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AB-283 CalWORKs: school attendance: immunizations.(2019-2020)

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Date Published: 09/18/2019 04:00 AM
AB283:v94#DOCUMENT

Enrolled  September 17, 2019
Passed  IN  Senate  September 11, 2019
Passed  IN  Assembly  September 12, 2019
Amended  IN  Senate  September 06, 2019
Amended  IN  Senate  August 30, 2019
Amended  IN  Senate  June 20, 2019
Amended  IN  Assembly  May 20, 2019

CALIFORNIA LEGISLATURE— 2019–2020 REGULAR SESSION

Assembly Bill
No. 283


Introduced by Assembly Member Chu

January 28, 2019


An act to amend Section 11265.8 of, and to amend, repeal, and add Section 11253.5 of, the Welfare and Institutions Code, relating to CalWORKs.


LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


AB 283, Chu. CalWORKs: school attendance: immunizations.
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 for Needy Families block grant program, state, and county funds.
Existing law generally makes persons between the ages of 6 and 18 years of age subject to compulsory full-time education, unless exempted. Existing law also requires children in a CalWORKs assistance unit for whom school attendance is compulsory to attend school, except as specified. Under existing law, the needs of a child in the assistance unit who is 16 years of age or older are not considered in computing the specified grant of the family for any month in which the county is informed by a school district or a county school attendance review board that the child did not attend school, unless at least one of certain conditions is present.
This bill would require applicants for and recipients of CalWORKs to be informed of the general compulsory education requirements. The bill would repeal the prohibition against considering the needs of a child in an assistance unit who is 16 years of age or older who did not attend school, thereby allowing the needs of that child to be considered in computing the monthly family grant.
Under existing law, all applicants for or recipients of CalWORKs are required to ensure and provide documentation that each child in the assistance unit who is not required to be enrolled in school has received all age-appropriate immunizations, unless it has been medically determined that an immunization for a child is not appropriate or the applicant or recipient has filed with the county welfare department an affidavit that the immunizations are contrary to the applicant’s or recipient’s beliefs. Existing law requires documentation of immunization to be provided by all recipients for aid within 30 days of the determination of eligibility for Medi-Cal benefits, within 45 days for applicants already eligible for Medi-Cal benefits, and for all recipients for CalWORKs, within 45 days of full or financial redetermination. Existing law prohibits the needs of all parents or caretaker relatives in the assistance unit from being considered in determining the grant to the assistance unit until the required documentation is provided. Existing law requires a notice of the obligation to secure immunizations to be given to the applicant or recipient at the time of application and at the next redetermination of eligibility for aid, and specifies information to be required in the notice.
This bill would, on the effective date of the bill, eliminate the personal belief exception for immunizations required under the CalWORKs program for applicants and recipients who do not already exercise the personal belief exemption, and eliminate that exception for recipients currently exercising the personal belief exemption on the effective date of the remaining provisions of the bill. The bill would extend to 60 days the above deadlines for providing immunization documentation and would instead authorize the department to require counties, after a 60-day grace period, to exclude the needs of all parents or caretaker relatives in the assistance unit in determining the grant to the assistance unit until the required documentation is provided. The bill would revise the information required to be given to all applicants and recipients to include a statement that Medi-Cal will provide coverage for nonmedical transportation for a child who is enrolled in Medi-Cal to receive the required immunizations and to include notice of the 60-day grace period. By increasing the duties of counties, the bill would impose a state-mandated local program.
This bill would, except as otherwise described above, make its provisions effective on or after January 1, 2021, or the date that the department notifies the Legislature that the Statewide Automated Welfare System can perform specified automation, whichever date is later. The bill would require the department to implement its provisions through an all-county letter or similar instruction, as specified.
Existing law continuously appropriates moneys from the General Fund to defray a portion of county costs under the CalWORKs program.
This bill would provide that the continuous appropriation would not be made for the purposes of implementing the bill.
The California Constitution requires the state to reimburse local agencies and school districts for certain costs mandated by the state. Statutory provisions establish procedures for making that reimbursement.
This bill would provide that, if the Commission on State Mandates determines that the bill contains costs mandated by the state, reimbursement for those costs shall be made pursuant to the statutory provisions noted above.
Vote: MAJORITY   Appropriation: NO   Fiscal Committee: YES   Local Program: YES  

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


SECTION 1.

 The Legislature finds and declares the following:
(a) Researchers who study public health habits of families living in deep poverty have found that when the children of those families do not benefit from public health interventions, it is most often because their parents or caretakers are disconnected from the health care system and lack the resources necessary for their child’s participation.
(b) Research also shows that increasing access to services and resources increases the power of public health and educational interventions to alleviate poverty and help pave a path out of poverty for poor children.
(c) There is no evidence that denying cash assistance for basic needs to parents whose children have not benefited from public health or educational services increases receipt of those services, it simply makes families poorer and less able to ensure the safety, health, and educational growth of their children.
(d) It is the intent of the Legislature in enacting this act to improve public health and the health and educational outcomes of young children living in homes that receive assistance through the CalWORKs program.

SEC. 2.

 Section 11253.5 of the Welfare and Institutions Code is amended to read:

11253.5.
 (a) All children in an assistance unit for whom school attendance is compulsory, except individuals who are eligible for the Cal-Learn Program under Article 3.5 (commencing with Section 11331), for any period during which that article is operative, and children subject to a county school attendance project under Article 2 (commencing with Section 18236) of Chapter 3.3 of Part 6, shall be required to attend school pursuant to subdivision (f).
(b) Applicants for and recipients of aid under this chapter shall be informed of the attendance requirement in subdivision (a) and it shall be included in the recipients’ welfare-to-work plan under Section 11325.21.
(c) A recipient shall cooperate in providing the county with documentation routinely available from the school or school district of regular attendance of all children described in subdivision (a) in the assistance unit when the county determines it is appropriate, unless there is good cause for the inability to secure that documentation.
(d) If it is determined by the county that any child in the assistance unit is not attending school as required by subdivision (a), the family may be informed of how to enroll the child in a continuation school within the county and may be screened to determine eligibility for family stabilization services pursuant to Section 11325.24 and in accordance with county policy and procedures. If applicable, the county shall document that the family was given this information and was screened for those services. The needs of a child in the assistance unit who is 16 years of age or older shall not be considered in computing the grant of the family under Section 11450 for any month in which the county is informed by a school district or a county school attendance review board that the child did not attend school pursuant to subdivision (f), unless at least one of the following conditions is present:
(1) The county is provided with evidence that the child’s attendance records are not available.
(2) The county is provided with evidence that the child has been attending school.
(3) Good cause for school nonparticipation exists at any time during the month. A circumstance that shall constitute good cause includes, but is not limited to, the applicant or recipient is in a domestic violence situation that results in school nonparticipation or the failure to cooperate.
(4) Any member of the household is eligible to participate in family stabilization pursuant to Section 11325.24.
(5) The county is provided with evidence that the child, parent, or caregiver is complying with requirements imposed by a school attendance review board, the county probation department, or the district attorney pursuant to Section 48263 or 48263.5 of the Education Code.
(6) A member of the household is cooperating with a plan developed by a county child welfare agency.
(e) A child whose needs have not been considered in computing the grant of the family pursuant to this section shall remain eligible for services that may lead to attendance in school.
(f) For the purposes of this section, a child shall be presumed to be attending school unless the child has been deemed a chronic truant pursuant to Section 48263.6 of the Education Code.
(g) This section shall remain in effect only until January 1, 2021, or the date that the department notifies the Legislature that the Statewide Automated Welfare System can perform the necessary automation to implement this section, whichever date is later, and, as of January 1, 2021, or January 1 of the year following the Legislature receiving that notification, whichever date is later, is repealed.

SEC. 3.

 Section 11253.5 is added to the Welfare and Institutions Code, to read:

11253.5.
 (a) Applicants for and recipients of aid under this chapter shall be informed of the compulsory education requirements contained in Chapter 2 (commencing with Section 48200) of Part 27 of Division 4 of Title 2 of the Education Code and the requirements shall be included in the recipients’ welfare-to-work plan under Section 11325.21.
(b) If it is determined by the county that any child in the assistance unit is not attending school as required by Chapter 2 (commencing with Section 48200) of Part 27 of Division 4 of Title 2 of the Education Code, the family may be informed of how to enroll the child in a continuation school within the county and may be screened to determine eligibility for family stabilization services in accordance with county policy and procedures. If applicable, the county shall document that the family was given this information and was screened for those services.
(c) This section shall become operative on January 1, 2021, or on the date that the department notifies the Legislature that the Statewide Automated Welfare System can perform the necessary automation to implement this section, whichever date is later.

SEC. 4.

 Section 11265.8 of the Welfare and Institutions Code is amended to read:

11265.8.
 (a) All applicants for aid under this chapter, within 60 days of the determination of eligibility for Medi-Cal benefits under Chapter 7 (commencing with Section 14000), and 60 days for applicants already eligible for benefits under Chapter 7 (commencing with Section 14000), and all recipients of aid under this chapter within 60 days of a full or financial redetermination of eligibility for aid under this chapter, shall provide documentation that all children in the assistance unit not required to be enrolled in school have received all age appropriate immunizations, unless it has been medically determined that an immunization for a child is not appropriate. If the county determines that good cause exists for not providing the required documentation due to lack of reasonable access to immunization services, the period shall be extended by an additional 60 days. A circumstance that shall constitute good cause includes, but is not limited to, the applicant or recipient not having reasonable access to immunization services due to a situation of domestic violence. The department may require counties to exclude the needs of all parent or caretaker relatives in the assistance unit in determining the grant to the assistance unit under Section 11450 until the required documentation is provided. An applicant or recipient that has not provided the required documentation in the timeframes specified above shall have a 60-day grace period to comply with the requirements of this section prior to the assistance unit’s grant being determined without considering the needs of all parent or caretaker relatives. The department shall track and maintain information concerning the number of sanctions imposed under this section.
(b) At the time of application and at the next redetermination of eligibility for aid under this chapter, all applicants and recipients shall be given notice advising them of their obligation to secure the immunizations required in subdivision (a). The notice shall also contain all of the following:
(1) The Recommended Childhood Immunization Schedule, United States, and the Recommended Immunization Schedule for Children Not Immunized on Schedule in the First Year of Life, as appropriate, approved by the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, the American Academy of Pediatrics, and the American Academy of Family Physicians.
(2) A description of how to obtain the immunizations through a fee-for-service provider that accepts Medi-Cal, a Medi-Cal managed care plan, a county public health clinic, or any other source that may be available in the county as appropriate.
(3) A statement that Medi-Cal will provide coverage for nonmedical transportation for a child who is enrolled in Medi-Cal to receive the immunizations described in subdivision (a).
(4) Notice of the 60-day grace period to correct a violation of this section.
(c) (1) The amendments made to this section by Assembly Bill 283 of the 2019–20 Regular Session shall become operative on January 1, 2021, or on the date that the department notifies the Legislature that the Statewide Automated Welfare System can perform the necessary automation to implement those amendments, whichever date is later.
(2) Notwithstanding paragraph (1), the elimination of the personal belief exemption shall be operative on January 1, 2020, for all new applicants for aid, and for current recipients of aid who do not already exercise the personal belief exemption. The personal belief exemption shall not be accepted from recipients currently exercising the personal belief exemption after January 1, 2021, or on the date that the department notifies the Legislature that the Statewide Automated Welfare System can perform the necessary automation to implement those amendments, whichever date is later.

SEC. 5.

 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), the State Department of Social Services shall implement this act through an all-county letter or similar instruction until regulations are adopted. The all-county letter or similar instruction implementing the elimination of the personal belief exemption shall be issued by January 1, 2020. The all-county letter or similar instruction implementing the remaining provisions of this act shall be issued by January 1, 2021, or the date that the department notifies the Legislature that the Statewide Automated Welfare System can perform the necessary automation to implement those provisions. Regulations shall be adopted no later than 24 months after the release of an all-county letter or similar instruction pursuant to this section.

SEC. 6.

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

SEC. 7

 If the Commission on State Mandates determines that this act contains costs mandated by the state, reimbursement to local agencies and school districts for those costs shall be made pursuant to Part 7 (commencing with Section 17500) of Division 4 of Title 2 of the Government Code.