Advocacy

Hillsides provides a voice for the children and families who need it the most. Our blog, written by Joseph M. Costa, Hillsides chief executive officer, discusses and analyzes pressing and newsworthy issues that impact Hillsides and child welfare. Through our many advocacy opportunities, we take a stand to continually create lasting change for at-risk children, youth, and their families. Read our latest Advocacy Report.

The following bills are designed to ensure that children that we work with who are enrolled in public schools have access to necessary school-based mental health services and have their Individualized Education Programs (IEPs) regularly updated:

SB 191 (Beall): Authorizes counties and mental health providers to partner with local education agencies to create a program aimed at providing targeted interventions for pupils with social-emotional, behavioral, and academic needs; authorizes creation of a county-level mental health and substance abuse provider to deliver services in schools and ensure IEP students with those needs are provided with them.

Status: Died in Senate Appropriations (may be resurrected next year as a 2-year bill)

SB 233 (Beall): Expands the education records that foster family agencies have access to, including records of attendance, discipline, special education assessments, etc.

Status: Signed into law

SB 354 (Portantino): Expands the definition of “parent” to include educational rights holder and conservator of child for students with an IEP. Ensures that information is shared in native language of parent when IEP is being developed.

Status: Died in Assembly Education (may be resurrected next year as a 2-year bill)

 

We also support legislation to expand access to postsecondary education for youth in foster care:

SB 12 (Beall): Requires the Student Aid Commission and CDSS to work cooperatively to develop an automated system to pre-screen foster youth for Pell Grant eligibility and to assist them in applying.

Status: Signed into law

AB 766 (Friedman): Enables youth in extended foster care who are pursuing postsecondary education to access their benefits directly for the purposes of living independently in college or university-designated housing.

Status: Signed into law

AB 1567 (Holden): Requires the sharing of data related to foster youth access and enrollment in postsecondary support programs, including EOPS.

Status: Signed into law

 

In addition to operating the Youth Moving On (YMO) program, Hillsides has made strengthening the support system for transition age youth an ongoing advocacy priority:

AB 210 (Santiago): Authorizes counties to establish coordinating teams for homeless adults, children and families to improve coordination between, and expedited access to, housing and supportive services. 

Status: Signed into law

AB 604 (Gipson): Expands jurisdiction of juvenile court to adjudge as dependents of the court youth who would be IV-E eligible so that they can access extended foster care benefits. 

Status: Signed into law

AB 625 Quirk-Silva): AB 625 Requires CDSS to request a USDA waiver to make nonminor dependents in SILPs categorically eligible for the maximum CalFresh benefit without regard to income or resources.

Status: Died in Assembly Appropriations (may be resurrected next year as a 2-year bill)

AB 1406 (Gloria): Establishes the Homeless Youth Advocacy and Housing Program, awarding grants to 10 local continuums of care involving service providers delivering housing assistance and supportive services with a goal of transitioning homeless youth under age 25 to self-sufficiency.

Status: Died in Senate Transportation & Housing (may be resurrected next year as a 2-year bill)

 

A number of the core services that Hillsides provides, including residential treatment, are designed to stabilize and treat children who have experienced significant trauma, and we believe the following bills will enhance the response system for children and families in crisis:

AB 340 (Arambula): Requires that services provided under EPSDT include screenings for trauma, and authorizes the state to share best practices for trauma screening with counties.

Status: Signed into law

AB 501 (Ridley-Thomas): Authorizes STRTPs to be operated as children’s crises residential centers and establishes interim Medi-Cal rates for those services. 

Status: Signed into law

 

Whenever safe and possible, we believe children should be supported and cared for in family-based settings, and these bills will help ensure that families who are providing care for children in foster care are receiving the necessary supports:

AB 507 (Rubio): Requires the training resource family caregivers receive to be based upon a collaborative and individualized plan developed by the child and family team. 

Status: Signed into law

AB 1006 (Maienschein): Ensures that prospective adoptive families and guardians are provided with specified mental health treatment information before the adoption is finalized.

Status: Signed into law

AB 1164 (Thurmond): Establishes the Child Care Bridge Program for Foster Children, authorizing emergency child care vouchers for resource families caring for children 0 to 4 years old.

Status: The funding for this program was included in the 2017-2018 Budget, which was approved by the Governor.

 

Providing youth in foster care with age-appropriate sexual education and reproductive health services is critically important for their health and well-being and to prevent unplanned pregnancy:

SB 245 (Leyva): Requires the case plan for all foster youth age 10 and older to include comprehensive sex education, including access to reproductive and sexual health care services.

Status: Died in Assembly Human Services & Judiciary (may be resurrected next year as a 2-year bill)

Family Resource Centers offer numerous community-based programs and services that provide parenting classes, mental health support, and additional crucial resources for vulnerable children and families throughout Los Angeles County, including the San Gabriel Valley and Pasadena. >
Education Center, a therapeutic residential and day school, offers individualized education for students with social-emotional, learning and/or behavior challenges for children in kindergarten through 12th grade. >
Youth Moving On, with support from The Everychild Foundation, provides former foster youth affordable quality housing and numerous support services to help them become responsible, self-sufficient adults. >