February 1, 1997
New California Laws Affect Children & Families!By Sally Field, Mother Wired Staff Writer
STOCKTON - California Governor Pete Wilson signed 1,174 bills into law, an increase of 192 from the year before. Most of them take effect on January 1, 1997.
Some of the most important bills affecting families and children that were signed by the Governor are:
- Adoption - A new law seeks to expedite recognition of permanent placement for infants and toddlers who are being adopted. (AB 1524 by Assemblyman Brett Granlund, R-Yucaipa.)
- Adoption facilitators - State law provides a definition for "adoption facilitators," who search for children to be adopted, and adds restrictions to the currently unlicensed job. (SB 2035 by former Sen. Lucy Killea, I-San Diego.)
- Foster parents - To be licensed, foster parents must take 12 hours of training, and to stay licensed they must take eight more hours of training annually. (AB 3062 by former Assemblywoman Barbara Friedman, D-North Hollywood.)
- Teenage pregnancy - The state is allocating $10 million to start various programs to fight teenage pregnancy. (SB 1170 by Sen. Bill Lockyer, D).
- Bad parents - Parents with records of domestic violence or drug abuse will be required in child abuse cases to prove their fitness to raise their children. In the past, judges often were obliged to reunite children with such parents. (AB 2679 by Assemblyman Louis Caldera, D-Los Angeles.)
- Child abuse - In court proceedings, attorneys representing abused children must advocate protection and safety of the child instead of reunification of the family. (SB 1516 by Sen. Hilda Solis, D-El Monte.)
- Child support - The position "family law facilitator" is added to court staffs to help parents without lawyers understand child support issues. (AB 1058 by former Assemblywoman Jackie Speier, D-Burlingame.)
- Day care - Day care facilities are required to allow the public to examine reports of inspections and reports of substantiated complaints prepared by state inspectors. (AB 1980 by Assemblywoman Liz Figueroa, D-Fremont.)
- Parenting classes - Courts can order that adults and teenagers convicted of drug offenses take parenting classes. (SB 1443 by Sen. Bill Lockyer, D-Hayward.)
- Domestic violence - All judges who handle domestic violence cases must receive training on domestic violence. (AB 2819 by Assemblyman Louis Caldera, D-Los Angeles.)
- Widows and orphans - In order to continue receiving government-paid health benefits, spouses of police officers or firefighters killed in the line of duty no longer must state that they donot intend to re-marry. (AB 3478 by Assemblyman Fred Aguiar, R-Chino.)
Legislative information is available on the WWW at the California Government Server.