NEW LEGISLATION AFFECTING FAMILY LAW CASES
SB 606 (De Leon): Harassment of child based on parent’s employment. California Penal Code Section 11414 [misdemeanor harassment of child based on parent’s or guardian’s employment] currently defines harassment for purposes of this crime as knowing and willful conduct directed at a specific child that seriously alarms, annoys, torments, or terrorizes the child and serves no legitimate purpose. SB 606 amends this statute to clarify that harassment includes such conduct that occurs in the course of an actual or attempted recording of the child’s image and/or voice without the express consent of the parent or guardian, as well as lying in wait or following the activities of the child or ward (Penal Code Section11414(g)(2)). However, amended Penal Code Section specifies that it is not a violation of the statute to transmit, publish, or broadcast a recording of the child’s image or voice. The amendment authorizes a parent or guardian to bring a civil action against anyone who has violated the statute, with damages limited as specified (Penal Code Section 11414(d)). The amended statute also increases the current criminal penalties for violations, and it specifically allows prosecution under another law providing greater punishment (Penal Code Section 11414(a), (c), (f)). Finally, amended Section 11414(g)(3) defines employment as the parent’s or guardian’s job, vocation, occupation, or profession.
AB 446 (Mitchell): HIV testing of minors. Existing California Family Code Section 6926 provides that a minor who is at least 12 years-old may consent to medical care for the diagnosis and treatment of sexually transmitted or infectious diseases, in which case the minor’s parent or guardian will not be liable for payment. Among other provisions relating to HIV testing, AB 446 adds new California Health & Safety Code Section120991 [primary care clinics must offer HIV tests to patients having blood drawn], which stipulates in subsection (b) that HIV testing of minors 12 years of age or older must comply with Family Code Section 6926.
AB 506 (Mitchell): HIV testing of dependent infants. California Health & Safety Code Section 12120 currently authorizes California Juvenile Courts to provide consent for an HIV test on a dependent child who is not competent to give consent because he or she is under 12 years of age. AB 506 amends this section to provide that when an infant less than 12 months old has been taken into temporary custody or is the subject of a dependency petition, a social worker may provide written consent to an HIV test if (1) the attending physician finds that it is necessary to render appropriate care for the infant, as specified; (2) the social worker gives the physician any known information about the child’s risk factors for exposure to the virus; and (3) the social worker has not been able to contact the parent or guardian, despite documented reasonable efforts to do so (Section 12120(a)(3)(A)). The social worker and the physician must protect the privacy interests of both the infant and the mother by complying with all applicable state and federal confidentiality and privacy laws, but if the infant tests positive, the social worker must give the physician any available contact information for the biological mother for purposes of legally-required reporting of HIV infections (Section 12120(A)(3)(B), (d)(2)). Amended Section 121020(d)(1) provides that immediate HIV treatment after a positive test will be considered emergency medical care under California Welfare & Institution Code Section 369 [requirements for provision of medical care for dependent minors; physician may provide emergency medical care without Trial Court order] if the doctor determines that it is needed.
AB 652 (Ammiano): Child abuse reporting regarding homeless children. This bill adds new California Penal Code Section 11165.15 to provide that, for purposes of the Child Abuse and Neglect Reporting Act [Penal Code Section 11164-11171.3], the fact that a child is homeless or classified as an unaccompanied minor is not a sufficient basis by itself for reporting child abuse or neglect. At the same time, the new statute specifically does not limit a mandated reporter under Child Abuse and Neglect Reporting Act from making a report if he or she reasonably suspects that an unaccompanied minor is a victim of abuse or neglect.