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.
AB 740 (ASM MCCARTY, Co-Authors ASM BONTA & ASM GIPSON)
Foster Youth Suspension and Expulsion
STATUS: This is a two-year bill.
This bill would ensure 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.
Co-sponsored with California Advocacy Institute (CAI) and Black Minds Matter Coalition.
AB 1735 (ASM BRYAN)
Eliminating Language Barriers for Youth in Foster Care
This bill would require 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.
Co-sponsored with Legal Services for Children, Law Foundation of Silicon Valley, and Children’s Legal Services of San Diego.
AB 1794 (ASM GIPSON)
Strengthening Family Connections for Adopted Children
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
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 would look to 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.
Co-sponsored with Public Counsel.
AB 2189 (ASM FRIEDMAN)
Providing Supplemental Support for Youth Experiencing Housing Instability/Ensuring Youth Exiting Foster Care Can Succeed
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.
Co-sponsored with Alliance for Children’s Rights, Public Counsel, and Youth Law Center.
AB 2665 (ASM CARRILLO)
Addressing Racial Disparities in Child Welfare by Establishing a Blind Removal Pilot Project
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.
Co-sponsored with The Women’s Foundation of California, Solis Policy Institute (SPI); Los Angeles Dependency Lawyers (LADL); Parenting for Liberation; and Parent Voices Action.
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 is awaiting the ASM Appropriations Hearing.
It protects the strong connection between foster siblings by including them into the visitation provisions of WIC 16002.
AB 1979 (ASM Friedman)
Status: This bill is awaiting the ASM Appropriations Hearing.
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: The Senate Human Services Committee Hearing on 5/19/20 amended language into Legislative Counsel
It would allow NMDs to remain in EFC regardless of age or participation requirements during a Governor declared State of Emergency.
Two Year Bills
AB 1324 (ASM Levine)
Status: This bill is awaiting a senate hearing
It would ensure that undocumented children in foster care are provided with legal immigration services.
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)
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.
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.
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