SACRAMENTO- An Assembly Bill aimed at providing greater accountability within California’s county child welfare system was approved in the Assembly Human Services Committee Tuesday.
Assembly Bill 1697, Foster Care Placements: Foster Family Agencies, was introduced by Assemblymember Henry T. Perea (D-Fresno) to address an issue uncovered in the 2010 State Auditor’s report California Can and Must Provide Better Protection and Support for Abused and Neglected Children.
The audit found county child welfare agency’s use of private foster homes has nearly doubled since 2001, and cost $61 million alone in 2010.
County agencies should use private foster family agencies to house children requiring specialized care. However, the auditor found over the last several years counties have increasingly referred children who don’t need extra care to foster family agencies instead of using state licensed foster facilities which are less expensive.
AB 1697 would require the Department of Social Services to get a detailed justification from counties about any foster care placements.
“Caring for our state’s most vulnerable children is an enormous responsibility that our county agencies are doing well,” Assemblymember Perea said. “But there is always room for improvement when it comes to providing more accountability to make sure children are placed in the proper environment for their needs.”
Assemblymember Henry T. Perea represents the 31st District in the California State Assembly which includes the central San Joaquin Valley communities of Cutler-Orosi, Dinuba, Firebaugh, Fowler, Kerman, Mendota, Parlier, Reedley, Sanger, San Joaquin, Selma and the city of Fresno.