BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    

                        SENATE HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES
                               COMMITTEE ANALYSIS
                        Senator Deborah V. Ortiz, Chair

          BILL NO:       AB 2514                                      
          AUTHOR:        Bates                                        
          AMENDED:       June 4, 2002
          HEARING DATE:  June 19, 2002                                
          FISCAL:        Appropriations                               
          Margolis/ ak

           Substance abuse review committee:  child welfare programs


          This bill requires the Department of Social Services (DSS),  
          in consultation with the Department of Alcohol and Drug  
          Programs (DADP), to establish a joint committee to study  
          issues relating to substance abuse in families in child  
          welfare programs.

          Existing law:
          1.Establishes within DSS an Office of Child Abuse  
            Prevention (Office).  States legislative intent that the  
            Office plan, improve, develop, and carry out programs and  
            activities relating to the prevention, identification and  
            treatment of child abuse and neglect.

          2.Requires the Office to develop plans to fulfill the  
            requirements of any federal act providing for the  
            establishment and maintenance of pilot projects for the  
            prevention, identification, and treatment of child abuse  
            to facilitate the receipt and allocation of federal funds  


          STAFF ANALYSIS OF ASSEMBLY BILL 2514 (Bates)          Page  

            for planning, research, demonstration and special project  

          3.States legislative intent to fund child abuse prevention  
            coordination councils in each county.  Requires these  
            councils to have specified functions, including providing  
            a forum for interagency cooperation and coordination in  
            the prevention, detection, treatment, and legal  
            processing of child abuse cases.

          This bill:
             1.   Requires DSS, in consultation with DADP, to  
               establish a joint committee (committee) to study  
               issues relating to substance abuse in families in  
               child welfare programs.

             2.   Requires the committee to be co-chaired by the  
               Directors of DSS and DADP, or their designees.

             3.   Requires members of the committee to be appointed  
               by the co-chairpersons, and to include all of the  
               a.     A representative of the County Welfare  
                 Directors Association of California;
               b.     A representative of the County Alcohol and Drug  
                 Program Administrators Association of California;
               c.     A child welfare expert and a drug abuse expert  
                 from the University of California
               d.     A representative of the Judicial Council of  
               e.     A representative of consumers of substance  
                 abuse services; and,
               f.     A representative of any other entity the  
                 committee deems advisable.
             1.   Requires the committee to develop a plan that  
               includes measurable milestones to address issues of  
               substance abuse facing families in child welfare  
               programs, and submit it to the Legislature and the  
               Governor no later than January 1, 2004.

                                  FISCAL IMPACT  

          The Assembly Appropriations Committee states that the bill  


          STAFF ANALYSIS OF ASSEMBLY BILL 2514 (Bates)          Page  

          would result in minor costs associated with staffing the  
          committee.  The bill requires that implementation be done  
          within existing resources.

                            BACKGROUND AND DISCUSSION  

          There is a high correlation between substance abuse and  
          child abuse and neglect.  Caseload studies have documented  
          that between 40% and 70% of the families entering the child  
          welfare system face substance abuse problems.  At the  
          county level, several different kinds of innovative  
          practices have been developed, including out-stationing  
          substance abuse counselors in child welfare agencies, and  
          joint training of child welfare and treatment agency staff.

          A study by the National Center on Addiction and Substance  
          Abuse (CASA), at Columbia University, in 1999 entitled, "No  
          Safe Haven:  Children of Substance-Abusing Parents," states  
          that from 1986 to 1997, the number of abused and neglected  
          children in America jumped from 1.4 million to some 3  
          million.  This increase is more than 8 times faster than  
          the increase in the children's population during that time  
          period.  CASA's analysis, survey and interviews lead to the  
          finding that parental substance abuse and addiction are the  
          chief culprits in at least 70%, and perhaps 90%, of all  
          child welfare spending.  Some of the study's major findings  
          were that substance abuse and addiction confound the child  
          welfare system's ability to protect children, that timely  
          and comprehensive treatment can work for substance-abusing  
          parents, and that such treatment is cost-effective.

          The author argues that there is no infrastructure in place  
          in California to collect information or outcomes about the  
          cases that involve the courts, child welfare agencies, and  
          treatment agencies.  The author adds that this bill is not  
          a study of the problem.  This bill requires the development  
          of a strategic plan involving state and local substance  
          abuse treatment and child welfare agencies and family  
          courts to address this critical issue.  The strategic plan  
          would prepare California to take full advantage of proposed  
          and implemented federal funding and waiver authority, and  
          would better equip state and local agencies to respond to  
          the life-long effects of substance abuse on children and  


          STAFF ANALYSIS OF ASSEMBLY BILL 2514 (Bates)          Page  

          According to the sponsors of this bill, Children and Family  
          Futures (CFF), California is facing a critical need to  
          address the substance abuse problem among families in the  
          child welfare system with a strategic plan of action.   
          Although there are local programs in the state that address  
          some of these issues, there is no statewide plan on how  
          California is going to move forward with these efforts to  
          develop best practices, disseminate information on  
          effective models, sustain new methods of practice and  
          policy that are urgently needed, and measure the  
          effectiveness of these efforts across the state.  CFF  
          argues that this bill is an important step in ensuring the  
          substance abuse recovery of parents, and the safety and  
          well-being of the children of substance abusers who are  
          affected by child abuse and/or neglect.  

          According to the County Welfare Directors Association of  
          California (CWDA), a significant portion of the families  
          involved with the child welfare services system are also in  
          need of substance abuse intervention and treatment.   
          Children whose parents are incapacitated by addiction to  
          alcohol and other drugs are at greater risk of abuse and  
          neglect, poor educational outcomes, and substance abuse  
          dependency.  CWDA argues that it is vital that the linkage  
          between substance abuse and child well-being be recognized  
          and addressed, and that county programs receive tools to  
          identify and respond to families in need of substance abuse  
          treatment and other assistance.

          DSS has expressed concern that this bill creates an  
          unmanageable workload for the department.  DSS is  
          particularly concerned given that the purpose and intent of  
          this bill already are part of the mission of the Child  
          Welfare Stakeholders Group, which includes DADP) as a  

          Related legislation:
          SB 426 (Ortiz, 2001):  requires DADP to develop strategies  
          to protect children exposed to methamphetamine from injury,  
          abuse, neglect, death or illness; establishes the  
          Legislature's intent that DADP develop plans for a  
          statewide summit and establishment of a state resource  
          center on the relationship between the rising use of  
          methamphetamine and child welfare; and requires DADP to  
          submit child protection strategies to the Legislature by  


          STAFF ANALYSIS OF ASSEMBLY BILL 2514 (Bates)          Page  

          January 1, 2004.  The bill was held on suspense by the  
          Assembly Appropriations Committee last year.
                              COMMENTS AND QUESTIONS



          Amendments were requested and taken in the Assembly to  
          clarify the author's intent by requiring the committee to  
          develop "measurable milestones" which now include the:

                 Prevalence of substance abuse in families receiving  
               child welfare services;
                 Available options for substance abuse treatment for  
               families receiving child welfare services; and
                 Cost to the state related to substance abuse issues  
               in the child welfare system.

          These could be viewed as research questions, rather than  
          measurable milestones.  The author states that it is not  
          her desire that this bill initiate additional research, but  
          rather a plan to help the state move forward in addressing  
          these issues.  Would the author like to further clarify the  
          milestones that the committee should consider in developing  
          a plan for the state?

          Given Senator Ortiz's very similar bill, SB 426, and the  
          very serious emerging threats to children from the  
          increasing use of methamphetimine, would the author  
          consider amending language into the bill which ensures that  
          the use of methamphetamine and its effects on children are  
          a high priority for this committee?

                                  PRIOR ACTIONS

           Assembly Floor:               75 - 0Pass
          Assembly Appropriations:      23 - 0Do pass as amended
          Assembly Health:              19 - 0Do pass as amended


          Support:       Children and Family Futures (sponsor)
                         California Alliance of Child and Family  
                         California Coalition for Youth
                              California Society of Addiction  
                         California Association of Alcohol and Drug  
          Program Executives
                         County Welfare Directors Association of  
                         Mental Health Association in California


          STAFF ANALYSIS OF ASSEMBLY BILL 2514 (Bates)          Page  

                         1 individual

          Oppose:   None received.

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