Legislature Approves Assemblymember Dababneh’s Bill to Improve Placement for Foster Youth
Measure prompted by crisis to locate placements for foster youth with special needs.
SACRAMENTO — The California Assembly approved Assembly Bill (AB) 1375, authored by Assemblymember Matt Dababneh (D – Woodland Hills), by a unanimous vote of 75-0. This legislation will help alleviate the crisis California is facing in placing foster youth with specialized needs.
“Many kids in our foster youth system wait for weeks and months in inappropriate and restrictive shelters and hospitals,” said Assemblymember Dababneh. “AB 1375 ensures that foster children with specialized needs are placed in homes that provide the services and support they really need as quickly as possible. I am confident this bill will help provide better opportunities for vulnerable youth in our communities facing tough obstacles.”
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 a representative from Public Counsel, the nation’s largest pro bono law firm and 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 will now be considered by the California State Senate.