(a) (1) Any holder of a valid license issued by the department that authorizes the licensee to engage in foster family agency functions may use only a certified family home that has been certified by that agency or a licensed foster family home approved for this use by the licensing county pursuant to Section 1506.5.
(2) Any home selected and certified for the reception and care of children by that licensee shall not, during the time it is certified and used only by that agency for these placements or care, be subject to Section 1508. A certified family home may not be concurrently licensed as a foster family home or as any other licensed residential facility.
(3) A child with a developmental disability who is placed in a certified family home by a foster family agency that is operating under agreement with the regional center responsible for that child may remain in the certified family home after the age of 18 years. The determination regarding whether and how long he or she may remain as a resident after the age of 18 years shall be made through the agreement of all parties involved, including the resident, the foster parent, the foster family agency social worker, the resident's regional center case manager, and the resident's parent, legal guardian, or conservator, as appropriate. This determination shall include a needs and service plan that contains an assessment of the child's needs to ensure continued compatibility with the other children in placement. The needs and service plan shall be completed no more than six months prior to the child's 18th birthday. The assessment shall be documented and maintained in the child's file with the foster family agency.
(b) (1) A foster family agency shall certify to the department that the home has met the department's licensing standards. A foster family agency may require a family home to meet additional standards or be compatible with its treatment approach.
(2) The foster family agency shall issue a certificate of approval to the certified family home upon its determination that it has met the standards established by the department and before the placement of any child in the home. The certificate shall be valid for a period not to exceed one year. The annual recertification shall require a certified family home to complete at least 12 hours of structured applicable training or continuing education. At least one hour of training during the first six months following initial certification shall be dedicated to meeting the requirements of paragraph (1) of subdivision (b) of Section 11174.1 of the Penal Code.
(3) If the agency determines that the home no longer meets the standards, it shall notify the department and the local placing agency.
(c) As used in this chapter, "certified family home" means a family residence certified by a licensed foster family agency and issued a certificate of approval by that agency as meeting licensing standards, and used only by that foster family agency for placements.
(d) (1) Requirements for social work personnel for a foster family agency shall be a master's degree from an accredited or state-approved graduate school in social work or social welfare, or equivalent education and experience, as determined by the department.
(2) Persons who possess a master's degree from an accredited or state-approved graduate school in any of the following areas, or equivalent education and experience, as determined by the department, shall be considered to be qualified to perform social work activities in a foster family agency:
(A) Marriage, family, and child counseling.
(B) Child psychology.
(C) Child development.
(D) Counseling psychology.
(E) Social psychology.
(F) Clinical psychology.
(G) Educational psychology, consistent with the scope of practice as described in Section 4989.14 of the Business and Professions Code.
(H) Education, with emphasis on counseling.
(e) (1) In addition to the degree specifications in subdivision (d), all of the following coursework and field practice or experience, as defined in departmental regulations, shall be required of all new hires for the position of social work personnel effective January 1, 1995:
(A) At least three semester units of field practice at the master's level or six months' full-time equivalent experience in a public or private social service agency setting.
(B) At least nine semester units of coursework related to human development or human behavior, or, within the first year of employment, experience working with children and families as a major responsibility of the position under the supervision of a supervising social worker.
(C) At least three semester units in working with minority populations or six months of experience in working with minority populations or training in cultural competency and working with minority populations within the first six months of employment as a condition of employment.
(D) At least three semester units in child welfare or at least six months of experience in a public or private child welfare social services setting for a nonsupervisory social worker. A supervising social worker shall have two years' experience in a public or private child welfare social services setting.
(2) (A) Persons who do not meet the requirements specified in subdivision (d) or (e) may apply for an exception as provided for in subdivisions (f) and (g).
(B) Exceptions granted by the department prior to January 1, 1995, shall remain in effect.
(3) (A) Persons who are hired as social work personnel on or after January 1, 1995, who do not meet the requirements listed in this subdivision shall be required to successfully meet those requirements in order to be employed as social work personnel in a foster family agency.
(B) Employees who were hired prior to January 1, 1995, shall not be required to meet the requirements of this subdivision in order to remain employed as social work personnel in a foster family agency.
(4) Coursework and field practice or experience completed to fulfill the degree requirements of subdivision (d) may be used to satisfy the requirements of this subdivision.
(f) Individuals seeking an exception to the requirements of subdivision (d) or (e) based on completion of equivalent education and experience shall apply to the department by the process established by the department.
(g) The department shall be required to complete the process for the exception to minimum education and experience requirements described in subdivisions (d) and (e) within 30 days of receiving the exception application of social work personnel or supervising social worker qualifications from the foster family agency.
(h) The department shall review the feasibility of instituting a licensure category to cover foster homes that are established specifically to care for and supervise adults with developmental disabilities, as defined in subdivision (a) of Section 4512 of the Welfare and Institutions Code, to prevent the institutionalization of those individuals.
(i) For purposes of this section, "social work personnel" means supervising social workers as well as nonsupervisory social workers.
(Amended by Stats. 2015, Ch. 773, Sec. 10.)