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California CSEC Policy Compendium

Since 2014, the California Legislature has been investing in the child welfare system’s capacity to identify and serve commercially sexually exploited children (CSEC), while simultaneously shifting away from criminalization.

  • In 2014, through the budget process, California passed SB 855 which (1) clarified that CSEC, including those who trade sex to meet their basic needs,  may be served by child welfare and (2) created the CSEC Program, funding participating counties to develop multidisciplinary CSEC responses.
  • In 2015, California codified the Federal Preventing Sex Trafficking and Strengthening Families Act through SB 794, which requires all county child welfare and probation agencies to create protocols to identify, report, document, and serve CSEC and at-risk children. Additionally, the law requires child welfare and probation to take immediate steps to locate runaway and missing children and to better understand why they ran to make better decisions about subsequent placement among other things.
  • Beginning January 1, 2017, SB 1322 prohibited the arrest of minors for prostitution or loitering with intent to commit prostitution. That means California has taken a final definitive step toward clarifying exploited children are child abuse victims, not criminals.

The CSEC Action Team, led by the California Department of Social Services, NCYL, Children’s Law Center of California and the Courts, created a number of resources to assist counties in fulfilling their obligations with respect to these laws. Refer to this timeline for some additional history.

Below are all the instructions and resources distributed to counties for satisfying the requirements in SB 794 and SB 855.

Counties are strongly encouraged to engage survivors in efforts related to the development and implementation of all CSEC protocols, policies, and procedures. The CSEC Action Team’s Advisory Board, comprised of 10 adult survivor advocates, is a unique resource available to local agencies and organizations. Please request a consultation by submitting this online form.

Harm Reduction Series

  • Introduction to the Harm Reduction Strategies Series Regarding Commercially Sexually Exploited Children (ACIN 1-59-18)
  • Harm Reduction Series – Probation Officer (ACIN I-50-19)
  • Harm Reduction Series – Social Worker (ACIN I-28-19)

Interagency protocols and allocations (SB 855/CSEC Program)


  • $18.7m CSEC Program allocations for FY 2019-2020 (CFL 19/20-59)


  • Final CSEC Program allocations – $6.1m for FY 2018-2019 (CFL 19/20-57)
  • $17.9m CSEC Program allocations for FY 2018-2019 (CFL 18/19-38)


  • Extended Foster Care Eligibility When Juvenile Court Adjudication is Vacated (ACL 18-113)
  • $17.9m CSEC Program allocations for FY 2017-2018 (CFL 17/18-49) Please see the revised FY 2017-18 allocation (CFL 18/19-29)
  • Commercially Sexually Exploited Children Program 2017 Report to the Legislature
  • County plan template and instructions for updating or creating the interagency protocol (ACL 17-71)
  • Recommended practices for providers serving commercially sexually exploited children (ACIN I-57-17)




  • Introduction to the CSEC Program (ACL 14-62)
  • Allocation augmentation for planning protocols ($2.5m) and training foster youth ($750,000) (CFL 14/15-32)
  • Initial planning allocations ($2.5m) (CFL 14/15-25)

Decriminalization of Youth Impacted by CSE (SB 1322 and AB 2992)

  • Information for counties on changes in California state law initiated by Senate Bill (SB) 1322 (ACIN-I-79-17)

CSEC and Missing/Runaway Policies & Procedures (SB 794)

  • Recommended Practices for Serving Commercially Sexually Exploited Children Missing from Care 2019 (ACIN I-14-19)
  • CSEC policies & procedures
  • Runaway/missing policies & procedures
    • Sample runaway/missing youth practices and forms (ACIN I-13-17)
    • Basic requirements for runaway/missing youth protocols (ACL 16-15)
  • $3.25 million county allocations and two claiming codes for SB 794 activities (CFL 15/16-41)
  • Overview of all SB 794 provisions including training, policies & procedures, reporting and documentation (ACL 16-08)

Documenting CSEC and at-risk youth in CWS/CMS

  • Instructions for documenting all CSE referrals in CWS/CMS using the only remaining CSEC special project code (ACL 16-74)
  • Instructions for documenting CSEC and at-risk youth in CWS/CMS using the CSEC Grid (ACL 16-49)
    • Note: includes definition of at risk
  • Defines four CSEC special project codes which have since been replaced by the CSEC Grid (ACL 15-49)

Other related guidance

  • Interagency Child Abuse and Neglect (ICAN) block grant program explanation and allocations (CFL 16/17-01)
  • Reproductive and sexual health care rights for foster youth (ACL 16-82)
  • Clarification that a parent or guardian’s name is not referred to the Child Abuse Central Index (CACI) in cases involving CSEC when the only substantiated allegation regarding the parent or guardian is general neglect (ACIN I-21-16)
  • Title IV-E foster care candidacy policy and procedures (ACL 14-36)

Please contact Kate Walker Brown at should you have any questions.