California Legislative Update - Scope of Bills Increase the Grasp of the Nanny State

By CAMILLE GIGLIO

September 2, 2010 - San Francisco, CA - PipeLineNews.org - Do we have to get these bills passed so we can see what's in them, to paraphrase that infamous Nancy Pelosi tongue-in-cheek statement?

The state legislative term is over for this year. Many of the bills, which seriously impact the privacy rights of children and families, have succeeded in passing out of the legislature and are on their way to governor Schwarzenegger. The Governor has thirty days to either sign or veto this group of bills as of September 1.

There are eleven bills of interest for their focus on children's health and educational futures and the right of parents to remain in authority over their children. All of these bills need to be vetoed, not just allowed to become law without the Governor's signature.

Please recall that all bills once approved are then written up as parts of various state Codes and implemented. Between the signing by the Governor and the writing of the Code bills have a way of changing and being implemented. If bills have new money requirements and there are currently not the funds to pay for new programs, then the law sits and waits for funding and is then implemented.

The bills we follow seldom ever see the light of day in the news, but have significant impact on education, health, family and employment.

We are following about 11 bills right now. I am going to provide you with one or two bills at a time asking that you please send the governor a message to veto each and every one of these bills. Send a post card, send a letter, make a phone call to 916-445-2841. Please do one of these things following each report.

This writer believes that what will come in future legislative sessions are laws expanding and facilitating the removal of children from parental authority or the threat of removal from the home on grounds of abuse if parents don't comply with federal parental mandates. You may recall that in the last few months there have been newspaper articles about foster children being freed from foster care at age 18 without adequate training in caring for themselves or without college or job opportunities, thereby putting them and their community as risk for criminal and drug related activities. I believe that we have been set up to believe that that is standard and only some bill such as AB 12 can amend the problem.

This does not address the quality of the foster parents, their personal and moral standards, it does not address the lack of qualified Social Workers who will handle expanded case loads. It does not address the quality of academic standards to allow foster child students to go on to college. The following bill will do little to improve the foster child's life but will greatly enhance the bank accounts of the agencies anxious to get in on the funding.

AB 12, Jim Beall, (D-Santa Clara) Fostering Connection to Success Act.

DIGEST: This bill extends transitional foster care services to eligible youth between 18 and 21 years of age, and requires California to seek federal financial participation in kinship guardianship assistance payments.

In October, 2008, the federal government enacted the Fostering Connections to Success and Increasing Adoptions Act (Public Law 110-351). The Act offers states the opportunity to opt-in to new federal funding streams if they choose to provide kinship-guardianship benefits to relative guardians or if they provide foster care to 18 to 21-year-old youth.

This 167 page bill amends huge chunks of the state Family Code and the Health and Welfare Code and places Foster Care and Adoption Assistance squarely under the auspices of the federal government. It was amended 11 times in two years. Final assembly floor vote received only 6 noes.

The author claims that it will not require any increased state spending, but it will add considerable new amounts of federal monies to pay for the additional years from 18-21 for foster youth remaining in custody and/or enrolled in special welfare to work training programs and for the funding of local community service programs.

It will significantly add to the client caseload of every special interest community "service" organization in the state. That means local costs will rise. The list of supporters fills an entire page of names in small print.

AB12 deletes a state run Kin-Gap program which was providing the funding under the former CalWorks Program, for , in most cases, kinship foster child care and Ward of the Court placements and replaces it with a Fed Fostering Success Kin-Gap program along with replacing the AFDC-FC eligibility and Adoption Assistance Program requiring amending large chunks of the state Health and Welfare Codes.

As I stated at the beginning I believe that AB 12 will increase the degree of control exerted by the government over the family. Case in point is the following bill:

AB 1317, Mark Leno, Truancy. This bill was submitted to the legislature in February of this year and went through seven amendments, passing each committee and floor vote with majority support of both Democrats and Republicans.

This bill makes it a misdemeanor charged against parents or guardians whose child is deemed by education authorities to be an habitual truant, absent from school up to 10% of the time in any of grades one through eight. The parent or guardian may be fined up to $2,000.00 or confined to county jail for up to one year.

In order for a parent or guardian to be excused from this charge (deferred entry of judgment) the parents will agree to submit to certain parenting classes. The low income, school drop-out parents wouldn't voluntarily come to the agencies for direction in their lives so the state is going after the parents attempting to frighten them into complying with state health and education goals for your child.

The classes or programs to which the parents would be directed consist of: case management, mental and physical health services, parenting classes and support, substance abuse treatment, child care and housing.

Anyone reading this might smile and say, well, it's about time these lax parents get what they deserve, but, stop and think, the next group of parents could include you or the parents of your grandchildren.

2010 Camille Giglio. All rights reserved.