September 21, 2018
The Honorable Edmund G. Brown, Jr.
Governor of the State of California
California State Capitol, Suite 1173
Sacramento, CA 95814
RE: AB 2043 (Arambula): Foster youth: family urgent response system.
AAP-CA Position: Support
Dear Governor Brown:
The American Academy of Pediatrics, California (AAP-CA), representing over 5,000 California pediatricians, respectfully urges your signature on AB 2043 (Arambula) to create the California Coordinated Response System, including a toll-free 24/7 hotline available statewide to caregivers, children and youth in the foster care system who are experiencing emotional, behavioral or other difficulties and need immediate help.
Foster youth face some of the most challenging circumstances of all California children. Often removed from their families due to abuse, neglect, or other traumatic experiences, many are shuffled between homes and often isolated from their support networks due to multiple moves. 70% of foster children experience more than three foster placements during their time in the system. Under these circumstances, it is no surprise that foster children and youth frequently experience behavioral or emotional issues too difficult to handle on their own. Caregivers, under these circumstances, may call the police as their only recourse for dealing with behavioral issues, including self-destructive behavior. This criminalizes what is often only a bid for help and creates further difficulties for the foster child.
AB 2043 supports the goals of the Continuum of Care Reform (CCR), which envisions all foster youth and caregivers receiving immediate and timely supports and services to support long-term permanency and improved outcomes. AB 2043 would help to fulfill this promise by providing foster youth and their caregivers on-demand support via a statewide, toll-free hotline available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, for caregivers and youth who are experiencing emotional, behavior or other difficulties and need immediate help. The hotline would be staffed with operators trained in conflict resolution and de-escalation to provide immediate assistance to help defuse the crisis and determine whether mobile, in-home support is needed. AB 2043 would also requires counties to establish cross-disciplinary mobile response teams to provide face-to-face, in-home response on a 24/7 basis to help stabilize the living situation, assess the caregiver’s and child’s needs, and develop a plan of action. Counties would provide the family with ongoing services through their existing local networks of care.
Pediatrician members of AAP California Chapters 1, 2, 3 and 4 across the state urge your signature on AB 2043 (Arambula). 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: AAP-CA leadership; Lobbyist Lydia Bourne; Assemblymember Dr. Joaquin Arambula