Assemblyman Jim Nielsen (R-Gerber) announced that Assembly Bill (AB) 2292 was passed unanimously in the Assembly Judiciary Committee today. This bill would add another step to the reunification process by requiring a juvenile court to consider admissible and relevant evidence before reuniting a foster child or a child who is a dependent of the state to his or her parents. In doing so, this creates a standard that must be adhered to across the state and would provide another layer of protection for children in California.
"California should guarantee that it has taken every step to ensure that children are safely reunited with their families," said Nielsen. "However, every reasonable step should be taken to also ensure that the health and welfare of the child is not in jeopardy once they are reunited, and the current system does not optimally accomplish this."
Current law states that a child can be removed from a home for a variety of reasons, if it is determined that the child's health and welfare is at risk. California also provides reunification services to both the minor and the parents. While the level of services varies from county to county, the court is supposed to hold status review hearings from time to time before granting reunification. If the court does not make any "specified findings", then the child would be reunited with the parents. AB 2292 will ensure that a hearing must take place before a child can be reunited with their parent.