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AB-2150 Subsidized child care and development services: eligibility periods.(2015-2016)

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Amended  IN  Assembly  June 01, 2016
Amended  IN  Assembly  May 27, 2016

CALIFORNIA LEGISLATURE— 2015–2016 REGULAR SESSION

Assembly Bill No. 2150


Introduced by Assembly Members Santiago, Weber, and Gonzalez
(Coauthor: Senator Hill)

February 17, 2016


An act to amend Sections 8263, 8263.1, and 8273.1 of the Education Code, and to amend Section 11323.2 of the Welfare and Institutions Code, relating to child care and development services.


LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


AB 2150, as amended, Santiago. Subsidized child care and development services: eligibility periods.
Existing law, the Child Care and Development Services Act, 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 requires the Superintendent to adopt rules and regulations on eligibility, enrollment, and priority of services needed to implement the act. The act, and regulations adopted pursuant to the act, set forth eligibility requirements for families to receive federal and state subsidized child development services and impose various time limits for receipt of services and recertification for continued services.
This bill would require that a family, upon establishing initial eligibility or ongoing eligibility for services under the act, be considered to meet all eligibility requirements for those services for not less than 12 months, receive those services for not less than 12 months before having their eligibility redetermined, and not be required to report changes to income or other changes for at least 12 months, except as provided. The bill would revise the definition of “income eligible” and provide that the definition applies for purposes of establishing initial income eligibility for services under the act, and would add a definition of “ongoing income eligible” for purposes of establishing ongoing income eligibility for services under the act. The
The bill would, except as provided, prohibit a payment made by a child development program for a child, during the period between a family’s most recent eligibility determination or redetermination and its next eligibility redetermination, from being considered an error or an improper payment due to a change in the family’s circumstances during that same period. The bill would, notwithstanding specified law, authorize the State Department of Education to implement this provision through management bulletins or similar letters of instruction until regulations are filed with the Secretary of State to implement the provision. The bill would require the department to initiate a rulemaking action to implement the provision on or before December 31, 2017. The bill would require the department, before initiating this rulemaking action, to convene a workgroup of parents, advocates, department staff, child development program representatives, and other stakeholders to develop recommendations regarding implementing the provision.
The bill would repeal certain provisions that impose time limits for services under the act and a provision that authorizes the Superintendent to grant an extension of services, as specified. The bill would make other conforming changes.
Vote: MAJORITY   Appropriation: NO   Fiscal Committee: YES   Local Program: NO  

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


SECTION 1.

 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, or social services agency, a local educational agency liaison for homeless children and youths designated pursuant to Section 11432(g)(1)(J)(ii) of Title 42 of the United States Code, a Head Start program, or an emergency or transitional shelter as (i) a recipient of protective services, (ii) being neglected, abused, or exploited, or at risk of neglect, abuse, or exploitation, or (iii) being homeless 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) 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.
(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) 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 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 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.
(e) 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.
(f) 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.
(g) 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.
(h) (1) Except as provided in paragraphs (2) to (4), inclusive, upon establishing initial eligibility or ongoing eligibility for services under this chapter, a family shall be considered to meet all eligibility requirements for those services for not less than 12 months, shall receive those services for not less than 12 months before having their eligibility redetermined, and shall not be required to report changes to income or other changes for at least 12 months.
(2) A family shall report increases in income that exceed the threshold for ongoing income eligibility as described in subdivision (b) of Section 8263.1, and the family’s ongoing eligibility for services shall at that time be redetermined.
(3) A family that establishes initial eligibility or ongoing eligibility on the basis of seeking employment shall receive services under this chapter as follows:
(A) If seeking employment is the basis for initial eligibility, the family shall receive services under this chapter for not less than six months.
(B) If seeking employment is the only basis for ongoing eligibility at the time of redetermination, the family shall receive services under this chapter for six additional month unless the family becomes eligible on another basis pursuant to paragraph (2) of subdivision (a).
(4) A family may at any time voluntarily report income or other changes. This information shall be used, as applicable, to reduce a family’s fees, increase the family’s subsidy, or extend the period of the family’s eligibility before redetermination.
(i) (1)   Because a family that meets eligibility requirements at its most recent eligibility determination or redetermination is considered eligible until the next redetermination, as provided in subdivision (h), a payment made by a child development program for a child during this period shall not be considered an error or an improper payment due to a change in the family’s circumstances during that same period.
(2) Notwithstanding paragraph (1), the state or its designated agent may seek to recover payments that are the result of fraud.
(j) (1)   Notwithstanding the rulemaking provisions of the Administrative Procedure Act (Chapter 3.5 (commencing with Section 11340) of Part 1 of Division 3 of Title 2 of the Government Code) and Section 33308.5 of this code, until regulations are filed with the Secretary of State to implement subdivision (h), the department may implement this section through management bulletins or similar letters of instruction.
(2) The department shall initiate a rulemaking action to implement subdivision (h) on or before December 31, 2017. Before initiating a rulemaking action pursuant to this paragraph, the department shall convene a workgroup of parents, advocates, department staff, child development program representatives, and other stakeholders to develop recommendations regarding implementing subdivision (h).

(i)

(k) 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. 2.

 Section 8263.1 of the Education Code is amended to read:

8263.1.
 (a) For purposes of establishing initial income eligibility for services under this chapter, “income eligible” means that a family’s adjusted monthly income is at or below 70 percent of the state median income, based on the most recent data on state median income published by the United States Census Bureau, for a family of the same size.
(b) For purposes of establishing ongoing income eligibility under this chapter, “ongoing income eligible” means that a family’s adjusted monthly income is at or below 85 percent of the state median income, based on the most recent data on state median income published by the United States Census Bureau, for a family of the same size.
(c) 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 et seq.) and state supplemental program benefits pursuant to Title XVI of the federal Social Security Act 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 purposes of determining eligibility for child care under this chapter.

SEC. 3.

 Section 8273.1 of the Education Code is amended to read:

8273.1.
 (a) A family that receives services pursuant to paragraph (1) of subdivision (b) of Section 8263 may be exempt from family fees for up to 12 months.
(b) Notwithstanding any other law, a family receiving CalWORKs cash aid shall not be charged a family fee.
(c) Notwithstanding any other law, commencing with the 2014–15 fiscal year, family fees shall not be assessed for the part-day California preschool program to income eligible families whose children are enrolled in that program pursuant to Article 7 (commencing with Section 8235).

SEC. 4.

 Section 11323.2 of the Welfare and Institutions Code is amended to read:

11323.2.
 (a) Necessary supportive services shall be available to every participant in order to participate in the program activity to which he or she is assigned or to accept employment or the participant shall have good cause for not participating under subdivision (f) of Section 11320.3. As provided in the welfare-to-work plan entered into between the county and participant pursuant to this article, supportive services shall include all of the following:
(1) Child care.
(A) Paid child care shall be available to every participant with a dependent child in the assistance unit who needs paid child care if the child is 10 years of age or under, or requires child care or supervision due to a physical, mental, or developmental disability or other similar condition as verified by the county welfare department, or who is under court supervision.
(B) To the extent funds are available, paid child care shall be available to a participant with a dependent child in the assistance unit who needs paid child care if the child is 11 or 12 years of age.
(C) Necessary child care services shall be available to every former recipient for up to two years, pursuant to Article 15.5 (commencing with Section 8350) of Chapter 2 of Part 6 of Division 1 of Title 1 of the Education Code.
(D) A child in foster care receiving benefits under Title IV-E of the federal Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. Sec. 670 et seq.) or a child who would become a dependent child except for the receipt of federal Supplemental Security Income benefits pursuant to Title XVI of the federal Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. Sec. 1381 et seq.) shall be deemed to be a dependent child for the purposes of this paragraph.
(E) The provision of care and payment rates under this paragraph shall be governed by Article 15.5 (commencing with Section 8350) of Chapter 2 of Part 6 of Division 1 of Title 1 of the Education Code. Parent fees shall be governed by Section 8263 of the Education Code.
(2) Transportation costs, which shall be governed by regional market rates as determined in accordance with regulations established by the department.
(3) Ancillary expenses, which shall include the cost of books, tools, clothing specifically required for the job, fees, and other necessary costs.
(4) Personal counseling. A participant who has personal or family problems that would affect the outcome of the welfare-to-work plan entered into pursuant to this article shall, to the extent available, receive necessary counseling or therapy to help him or her and his or her family adjust to his or her job or training assignment.
(b) If provided in a county plan, the county may continue to provide case management and supportive services under this section to former participants who become employed. The county may provide these services for up to the first 12 months of employment to the extent they are not available from other sources and are needed for the individual to retain the employment.