)

Notice for out of County Placements

It helps ensure children in foster care have a voice in important placement decisions by clarifying existing law regarding the child’s right to be notified when the social worker is considering moving the child out of county