SACRAMENTO—Native American foster students would receive the same educational rights as other foster children under AB 1055, a proposal approved Wednesday by the Assembly Education Committee on a bipartisan vote of 7 to 0. Assemblymember James C. Ramos (D-Highland) authored the measure.
“This bill ensures that tribal foster youth are afforded the same resources and services as their non-tribal counterparts,” Ramos said. If AB 1055 is enacted all California foster youth – those under supervision of the county or tribal court systems – will receive the attention they need to achieve success in school.
The Ramos legislation builds upon the work of AB 1962, a 2018 law allowing schools to count tribal foster youth under the state education Local Control Funding Formula. But it did not function as intended because of conflicts with provisions in California’s Welfare and Institutions Code.
“Native American foster students and their guardians deserve the same support as other foster pupils receive such as timely transfer of records, credit for satisfactorily completing coursework at other schools and being able to stay in the same school,” Ramos stated.
During his presentation on the bill to the committee, Ramos credited Judge Claudette White for advocating for the change in the law. She succumbed to COVID-19 in February at the age of 49. “Judge White was a towering figure in Indian law, a member of the California Child Welfare Council and a passionate advocate for Native Americans, particularly children.”
AB 1055 is supported by the Yurok Tribe, Children Now, Alliance for Children’s Rights, the California Charter Schools Association, the Morongo Band of Mission Indians and the California Alliance.
Assemblymember James Ramos proudly represents the 40th Assembly district which includes Highland, Loma Linda, Mentone, Rancho Cucamonga, Redlands, and San Bernardino. He is the first and only California Native American serving in the state’s legislature.