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AB-1604 CalWORKs: welfare-to-work: education. (2017-2018)

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Date Published: 05/16/2017 09:00 PM
AB1604:v98#DOCUMENT

Amended  IN  Assembly  May 16, 2017

CALIFORNIA LEGISLATURE— 2017–2018 REGULAR SESSION

Assembly Bill No. 1604


Introduced by Assembly Member Nazarian

February 17, 2017


An act to amend Section 11320.1 of, and to add Section 11325.3 to to, the Welfare and Institutions Code, relating to CalWORKs.


LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


AB 1604, as amended, Nazarian. CalWORKs: welfare-to-work: education.
Existing law establishes the California Work Opportunity and Responsibility to Kids (CalWORKs) program, under which each county provides cash assistance and other benefits to qualified low-income families using federal, state, and county funds. Existing law requires a recipient of CalWORKs to participate in certain welfare-to-work activities as a condition of eligibility and requires the county to assign a CalWORKs recipient who lacks a high school diploma or its equivalent to participate in adult basic education, if the recipient has completed job search activities but did not find employment and the education is needed to become employed. Existing law also requires, in order for a recipient to engage in adult basic education in satisfaction of welfare-to-work requirements, the county to perform an assessment and develop a welfare-to-work plan that includes participation in the educational activity.
This bill would instead provide that if the county determines that a CalWORKs recipient has not received his or her high school diploma or its equivalent, the recipient may participate in a high school equivalency program in order to complete a high school equivalency test recognized by the State Department of Education. Education for a period of 12 months. The bill would authorize the 12-month period to be extended under prescribed circumstances. The bill would authorize a recipient to participate in a high school equivalency program in lieu of participating in a job search or job club, as specified, and would prohibit a county from requiring the recipient to participate in an assessment before the recipient may engage in a high school equivalency program in satisfaction of welfare-to-work requirements. The bill would also make a related conforming change.
Vote: MAJORITY   Appropriation: NO   Fiscal Committee: NO   Local Program: NO  

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


SECTION 1.

 Section 11320.1 of the Welfare and Institutions Code is amended to read:

11320.1.
 Subsequent to the commencement of the receipt of aid under this chapter, the sequence of employment-related activities required of recipients under this article, unless exempted under Section 11320.3, shall be as follows:
(a) Orientation and appraisal.Recipients shall, and applicants may, at the option of a county and with the consent of the applicant, receive orientation to the welfare-to-work program provided under this article and receive appraisal pursuant to Section 11325.2.
(b) After orientation and appraisal, recipients shall participate in job search and job club pursuant to Section 11325.22, family stabilization pursuant to Section 11325.24, a high school equivalency program pursuant to Section 11325.3, or substance abuse, mental health, or domestic violence services, unless the county determines that the recipient should first go to assessment pursuant to subdivision (c).
(c) Assessment.If employment is not found during the period provided for pursuant to subdivision (b), or at any time the county determines that participation in job search for the period specified in subdivision (a) of Section 11325.22 is not likely to lead to employment or that, based on information gathered during the appraisal, further information is needed to make an effective determination regarding the recipient’s next welfare-to-work activity, the recipient shall be referred to assessment, as provided for in Section 11325.4. Following assessment, the county and the recipient shall develop a welfare-to-work plan, as specified in Section 11325.21. The plan shall specify the activities provided for in Section 11322.6 to which the recipient shall be assigned, and the supportive services, as provided for pursuant to Section 11323.2, with which the recipient will be provided.
(d) Work activities.A recipient who has signed a welfare-to-work plan pursuant to Section 11325.21 shall participate in work activities, as described in this article.

(e)This section shall become operative on January 1, 2014.

SECTION 1.SEC. 2.

 Section 11325.3 is added to the Welfare and Institutions Code, to read:

11325.3.
 (a) (1) If, in the course of appraisal pursuant to Section 11325.2, it is determined that the recipient has not received his or her high school diploma or its equivalent, the recipient shall be eligible to participate in a high school equivalency program in order to complete the High School Equivalency Test, General Education Development Test, Test Assessing Secondary Completion, or any other high school equivalency test recognized by the State Department of Education. Education for a period of up to 12 months, provided that the recipient supplies evidence of participation to his or her caseworker.
(2) The 12-month time period provided for under this subdivision may be extended if a recipient is making satisfactory progress in his or her high school equivalency program, as determined by the entity offering the program, for the period of time that entity determines is necessary for completion of the program.
(b) This section does not require a recipient to participate in a high school equivalency program. A recipient may choose to engage in a job club or a job search pursuant to Section 11325.22.
(c) Recipients eligible pursuant to this section shall not be required to participate in an assessment pursuant to Section 11325.4 prior to, or as a condition of, participation in a high school equivalency program.