February 1, 2018

Placement Narratives

California Juvenile Justice Practitioners' Toolkit

This Juvenile Justice Practitioners’ Toolkit begins with narratives of three community-based settings for justice-involved youth: general supervision, foster care placement, and extended foster care. The narratives include key decision points, suggestions about where collaborations can be formed, and descriptions of funding options and the delivery of resources related to placement and housing, health and mental health, and education and employment.

The toolkit illustrates how youth within each of the three community-based settings navigate the probation system, how other systems intersect, the complementary funding streams available through connected systems, and the legal entitlements and benefits available through probation and collateral systems. The toolkit identifies and addresses these critical moments when cross system collaboration can leverage additional resources for youth, easing the burden on local agencies.

This toolkit incorporates recent statewide changes that directly impact service delivery to justice-involved youth, including Continuum of Care Reform (CCR), Resource Family Approval (RFA), the expansion of Pathways to Well-Being (Katie A.) community-based mental health services, and the shift in education funding through the Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF). The toolkit will provide an overview of these reforms and highlight agencies that have successfully leveraged the recent changes to better support several specific vulnerable justice-involved youth populations.

General Supervision

The primary goal of juvenile probation is to stabilize the home environment and provide individualized services so the youth can meet their rehabilitative goals. In a majority of cases, youth complete the terms of probation in the home of a parent under the general supervision of the probation department.

Key Resources

  1. Housing
    • Section 8 Program Voucher
    • Relocation through California Victim Compensation Program (CalVCP)
  2. Health, Mental Health and Substance Abuse
    • Medi-Cal/EPSDT or Covered California
    • Social Security benefits or Cash Assistance Program for Immigrants (CAPI)
    • Regional Center services
  3. Education
    • Special education placements and services
  4. Additional Supports
    • CalWORKs
    • CalFresh
    • County-based programs (e.g. transition centers, specialty courts)

Probation Foster Care

In California, though the majority of youth with a foster care placement are dependents in the child welfare system, some youth obtain foster care status through the delinquency system. This also includes youth who began as dependents in the child welfare system and crossed over into the delinquency system (more commonly known as “crossover youth”). Data show that delinquency foster care placements through the juvenile justice system are disproportionately ordered for minority youth. When placement decisions are made, white youth are more likely to be sent home, while African American youth are more likely to be sent to out-of-home placement and Hispanic youth are more likely to be sent to secure facilities.[1]

California is addressing the overall and disproportionate use of group homes through the Continuum of Care Reform (AB 403), enacted in 2015. To accomplish this transition, the state must focus on shifting delinquency as well as dependency foster youth away from congregate care, as 77% of all justice-involved youth in foster care placements are in group homes and more than one-third of those youth have been in group homes for more than one year. In fact, while only 5% of foster care youth are placed through the juvenile justice system, 35% of group home youth are placed through the delinquency court. Reducing congregate care for foster youth in the probation system begins by increasing resource family placements with relatives, extended family, and foster family agency (FFA) homes.

Key Resources

  1. Placement and Housing
    • Federal AFDC-FC / Title IV-E
    • State Aid to Families with Dependent Children–Foster Care (AFDC-FC)
    • Specialized foster care rates for youth with disabilities and parenting youth
    • Foster Parent Recruitment, Retention, and Support (FPRRS)
    • Transitional housing and independent living options that extend to age 24 or 25
    • Permanency Planning
    • Court-ordered permanency planning with focus on connecting to a caring adult
    • Subsidized permanency (guardianships and adoptions)
  2. Health, Mental Health and Substance Abuse
    • Full-scope Medi-Cal until age 26
    • Community-based mental health services
  3. Education
    • Education rights under AB 490, AB 167, and AB 216
    • School discipline rights
    • Special education placements and services
    • Priority postsecondary financial aid

Extended Foster Care

Enacted in 2010, California’s Fostering Connections to Success Act (AB 12) allows youth who are subject to a suitable placement order on their 18th birthday to remain in foster care and continue to receive support until age 21 and beyond. AB 12 established new supervised independent living options for foster youth ages 18 to 21, including probation foster youth. The Legislature also created a new “transition jurisdiction” for probation foster youth who want to stay in extended foster care without the terms and conditions of probation.

Key Resources

  1. Eligibility and Jurisdiction
  2. Placement and Housing
    • Subsidized placement options until age 21 and transitional housing options until age 24 or 25
    • Foster care benefits up to age 21 to support increasingly independent placements
    • Specialized rates for parenting youth
  3. Health, Mental Health and Substance Abuse
    • Full-scope Medi-Cal until age 26
    • Community-based mental health care until age 21
    • Supplemental Security Income (SSI)/AFDC-FC workaround
  4. Education and Employment
    • Independent Living Program (ILP)
    • FAFSA, financial aid and in-state tuition for post-secondary education


1. Office of the Attorney General, “Juvenile Justice in California 2015,“ at 45.

Read More About

  1. Juvenile Justice


  1. California