Justia Public Benefits Opinion SummariesArticles Posted in Juvenile Law
In re N.A.
Appellant N.A. was a nonminor former dependent (NFD). While a minor, she lived with a legal guardian, who received financial aid (aid to families with dependent children-foster care, or AFDC-FC) on N.A.’s behalf. When N.A. was 17 years old, she moved out of the guardian’s home. The San Diego County Health and Human Services Agency was not informed of this circumstance, and AFDC-FC payments to the guardian continued past N.A.’s 18th birthday. The guardian provided some financial support to N.A. after she moved out, but at some point, the guardian stopped providing support altogether. Thereafter, N.A. petitioned to return to juvenile court jurisdiction and foster care, which would provide her with certain services and financial aid, under Welfare & Institutions Code section 388.1. At that time, the Agency became aware of N.A.’s prior living circumstance and determined that she and the guardian became ineligible for AFDC-FC payments when N.A. moved out of the guardian’s home before N.A. turned 18. The Agency sent notice of its decision to the guardian. Based on its determination that N.A. was not actually eligible to receive AFDC-FC payments after she turned 18, the Agency recommended denying her petition for reentry. The juvenile court denied N.A.’s petition for reentry, but ordered the Agency to notify N.A. directly of its eligibility determination so that she could pursue administrative remedies. On appeal, N.A. contended the juvenile court’s order was based on an erroneous interpretation of section 388.1 and related statutes. Alternatively, N.A. argued that the court should have decided the AFDC-FC eligibility issue because exhausting the administrative hearing process would be futile under the circumstances. Finding no reversible error, the Court of Appeal affirmed the order. View "In re N.A." on Justia Law
Ohio Department of Medicaid v. Price
Federal Medicaid funds are not available for state medical expenditures made on behalf of “any individual who is an inmate of a public institution (except as a patient in a medical institution),” 42 U.S.C. 1396d(a)(29)(A). "Inmate of a public institution" means a person who is living in a public institution. However, an individual living in a public institution is not an “inmate of a public institution” if he resides in the public institution “for a temporary period pending other arrangements appropriate to his needs.” Ohio submitted a proposed plan amendment aimed at exploiting this distinction: it sought to classify pretrial detainees under age 19 as noninmates, living in a public institution for only “a temporary period pending other arrangements appropriate to [their] needs,” for whom the state could claim Medicaid reimbursement. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services rejected the amendment, finding that the inmate exclusion recognizes “no difference” between adults and juveniles, or convicted detainees and those awaiting trial. The Sixth Circuit denied a petition for review, agreeing that the involuntary nature of the stay is the determinative factor. The exception does not apply when the individual is involuntarily residing in a public institution awaiting adjudication of a criminal matter. View "Ohio Department of Medicaid v. Price" on Justia Law
In re David B.
David, age 17 years 11 months, was a victim of past gun violence and is a wheelchair-bound diabetic in need of day-to-day medical assistance. He was living in a homeless shelter when a dependency petition was filed, alleging that he was abandoned by his mother and left without means of support. An investigation revealed that David had not been forthcoming about his family. The court dismissed the petition, finding that David had a support system in place but had chosen to leave it behind to be on his own. Had the petition not been dismissed, David would likely have qualified for transitional support as a nonminor dependent until age 21. The court of appeals dismissed an appeal. Dependency jurisdiction may not be initiated in the first instance over someone who is over age 18; it must be initiated before age 18, and by the plain terms of the Juvenile Court Law, may only be “retain[ed],” “continu[ed]” or “resum[ed]” for nonminors in certain circumstances until age 21. David’s case is now moot because he is 18 and any error by the juvenile court in failing to assume dependency jurisdiction is effectively unreviewable. View "In re David B." on Justia Law
D.O. v. Glisson
Kentucky’s Health and Family Services commenced a Dependency, Neglect, and Abuse proceeding. The mother stipulated to neglecting her children. Kentucky placed both boys in foster care. R.O., the mother’s aunt, sought custody of the children. The state conducted a standard home evaluation and criminal background check on R.O. and eventually both children were placed in her home by court order. The family court closed the action and granted joint custody to the mother and R.O., though the boys remained living with R.O., who sought foster care maintenance payments. The family court declined to rule on the issue, “indicating that permanency had been achieved.” R.O. then sued the state, arguing that the federal Child Welfare Act, 42 U.S.C. 672(a), required the state to provide maintenance payments, and that the failure to make payments violated the Equal Protection and Due Process Clauses. The state removed the case to federal court. The district court dismissed, reasoning that the Child Welfare Act provides no privately enforceable rights, that the family lacked a property interest in the payments, and that Kentucky’s scheme rationally distinguished between relative and non-relative foster care providers. The Sixth Circuit reversed, finding that the Act creates a private right of action. View "D.O. v. Glisson" on Justia Law
In re W.C.
W.C. was born in Guatemala in 1997. He lived with his grandparents because his mother was dead and his father missing. W.C. left Guatemala because of threats to his safety and came to the U.S. alone, in 2014. At the border, W.C. was taken into protective custody and placed with a distant relative in Oakland. The relative agreed to sponsor W.C. for asylum, but their relationship deteriorated. W.C. became homeless in October 2014. He started using drugs. Taken to a hospital for assessment after cutting himself at school, he was denied treatment because he lacked insurance. W.C. lived at a youth shelter for a while, then told social services he was living with a friend. Eventually, W.C. was suspended from school because he was under the influence of drugs, possessed a knife, and engaged in theft. W.C. requested protective custody. The court ordered him detained, with temporary placement and care provided by the agency. On May 1, 2015, W.C. turned 18. At a May 26 hearing, the agency recommended the dependency be dismissed because the juvenile court had made no legal determination on dependency. On July 7, the juvenile court dismissed the Welfare and Institutions Code section 300 petition. In February 2016, W.C. filed a Request to Return to Juvenile Court Jurisdiction and Foster Care, hoping to participate in job training. The court denied the request. The court of appeal affirmed, holding that a nonminor who was never found a dependent of the court could not reenter and be subject to juvenile court jurisdiction. View "In re W.C." on Justia Law
LA Cnty. DCFS v. A.A.
A Welfare and Institutions Code section 602 petition alleging violations of Penal Code section 288, subdivision (a) (lewd or lascivious acts with a child under the age of 14) was sustained against A.A., a juvenile court dependent from 2007-2015. A.A. was committed to a period of confinement with the DJJ. A.A. subsequently turned 18 years old and the juvenile court terminated its dependency jurisdiction over him. In this appeal, the court rejected A.A.'s contention that the juvenile court should have maintained dependency jurisdiction over him and provided him with services under the California Fostering Connections to Success Act, Assembly Bill No. 12. In this case, A.A. is not eligible for A.B. 12 benefits where A.A. is not a nonminor dependent; the juvenile court reasonably concluded that A.A. did not wish to remain subject to dependency jurisdiction; and the juvenile court did not err in concluding that A.A. was not participating in a transition to living independently case plan where he was committed to a juvenile detention facility. Further, DCFS has complied with the requirements of section 391, subdivision (b), and the juvenile court's order did not violate section 303, subdivision (b). Accordingly, the court affirmed the judgment. View "LA Cnty. DCFS v. A.A." on Justia Law
In re R.G.
The Juvenile Court found R.G., a nonminor dependent within the transition jurisdiction of the juvenile court (Welf. & Inst. Code, 450), ineligible for extended foster care support payments between January 13 and March 13, 2015, because he was neither employed at least 20 hours per week nor participating in a program or activity that promoted or removed barriers to employment, as is required to receive financial support pursuant to section subdivisions (b)(4) and (b)(3) of section 11403 of the California Fostering Connections to Success Act, under which certain youth in foster care may continue receiving financial assistance after turning 18. The court of appeal agreed and reversed. The undisputed evidence indicated that R.G.’s activities, which were primarily self-directed, included formulating a specific job search plan; applying online and in person to numerous jobs; following up with prospective employers; receiving feedback from an independent living skills program specialist on how to improve his resume and job applications; and maintaining contact with the social worker on his progress. This evidence showed that he was working toward his goals during the period in question as contemplated by the statute. View "In re R.G." on Justia Law
Los Angeles Unified Sch. Dist. v. Garcia
Defendant filed a due process hearing complaint with California's Office of Administrative Hearings (OAH), alleging that he was being denied the free appropriate public education (FAPE) that he was entitled to under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), 20 U.S.C. 1400 et seq. The court certified the following question to the California Supreme Court: Does California Education Code 56041 - which provided generally that for qualifying children ages eighteen to twenty-two, the school district where the child's parent resides is responsible for providing special education services - apply to children who are incarcerated in county jails? The case was withdrawn from submission and further proceedings were stayed pending final action by the Supreme Court of California. View "Los Angeles Unified Sch. Dist. v. Garcia" on Justia Law
J.P. v. Anchorage Sch. Dist.
Parents requested that the Anchorage School District evaluate their child for eligibility for special education services. While awaiting the results of the eligibility assessment, the parents arranged for private tutoring. The school district did not assess the child’s eligibility within the statutorily-required time, and the parents requested a due process hearing. They also arranged for their child to be privately evaluated to determine whether he was eligible for special education services. The school district subsequently completed its evaluation and determined the child to be ineligible for services. At the due process hearing, the parents alleged that the school district committed procedural violations under the federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), including impermissibly delaying the evaluation. They sought reimbursement for the cost of their child’s private evaluation and tutoring. An independent hearing officer presided over the due process hearing and ultimately agreed with the district that the child was ineligible for services. The hearing officer ordered the school district to pay the cost of the private eligibility assessment and to partially pay the cost of the tutoring. The superior court upheld the award of the private eligibility assessment, but reversed the award of the private tutoring cost. On appeal to the Supreme Court, the school district argued that the parents should not be reimbursed for the evaluation or the tutoring; the parents argued they are entitled to full reimbursement for both expenses. The central question the Court addressed was: where a child is ultimately determined to be ineligible for special education services, does the IDEA provide relief for procedural violations that occur during the process of evaluating the child’s eligibility for services? The Court affirmed the superior court’s decision, upholding the independent hearing officer’s award of the private assessment cost, but reversing the hearing officer’s award of the private tutoring expenses.
Probert, et al. v. Family Centered Serv. of AK, et al.
Plaintiffs, married couples who worked as house parents to children who were "severely emotionally disturbed" in defendants' homes, sued defendants for overtime pay under the Fair Labor Standards Act ("FLSA"), 29 U.S.C. 203(r)(2)(A). The children attended local public schools and participated in other activities away from the homes. Although, the children participated in group therapy conducted by clinicians in the homes, they received most of their medical and psychological treatment outside the homes. Plaintiffs were not licensed medical or social service professionals. Defendants filed an interlocutory appeal challenging the district court's conclusion that defendants' homes were covered by the FLSA and were subject to its overtime provisions. The court held that defendants' homes were not covered by the FLSA because they were not an "institution primarily engaged in the care of the sick, the aged, mentally ill or defective who resided on the premises of such institution." Accordingly, the court reversed and remanded for further proceedings.