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 written and sponsored bills that have positively impacted foster care throughout California, including AB12, extending foster care to age 21.
Current Policy Campaigns
- Creating a child-centered, family-focused child welfare system for children who cannot remain safely in the home of a parent: Continuum of Care Reform (CCR), a set of laws that took effect in 2017, is intended to support children in family settings and limit the use of congregate care (group homes). Read our full position statement.
- Ensuring educational success for foster youth by increasing educational stability and opportunities for academic achievement: California students in foster care change schools an average of eight times while they are in care, losing four to six months of their educational progress with each move. These students consistently demonstrate the poorest outcomes of any student group. Read our full position statement.
- 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: Current law provides for the option of extended foster care to age 21. Those who elect extended foster care have a right to a safe and appropriate housing. Read our full position statement.
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.
Our current bill priorities:
- AB 1979 (Friedman): Achieving the Vision of Extended Foster Care: ensure that the Extended Foster Youth Program (EFC) has sufficient housing-related supports to ensure that all eligible youth who opt to participate can take full advantage of the transition to independence opportunities offered by the program and live in a safe and stable environment.
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:
- 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