Bill Text: CA AB424 | 2015-2016 | Regular Session | Introduced

NOTE: There are more recent revisions of this legislation. Read Latest Draft
Bill Title: Court appointed child advocates: wards.

Spectrum: Partisan Bill (Republican 3-0)

Status: (Passed) 2015-07-13 - Chaptered by Secretary of State - Chapter 71, Statutes of 2015. [AB424 Detail]

Download: California-2015-AB424-Introduced.html

INTRODUCED BY   Assembly Member Beth Gaines
   (Coauthor: Assembly Member Bigelow)
   (Coauthor: Senator Gaines)

                        FEBRUARY 19, 2015

   An act to amend Sections 101, 102, and 109 of the Welfare and
Institutions Code, relating to juveniles.


   AB 424, as introduced, Beth Gaines. Court appointed child
advocates: wards.
   Existing law requires the Judicial Counsel to establish a
Court-Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) program, under which
volunteers serve as court appointed child advocates to provide
designated services and support to dependent children and nonminor
dependents in juvenile dependency proceedings. Existing law provides
that a minor, under certain circumstances, is subject to the
jurisdiction of the juvenile court. If the minor has violated a law
or ordinance, existing law authorizes the juvenile court to adjudge
the minor to be a ward of the court.
   This bill would authorize the appointment of a CASA in a juvenile
delinquency proceeding.
   Vote: majority. Appropriation: no. Fiscal committee: yes.
State-mandated local program: no.


  SECTION 1.  Section 101 of the Welfare and Institutions Code is
amended to read:
   101.  As used in this chapter, the following definitions shall
   (a) "Adult" means a person 18 years of age or older.
   (b) "Child or minor" means a person under 18 years of age.
   (c) "CASA" means a Court-Appointed Special Advocate. "CASA" also
refers to a Court Designated Child Advocate in programs which have
utilized that title. A CASA has the duties and responsibilities
described in this chapter and shall be trained by and function under
the auspices of a Court Appointed Special Advocate program as set
forth in this chapter.
   (d) "Court" means the superior court, including the juvenile
   (e) "Dependent" means a child described in Section  300 of
the Welfare and Institutions Code.   300. 
   (f) "Nonminor dependent" means a foster child as described in
subdivision (v) of Section 11400. 
   (g) "Ward" means a child described in Section 601 or 602. 
  SEC. 2.  Section 102 of the Welfare and Institutions Code is
amended to read:
   102.  (a) Each CASA program shall, if feasible, be staffed by a
minimum of one paid administrator. The staff shall be directly
accountable to the presiding juvenile court judge and the CASA
program board of directors, as applicable.
   (b) The program shall provide for volunteers to serve as CASAs. A
CASA may be appointed in juvenile dependency proceedings under
Section 300, including proceedings involving a nonminor 
dependent.  dependent, and in juvenile delinquency
proceedings under Section 601 or 602. 
   (c) Each CASA shall serve at the pleasure of the court having
jurisdiction over the proceedings in which a CASA has been appointed
and that appointment may continue after the child attains his or her
age of majority, with the consent of the nonminor dependent. A CASA
shall do all of the following:
   (1) Provide independent, factual information to the court
regarding the cases to which he or she is appointed.
   (2) Represent the best interests of the child involved, and
consider the best interests of the family, in the cases to which he
or she is appointed.
   (3) At the request of the judge, monitor cases to which he or she
has been appointed to ensure that the court's orders have been
   (d) The Judicial Council, through its rules and regulations, shall
require an initial and ongoing training program consistent with this
chapter for all persons acting as a CASA, including, but not limited
to, each of the following:
   (1) Dynamics of child abuse and neglect.
   (2) Court structure, including juvenile court laws 
regarding dependency  .
   (3) Social service systems.
   (4) Child development.
   (5) Cultural competency and sensitivity relating to, and best
practices for, providing adequate care to lesbian, gay, bisexual, and
transgender youth.
   (6) Interviewing techniques.
   (7) Report writing.
   (8) Roles and responsibilities of a CASA.
   (9) Rules of evidence and discovery procedures.
   (10) Problems associated with verifying reports.
   (e) The Judicial Council, through its CASA Advisory Committee,
shall adopt guidelines for the screening of CASA volunteers, which
shall include personal interviews, reference checks, checks for
records of sex offenses and other criminal records, information from
the Department of Motor Vehicles, and other information that the
Judicial Council deems appropriate.
  SEC. 3.  Section 109 of the Welfare and Institutions Code is
amended to read:
   109.   Nothing   (a)    
(1)     Except as provided in paragraph (2),
nothing    in this chapter permits a person acting as a
CASA to participate or appear in criminal proceedings or in
proceedings to declare a person a ward of the juvenile court pursuant
to Section 601 or 602. 
   (2) A CASA may participate in proceedings determining the
disposition of the minor pursuant to Section 706, and in all
subsequent proceedings.