Developing Solutions

We have to change policy if we want to change the world for children

To more effectively achieve our mission of stability, equity, and justice for all young people across the state, the Alliance identifies systemic issues and barriers that impact our clients, and advocates for broad solutions and improvements through ground-breaking child welfare policy reform.

A bold leader in the field, the Alliance has sponsored and co-sponsored bills that have positively impacted foster care throughout California, including:

  • AB 12, extending foster care to age 21,
  • AB 260, ensuring that probate courts and dependency courts work together in concert and protect the due process interests of parents and children and support information sharing to help inform decision making, and 
  • SB 354, removing barriers and creating more opportunities in the foster care system for children to be housed with relative and non-relative extended family member caregivers regardless of a prior criminal conviction, provided that the conviction does not endanger the child. 
We believe that abuse of children’s rights anywhere should be the concern of people everywhere.

Whole Families / Whole Communities

During the summer of 2020, amidst the nationwide uprising against police brutality and systemic racism, the Alliance for Children’s Rights launched an initiative focused on addressing the racial inequities in child welfare. In the time since, the Alliance has collaborated with advocates, court officers, child welfare agency staff members, service providers, and people directly impacted by the system to develop and refine recommendations for building an equitable, just, and family-centered system.

Whole Families/Whole Communities
 is an advocacy campaign dedicated to transforming these recommendations—this blueprint for reform—into reality across the state of California.    Learn more >>

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Current Policy Campaigns

Every year, the Alliance works with partners and policymakers to identify important opportunities to reform and improve foster care and child welfare. Our current campaigns include:

Creating a child-centered, family-focused child welfare system for children who cannot remain safely in the home of a parent

  • Strengthening placement and permanency with extended family
  • Removing systems barriers

Ensuring educational success for foster youth by increasing educational stability and opportunities for academic achievement

  • Supporting school of origin access

Ensuring that all transition age youth who elect to participate in Extended Foster Care or are aging out of foster care are appropriately and safely housed and have access to appropriate supports and services

  • Strengthening the continuum of independent living supports for current and former foster youth
  • Creating TAY housing capacity

Ensuring Equitable Access to Services and Supports for Communities that are Most Impacted by the Foster Care System 

  • Protecting children missing from foster care
  • Providing records access and meaningful oversight over Juvenile Probation facilities, training, and operations
  • Supporting families impacted by the foster care system
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Legislative Priorities


Creating a child-centered, family-focused child welfare system for children who cannot remain safely in the home of a parent

SB 824 (Ashby): Strengthening Placement and Permanency with Extended Family
Fulfills the promise of SB 354 (Skinner, 2021)

Extending the provisions of SB 354 to non-relative extended family members (NREFM) and, for cases governed by ICWA, extended family members;

Ensuring that state permanency funding is available to these caregivers when guardianship and adoption is in the best interest of the child; and

Clarifying the eligibility requirements for the Approved Relative Caregiver (ARC) program to include families that are denied as Tribally Approved Homes and caregivers whose approval has been rescinded.


Ensuring educational success for foster youth by increasing educational stability and opportunities for academic achievement :
Increasing education travel reimbursement rate to assist caregivers who provide transportation to promote children remaining in their school of origin.

Ensuring that all transition age youth who elect to participate in Extended Foster Care or are aging out of foster care are appropriately and safely housed and have access to appropriate supports and services

AB 369 (Zbur): Strengthening the Continuum of Independent Living Supports for Former Foster Youth

Requires CDSS to exercise the federal option to provide independent living services to transition age youth up to age 23 and to evaluate and update the Independent Living Program; and amends state law to clarify that young adults can accumulate cash savings while in Extended Foster Care. 

AB 866 (Rubio): Food Assistance for Nonminor Dependents

Addresses food insecurity among nonminor dependents and mitigating the impact of foster care payments on their CalFresh eligibility by establishing a state supplement to pay the difference between the maximum CalFresh grant and the amount the youth receives from CalFresh based on their income.  

AB 1512 (Bryan): Preserving Federal Benefits for Youth in Foster Care

Establishes procedures for counties to conserve foster youths’ Social Security/SSI benefits for their current and future use rather than using those benefits to pay for the cost of their foster care placement.


SB 456 (Menjivar): Housing Vulnerable Youth

Combats homelessness and housing instability for California’s most vulnerable youth by expanding opportunities for service providers to apply directly for Homekey 2.0 youth set aside funds. 

Ensuring equitable access to services and supports for communities that are most impacted by the foster care system

AB 273 (Ramos): Protecting Children Missing From Foster Care

Ensures that state protocols to locate children missing from foster care are inclusive of tribes and provides for court oversight of the county’s investigation into the child’s whereabouts. 

AB 505 (Ting): Office of Youth and Community Restoration​

Strengthens the Office of Youth and Community Restoration (OYCR) and the OYCR Ombudsperson’s authority to access records and provide meaningful oversight over juvenile probation facilities, training, and operations.


AB 1324 (Bryan): Debt Cancellation for Child Welfare-Impacted Families

Instructs county child support departments to cancel past debts incurred by parents for the costs of their child’s foster care placement, based on research demonstrating that such debts impede reunification and entrench families in poverty.  

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Our Victories

The Alliance is a leader in identifying systemic issues and successfully advocating for common sense solutions to ensure children and youth in foster care and their caregivers are provided the critical supports and services necessary to thrive.

Through systemic advocacy at the state and local levels, the Alliance actively engages partners and advocates to elevates both issues and solutions. 

The Alliance is a major player in significant legislative reform of the child welfare system, resulting in improved outcomes for children and youth in foster care and those who care for them including:


  • Office of Youth and Community Restoration — AB 505 (Ting): makes clarifying updates to the responsibilities of the Office of Youth and Community Restoration (OYCR) by authorizing OYCR ombudsperson access to juvenile detention facilities at any time without prior notice and to access juvenile facility records at all times to facilitate timely response to youth reports
  • Foster Care Rates: Supplemental Report Language as part of the FY 23-24 budget process requires the Department of Social Services to include a schedule for stakeholder input and consultation on the Continuum of Care Reform Permanent Rates Proposal to provide a forum for stakeholder engagement on the new foster care rates structure to be proposed as part of the FY 24-25 budget.


  • Supplemental Security Income for Foster Youth: $600,000 ongoing to facilitate access to federal Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits for foster youth with disabilities, with a focus on transition age foster youth and accompanying trailer bill language directs county placing agencies to screen certain nonminor dependents for possible SSI eligibility, submit an application on behalf of any nonminor dependent who is likely to be eligible for SSI, file appeals for denied SSI applications, and provide ongoing information and assistance for youth to select an appropriate payee and maintain medical and financial eligibility.
  • Emergency Caregiver Funding: additional $1.7 million to provide for emergency payments to caregivers for up to 365 days under certain circumstances.
  • Emergency Child Care Bridge: $35 million in expansion funding including $26 million to provide additional vouchers; $5 million to increase the number of navigators and $4 million for additional trauma-informed training.
  • Clarifying Education Rights — AB 180 (Committee on Budget) clarifies education rights for youth impacted by child welfare and juvenile justice
  • Reducing Barriers to Family Reunification — AB 1686 (Bryan)  increases the likelihood that children, especially children from very low-income families, will be reunified with their parents from foster care by requiring counties to presume that the costs parents are required to pay are likely to pose barriers to family reunification.
  • Access to Guardianships in Juvenile Court Cases  AB 2309 (Friedman) addresses families’ and advocates reported challenges with the WIC Section 360(a) guardianship process to promote family decision making.
  • Expanding Access to Diplomas for Highly Mobile Students  SB 532 (Caballero) expands and strengthens the rights for youth in foster care, youth experiencing homelessness, former juvenile court school students, children of military families, and migratory children.
  • Clarifying Access to Juvenile Court Records  SB 1071 (Umberg) clarifies that attorneys and judges participating in a Department of Social Services administrative hearing involving a youth in foster care may have access to the juvenile case file for purposes of that confidential hearing and establishes timelines by which counties must make pertinent records available.


  • Supporting Caregivers Through the Pandemic $80 million in 2021-2022 to support a pandemic stipend for resource parents to acknowledge their heightened responsibilities during the pandemic.
  • Helping Families Navigate COVID-19 School Disruptions $550 million to support families and schools in resolving IEP disputes to enable students to expeditiously receive the education assessments, aids, resources and services required in their IEP and to address the learning loss associated with the disruption of education caused by the pandemic.
  • Investing in Youth Housing to Achieve Bright Futures
    $200 million to spur the development of housing for current and former foster youth and youth experiencing homelessness.
  • Supporting Pregnant Youth in Foster Care
    $1.8 million to provide an expectant parent supplement three months prior to the expected birth of a child to support expectant youth.
  • Limiting Hidden Foster Care — AB 260 (Stone) strengthens the probate court’s ability to collaborate with the dependency court; establishes judicial oversight of child welfare investigations, and requires Judicial Council to update information resources and those resources to be provided to parents and proposed guardians.
  • Sibling Placement — AB 366 (Rubio) strengthens the statutory protections that keep siblings together by specifying that an approved resource family shall be presumed to have the size and space to place siblings together unless there is a safety risk.
  • Promoting Stable and Positive Housing in the Extended Foster Youth Program — AB 592 (Friedman) restructures the host family transitional housing model to allow families already licensed as a resource family to be eligible to serve as a host family and to divide the Transition Housing Program (THP) payment between the caregiver, nonminor dependent and provider to create more supportive housing for youth in Extended Foster Care.
  • Relative Placement — SB 354 (Skinner) ensures that courts may order placement with a relative, regardless of the status of any criminal exemption or resource family approval, if the court finds that placement does not pose a risk to the health and safety of the child; broadens the list of convictions that qualify for exemptions and simplified exemptions for a specific relative child; and waives income requirements when appropriate and supporting prospective caregivers in accessing necessary supplies, such as cribs, car seats and booster seats for prospective relative and non-relative extended family member caregivers.


  • Ensuring Continuity of Foster Care Funding for emergency caregivers and securing extended funding for youth in Extended Foster Care as the impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic emerge.
  • Safeguarding the Family Urgent Response System by ensuring continued funding and implementation to provide children, youth and caregivers with an alternative to law enforcement response during situations of instability.
  • Achieving the Vision of Extended Foster Care – AB 1979 (Friedman) strengthens housing-related supports in the Extended Foster Care Program to ensure that all eligible youth who opt to participate can live in a safe and stable environment and take full advantage of the transition to independence opportunities.


  • Establishing a Statewide Hotline and County Mobile Response System
    $15 million in 2019-2020 and $30 million ongoing to establish the Family Urgent Response System (FURS), a 24/7 statewide hotline and county mobile response system
  • Securing Emergency Caregiver Funding at the Time of Placement
    Overcame proposal to limit emergency caregiver funding to 90 days through appropriation of $4.1 million one-time funding to ensure emergency caregiver funding is available for 120 days and up to 365 days if the county can demonstrate good cause as to why Resource Family Approval is taking longer than 120 days. 
  • Expanding the Emergency Child Care Bridge Program
    $10 million annually to expand the Bridge program and help more foster families and parenting foster youth access child care.
  • Improving the Child and Family Team Process – AB 1068 (Cooley)
    Improves the CFT process by requiring greater communication and planning coordination.
  • Supporting ICWA Compliance – AB 686 (Waldron)
    Supports children subject to the Indian Child Welfare Act and compliance with the Act by allowing telephonic appearances by tribal representatives in court hearings and requiring the county and foster family agency to apply prevailing social and cultural standards of the Indian community when approving a resource family. 


  • Supporting Emergency Caregivers – AB 110 (Committee on Budget) and AB 1811 (Committee on Budget)
    Establishment of the Emergency Caregiver Funding program which provides funding equal to the basic foster care rate to relatives and extended family members who accept placement of a child in foster care on an emergency basis or based on a compelling reason before being approved as a resource family while they work to complete the Resource Family Approval process.
  • Addressing Unintended Delays in the RFA process – SB 1083 (Mitchell)
    Addresses unintended delays in the Resource Family Approval (RFA) process by extending the conversion deadline for existing certified, licensed, or approved families by an additional year; requiring the RFA permanency assessment to be completed within 90 days; clarifying RFA withdrawal process, and clarifying that a youth can be placed with an approved relative or extended family member through a Voluntary Placement Agreement without that person being approved as a resource family.
  • ICWA Conformity – AB 3176 (Waldron)
    Supports children subject to the Indian Child Welfare Act and compliance with the Act by makes a number of changes to state law regarding the removal of Indian children from their families and their out-of-home placement in order to conform to changes to federal ICWA regulations.
  • Trauma Informed System of Care – AB 2083 (Cooley)
    Addresses the needs of the most traumatized children by requiring interagency agreements at both the state and the county levels to help facilitate placements and appropriate service to better serve youth by ensuring the services available to them are coordinated, trauma-informed and timely and to address potential gaps in placements and services.
  • Access to Extended Foster Care – AB 2337 (Gipson)
    Addresses the specific circumstance under which a non-minor dependent with disabilities, who is otherwise eligible to receive extended foster care benefits, but has been in receipt of SSI, may re-enter extended foster care

Hidden Foster Care

Our latest report looks into the adverse impacts of “Hidden Foster Care.” Due to a well-intentioned effort to ”keep kids out of the system,” relatives are frequently encouraged to bypass juvenile court and care for at-risk children outside of formal foster care – often these families end up without the supports and services necessary to address the impacts of trauma. 

Together with our partners, we’re evaluating a set of recommendations to better aid these families.

Learn more >>

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as we stand for them.
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