YLC Helps End Placement Disruption for Crossover Youth
The Youth Law Center successfully advocated for the issuance of clarifying guidance by the California Department of Social Services (CDSS) that will stop the automatic placement disruption and separation of siblings in foster care when a foster youth comes into contact with the juvenile justice system. Despite longstanding state law permitting dependents and wards to reside in the same foster care placement on a case by case basis after assessment of the needs of all the foster youth who will reside in the placement, many county placing agencies have imposed blanket policies prohibiting youth with delinquency petitions in juvenile court from living with foster youth who are solely under child welfare supervision. As a result, dual status youth and foster youth who “crossover” to the juvenile justice system, find themselves barred from placements with child welfare supervised foster youth, often leaving them separated from siblings and other permanency connections after minor brushes with the law. After receiving complaints from both foster parents and youth who have experienced placement disruptions after an arrest of a foster youth, YLC raised this issue with CDSS earlier this year. In response, CDSS recently released All County Information Notice (ACIN) I-75-16 reminding counties of state law requiring individualized placement decisions and providing best practice guidance on the placement of dependents and wards in the same foster care placement. ACIN I-75-16 is available on the CDSS website: http://www.cdss.ca.gov/lettersnotices/EntRes/getinfo/acin/2016/I-75_16.pdf.