Dragon Info

Child Welfare Articles

Social Worker Awareness Campaign

Overview: Providing Services on the Run

Children's Services Committee Plans Social Worker Awareness Campaign

Social Workers, Foster Kids and Community Suggest Issues

SB 2030 Findings

Special Reports

Dependency Court Overwhelmed

Social Worker Meltdown Series

Protecting Children, Restoring Families, It takes Time

DRAGON ARTICLES

July 2001
Crisis in Transitional Services for Foster Youth -- Independent Living Programs Make a Difference

Housing Is A Major Problem

Leonard Moncure and Jennifer

From Homeless to College Graduate

The social worker may be the only one you can trust

Kathy Garcia: I try to be that one adult a child can feel safe talking to.

February 2001
Assemblywoman Dion Aroner "The union needs to take leadership in providing best practices for taking care of kids and families"

Making a Difference, Jacob Ocampo takes social work to the community

September 2000
Social Worker Awareness Campaign

Riding Along with Bilingual Worker Frederick Machado

Social Worker Heartbeat

February 2000
Are Social Workers Entitled to a Life?
Just Say No to Excessive Overtime

Breakdown

October 1997
Caseload State of Emergency

CWS/CMS Computer Crashes Child Welfare System

Seeing Through The CWS/CMS Mess

February 1997
Adoptions:Parent v. Child

Los Angeles County:Working in the Adoption Factory

Creating New Families

June 1996
Kathleen Schormann and the Unquiet Death of Lance Helms

Family Reunification Workers Speak Out


 

SEIU Local 535 Dragon--Voice of  the Union-- American Federation of Nurses & Social Services Unioin

Child Welfare Articles

Social Worker Awareness Campaign

Overview: Providing Services on the Run

Children's Services Committee Plans Social Worker Awareness Campaign

Social Workers, Foster Kids and Community Suggest Issues

SB 2030 Findings

Special Reports

Dependency Court Overwhelmed

Social Worker Meltdown Series

Protecting Children, Restoring Families, It takes Time

DRAGON ARTICLES

July 2001
Crisis in Transitional Services for Foster Youth -- Independent Living Programs Make a Difference

Housing Is A Major Problem

Leonard Moncure and Jennifer

From Homeless to College Graduate

The social worker may be the only one you can trust

Kathy Garcia: I try to be that one adult a child can feel safe talking to.

February 2001
Assemblywoman Dion Aroner "The union needs to take leadership in providing best practices for taking care of kids and families"

Making a Difference, Jacob Ocampo takes social work to the community

September 2000
Social Worker Awareness Campaign

Riding Along with Bilingual Worker Frederick Machado

Social Worker Heartbeat

February 2000
Are Social Workers Entitled to a Life?
Just Say No to Excessive Overtime

Breakdown

October 1997
Caseload State of Emergency

CWS/CMS Computer Crashes Child Welfare System

Seeing Through The CWS/CMS Mess

February 1997
Adoptions:Parent v. Child

Los Angeles County:Working in the Adoption Factory

Creating New Families

June 1996
Kathleen Schormann and the Unquiet Death of Lance Helms

Family Reunification Workers Speak Out

ASSEMBLY FOSTER CARE LEGISLATIVE PACKAGE

Final Out Come

$300 million package was cut to $18 million because of the budget short fall from the energy crisis

ASSEMBLY DEMOCRATS UNVEIL FOSTER CARE REFORM PACKAGE


$300 Million Package Offers Help to Foster Parents, New Hope for Foster Children SACRAMENTO -Assembly Speaker Robert M. Hertzberg (D-Van Nuys) and a coalition of Assembly Democrats introduced a 13-bill reform package that would help foster youth to prepare for college and careers, give foster parents and children more training and resources, and hold state foster-care agencies accountable for their results. "This package of legislation will provide some common-sense reform -and a helping hand to foster youth as they prepare themselves to become productive citizens," Speaker Hertzberg said. "California cannot afford to fail these kids."

Today's foster care system has a reputation for creating obstacles, rather than opportunities. Roughly 45 percent of foster youth are unemployed after leaving the system; 50 percent do not complete high school, according to the California Partnership for Children. "There is life and hope after foster care," said Assemblymember Migden. "Developing independent living skills among emancipated foster youth is both humane and cost effective in the long run. This package will give skills to young people, enabling them to be successful and productive adults."
"When I was emancipated from the state's foster care system two months ago, I was left feeling unprepared, lost and completely overwhelmed," said Heather Jacobson, 18, from Pasadena, Calif., and a member of California Youth Connection, a sponsor of the legislative package. "The system should empower California's foster youth by preparing us for the real world before we turn 18 and then guiding us once we're on our own. "

The l3-bill legislative package would devote $300 million to improving three parts of the state's child welfare system:

  • Holding government foster care agencies more accountable for their results.
  • Providing new resources for foster children and parents-.
  • Encouraging youths leaving foster care to complete job training.

"We're making it very clear that foster care reform will remain a top priority this year, despite the impact the energy situation is having on the budget," Assemblymember Cardenas said. "As Budget Committee Chairman, I intend to keep this issue in the forefront as the process continues."

"It is not acceptable that 40 to 50 percent of foster children are high school dropouts and that most of these children end up unemployed, homeless, or incarcerated," said Majority Leader Kevin Shelley.

"Meeting foster children' s education needs should be front and center of any legal guardian ' s efforts. "

The Assembly Democrats' proposal would help foster care children prepare for college and careers by:

  • Doubling the amount a foster youth may save toward independent living from $5,000 to $10,000.
  • Extending the transition age for foster youth attending college or vocational training programs.
  • Establishing an Internet-based passport system so foster children's records move with them.
  • Expanding the housing options for foster youths over age 18.

"We cannot improve outcomes for foster youth if we do not address the foster care system's severe resource crisis: overwhelming social worker caseloads, an acute shortage of foster parents, meager educational services to youth," said Assemblymember Aroner. "As a parent, I know when my child is doing poorly in school, is sick, or needs care and comfort. Foster youth are the state's kids, it is time we took our parenting responsibilities seriously. The package ofbills we present today will end our cycle of neglect of the state's foster youth. "

The package would improve the existing foster care program by:

  • Providing better training and information for prospective adoptive parents-
  • Helping c6unties find more foster parents through the Foster Parent Recruitment and Retention Program.
  • Raising provider rates by 5 percent each year for the next four fiscal years-
  • Strengthening resources for parents and foster care children, and reducing case loads for child welfare workers.

"The state of California currently does not even track outcomes for foster children, let alone assure good ones," said Assemblyman Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento). "Multiple agencies at the state and local level are each assigned a different piece of foster children's broken lives, and they rarely talk to one another. We must coordinate all the individual efforts and value the contribution each makes to the well-being of every child."

 

AB 333 (Wright) Independent Living
Problem: Youth should be as prepared as possible for independent living once they are forced to exit from foster care at age 18.
Solution: Increases, from $5,000 to $10,000, the maximum amount a foster youth may save toward independent living.

AB 1119 (Hertzberg) Emancipating Foster Youth /Health & Education Passport
Problem: Foster youth encounter problems after leaving foster care, including unemployment and homelessness. In addition, foster youth's health and education records are difficult to keep track of and easily lost.
Solution: (1) Extends foster care assistance for emancipated foster youth attending an educational or vocational training program up to age 23.
(2) Establishes an Internet-based health and education passport system for foster children.

AB 1261 (Migden & Cardenas) Transitional Foster Youth Housing
Problem: Within 12 to 18 months of exiting foster care, 25 percent of emancipated foster youth are homeless and 45 percent are unemployed.
Solution: (1) Raises rates for transitional housing programs in order to expand the housing options for emancipating foster youth.
(2) Increases, from $5,000 to $10,000, the maximum amount a foster youth may save toward independent living.

AB 1666 (Keeley) Transitional Foster Youth Housing
Problem: Within 12 to 18 months of exiting foster care, 25 percent of emancipated foster youth experience homelessness, and 45 percent are unemployed.
Solution: Changes the rate setting formula for the foster youth Transitional Housing Placement Program to reflect actual costs in order to expand the housing options for emancipating foster youth.

CHILD WELFARE SYSTEM- SUPPORT AND RESOURCES

AB 364 (Aroner) Child Welfare Worker Caseloads
Problem: Child welfare social worker caseloads are two times the recommended levels in most categories making it impossible to provide children and families with services necessary to reunite the family or improve the life of the child.
Solution: Requires the state to implement reduced minimum workload standards for county social workers, to be phased in over five years.


AB 538 (Cardoza) Adoption of Foster Youth
Problem: Many potential adoptive parents are asked to adopt foster youth with very little information.
Solution: This measure would provide prospective adoptive parents with greater information about the adoptive children and their families.

AB 557 (Aroner) Foster Parent Recruitment
Problem: Counties are losing foster family providers faster than they can recruit them due to an inability to provide foster parents with adequate support.
Solution: Establishes the Foster Parent Recruitment and Retention Program to assist counties in providing services to foster parents.

AB 797 (Shelley) Foster Youth Educational Services
Problem: 75 percent of foster youth work far below grade level and need supportive educational services, and less than 50 percent graduate from high school.
Solution: Expands the Foster Youth Services program to serve all foster youth in all counties.

AB 1105 (Simitian and Shelley) Foster Parents: Child Care
Problem: Counties cannot recruit families to be foster parents when both parents work, a particularly severe problem in areas with high housing costs.
Solution: Requires the Department of Social Services to provide child care assistance to licensed foster parents and relative caregivers who are working out of the home.

AB 1330 (Steinberg) Foster Family Home Provider Rates
Problem: Counties are losing foster family providers faster than they can recruit them due to an inability to provide foster parents with adequate support.
Solution: Raises foster family home provider rates by 5 percent each year for the next four fiscal years and establishes a higher rate for highly trained foster parents.

AB 1449 (Keeley) Foster Care: Family Reunification
Problem: Families that successfully reunify with their children after foster care are charged for the cost of providing foster care. This places an unnecessary strain on already unstable families.
Solution: Allows the Department of Child Support to compromise the debt that reunified families are assessed.

CHILD WELFARE SYSTEM-OUTCOMES AND ACCOUNTABILITY

AB 899 (Liu) Foster Youth Bill of Rights
Problem: Entering foster care is scary and intimidating. Because foster youth are not informed of their rights and responsibilities, they are subject to mistreatment and feel they have no control over their own lives.
Solution: Articulates specific rights and responsibilities of children in foster care.

AB 636 (Steinberg) Child Welfare System
Problem: The child welfare system is judged by inputs and processes rather than child and family outcomes and results.
Solution: Enacts the Foster Care Improvement and Accountability Act of 2001, which would review and measure county child welfare agencies based on child and family outcomes.