In these first few months of the new two-year legislative session, California lawmakers have introduced a number of bills related to youth homelessness. Listed below are nine proposed bills that aim to address youth homelessness primarily as it relates to educational services, involvement with the child welfare system, and access to safety net programs.
SB 177: Homeless Youth Education Success Act
Author: Sen. Liu (D – La Cañada Flintridge)
Co-Author: Asm. Ammiano (D – San Francisco)
This bill includes numerous provisions that would affirm the education rights of California’s homeless child or youth, by considering them eligible to participate in extra-curricular activities (i.e. interscholastic sports) even if they don’t meet school-residency requirements. This bill would provide youth access to educational support and services by requiring:
- Immediate enrollment of a homeless child or youth;
- The State Department of Education and the Department of Social Services to organize a work-group to accomplish specified objectives relating to homeless children and youth; and
- Local educational liaisons for homeless children and youth to ensure public notice of the educational rights of homeless children and youths are distributed in schools within the liaison’s local educational agency.
AB 5: Homeless Person’s Bill of Rights
Author: Asm. Ammiano (D – San Francisco)
The bill would enact a Homeless Person’s Bill of Rights, providing that “no person’s rights, privileges, or access to public services may be denied or abridged because he or she is homeless, has a low income, or suffers from a mental illness or physical disability” and would clarify many federal laws related to the educational rights of homeless youth under the McKinney-Vento Act.
AB 264: Homelessness: housing
Author: Asm. Maienschein (R – San Diego)
This bill states that intent of the California Legislature is to “enact legislation to provide housing for homeless persons in this state.”
AB 309: CalFresh: homeless youth
Author: Asm. Mitchell (D – Los Angeles)
This bill aims to clarify that there is no minimum age requirement for unaccompanied homeless youth to apply for CalFresh benefits. This bill would also require county welfare departments to promote awareness of CalFresh expedited services to the homeless population by ensuring local educational agency liaisons and homeless shelter operators to receive training about CalFresh services.
AB 346: Emergency Youth Shelter
Author: Asm. Stone (D – Scotts Valley)
This bill would require that the Department of Social Services (DSS) create a new licensing category for emergency youth shelters. DSS would license shelter facilities that have met the requirements to offer short-term, 24-hour non-medical care and supervision and personal services for up to 25 youths who voluntarily enter the facility. The bill would require DSS to adopt regulations to implement these provisions.
AB 652: Child Abuse and Neglect Reporting Act: homeless children
Author: Asm. Ammiano (D – San Francisco)
The Child Abuse and Neglect Reporting Act would clarify that a minor’s homelessness is not, in and of itself, a sufficient basis for reporting child abuse or neglect. This clarification would be consistent with federal law.
AB 951: Educational rights of homeless children: school district administrator and staff training
Author: Asm. Medina (D – Riverside)
This bill would require school districts to:
- Train all administrators and certificated and classified staff about the educational rights of homeless children and correlate services according, but not limited to, the federal McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act;
- provide public notice to all students and parent/guardians regarding the educational rights of homeless children; and
- Designate a liaison between the school district and the homeless population to ensure that homeless children are identified and served accordingly.
AB 1068: PupilRecords
Author: Asm. Bloom (D – Santa Monica)
This billwould allow minors age 15 years or older to access their own records if the minor “is living separate and apart from his or her parent or guardian, and is managing his or her own financial affairs.”
AB 1110: Foster Care Services
Author:Asm. Mansoor (R – Costa Mesa)
This bill intends to “preserve and strengthen a child’s family ties whenever possible, removing the child from the custody of his or her parents only when necessary for his or her welfare or for the safety and protection of the public.” The bill would amend the Section 16000 of the Welfare and Institutions Code, relating to foster care. Reunification must be deemed “impossible or unlikely” for an alternate permanent housing option to be found; rather than “not possible or likely.”
AB 1283: Homeless Youth: Service Providers
Author: Asm. Bonilla (D – Concord)
This bill would mandate the state advisory group on youth homelessness to identify existing programs that assist youth homelessness and develop a directory of these programs. In addition, it would require this advisory group to found an “Internet Web site for runaway and homeless youth that would include a directory of service providers and the rights of homeless and runaway youth.” The bill would amend Section 1786 of the Welfare and Institutions Code, relating to homeless youth.
The California Homeless Youth Project is a non-partisan initiative of the California Research Bureau and the California State Library. As such, we do not take a position on legislation; this post is for educational purposes only.