Assemblymember Dababneh’s Bill to Improve Placement Process for Special Needs Foster Youth Receives Unanimous Approval
Measure prompted by crisis to locate placements for special needs foster youth.
SACRAMENTO — The Senate Committee on Human Services approved Assembly Bill (AB) 1375 by Assemblymember Matt Dababneh (D – Woodland Hills) by unanimous consent today. This legislation will help alleviate the crisis California is facing in placing foster youth with special needs. Many of these children wait a lengthy period of time to be placed in a setting that can provide the care they really need.
“It is our responsibility and absolute moral obligation to ensure that foster youth with special needs receive the best possible care,” said Assemblymember Dababneh. “AB 1375 will ensure these children are quickly placed in homes that can provide them the services and support they really require; instead of waiting, like so many of these children currently do, for weeks and months in restrictive shelters and hospitals. Thankfully, this Senate Committee recognized that we can provide better for these vulnerable youth.”
This bill will require the Department of Social Services to create an online database reflecting a daily census of available beds statewide at facilities and certain homes licensed to provide care for foster children and an updated listing of available services provided by each facility. Currently, when a social worker has foster youth with severe developmental disabilities, medical conditions, or other specialized needs, the social worker has to call each home or facility one-by-one until an appropriate placement can be found. Significant delay results in many cases, and in the interim, many of these foster youth end up residing in inappropriate settings like emergency shelters or costly and extremely restrictive locked psychiatric hospital settings.
“We are pleased to see this very important bill is moving forward,” said Public Counsel, the nation’s largest pro bono law firm and a strong supporter of the bill. “This legislation will solve many problems in placing foster youth with specialized needs and improve many of their lives if enacted.”
AB 1375 is also supported by Children Now, Children’s Advocacy Institute, Disability Rights California, the County Welfare Directors Association of California, and the National Association of Social Workers, California Chapter.
The bill now moves to the Senate Appropriations Committee.
Matt Dababneh represents the 45th Assembly District that includes the communities of Bell Canyon, Calabasas, Canoga Park, Chatsworth, Encino, Hidden Hills, Northridge, Reseda, Sherman Oaks, Tarzana, West Hills, Winnetka, and Woodland Hills. For more information please visit the Assemblymember’s website, www.assembly.ca.gov/a45.