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AB-1673 Child care: eligibility.(2011-2012)

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AB1673:v98#DOCUMENT

Amended  IN  Assembly  April 09, 2012

CALIFORNIA LEGISLATURE— 2011–2012 REGULAR SESSION

Assembly Bill No. 1673


Introduced  by  Assembly Member Mitchell

February 14, 2012


An act to amend Sections 8231, 8235, 8237, 8239, 8263, and 66060 of the Education Code, relating to child care.


LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


AB 1673, as amended, Mitchell. Child care: eligibility.
(1) Existing law, the Child Care and Development Services Act, administered by the State Department of Education, requires the Superintendent of Public Instruction to administer child care and development programs that offer a full range of services for eligible children from infancy to 13 years of age. Existing law also requires the Superintendent to administer all migrant child care and development programs which are available to children of migrant agricultural worker families, as defined.
This bill would require that once a child of a migrant agricultural worker family is enrolled in a migrant child care and development program that the child be deemed eligible for these services for a period of 12 months unless the child no longer resides in the state or the child is deceased.
(2) Existing law requires the Superintendent to administer all California state preschool programs, including full-day California state preschool program services for 3- and 4-year-old children.
This bill would require that once a 3- or 4-year-old child is certified as eligible for full-day California state preschool program services that the child remain eligible for these services for a period of 12 months unless the child no longer resides in the state or the child is deceased.
(3) Existing law requires the Superintendent to administer all California state preschool programs, including part-day California state preschool program services for 3- and 4-year-old children. Existing law also provides that once a child is enrolled in a part-day California state preschool program that the child be deemed eligible for this program for the remainder of the program year.
This bill would instead require that once a child is enrolled in a part-day California state preschool program that the child be deemed eligible for this program for a period of 12 months unless the child no longer resides in the state or the child is deceased.
(4) Existing law requires the Superintendent to encourage state preschool program applicants or contracting agencies to offer full-day services through a combination of part-day preschool slots and part-day general child care and development programs. Existing law also provides that subsequent to enrollment, a child shall be deemed eligible for part-day care as long as the child is enrolled in a preschool program.
This bill would instead require that subsequent to enrollment, a child shall be deemed eligible for part-day care for a period of 12 months unless the child no longer resides in the state or the child is deceased.
(5) Existing law requires the Superintendent to adopt rules and regulations on eligibility, enrollment, and priority of services needed to implement the Child Care and Development Services Act. Existing law requires families to meet at least one of the specified requirements in order to be eligible for federal and state subsidized child development services. Existing law also requires the Superintendent to establish guidelines according to which the director or a duly authorized representative of the child care and development program will certify children as eligible for state reimbursement. The provisions related to eligibility apply to alternative payment programs, general child care and development programs, and the 3 stages of child care services available to recipients of aid under the California Work Opportunity and Responsibility to Kids Act.
This bill would require that, subsequent to certification of eligibility for federal and state subsidized child development services and subject to a specified exception, a child be deemed eligible for these services for a period of 12 months unless the child no longer resides in the state or the child is deceased.
(6) Existing law authorizes higher educational institutions to establish and maintain child development programs on or near their respective campuses. Existing law also requires that first priority for service be given to children of students of each campus operating a child development program.
This bill would require that, subsequent to enrollment, a child be deemed eligible for these services for an one academic year unless the child no longer resides in the state or the child is deceased.
Vote: MAJORITY   Appropriation: NO   Fiscal Committee: YES   Local Program: NO  

The people of the State of California do enact as follows:


SECTION 1.

 The Legislature finds and declares all of the following:
(a) Child care is critical to the healthy physical, cognitive, social, and emotional growth and development of children.
(b) Child care assistance not only enables parents to work but also allows parents to be more productive knowing that their children are in safe and stable settings.
(c) During difficult economic times it is particularly important to maintain continuity and consistency of stable child care environments for employed families.
(d) Adopting 12-month eligibility for federal and state subsidized child care and development programs, with limited interim reporting requirements, can promote sustained access to subsidies and continuous care arrangements for children.
(e) Adopting 12-month eligibility for federal and state subsidized child care and development programs will benefit child care providers who contribute to the education and nurturance of children and our economy, and simplify the administration of subsidies.

SEC. 2.

 Section 8231 of the Education Code is amended to read:

8231.
 (a) For the purpose purposes of this article, a “migrant agricultural worker family” means a family that has earned at least 50 percent of its total gross income from employment in fishing, agriculture, or agriculturally related work during the 12-month period immediately preceding the date of application for child care and development services.
(b) Children of migrant agricultural worker families shall be enrolled in child care and development programs on the basis of the following priorities:
(1) The family moves from place to place.
(2) The family has qualified under paragraph (1) within the past five years and is currently dependent for its income on agricultural employment, but is currently settled near agricultural areas.
(3) The family resides in a rural agricultural area and is dependent upon seasonal agricultural work.
(4) Eligibility and priority for services for the federally funded Migrant Child Development Program shall be in accordance with the applicable federal regulations.
(c) Subsequent to enrollment, a child of a migrant agricultural worker family shall be deemed eligible for child care and development programs for a period of 12 months unless the child no longer resides in the state, or the child is deceased.

SEC. 3.

 Section 8235 of the Education Code is amended to read:

8235.
 (a) The Superintendent shall administer all California state preschool programs. Those programs shall include, but not be limited to, part-day and full-day age and developmentally appropriate programs for three- and four-year-old children in educational development, health services, social services, nutritional services, parent education and parent participation, evaluation, and staff development. Preschool programs for which federal reimbursement is not available shall be funded as prescribed by the Legislature in the Budget Act, and unless otherwise specified by the Legislature, shall not utilize federal funds made available through Title XX of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. Sec. 1397).
(b) Three- and four-year-old children are eligible for the part-day California state preschool program if the family meets at least one of the criteria specified in paragraph (1) of subdivision (a) of Section 8263.
(c) Notwithstanding any other law, a part-day California state preschool program may provide services to children in families whose income is no more than 15 percent above the income eligibility threshold, as described in Sections 8263 and 8263.1, after all eligible three- and four-year-old children have been enrolled. No more than 10 percent of children enrolled, calculated throughout the participating program’s entire contract, may be filled by children in families above the income eligibility threshold.
(d) A part-day California state preschool program shall operate for a minimum of (1) three hours per day, excluding time for home-to-school transportation, and (2) a minimum of 175 days per year, unless the contract specifies a lower number of days of operation.
(e) Three- and four-year-old children are eligible for full-day California state preschool program services if the family meets at least one of the criteria specified in paragraph (1) of subdivision (a) of Section 8263, and the parents meet at least one of the criteria specified in paragraph (2) of subdivision (a) of Section 8263. Notwithstanding any other law, and subsequent to certification of eligibility, a three- or four-year-old child shall be deemed eligible for full-day California state preschool program services for a period of 12 months unless the child no longer resides in the state, or the child is deceased.
(f) A full-day California state preschool program shall operate (1) full time, determined by the number of hours necessary to meet the child care and development needs of families, and (2) a minimum of 246 days per year, unless the contract specifies a lower number of days of operation.
(g) Fees shall be assessed and collected for families with children in the full-day California state preschool program pursuant to subdivisions (g) and (h) of Section 8263. Fees shall not be assessed for families whose children are enrolled in the part-day California state preschool program.
(h) Any An agency described in subdivision (c) of Section 8208 as an “applicant or contracting agency” is eligible to contract to operate a California state preschool program.

SEC. 4.

 Section 8237 of the Education Code is amended to read:

8237.
 A part-day California state preschool program contracting agency has 120 calendar days before the first day of the beginning of the new preschool year to certify eligibility and enroll families into their its program. Subsequent to enrollment, a child shall be deemed eligible for a part-day California state preschool program for a period of 12 months unless the child no longer resides in the state, or the child is deceased.

SEC. 5.

 Section 8239 of the Education Code is amended to read:

8239.
 The Superintendent shall encourage state preschool program applicants or contracting agencies to offer full-day services through a combination of part-day preschool slots and part-day general child care and development programs. In order to facilitate a full-day of services, all of the following shall apply:
(a) Part-day preschool programs provided pursuant to this section shall operate between 175 and 180 days.
(b) Part-day general child care and development programs provided pursuant to this section may operate a minimum of 246 days per year unless the child development contract specified a lower minimum days of operation. Part-day general child care and development programs may operate a full-day for the remainder of the year after the completion of the preschool program.
(c) Full-day services provided under this section shall be reimbursed at no more than the standard reimbursement rate with adjustment factors.
(d) Notwithstanding any provision of other law, to be eligible for part-day child care, a child who is enrolled in a preschool program shall be required to meet the eligibility requirements specified in paragraph (4) of subdivision (a) of Section 8238.4 and the requirements pursuant to Sections 8263 and 8263.1 at the time of enrollment in a preschool. Subsequent to enrollment, a child shall be deemed eligible for part-day care for a period of 12 months unless the child no longer resides in the state, or the child is deceased.

SEC. 6.

 Section 8263 of the Education Code is amended to read:

8263.
 (a) The Superintendent shall adopt rules and regulations on eligibility, enrollment, and priority of services needed to implement this chapter. In order to be eligible for federal and state subsidized child development services, families shall meet at least one requirement in each of the following areas:
(1) A family is (A) a current aid recipient, (B) income eligible, (C) homeless, or (D) one whose children are recipients of protective services, or whose children have been identified as being abused, neglected, or exploited, or at risk of being abused, neglected, or exploited.
(2) A family needs the child care services (A) because the child is identified by a legal, medical, social services agency, or emergency shelter as (i) a recipient of protective services or (ii) being neglected, abused, or exploited, or at risk of neglect, abuse, or exploitation, or (B) because the parents are (i) engaged in vocational training leading directly to a recognized trade, paraprofession, or profession, (ii) employed or seeking employment, (iii) seeking permanent housing for family stability, or (iv) incapacitated.
(b) Except as provided in Article 15.5 (commencing with Section 8350), priority for federal and state subsidized child development services is as follows:
(1) (A) First priority shall be given to neglected or abused children who are recipients of child protective services, or children who are at risk of being neglected or abused, upon written referral from a legal, medical, or social services agency. If an agency is unable to enroll a child in the first priority category, the agency shall refer the family to local resource and referral services to locate services for the child.
(B) A family who is receiving child care on the basis of being a child at risk of abuse, neglect, or exploitation, as defined in subdivision (k) of Section 8208, is eligible to receive services pursuant to subparagraph (A) for up to three months, unless the family becomes eligible pursuant to subparagraph (C).
(C) A family may receive child care services for up to 12 months on the basis of a certification by the county child welfare agency that child care services continue to be necessary or, if the child is receiving child protective services during that period of time, and the family requires child care and remains otherwise eligible. This time limit does not apply if the family’s child care referral is recertified by the county child welfare agency.
(2) Second priority shall be given equally to eligible families, regardless of the number of parents in the home, who are income eligible. Within this priority, families with the lowest gross monthly income in relation to family size, as determined by a schedule adopted by the Superintendent, shall be admitted first. If two or more families are in the same priority in relation to income, the family that has a child with exceptional needs shall be admitted first. If there is no family of the same priority with a child with exceptional needs, the same priority family that has been on the waiting list for the longest time shall be admitted first. For purposes of determining order of admission, the grants of public assistance recipients shall be counted as income.
(3) The Superintendent shall set criteria for and may grant specific waivers of the priorities established in this subdivision for agencies that wish to serve specific populations, including children with exceptional needs or children of prisoners. These new waivers shall not include proposals to avoid appropriate fee schedules or admit ineligible families, but may include proposals to accept members of special populations in other than strict income order, as long as appropriate fees are paid.
(c) Notwithstanding any other law, in order to promote continuity of services, a family enrolled in a state or federally funded child care and development program whose services would otherwise be terminated because the family no longer meets the program income, eligibility, or need criteria may continue to receive child development services in another state or federally funded child care and development program if the contractor is able to transfer the family’s enrollment to another program for which the family is eligible before the date of termination of services or to exchange the family’s existing enrollment with the enrollment of a family in another program, provided that both families satisfy the eligibility requirements for the program in which they are being enrolled. The transfer of enrollment may be to another program within the same administrative agency or to another agency that administers state or federally funded child care and development programs.
(d) In order to promote continuity of services, the Superintendent may extend the 60-working-day period specified in subdivision (a) of Section 18086.5 of Title 5 of the California Code of Regulations for an additional 60 working days if he or she determines that opportunities for employment have diminished to the degree that one or both parents cannot reasonably be expected to find employment within 60 working days and granting the extension is in the public interest. The scope of extensions granted pursuant to this subdivision shall be limited to the necessary geographic areas and affected persons, which shall be described in the Superintendent’s order granting the extension. It is the intent of the Legislature that extensions granted pursuant to this subdivision improve services in areas with high unemployment rates and areas with disproportionately high numbers of seasonal agricultural jobs.
(e) A physical examination and evaluation, including age-appropriate immunization, shall be required before, or within six weeks of, enrollment. A standard, rule, or regulation shall not require medical examination or immunization for admission to a child care and development program of a child whose parent or guardian files a letter with the governing board of the child care and development program stating that the medical examination or immunization is contrary to his or her religious beliefs, or provide for the exclusion of a child from the child care and development program because of a parent or guardian having filed the letter. However, if there is good cause to believe that a child is suffering from a recognized contagious or infectious disease, the child shall be temporarily excluded from the child care and development program until the governing board of the child care and development program is satisfied that the child is not suffering from that contagious or infectious disease.
(f) Regulations formulated and promulgated pursuant to this section shall include the recommendations of the State Department of Health Care Services relative to health care screening and the provision of health care services. The Superintendent shall seek the advice and assistance of these health authorities in situations where service under this chapter includes or requires care of children who are ill or children with exceptional needs.
(g) (1) The Superintendent shall establish a fee schedule for families utilizing child care and development services pursuant to this chapter, including families receiving services under paragraph (1) of subdivision (b). Families receiving services under subparagraph (B) of paragraph (1) of subdivision (b) may be exempt from these fees for up to three months. Families receiving services under subparagraph (C) of paragraph (1) of subdivision (b) may be exempt from these fees for up to 12 months. The cumulative period of time of exemption from these fees for families receiving services under paragraph (1) of subdivision (b) shall not exceed 12 months.
(2) The income of a recipient of federal supplemental security income benefits pursuant to Title XVI of the federal Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. Sec. 1381) and state supplemental program benefits pursuant to Title XVI of the federal Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. Sec. 1381) and Chapter 3 (commencing with Section 12000) of Part 3 of Division 9 of the Welfare and Institutions Code shall not be included as income for the purposes of determining the amount of the family fee.
(h) The family fee schedule shall include, but not be limited to, the following restrictions:
(1) Fees shall not be assessed for families whose children are enrolled in the state preschool program.
(2) A contractor or provider may require parents to provide diapers. A contractor or provider offering field trips either may include the cost of the field trips within the service rate charged to the parent or may charge parents an additional fee. Federal or state money shall not be used to reimburse parents for the costs of field trips if those costs are charged as an additional fee. A contractor or provider that charges parents an additional fee for field trips shall inform parents, before enrolling the child, that a fee may be charged and that no reimbursement will be available. A contractor or provider may charge parents for field trips or require parents to provide diapers only under the following circumstances:
(A) The provider has a written policy that is adopted by the agency’s governing board that includes parents in the decisionmaking process regarding both of the following:
(i) Whether or not, and how much, to charge for field trip expenses.
(ii) Whether or not to require parents to provide diapers.
(B) The maximum total of charges per child in a contract year does not exceed twenty-five dollars ($25).
(C) A child shall not be denied participation in a field trip due to the parent’s inability or refusal to pay the charge. Adverse action shall not be taken against a parent for that inability or refusal.
Each contractor or provider shall establish a payment system that prevents the identification of children based on whether or not their parents have paid a field trip charge.
Expenses incurred and income received for field trips pursuant to this section shall be reported to the department. The income received for field trips shall be reported specifically as restricted income.
(i) The Superintendent shall establish guidelines for the collection of employer-sponsored child care benefit payments from a parent whose child receives subsidized child care and development services. These guidelines shall provide for the collection of the full amount of the benefit payment, but not to exceed the actual cost of child care and development services provided, notwithstanding the applicable fee based on the fee schedule.
(j) The Superintendent shall establish guidelines according to which the director or a duly authorized representative of the child care and development program will certify children as eligible for state reimbursement pursuant to this section.
(k) Notwithstanding any other law, and subsequent to certification of eligibility, a child shall be deemed eligible for federal and state subsidized child care and development services pursuant to this chapter, except for the first stage of child care services provided pursuant to Section 8351, for a period of 12 months unless the child on no longer resides in the state, or the child is deceased.
(l) Public funds shall not be paid directly or indirectly to an agency that does not pay at least the minimum wage to each of its employees.

SEC. 7.

 Section 66060 of the Education Code is amended to read:

66060.
 (a) Notwithstanding any law to the contrary, higher educational institutions may establish and maintain child development programs on or near their respective campuses. Those higher educational institutions under contract with the State Department of Education for child care and development services pursuant to this chapter or Chapter 2 (commencing with Section 8200) of Part 6 of Division 1 of Title 1 are subject to the rules and regulations adopted by the Superintendent.
(b) Children of students of each campus operating a child development program shall have first priority for service in that program, in accordance with the priorities established in subdivision (b) of Section 8263.
(c) Subsequent to enrollment, a child of a student at a campus operating a child development program shall be deemed eligible for child development program services for a period of one academic year unless the child no longer resides in the state, or the child is deceased.
(d) The higher educational institutions may institutionalize child development programs on their respective campuses for the purpose of incorporating child development programs into the missions and functions of the respective campuses.
(e) The Superintendent, in cooperation with higher educational institutions, shall establish rules and regulations governing child development programs operated pursuant to this section.
(f) It is the intent of the Legislature that a consortium composed of higher educational institutions be established by the institutions to improve communication and cooperation and to advise and assist the Superintendent in the development of rules and regulations and policies and procedures affecting child care and development programs. The Superintendent, in cooperation with the consortium, shall be responsible for ongoing communication with and dissemination of information to all campus child care and development agencies under contract with the State Department of Education.