New California Bill Would Push for More Foster Youth Placed With Relatives

A new bill introduced by a California Assemblymember aims to improve the placement rate of foster youth with their relatives or other known adults, following a report that revealed wide disparities among counties.


The bill, AB 819, was proposed by Culver City Assemblyman Isaac Bryan, who said that placing foster youth with family members or someone they have a relationship with is crucial for their well-being and stability.

The bill comes after a report by the Child Advocacy Institute in December 2023, which showed that the percentage of foster youth placed with relatives varied significantly across the state, from 22% in Sacramento County to 67% in San Francisco County. The report also highlighted the benefits of kinship care, such as lower rates of trauma, abuse, and placement disruption, as well as higher rates of permanency, educational attainment, and social support.

What the bill would do

The bill would require the director of any county welfare agency with a placement rate 10% less than the statewide average — for example right now, it’s 34%, so with a placement rate of 24% or less – to confer with the counties that do meet the standard. They would also be required to place a discussion item on the county board’s agenda at least once a year to discuss the issue.

The bill would also mandate the state Department of Social Services to provide technical assistance and best practices to the counties that need to improve their placement rates, as well as to collect and publish data on the outcomes of foster youth placed with relatives.

Reactions and challenges

The bill has received support from various child welfare advocates, such as the First Place for Youth, a nonprofit organization that helps foster youth transition to adulthood. The organization said that the bill would “move CCR forward through certain improvements to processes and services to help those in foster care get the right placement, treatment, and supports in a timely manner”.

However, the bill may also face some challenges, such as the shortage of available and willing relatives, the lack of financial and social resources for kinship caregivers, and the potential resistance from some counties that prefer other types of placements, such as group homes or intensive services foster care.


The bill, AB 819, is a promising step towards increasing the placement of foster youth with relatives or other known adults, which has been shown to have positive impacts on their development and well-being. The bill would require the counties that fall behind the state average to learn from the best practices of the counties that excel, as well as to report on their progress and challenges. The bill would also provide more support and guidance from the state level to help the counties improve their placement rates. The bill is expected to go through the legislative process in the coming months.

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