Capitol News: CTA and Measure Agree - Being Homeless is Not a Criminal Offense
A CTA-backed bill, AB 652 by Assembly Member Tom Ammiano (D-San Francisco), echoes a key element of the Association's policy: "CTA believes that the mere fact of homelessness does not equate to abuse or neglect."
Ammiano's bill would modify current law, the Child Abuse and Neglect Reporting Act, to acknowledge that the fact a child is homeless or is classified as an unaccompanied minor is not, in and of itself, a sufficient basis for reporting child abuse or neglect.
Without the bill's passage, persons mandated to report suspected child abuse or neglect could be at risk professionally and criminally for not reporting children whose parents or guardians are homeless.
According to the author, "It is hard to imagine a youth desiring to be taken into police custody or returned by police to a home the youth has fled. Many of the unaccompanied minors on the street are foster youth that have fled the child welfare system and feel the system has failed them. Allowing the mandated reporters to report not solely based on the youth's homeless status would serve to remove barriers to services so as alleviate the homelessness and its risks."
Current law considers teachers and other educational support professionals among the "mandated reporters."
The bill cleared the Assembly floor on a 51-23 vote. The bill now goes to the Senate.