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SB-252 CalWORKs: welfare-to-work requirements.(2013-2014)

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SB252:v92#DOCUMENT

Senate Bill No. 252
CHAPTER 563

An act to amend Section 11320.3 of, and to add Sections 11218 and 11322.67 to, the Welfare and Institutions Code, relating to social services.

[ Approved by Governor  October 04, 2013. Filed with Secretary of State  October 04, 2013. ]

LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


SB 252, Liu. CalWORKs: welfare-to-work requirements.
Existing law requires each county to provide cash assistance and other social services to needy families through the California Work Opportunity and Responsibility to Kids (CalWORKs) program using federal Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) block grant program, state, and county funds. As part of the CalWORKs program, participants, unless specifically exempted, are required to participate in welfare-to-work activities. Existing law exempts from the welfare-to-work requirements a woman who is pregnant and for whom it has been medically verified that the pregnancy impairs her ability to be regularly employed or participate in welfare-to-work activities. Existing law also requires that a recipient be excused for good cause when the county has determined there is a condition or circumstance that temporarily prevents or significantly impairs the recipient’s ability to be regularly employed or participate in welfare-to-work activities.
This bill would specify that a pregnant woman who is unable to obtain that medical verification but is otherwise eligible for the good cause exemption shall be exempt from participation in welfare-to-work activities. The bill would authorize a pregnant woman to satisfy welfare-to-work participation requirements, as specified, by participating in a voluntary maternal, infant, and early childhood home visiting program or another home visiting program for low-income Californians that is approved by the United States Department of Health and Human Services, subject to the receipt of a federal waiver, as provided.
Under existing law, a mother may breastfeed her child in any location, public or private, except the private home or residence of another, where the mother and the child are otherwise authorized to be present.
This bill would state that, pursuant to the above-described provision, an applicant or recipient of CalWORKs is entitled to breastfeed her child in any public area, or area where the mother and the child are authorized to be present, in a county welfare department or other county office. The bill would make related legislative findings and declarations.
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) The benefits of breastfeeding for women include a lowered risk of breast and ovarian cancer, as well as a reduced risk of developing type 2 diabetes and maternal cardiovascular disease. For infants, the benefits of breastfeeding include reduced risk of ear infections, diarrhea, and respiratory illnesses, as well as reduced incidence and severity of allergies, asthma, and obesity, among many other health benefits.
(b) The economic benefits of breastfeeding to families, health care systems, and employers are also well documented. It is estimated that the United States would save $13 billion and save 900 lives if 90 percent of women breastfed in accordance with health care recommendations.
(c) The documented advantages that breastfeeding confers to both mother and baby have been upheld in policy statements by every major professional medical organization. In 2012, the American Academy of Pediatrics stated: “Given the documented short and long term medical and neurodevelopmental advantages of breastfeeding, infant nutrition should be considered a public health issue and not only a lifestyle choice.”

SEC. 2.

 Section 11218 is added to the Welfare and Institutions Code, to read:

11218.
 Pursuant to Section 43.3 of the Civil Code, an applicant or recipient of aid under this chapter is entitled to breastfeed her child in any public area, or area where the mother and the child are authorized to be present, in a county welfare department or other county office.

SEC. 3.

 Section 11320.3 of the Welfare and Institutions Code is amended to read:

11320.3.
 (a) (1) Except as provided in subdivision (b) or if otherwise exempt, every individual, as a condition of eligibility for aid under this chapter, shall participate in welfare-to-work activities under this article.
(2) Individuals eligible under Section 11331.5 shall be required to participate in the Cal-Learn Program under Article 3.5 (commencing with Section 11331) during the time that article is operative, in lieu of the welfare-to-work requirements, and subdivision (b) shall not apply to that individual.
(b) The following individuals shall not be required to participate for so long as the condition continues to exist:
(1) An individual under 16 years of age.
(2) (A) A child attending an elementary, secondary, vocational, or technical school on a full-time basis.
(B) A person who is 16 or 17 years of age, or a person described in subdivision (d) who loses this exemption, shall not requalify for the exemption by attending school as a required activity under this article.
(C) Notwithstanding subparagraph (B), a person who is 16 or 17 years of age who has obtained a high school diploma or its equivalent and is enrolled or is planning to enroll in a postsecondary education, vocational, or technical school training program shall also not be required to participate for so long as the condition continues to exist.
(D) For purposes of subparagraph (C), a person shall be deemed to be planning to enroll in a postsecondary education, vocational, or technical school training program if he or she, or his or her parent, acting on his or her behalf, submits a written statement expressing his or her intent to enroll in such a program for the following term. The exemption from participation shall not continue beyond the beginning of the term, unless verification of enrollment is provided or obtained by the county.
(3) An individual who meets either of the following conditions:
(A) The individual is disabled as determined by a doctor’s verification that the disability is expected to last at least 30 days and that it significantly impairs the recipient’s ability to be regularly employed or participate in welfare-to-work activities, provided that the individual is actively seeking appropriate medical treatment.
(B) The individual is of advanced age.
(4) A nonparent caretaker relative who has primary responsibility for providing care for a child and is either caring for a child who is a dependent or ward of the court or caring for a child in a case in which a county determines the child is at risk of placement in foster care, and the county determines that the caretaking responsibilities are beyond those considered normal day-to-day parenting responsibilities such that they impair the caretaker relative’s ability to be regularly employed or to participate in welfare-to-work activities.
(5) An individual whose presence in the home is required because of illness or incapacity of another member of the household and whose caretaking responsibilities impair the recipient’s ability to be regularly employed or to participate in welfare-to-work activities.
(6) A parent or other relative who meets the criteria in subparagraph (A) or (B).
(A) (i) The parent or other relative has primary responsibility for personally providing care to a child six months of age or under, except that, on a case-by-case basis, and based on criteria developed by the county, this period may be reduced to the first 12 weeks after the birth or adoption of the child, or increased to the first 12 months after the birth or adoption of the child. An individual may be exempt only once under this clause.
(ii) An individual who received an exemption pursuant to clause (i) shall be exempt for a period of 12 weeks, upon the birth or adoption of any subsequent children, except that this period may be extended on a case-by-case basis to six months, based on criteria developed by the county.
(iii) In making the determination to extend the period of exception under clause (i) or (ii), the following may be considered:
(I) The availability of child care.
(II) Local labor market conditions.
(III) Other factors determined by the county.
(iv) Effective January 1, 2013, the parent or other relative has primary responsibility for personally providing care to one child from birth to 23 months, inclusive. The exemption provided for under this clause shall be available in addition to any other exemption provided for under this subparagraph. An individual may be exempt only once under this clause.
(B) In a family eligible for aid under this chapter due to the unemployment of the principal wage earner, the exemption criteria contained in subparagraph (A) shall be applied to only one parent.
(7) A parent or other relative who has primary responsibility for personally providing care to one child who is from 12 to 23 months of age, inclusive, or two or more children who are under six years of age.
(8) A woman who is pregnant and for whom it has been medically verified that the pregnancy impairs her ability to be regularly employed or participate in welfare-to-work activities or the county has determined that, at that time, participation will not readily lead to employment or that a training activity is not appropriate. If a pregnant woman is unable to secure this medical verification, but is otherwise eligible for an exemption from welfare-to-work requirements under this section, including good cause for temporary illness related to the pregnancy, she shall be exempt from participation.
(c) Any individual not required to participate may choose to participate voluntarily under this article, and end that participation at any time without loss of eligibility for aid under this chapter, if his or her status has not changed in a way that would require participation.
(d) (1) Notwithstanding subdivision (a), a custodial parent who is under 20 years of age and who has not earned a high school diploma or its equivalent, and who is not exempt or whose only basis for exemption is paragraph (1), (2), (5), (6), (7), or (8) of subdivision (b), shall be required to participate solely for the purpose of earning a high school diploma or its equivalent. During the time that Article 3.5 (commencing with Section 11331) is operative, this subdivision shall only apply to a custodial parent who is 19 years of age.
(2) Section 11325.25 shall apply to a custodial parent who is 18 or 19 years of age and who is required to participate under this article.
(e) Notwithstanding paragraph (1) of subdivision (d), the county may determine that participation in education activities for the purpose of earning a high school diploma or equivalent is inappropriate for an 18 or 19 year old custodial parent only if that parent is reassigned pursuant to an evaluation under Section 11325.25, or, at appraisal is already in an educational or vocational training program that is approvable as a self-initiated program as specified in Section 11325.23. If that determination is made, the parent shall be allowed to continue participation in the self-initiated program subject to Section 11325.23. During the time that Article 3.5 (commencing with Section 11331) is operative, this subdivision shall only apply to a custodial parent who is 19 years of age.
(f) A recipient shall be excused from participation for good cause when the county has determined there is a condition or other circumstance that temporarily prevents or significantly impairs the recipient’s ability to be regularly employed or to participate in welfare-to-work activities. The county welfare department shall review the good cause determination for its continuing appropriateness in accordance with the projected length of the condition, or circumstance, but not less than every three months. The recipient shall cooperate with the county welfare department and provide information, including written documentation, as required to complete the review. Conditions that may be considered good cause include, but are not limited to, the following:
(1) Lack of necessary supportive services.
(2) In accordance with Article 7.5 (commencing with Section 11495), the applicant or recipient is a victim of domestic violence, but only if participation under this article is detrimental to or unfairly penalizes that individual or his or her family.
(3) Licensed or license-exempt child care for a child 10 years of age or younger is not reasonably available during the individual’s hours of training or employment including commuting time, or arrangements for child care have broken down or have been interrupted, or child care is needed for a child who meets the criteria of subparagraph (C) of paragraph (1) of subdivision (a) of Section 11323.2, but who is not included in the assistance unit. For purposes of this paragraph, “reasonable availability” means child care that is commonly available in the recipient’s community to a person who is not receiving aid and that is in conformity with the requirements of Public Law 104-193. The choices of child care shall meet either licensing requirements or the requirements of Section 11324. This good cause criterion shall include the unavailability of suitable special needs child care for children with identified special needs, including, but not limited to, disabilities or chronic illnesses.
(g) (1) Paragraph (7) of subdivision (b) shall be implemented notwithstanding Sections 11322.4, 11322.7, 11325.6, and 11327, and shall become inoperative on January 1, 2013.
(2) The State Department of Social Services, in consultation with the County Welfare Directors Association of California, and advocates, shall develop a process to assist clients with reengagement in welfare-to-work activities, pursuant to subdivision (h). Reengagement activities may include notifying clients of the expiration of exemptions, reassessments, and identifying necessary supportive services.
(h) (1) A recipient who was not required to participate in welfare-to-work activities on December 31, 2012, because, in accordance with paragraph (7) of subdivision (b), he or she is a parent or other relative who has primary responsibility for personally providing care to one child who is from 12 to 23 months of age, inclusive, or two or more children who are under six years of age shall not be required to participate until the county welfare department reengages the recipient in welfare-to-work activities.
(2) For purposes of this subdivision, reengagement in welfare-to-work activities shall include the development of a welfare-to-work plan in accordance with Section 11325.21 and the provision of necessary supportive services pursuant to Section 11323.2.
(3) County welfare departments shall reengage all recipients described in paragraph (1) by January 1, 2015, unless the recipient is otherwise eligible for an exemption under subdivision (b).
(4) A recipient reengaged in accordance with this subdivision who has received assistance under this chapter, or from any state pursuant to the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program (Part A (commencing with Section 401) of Title IV of the federal Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. Sec. 601 et seq.)), may continue in a welfare-to-work plan that meets the requirements of Section 11322.6 for a cumulative period of 24 months commencing the first day of the first month after he or she is reengaged, unless or until he or she exceeds the 48-month time limitation described in Section 11454.
(5) All months of assistance described in paragraph (4) prior to the reengagement of the recipient shall not be applied to the 24-month limitation described in paragraph (1) of subdivision (a) of Section 11322.85.

SEC. 4.

 Section 11322.67 is added to the Welfare and Institutions Code, to read:

11322.67.
 (a) If a pregnant woman is required to participate in work under this article, she may satisfy the work participation requirements by participating in a voluntary maternal, infant, and early childhood home visiting program or another voluntary home visiting program for low-income Californians that is approved by the United States Department of Health and Human Services. The hours that the woman participates in the home visiting program shall be applied to the work participation hours required by Section 11322.8 for a period of no longer than 10 months.
(b) In accordance with Section 11329.2, this section shall be implemented only upon receipt of a waiver of compliance with Section 602 of Title 42 of the United States Code by the United States Department of Health and Human Services, for purposes of establishing more effective ways to meet the goals of CalWORKs, particularly helping parents successfully prepare for employment and supporting the health and well-being of children.