All foster children and youth should live in the most family-like setting as possible. However, decades of Community Care Licensing (CCL) regulations and policies do not always promote children and youth living in family-like environments and they do not always allow foster caregivers to create that family-like environment for them. These archaic regulations and policies serve to stigmatize children in foster care by treating them differently from all other children and they discourage quality individuals from becoming foster caregivers. Foster youth often cite unreasonable regulations and policies for creating environments that make them feel different from other children and caregiver families frequently cite the lack of the ability to live a normal family life as a primary reason for deciding not to foster.
SB 1641 begins the process of changing the culture of foster care from strictly regulatory compliance to child well-being and normalcy for foster youth and their caregivers. The bill:
- Requires that foster care placements and day-to-day caregiver decisions for foster children be based on the “reasonable prudent parent” standard. This means that foster children and youth should be placed in homes that best promote a family-like environment and permits children to engage in reasonable day-to-day activities.
- Acknowledges the work the Department of Social Services, Division of Community Care Licensing, is doing through a workgroup to review regulations and policies to ensure that they promote the well-being, as well as safety, of children and requires a report to the Legislature during the regular 2007-08 budget hearings on the progress of the workgroup.
- States a legislative intent to ensure that youth placed in out-of-home foster care be given the opportunity to live in an environment that resembles as closely as possible nonfoster care families.