SACRAMENTO — On Jul. 19, Assemblyman Jordan Cunningham (R-San Luis Obispo) announced that his bill to help foster youth and keep families together was signed into law.

AB 841, which passed the Legislature unanimously, will ensure children cannot be removed from the care of their parents in a child welfare proceeding solely because a parent did not sue for custody.

“Children should not be taken away from their family solely because the parents lack the resources to hire counsel and sue for custody,” said Cunningham. “Our goal must be to keep families together as long as it is safe for the child, and this bill will help accomplish that goal.”

Infrequently, but enough to be a problem, county welfare departments allege that a parent not initiating custody litigation alone constitutes a “failure or inability” or a “willful or negligent failure” to adequately supervise their child.


“With his signature, Governor Newsom just made it easier for children to remain with living parents and harder for families to be ruptured based on no other reason than they are poor,” said Ed Howard, Senior Counsel of the Children’s Advocacy Institute at the University of San Diego School of Law, a co-sponsor of the measure. “Both he and Assemblymember Cunningham are to be congratulated for their work on keeping California families together.”