In an effort to protect young parents and their children, this law was signed into law July 16, 2008, amending Welfare and Institutions Code Section 301. In doing so, the law provides that before a social worker undertakes a program of supervision of the children of a parent who is also a dependent of the Juvenile Court, the teen parent must have the opportunity to consult with their attorney before voluntarily agreeing to such a plan. This law prevents unnecessary separation of young parents from their children and provides supportive services to promote that goal.
This law ensures that foster kids placed with non-related legal guardians have the same access to independent living skills education as other foster children. The independent living skills system of courses and workshops teaches youth in foster care critical and practical skills such as how to fill out applications for employment or post-secondary education. Participation in this program is voluntary and allows youth to become eligible for post-secondary education funding through the Chafee Grants that other foster youth receive.
In an effort to preserve the sibling relationship, and thus maintain the emotional stability of children in foster care, this law requires that absent an emergency, child welfare agencies are to notify the child's attorney of the separation of siblings 10 days before the change occurs. In the event that there is more than one attorney representing the siblings, each attorney must be notified of the planned change.
Effective January 1, 2010, Assembly Bill 167 amended Section 51225.3 of the California Education Code relating to High School Graduation. The bill exempts a foster child who transfers to a new school during the eleventh or twelfth grade from being required to complete coursework requirements adopted by the local school district that exceed the minimum state standards. This law seeks to assist foster youth who face considerable challenges in graduating from high school as a result of multiple placement changes while in the foster care system.
On September 30, 2010, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed into law Assembly Bill (AB) 12, or the California Fostering Connections to Success Act. The legislation is a major step in the transformation of the ailing foster care system in California. The law provides much needed support to emancipating foster youth approaching the transition to adulthood by allowing youth to remain in the foster care with financial assistance until the age of 21.
The Fostering Connections to Success and Increasing Adoptions of 2008 is a federal act that initiated extensive policy changes and provided funding to states for emancipating youth. Participation in the program by states is voluntary. California opted into this program by enacting Assembly Bill 12, or the California Fostering Connections to Success Act. Assembly Bill 212 was signed October 4, 2011 by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger as an urgency measure and essentially put Assembly Bill 12 into effect immediately.
Congress recently passed federal legislation known as the Uninterrupted Scholars Act (USA), which makes it easier for child welfare agencies and social workers to access the educational records of foster youth while also preserving the educational privacy rights to foster youth under federal law. This will ensure that foster youth are immediatley enrolled into school and have access to services needed for academic success.