Assemblyman Jim Nielsen (R-Gerber) announced that Assembly Bill (AB) 2292 was signed into law by Governor Brown on Monday. 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.
"This bill ensures that children are safely reunited with their families and that every reasonable step is 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," said Nielsen.
"We are appreciative of Assemblyman Nielsen's hard work in carrying this important legislation, and we want to thank the Governor for recognizing the need for AB 2292 and for signing it into law," said Harriet Salarno, Chair of Crime Victims United of California. "Our mission of carrying for those most vulnerable and for preventing victimization of children will be further strengthened by this new law."
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 are 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.