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AB-2552 CalWORKs: relative caregivers.(2015-2016)

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AB2552:v98#DOCUMENT

Amended  IN  Assembly  May 27, 2016

CALIFORNIA LEGISLATURE— 2015–2016 REGULAR SESSION

Assembly Bill No. 2552


Introduced by Assembly Member Holden

February 19, 2016


An act to amend Section 11461.3 of the Welfare and Institutions Code, relating to public social services.


LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


AB 2552, as amended, Holden. CalWORKs: relative caregivers.
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. Existing law specifies the amounts of cash aid to be paid each month to CalWORKs recipients.
Existing law establishes the Aid to Families with Dependent Children-Foster Care (AFDC-FC) program, under which counties provide payments to foster care providers on behalf of qualified children in foster care. Under existing law, a child who is placed in the approved home of a relative is eligible for AFDC-FC if he or she is eligible for federal financial participation in the AFDC-FC payment, as specified. Existing law provides for benefits for a child who is placed in the approved home of a relative and who is ineligible for AFDC-FC pursuant to the CalWORKs program. Existing law establishes the Approved Relative Caregiver Funding Option Program in counties choosing to participate, for the purpose of making the amount paid to relative caregivers for the in-home care of children placed with them who are ineligible for AFDC-FC payments equal to the amount paid on behalf of children who are eligible for AFDC-FC payments.
This bill would require require, until January 1, 2020, and subject to the availability of funds, counties participating in the Approved Relative Caregiver Funding Option Program to pay to an approved relative caregiver, for each child eligible for benefits pursuant to the program, an annual clothing allowance of $240 for a cumulative total of three years.
Existing law continuously appropriates moneys from the General Fund to defray a portion of county costs under the CalWORKs program.
This bill would instead provide that the continuous appropriation would not be made for purposes of implementing the bill.
Vote: MAJORITY   Appropriation: NO   Fiscal Committee: YES   Local Program: NO  

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


SECTION 1.

 Section 11461.3 of the Welfare and Institutions Code is amended to read:

11461.3.
 (a) The Approved Relative Caregiver Funding Option Program is hereby established for the purpose of making the amount paid to approved relative caregivers for the in-home care of children placed with them who are ineligible for AFDC-FC payments equal to the amount paid on behalf of children who are eligible for AFDC-FC payments. This is an optional program for counties choosing to participate, and in so doing, participating counties agree to the terms of this section as a condition of their participation. It is the intent of the Legislature that the funding described in paragraph (1) of subdivision (g) for the Approved Relative Caregiver Funding Option Program be appropriated, and available for use from January through December of each year, unless otherwise specified.
(b) (1) Subject to subdivision (e), effective January 1, 2015, participating counties shall pay an approved relative caregiver a per child per month rate in return for the care and supervision, as defined in subdivision (b) of Section 11460, of a child that is placed with the relative caregiver that is equal to the basic rate paid to foster care providers pursuant to subdivision (g) of Section 11461, if both of the following conditions are met:
(A) The county with payment responsibility has notified the department in writing by October 1 of the year before participation begins of its decision to participate in the Approved Relative Caregiver Funding Option Program.
(B) The related child placed in the home meets all of the following requirements:
(i) The child resides in California.
(ii) The child is described by subdivision (b), (c), or (e) of Section 11401 and the county welfare department or the county probation department is responsible for the placement and care of the child.
(iii) The child is not eligible for AFDC-FC while placed with the approved relative caregiver because the child is not eligible for federal financial participation in the AFDC-FC payment.
(2) Participating Until January 1, 2020, and subject to the availability of funds, participating counties shall pay to an approved relative caregiver, for each child eligible for benefits pursuant to this section, an annual clothing allowance of two hundred forty dollars ($240). The clothing allowance shall be paid for a cumulative total of three years.
(c) Any income or benefits received by an eligible child or the approved relative caregiver on behalf of the eligible child that would be offset against the basic rate paid to a foster care provider pursuant to subdivision (g) of Section 11461, shall be offset from any funds that are not CalWORKs funds paid to the approved relative caregiver pursuant to this section.
(d) Participating counties shall recoup an overpayment in the Approved Relative Caregiver Funding Option Program received by an approved relative caregiver using the standards and processes for overpayment recoupment that are applicable to overpayments to an approved home of a relative, as specified in Section 11466.24. Recouped overpayments shall not be subject to remittance to the federal government. Any overpaid funds that are collected by the participating counties shall be remitted to the state after subtracting both of the following:
(1) An amount not to exceed the county share of the CalWORKs portion of the Approved Relative Caregiver Funding Option Program payment, if any.
(2) Any other county funds that were included in the Approved Relative Caregiver Funding Option Program payment.
(e) A county’s election to participate in the Approved Relative Caregiver Funding Option Program shall affirmatively indicate that the county understands and agrees to all of the following conditions:
(1) Commencing October 1, 2014, the county shall notify the department in writing of its decision to participate in the Approved Relative Caregiver Funding Option Program. Failure to make timely notification, without good cause as determined by the department, shall preclude the county from participating in the program for the upcoming calendar year. Annually thereafter, any county not already participating who elects to do so shall notify the department in writing no later than October 1 of its decision to participate for the upcoming calendar year.
(2) The county shall confirm that it will make per child per month payments to all approved relative caregivers on behalf of eligible children in the amount specified in subdivision (b) for the duration of the participation of the county in this program.
(3) The county shall confirm that it will be solely responsible to pay any additional costs needed to make all payments pursuant to subdivision (b) if the state and federal funds allocated to the Approved Relative Caregiver Funding Option Program pursuant to paragraph (1) of subdivision (g) are insufficient to make all eligible payments.
(f) (1) A county deciding to opt out of the Approved Relative Caregiver Funding Option Program shall provide at least 120 days’ prior written notice of that decision to the department. Additionally, the county shall provide at least 90 days’ prior written notice to the approved relative caregiver or caregivers informing them that his or her per child per month payment will be reduced and the date that the reduction will occur.
(2) The department shall presume that all counties have opted out of the Approved Relative Caregiver Funding Option Program if the funding appropriated for the current 12-month period is reduced below the amount specified in subparagraph (B), subparagraph (C), or subparagraph (D) of paragraph (2) of subdivision (g) for that 12-month period, unless a county notifies the department in writing of its intent to opt in within 60 days of enactment of the State Budget. The counties shall provide at least 90 days’ prior written notice to the approved relative caregiver or caregivers informing them that his or her per child per month payment will be reduced, and the date that reduction will occur.
(3) Any reduction in payments received by an approved relative caregiver on behalf of a child under this section that results from a decision by a county, including the presumed opt-out pursuant to paragraph (2), to not participate in the Approved Relative Caregiver Funding Option Program shall be exempt from state hearing jurisdiction under Section 10950.
(g) (1) The following funding shall be used for the Approved Relative Caregiver Funding Option Program:
(A) The applicable regional per-child CalWORKs grant, in accordance with subdivision (a) of Section 11253.4.
(B)  General Fund resources, as appropriated in paragraph (2).
(C) County funds only to the extent required under paragraph (3) of subdivision (e).
(D) Funding described in subparagraphs (A) and (B) is intended to fully fund the base caseload of approved relative caregivers, which is defined as the number of approved relative caregivers caring for a child who is not eligible to receive AFDC-FC payments, as of July 1, 2014.
(2) The following amount is hereby appropriated from the General Fund as follows:
(A) The sum of fifteen million dollars ($15,000,000), for the period of January 1, 2015, to June 30, 2015, inclusive.
(B) For the period of July 1, 2015, to June 30, 2016, inclusive, there shall be appropriated an amount equal to the sum of all of the following:
(i) Two times the amount appropriated pursuant to subparagraph (A), inclusive of any increase pursuant to paragraph (3).
(ii) The amount necessary to increase or decrease the CalWORKs funding associated with the base caseload described in subparagraph (D) of paragraph (1) to reflect any change from the prior fiscal year in the applicable regional per-child CalWORKs grant described in subparagraph (A) of paragraph (1).
(iii) The additional amount necessary to fully fund the base caseload described in subparagraph (D) of paragraph (1), reflective of the annual California Necessities Index increase to the basic rate paid to foster care providers.
(C) For every 12-month period thereafter, commencing with the period of July 1, 2016, to June 30, 2017, inclusive, the sum of all of the following shall be appropriated for purposes of this section:
(i) The total General Fund amount provided pursuant to this paragraph for the previous 12-month period.
(ii) The amount necessary to increase or decrease the CalWORKs funding associated with the base caseload described in subparagraph (D) of paragraph (1) to reflect any change from the prior fiscal year in the applicable regional per-child CalWORKs grant described in subparagraph (A) of paragraph (1).
(iii) The additional amount necessary to fully fund the base caseload described in subparagraph (D) of paragraph (1), reflective of the annual California Necessities Index increase to the basic rate paid to foster care providers.
(D)  Notwithstanding clauses (ii) and (iii) of subparagraph (B) and clauses (ii) and (iii) of subparagraph (C), the total General Fund appropriation made pursuant to subparagraph (B) shall not be less than the greater of the following amounts:
(i) Thirty million dollars ($30,000,000).
(ii) Two times the amount appropriated pursuant to subparagraph (A), inclusive of any increase pursuant to paragraph (3).
(3) To the extent that the appropriation made by subparagraph (A) of paragraph (2) is insufficient to fully fund the base caseload of approved relative caregivers as of July 1, 2014, as described in subparagraph (D) of paragraph (1), for the period of January 1, 2015, to June 30, 2015, inclusive, as jointly determined by the department and the County Welfare Directors’ Association and approved by the Department of Finance on or before October 1, 2015, the amount specified in subparagraph (A) of paragraph (2) shall be increased by the amount necessary to fully fund that base caseload.
(4) Funds available pursuant to paragraph (2) shall be allocated to participating counties proportionate to the number of their approved relative caregiver placements, using a methodology and timing developed by the department, following consultation with county human services agencies and their representatives.
(5) Notwithstanding subdivision (e), if in any calendar year the entire amount of funding appropriated by the state for the Approved Relative Caregiver Funding Option Program has not been fully allocated to or utilized by participating counties, a participating county that has paid any funds pursuant to subparagraph (C) of paragraph (1) of subdivision (g) may request reimbursement for those funds from the department. The authority of the department to approve the requests shall be limited by the amount of available unallocated funds.
(h) An approved relative caregiver receiving payments on behalf of a child pursuant to this section shall not be eligible to receive additional CalWORKs payments on behalf of the same child under Section 11450.
(i) To the extent permitted by federal law, payments received by the approved relative caregiver from the Approved Relative Caregiver Funding Option Program shall not be considered income for the purpose of determining other public benefits.
(j) Prior to referral of any individual or recipient, or that person’s case, to the local child support agency for child support services pursuant to Section 17415 of the Family Code, the county human services agency shall determine if an applicant or recipient has good cause for noncooperation, as set forth in Section 11477.04. If the applicant or recipient claims good cause exception at any subsequent time to the county human services agency or the local child support agency, the local child support agency shall suspend child support services until the county social services agency determines the good cause claim, as set forth in Section 11477.04. If good cause is determined to exist, the local child support agency shall suspend child support services until the applicant or recipient requests their resumption, and shall take other measures that are necessary to protect the applicant or recipient and the children. If the applicant or recipient is the parent of the child for whom aid is sought and the parent is found to have not cooperated without good cause as provided in Section 11477.04, the applicant’s or recipient’s family grant shall be reduced by 25 percent for the time the failure to cooperate lasts.
(k) Consistent with Section 17552 of the Family Code, if aid is paid under this chapter on behalf of a child who is under the jurisdiction of the juvenile court and whose parent or guardian is receiving reunification services, the county human services agency shall determine, prior to referral of the case to the local child support agency for child support services, whether the referral is in the best interest of the child, taking into account both of the following:
(1) Whether the payment of support by the parent will pose a barrier to the proposed reunification in that the payment of support will compromise the parent’s ability to meet the requirements of the parent’s reunification plan.
(2) Whether the payment of support by the parent will pose a barrier to the proposed reunification in that the payment of support will compromise the parent’s current or future ability to meet the financial needs of the child.

SEC. 2.

 No appropriation pursuant to Section 15200 of the Welfare and Institutions Code shall be made for purposes of implementing this act.