Two measures, authored by Senator Brian W. Jones (R-Santee), were both unanimously given final legislative approval by the California State Senate.
Jones’s Senate Bill 400 would implement a recommendation from the State Auditor regarding the tracking and assisting of homeless students. Local school districts are already required under federal law to provide homeless youth with referrals to existing local community organizations that provide services such as counseling, meals, and housing. Specifically, SB 400 would simply require the California Department of Education to verify that local school districts throughout the state are in fact identifying and assisting youth who experiencing homelessness.
“Homeless students are more likely to miss classes, have a tougher time concentrating, and are more likely to drop out than students with stable housing,” stated Senator Brian Jones. “While our measure will not solve the entire homeless problem, it is a compassionate and focused approach to help students without housing. It will ensure the state and local school districts better utilize federal funding, more effectively partner with established community organizations, and ultimately help students do better in school and complete their education.”
Senate Bill 584, also authored by Jones, expands previous legislation (AB 865 by Assemblymember Eloise Gomez Reyes – 2019), which required resource family training to educate foster parents on how to care for children who have experienced, or are at risk of experiencing, commercial sexual exploitation (child sex trafficking). However, the chaptered version of that bill did not include training on child labor trafficking, despite its prevalence in California, specifically among foster youth. SB 584 adds “child labor trafficking” to the list of subjects foster families are required to receive training and information about.
“Unfortunately, foster kids in particular are vulnerable to being targeted by criminals for child labor trafficking,” stated Senator Brian Jones. “The world is already challenging enough for foster kids and we need to help prevent the threat of them being forced into child labor trafficking. SB 584 will require that the family training already provided to foster parents also includes information to help protect children who have been victims of child labor trafficking or are more likely to become targets of child labor trafficking.”
SB 584 is based on recommendations of, and is supported by, the California Little Hoover Commission and the Coalition to Abolish Slavery and Trafficking.
Both SB 400 and 584 now go to the Governor for his signature.