YLC submits comments to CDSS on proposed budget trailer

YLC recently submitted comments to the CDSS on the initial print version of the proposed budget trailer bill implementing the 2018 federal Family First Prevention Services Act (FFPSA) to raise concerns primarily about the timing and coordination of key elements of the case planning process and the adequacy of equitable provisions governing probation supervised foster youth. […]

Congress passes legislation that will make it easier for students to get financial aid!

Congress has passed legislation that will greatly simplify the financial aid application process by 2023, with specific benefits for youth with prior involvement in the child welfare and juvenile justice systems. Changes include: Shortening and simplifying the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Removing the requirement that students register for selective service in order […]

YLC joins amicus brief in Fulton v. City of Philadelphia

YLC is proud to sign on to an amicus brief in Fulton v. City of Philadelphia along with dozens of child welfare advocates urging SCOTUS to uphold Philadelphia’s non-discrimination policy. Children, youth, and families will suffer if SCOTUS grants government-contracted foster care agencies with a sweeping license to discriminate against same-sex couples, people of minority […]

Victory! Senate Bill 912 Moves Forward

Senate Bill 912, co-sponsored by YLC and authored by Senator Jim Beall, is continuing to move forward in the Assembly after passing unanimously out of the Senate. This bill would allow youth to continue participating in extended foster care during a California state of emergency, even if they turn 21 or no longer meet the participation requirements and allows […]

Victory! CA Governor Signs Budget to Extend Foster Care

Advocacy from YLC and other advocate partners to create a lifeline for youth in foster care who were imminently facing a 21st birthday and potential homelessness during this pandemic has resulted in a major victory! California Governor Newsom has signed the Budget Act of 2020, which includes $32 million to allow youth to remain in extended foster care until June 30, 2021, as long as […]

Fact sheets on two juvenile justice education bills signed into law in CA

These fact sheets provide basic information about Senate Bill 716 and Assembly Bill 1354 both signed into law in 2019 and effective on January 1, 2020. The SB 716 fact sheet describes which youth are eligible for online college courses, what programs are available, and who is responsible for providing them. The AB 1354 fact […]

Breaking News: California Governor signs two YLC-sponsored bills to promote educational opportunity for juvenile justice impacted youth!

Last week, California’s Governor Newsom signed into law two Youth Law Center-sponsored bills, ensuring improved access to education opportunities for youth involved with the juvenile justice system. These policy changes support Youth Law Center’s ongoing work in California to strengthen education opportunities for all system-impacted youth and to build alternatives to youth incarceration. Keep reading for more […]

CA Assembly Bill 1354 (Gipson) moves to Assembly floor for floor vote!

California Assembly Bill 1354, which will provide oversight of education transitions for youth leaving juvenile facilities to return to their communities, came off the Assembly Appropriations Committee suspense file on May 16, 2019 and is moving to the Assembly floor for a floor vote.

YLC working on costs concerns related to CA Senate Bill 716

Youth Law Center has been working closely with Democratic State Senator Holly Mitchell’s office, the University of California Office of the President, and the California State University Office of the Chancellor to address concerns the UCs and CSUs had about implementation costs associated with California Senate Bill 716 (Mitchell) should it become law.

SB716 Gains Support!

A state senate bill to ensure postsecondary education opportunities for high school graduates in juvenile custody gained strong bipartisan support and a 7-0 vote in the California Senate Public Safety Committee on April 9, 2019.

Breaking: YLC-sponsored AB 2448 signed into law!

On Sunday evening, September 30, 2018, Governor Brown signed Youth Law Center-sponsored Assembly Bill 2448 authored by Assembly member Mike A. Gipson. This bill helps ensure that foster youth and probation-supervised youth in out-of-home placements have access to computer technology and the Internet, to facilitate the education and communication that are key to their health, well-being, and […]

Victory: Prop 57 Abolishes Direct File in Adult Court

After years of advocacy to eliminate the practice of prosecutors directly filing juvenile cases in adult criminal  court, the Youth Law Center celebrates the passage of  Proposition 57, The Public Safety and Rehabilitation Act of 2016. While Proposition 57 encompassed a number of criminal justice reforms, its primary impact for youth is to require that a […]

New Law Protects Foster Youth from Unfair Detention

The Youth Law Center is pleased that Governor Brown has signed AB 2813 by Assemblymember Richard Bloom.  This bill, sponsored by the Youth Law Center,  protects children and youth in foster care from being needlessly detained in juvenile hall due to their foster care status, harmonizing the standards used by a probation officer to detain […]

Victory for Youth Exiting Foster Care

On September 25, Governor Brown signed into law AB 1849 by Assemblymember Mike Gipson.  This bill, co-sponsored by the Youth Law Center and Children Now, clarifies instructions about Medi-Cal coverage for youth exiting foster care at age 18 or older.  AB 1849 will reduce barriers to foster youth receiving the extended health coverage to which […]

Trauma Screening Bill for At-Risk Children Vetoed

Governor Brown dealt a serious set-back to children in foster care in vetoing SB 1466, which would have ensured that children on Medi-Cal receive expert-recommended trauma screenings. When left unaddressed, trauma in childhood causes long term harm, from heightened risk of illness, substance abuse, and premature death to increased learning problems and a greater chance […]

Governor Vetoes Bill Limiting Use of Out of State Group Homes

Youth Law Center is disappointed by the Governor’s veto of AB 2005, as we believe there should be greater care in the high-stakes placement process for youth who are supervised by probation and put at risk of being sent out of state to harmful group homes, hundreds and even thousands of miles from home.  We […]

Bill Signed to Remove Graduation Barriers for At-Risk Youth

On September 22, 2016, Governor Brown signed into law AB 2306 by Assemblyman Jim Frazier, which requires school districts to exempt a student from local high school graduation requirements once the student transfers to the district from a juvenile court school. It also clarifies that pupils in juvenile court schools have a rigorous curriculum that […]

YLC Works to Ensure Trauma Screening for At-Risk Youth

Childhood trauma is the leading public health issue of our time and one that disproportionately impacts children in the child welfare and juvenile justice systems.  When unaddressed, trauma can cause lasting harm, lead to a host of problems in adulthood, and even shorten lives. With our care and support, all our children can heal and […]

Urge Governor Brown to Sign AB 2005

Urge the Governor to sign AB 2005 so California can have more informed and careful decision-making when out-of-state congregate care is under consideration for probation-supervised youth. The stakes are high for these young people. Taking them far away from their home communities can have a devastating impact on their futures as critical links to family, […]

Governor Brown Signs Landmark Child Welfare Bill

YLC celebrates Governor Brown’s signing of AB 403, a landmark bill that will move child welfare and probation away from reliance on unnecessary congregate care placement and towards developing capacity for children to be raised in families! These changes align California policy with child development research that establishes the importance of parenting as the most […]

Governor Brown Signs Juvenile Defender Training Bill

YLC celebrates the signing of AB 703 (Bloom) by Governor Brown, which we co-sponsored with the East Bay Children’s Law Offices.  The legislation recognizes the important role of juvenile defenders and clarifies their ethical duties.  It makes clear that defenders are to represent the minor’s expressed interests, honor the duty of confidentiality with the client, […]

Action Alert on Congregate Care Bill

Tell Governor Brown Children in Foster Care Deserve Families, Not Institutions –Now is the time to urge Governor Jerry Brown to sign AB 403! Children have the right to grow up in a family — in fact, it is a basic developmental need. Every child needs a family who can provide hands-on parenting through love, commitment, […]

Judge Orders Compliance with Flores Settlement by Oct. 23

United States District Court judge Dolly Gee ordered the Department of Homeland Security and other federal defendants to comply with the Settlement Agreement in Flores v. Lynch by October 23, 2015.  The 1997 Flores Settlement Agreement establishes requirements for the release of minors who have been detained by immigration officials and specifies the types of […]

Judge Rules for Immigrant Children

United States District Court Judge Dolly Gee has ruled that immigrant children who are accompanied by a parent when they are detained by immigration officials are entitled to the protections of the Settlement Agreement in Flores v Johnson.  The judge found the Department of Homeland Security and other defendants in violation of the Settlement Agreement and issued an order for […]

President Obama Names May 2015 National Foster Care Month

Recognizing that “Children are best raised in families, not institutions,” President Barak Obama on April 30th issued a proclamation naming May 2015 as National Foster Care Month.  There are over 400,000 boys and girls in the nation’s foster care system. More than 100,000 of them are waiting to be adopted, and every year, 23,000 young […]

The California Senate Judiciary Committee Approves SB 12

The California Senate Judiciary Committee unanimously approved  SB 12 on April 14, 2015.  SB 12 is a bill to widen the door on extended foster care to highly vulnerable populations of former foster youth.  Learn more about extended foster care and SB 12 here: Widening Door on Extended Foster Care for Probation Youth – Chronicle of Social […]

YLC Co-Sponsors Bill to Extend Foster Care Benefits

Youth Law Center and the Alliance for Children Rights have co-sponsored SB 12, a bill now before the California Legislature which will  provide a support net to vulnerable former foster youth under the age of 21 who were excluded in prior legislative efforts to extend foster care to youth who require the assistance and protections […]

YLC Reduces Group Care in Florida

YLC is partnering with foster families, foster youth and other advocates to support new Florida legislation, SB, 940, limiting the inappropriate use of congregate care for children in foster care.  Carole Shauffer, YLC Director of Strategic Initiatives testified to the Florida Senate,  “Group care is an intervention, it’s not a place to live.  Group care […]

Legislation Seeks to End Juvenile Solitary Confinement

YLC staff attorney Sue Burrell was interviewed by San Diego CityBeat in relation to legislation introduced by Senator Mark Leno (S.B. 124) aimed at reducing the use of solitary confinement in California juvenile facilities.  Sue pointed out that, “When juvenile facilities think about solitary confinement, they think of those little metal rooms, like when you […]

YLC on Harsh Discipline for Truants

The Center for Public Integrity interviewed Staff Attorney Sue Burrell in connection with its investigation of school discipline and push out of Black and Latino youth in California’s education system.  Sue spoke about the system’s misguided truancy sweeps that feature a COP’s-like  show of force as the system’s solution to youth with persistent attendance problems.  […]

Governor Signs AB 338 Protecting Crossover Youth

Governor Jerry Brown recently signed into law AB 388 (Chesbro) requiring oversight on the use of law enforcement in group homes, limiting the unnecessary secure detention of foster youth, and providing the same protections for foster youth that non-foster youth living at home with parents routinely receive when they come into contact with the delinquency […]

Governor Signs AB 2276 Ensuring Reenrollment Rights

On September 30, 2014, Governor Jerry Brown signed AB 2276 (Bocanegra), a bill that addresses the reenrollment rights of juvenile justice youth, in particular, those who are reentering from a juvenile court school. There is strong evidence that juvenile justice youth in California often have difficulty re-enrolling in school once released from detention.  California’s juvenile […]

Governor Signs SB 1111 Ensuring Educational Placement Rights

On September 29, 2014, Governor Jerry Brown signed SB 1111 (Lara), a comprehensive bill that addresses the transfer rights of students referred to county community schools, makes the statute consistent with state and federal laws governing the educational placement rights of foster care and homeless youth, and closes an existing loophole in the discipline code […]

Governor Signs Bill Banning Incarceration of Truant Youths

On June  27, 2014, Governor Jerry Brown signed SB 1296 (Leno), banning incarceration as a contempt sanction for youth adjudicated as truants.  Although the Legislature long ago specifically prohibited incarceration of truants adjudicated under Welfare & Institutions Code section 601, court decisions had created a loophole.  The decisions held that when a young person has […]

Mandatory Minimums Dropped from S.B. 838

After intensive efforts by a broad group of agencies and organizations, the provisions of S.B. 838 requiring mandatory two-year confinement were dropped from the measure.  Youth Law Center was part of the opposition, urging that mandatory sentencing violates the most basic principle of juvenile justice that young people receive individualized treatment and services.  Several members […]

Youth Law Center Weighs In on S.B. 838

The San Jose Mercury News interviewed YLC  Staff Attorney Sue Burrell about S.B. 838, a controversial measure arising from a Santa Clara County case.  After teenage boys sexually assaulted an intoxicated young woman at a party, they shared photos of her nude body.  She had no memory of the incident, but sadly, days after learning about […]

The Legislature’s Role in CA Juvenile Justice Reform

YLC Staff Attorney Sue Burrell was invited to write a guest blog for the National Council on Crime and Delinquency’s “NCCD Blog” on the California Legislature’s role in California juvenile justice reform.  Sue’s piece discusses the legislative enactments that helped to depopulate the state’s troubled juvenile institutional system over more than a decade.  Through a […]

YLC Supports Therapeutic Foster Care Bills

YLC has joined a long list of national and state organizations to support federal legislation designed to ensure that children and youth in foster care will have access to vital Medicaid services and quality providers.  S. 1992 and H.R.4016 are bipartisan, bicameral bills, also known as the Quality Foster Care Services Act of 2014.  They […]

Governor Signs Sentencing Review Law Co-Sponsored by YLC

On September 16, 2013, Governor Jerry Brown signed S.B. 260 — historic sentencing review legislation.   It applies to more than 6,000 youth who were under the age of 18 at the time of their crime, tried as an adult, and sentenced to an adult prison sentence in California.  The legislation was introduced by Senator Loni […]

HELP Separated Children’s Act Supported by YLC

The HELP Separated Children’s Act, supported by the Youth Law Center, has passed the Senate Judiciary Committee as an amendment to the comprehensive immigration reform bill (S 744.)  The amendment is designed to strengthen protections for children when parents are caught up in immigration enforcement actions. HELP Separated Children Amendment Summary First Focus Press Release

YLC Endorses SSI Restoration Act, H.R. 1601

The Youth Law Center has endorsed the SSI Restoration Act, H.R. 1601, introduced by Representative Raúl M. Grijalva (Arizona).   The Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program funds foster care for children with disabilities and is an important source of support for children with disabilities in low income families.  The Act would modernize and streamline eligibility rules that […]

YLC Testifies on S.B. 260 – Sentencing Review

On April 22, 2013, Staff Attorney Sue Burrell testified in the California Senate Appropriations Committee in support of S.B. 260 (Hancock).   The bill would provide a review process for juveniles tried as adults after they serve 10 years in prison.   It provides a process responsive to the U.S. Supreme Court decisions in Graham v. Florida […]

YLC Testifies on Defender Training Bill

On April 2, 2013, YLC Staff attorney Sue Burrell testified in California’s Senate Public Safety Committee in support of S.B. 166 (Liu).  YLC is a co-sponsor of the bill with the California Public Defender’s Association.  The bill provides legislative intent language underlining the importance of skilled, well trained lawyers in the increasingly complex area of […]

AB 12 and Probation Involved Youth Caregiver Webinar Series

The Youth Law Center is hosting a four-part series of webinars on AB 12, California’s Fostering Connections to Success Act, for relatives, foster parents and other caregivers to probation involved foster youth.  AB 12 extends support up to age 21 to foster youth as they transition to adulthood and independence.  Probation supervised foster youth who […]

Recent Legislation Supported by YLC

Governor Brown signed a number of bills this month that we supported and will help children and youth in the child welfare and juvenile justice systems. Here’s a list of the bills, now law: AB 9 – Bullying AB 212 – AB 12 cleanup AB 735 – Priority in state internships for former dependent foster […]

Nebraska Legislation Based on Report Co-Authored by YLC

Nebraska Sen. Mark Christensen introduced a bill in the state legislature on January 19, 2011, that would require its Judiciary Committee to develop requirements for attorneys for children in dependency court, and to consider the recommendations made in a report co-authored by the Youth Law Center. The report and study, Evaluation of the Guardian ad […]

YLC Analysis of DJJ Parole Realignment to the Counties

On October 19, 2010, the Public Safety budget trailer bill, A.B. 1628, was signed into law by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, effective immediately upon this date of enactment. This new law included language that amends the Welfare & Institutions Code (WIC) and reorganizes and realigns juvenile parole from the California Division of Juvenile Justice (DJJ) to […]

Gov. Schwarzenegger Signs A.B. 12

PRESS RELEASE For Immediate Release: Thursday, September 30, 2010 Contact: Aaron McLear Rachel Arrezola 916-445-4571 Gov. Schwarzenegger Takes Action to Extend Foster Care Benefits to Age 21, Improve California’s Foster Care System Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger today announced he has signed legislation to improve the lives of children and youth in California’s foster care system including […]

YLC Joins Effort to Protect Medicaid for Youth in the JJ System

YLC has joined other state and national organizations to urge House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to include in final health care legislation a provision in the House-passed bill (H.R. 3962, §1729) requiring states to suspend—rather than terminate—Medicaid benefits for youth in juvenile facilities. This issue arises out of YLC work on Improving Access to Health Care […]

SB 1147 Comments

YLC and the Western Center on Law and Poverty submitted comments on draft SB 1147 materials to the California Department of Health Care Services on December 4, 2009. SB 1147 requires California to suspend rather than terminate Medi-Cal for individuals under 21 who become inmates of the public institution. The goal of SB 1147 is […]

Letter to Senator Debbie Stabenow

The Youth Law Center joined with over 35 national child welfare and mental organizations to thank Senator Debbie Stabenow for introducing an amendment to ensure that Medicaid coverage includes Therapeutic Foster Care (TFC.) TFC provides medically necessary, cost effective services to at least 50,000 children with severe mental and behavioral health needs in a community-based […]

YLC Supporting AB 154, AB 47 and SB114

Additional child welfare bills that the Youth Law Center is supporting are AB 154 that will inform adoptive parents about the availability of the federal and state adoption tax credits; Assembly Bill 47 that will adjust a tax credit that is currently available to offset the cost of adoption of older foster youth or youth who were […]

YLC Co-Sponsoring AB 12

YLC is co-sponsoring AB 12, which will extend foster care benefits to youth after the age of 18 and allow California to participate in the federal Kinship Guardianship Assistance program.  AB 12 has broad support, with 37 co-authors, and 8 co-sponsors including: the California Alliance of Child & Family Services, the California Youth Connection, the […]

YLC Supporting AB 938

YLC is supporting AB 938, which provides for early identification and notification of relatives of children who have removed from home because of abuse or neglect.  AB 938 also implements a recommendation of the Blue Ribbon Commission on Children in Foster Care to insure that all parties in juvenile court proceedings have a meaningful opportunity […]

Governor Schwarzenegger’s Support of AB 12

In his March 9, 2009, press conference, Governor Schwarzenegger issued a statement of support for A.B. 12, the California Fostering Connections to Success Act, co-sponsored by the Youth Law Center: “I am committed to working with Assembly Speaker Karen Bass and Senate Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg on a bipartisan solution that ensures our children and […]

SB 1147 Signed

This week, Governor Schwarzenegger signed into law S.B. 1147 – Medi-Cal for Juveniles.  As a result of this bill, Medi-Cal children being released from public institutions will no longer be faced with re-applying for benefits.  Their benefits will be suspended when they go into custody, so services can be accessed immediately when children are no […]

Proposition 6’s Answer to Safety Issues: Jail, Jail and More Jail

By Sue Burrell  |  Daily Journal  —   FORUM COLUMN On this November's crowded initiative ballot, voters will encounter a reassuringly entitled measure, "The Safe Neighborhoods Act," Proposition 6. At first glance, it may seem a likely yes vote, as a large portion of California's law enforcement community supports it. But for those of us who regularly trek to […]

Support for SB 1147 – Medi-Cal Coverage for Juveniles

The Youth Law Center is sponsoring S.B. 1147, which would require the Department of Health Care Services to adopt protocols and policies to ensure that Medi-Cal eligible youth are not terminated from coverage, solely on the basis that they are inmates of a public institution.  The practical effect of this would be to ensure that […]