Today's Law As Amended

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AB-1368 Social services for persons granted asylum.(2021-2022)

As Amends the Law Today

 The Legislature finds and declares all of the following:
(a) Migrants, refugees, and asylees are important to the fabric of our society.
(b) Refugees and asylees, regardless of their legal distinctions, face many of the same challenges integrating into the state and are often living in the same communities.
(c) Refugees and asylees are granted different services due to the legal distinction of when they were identified, with refugees often being identified in the country of origin and asylees in the country of arrival.
(d) Between 2017 and 2019, the number of applicants granted asylum increased from 26,199 applicants to 46,508 applicants, representing a 56 percent increase. In 2019 alone, California was the settlement state for 34 percent of all new asylees, which was the highest rate of all states.
(e) Research indicates that while individuals granted asylum in this state are given eligibility to a wide range of benefits, most asylees do not get these benefits due to the lack of case management services and assistance in navigating the social safety net and health care systems.
(f) Studies show that with proper case management support, refugees have not only been able to secure the benefits for which they are eligible, but also find employment within six months of arriving to this state and bring immense contributions to the economy.
(g) Further research indicates that if states spend money on case management services for asylees in the early stages of resettlement, they save money in the long term due to increased self-sufficiency by newly settled migrants and increased eligibility for federal funding.

SEC. 2.

 Chapter 5.9 (commencing with Section 13650) is added to Part 3 of Division 9 of the Welfare and Institutions Code, to read:

CHAPTER  5.9. Enhanced Services Program for Asylees
 (a) The Enhanced Services Program for Asylees (ESPA) is hereby established to provide resettlement services for persons granted political asylum to live in this state by the United States Attorney General pursuant to Section 1158 of Title 8 of the United States Code.
(b) An agency that has been designated by a county to implement social services for refugees pursuant to subdivision (b) of Section 13277 may provide social services under this chapter for persons granted asylum.
 (a) The program shall provide culturally specific and responsive case management services for persons newly granted asylum for up to 90 days.
(b) Case management services under the program shall include assistance in identifying and applying for all benefits to which the person is legally entitled, cultural orientation and integration programs, support in accessing and navigating the health care system, community connection and relationship building, English language instruction, and employment training and job placement assistance.
(c) The program shall aim to have similar reintegration success rates for persons granted asylum as for refugees receiving services under Chapter 5.5 (commending with Section 13275).
(d) An agency providing services under the program shall notify the department each time a person applies for services under the program and the department shall provide funding to the agency for services for that person at the time the person is admitted to the program.
 This chapter shall be implemented only to the extent that funds are appropriated for this purpose in the Budget Act of 2021.