Current law provides that child welfare services are best provided using a team-based approach, including the utilization of child and family teams, defined as a team of individuals convened by the placing agency and who are engaged through a variety of team-based processes to identify the strengths and needs of the child or youth and his or her family, and to help achieve positive outcomes for safety, permanency, and well-being. Current law requires the child and family team process to Page 63/73 engage the child or youth, the child’s family, and other people important to the family or to the child or youth in meeting the objectives described. This bill would also require the inclusion of the child or youth’s Court-Appointed Special Advocate, if one has been appointed, to the child and family team described above.
AAP Positional Letter
April 1, 2018
Honorable Scott Wiener
Chair, Senate Human Services Committee
State Capitol, Room 5100
Sacramento, CA 95814
RE: SB 925 (Beall): Foster care
AAP-CA Position: Support
Dear Chair Wiener:
The American Academy of Pediatrics, California (AAP-CA), representing over 5,000 California pediatricians, supports proposed legislation SB 925 (Beall), which would require foster children’s Court-Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) to be included in their child and family teams, which aim to help the foster child achieve positive outcomes for safety, permanency, and well-being.
In 2016, well over 12,000 foster children across the state of California were served by CASA volunteers, who receive extensive training in order to represent the interests of foster children and accompany these children through extremely difficult and often traumatic circumstances. However, these volunteers are not always included on a foster child’s child and family team, which is convened to identify the strengths and needs of the child or youth and their family, and to help achieve positive outcomes for safety, permanency, and well-being.
These teams regularly include the child, the child’s family, the child’s caregiver and caseworker, but the absence of CASA volunteers from the team means that an important support for the child is missing from important discussions about the child’s future.
SB 925 (Beall) would rectify this situation by requiring that CASA volunteers, when appointed to represent a foster child, be included on the child’s child and family team. This would help assure that foster children receive the best possible representation and support during important deliberations about their lives.
Pediatrician members of AAP California Chapters 1, 2, 3 and 4 across the state strongly support proposed legislation SB 925 (Beall). Thank you for your public service and leadership on behalf of the health and wellbeing of children, youth, and families in California.
Chief Executive Officer, American Academy of Pediatrics, California
cc: Honorable Jim Beall, author
Members of the Senate Human Services Committee
AAP-CA Leadership; Lobbyist Lydia Bourne