Gov. Brown today signed into law a plan to speed up placements for children in foster care by repealing and streamlining redundant criminal-history restrictions for prospective care givers.
“The Continuum Care Reform of 2015 restructures foster-care placements,” Sen. Holly J. Mitchell, D-Los Angeles. “We believe Senate Bill 213 is part of a larger reform of the foster care system. It is in everyone’s interest to place a foster child with family members when it is at all possible.
“We will now have better tools to make sure we don’t continue our sad history of multiple placements for foster-care children.”
SB 213 makes changes to the criminal record background check exemption process for foster and adoptive parents to remove unnecessary delays in placement.
Mitchell added that California’s current laws relating to the criminal history of a prospective foster or kinship caregiver are overly complex, unduly restrictive and overlap with the 2008 enactment of the federal Adam Walsh Act. This burdensome maze of regulations leaves foster youth to linger in shelters or foster homes awaiting placement. Meanwhile, there are would-be foster parents who are disqualified due to a crime such as petty theft that happened decades ago.
“It is in everyone’s interest to place a foster child with family members when it is at all possible,” she added. “When we know better we do better.”
Susan Abrams, Policy Director for the Children’s Law Center of California, praised Mitchell’s efforts.
“SB 213 can fix this problem and ensure that children in foster care are placed with relatives or family friends whenever possible,” Abrams said. “With changes that do not compromise child safety, SB 213 will streamline the complex exemption process and will simplify the law by aligning the list of non-exemptible crimes with those required by federal law.”
For more information and a Fact Sheet that provides additional details please click on the attachment at the bottom of the press release online.
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