It has long been recognized that when children are removed from the custody of their parents and are placed in the foster care system, placement with a relative is the preferred course of action. Because of this, Section 361.3 of the California Welfare and Institutions Code states that preferential consideration for placement shall be given to relatives of the foster child. Placement with a relative is then determined on a case by case basis and in the event that the relative is deemed a good fit by the courts.
However, despite the intention of the WIC, preferential consideration is not always applied as intended. In some counties, preferential consideration is applied too liberally such that relatives are always given custody of the foster youth, even when it is not in the best interest of the child. Still, in some counties, some relatives are given no preferential consideration and are therefore placed with strangers when there is an appropriate relative willing to care for the child.
AB 2391 would have instructed the Judicial Council to adopt a rule of court that specifies how and when a family member must be considered as a placement option for foster children.