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California Legislature Approves Foster Care Overhaul

Photo by San Diego County

Barbie Caldwell, pictured with her foster child in the 2014 photo, and her husband Randy were named San Diego County Foster Parents of the Year in 2014.

The California foster care system would be overhauled under a bill passed by the state Legislature Friday. It moves the state away from long-term group homes for foster children.

Democratic Assemblyman Mark Stone authored the bill.

“It is something that has been a long time in the making and will change the continuum of care, specifically aimed at better outcomes for kids in the child welfare system,” he said.

Stone said children may still be placed in group facilities for short periods of time. But he said they would receive intensive treatment while there, and a greater effort would be made to return children to their families or find them new permanent homes.

To achieve that, Stone said, the state must increase efforts to recruit and retain foster parents and caregivers who are family members or close friends.

The bill includes recommendations from a 2015 Department of Social Services report on reforming the foster care system.

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