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AB-337 Foster care payments: reasonable travel reimbursement for school.(2019-2020)

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Date Published: 06/13/2019 09:00 PM
AB337:v97#DOCUMENT

Amended  IN  Senate  June 13, 2019
Amended  IN  Assembly  May 16, 2019

CALIFORNIA LEGISLATURE— 2019–2020 REGULAR SESSION

Assembly Bill
No. 337


Introduced by Assembly Member Quirk-Silva
(Coauthors: Senators Chang and Wilk)

January 31, 2019


An act to amend Section 11461.36 of, and to add Section 11460.1 to, the Welfare and Institutions Code, relating to foster care.


LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


AB 337, as amended, Quirk-Silva. Foster care payments: reasonable travel reimbursement for school.
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 establishes the Aid to Families with Dependent Children-Foster Care (AFDC-FC) program, under which counties provide to foster care providers a per child, per month per-child, per-month rate, established by the State Department of Social Services, for the care and supervision of the child or nonminor dependent placed with the provider, and includes within the definition of “care and supervision” reasonable travel for the child or nonminor dependent to remain in the school in which the child or nonminor dependent is enrolled at the time of placement, among other things. provider. Existing law also requires counties to provide payment to an emergency caregiver who is not yet a foster care provider on behalf of a child or nonminor dependent placed in the home of the caregiver that is equivalent to that per-child, per-month rate.
This bill would additionally require a county to provide to those emergency caregivers a payment to cover the cost of reasonable travel for the child to remain in the school in which the child or nonminor dependent is enrolled at the time of placement. The bill would also require a county, at the time of placement, or within 3 business days after identifying the school in which the child or nonminor dependent is enrolled, to provide a foster care provider with a notice of action regarding whether notify an emergency caregiver if a child or nonminor dependent is eligible for that reasonable travel reimbursement, as specified. By imposing a new requirement on specified, or notify a foster care provider if the provider is eligible to receive transportation reimbursement in addition to the basic rate. By expanding the duties of, and imposing new requirements on, counties, the bill would impose a state-mandated local program.

Existing law provides for the temporary or emergency placement of dependent children of the juvenile court and nonminor dependents with relative caregivers or nonrelative extended family members under specified circumstances. Existing law requires counties to provide a specified payment to an emergency caregiver, if, among other things, the emergency caregiver has completed an application for resource family approval and an application for the Emergency Assistance Program. Existing law requires that these payments to be made from Emergency Assistance Program funds included in the state’s TANF block grant, or if the child or nonminor dependent is ineligible for that program, from state and county funds, as specified.

This bill would additionally require a county to provide to those emergency caregivers a payment to cover the cost of reasonable travel for the child to remain in the school in which the child or nonminor dependent is enrolled at the time of placement. By expanding the duties of counties, the bill would impose a state-mandated local program.

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 no reimbursement is required by this act for a specified reason.
Vote: MAJORITY   Appropriation: NO   Fiscal Committee: YES   Local Program: YES  

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


SECTION 1.

 Section 11460.1 is added to the Welfare and Institutions Code, to read:

11460.1.
 At the time of placement, or within three business days after identifying the school in which the child or nonminor dependent is enrolled, a county shall provide notify a foster care provider with a notice of action regarding whether a child or nonminor dependent is eligible for reasonable travel reimbursement if the provider is eligible to receive reimbursement, in addition to the basic rate, for the costs of providing transportation for the child or nonminor dependent to remain in the school in which the child or nonminor dependent is enrolled at the time of placement. The notice of action shall include a statement of the rights granted pursuant to Chapter 7 (commencing with Section 10950) of Part 2. placement, or, if the child or nonminor dependent is placed with an emergency caregiver, notify the emergency caregiver if the caregiver is eligible to receive the travel reimbursement described in subdivision (b) of Section 11461.36.

SEC. 2.

 Section 11461.36 of the Welfare and Institutions Code is amended to read:

11461.36.
 (a) It is the intent of the Legislature to provide support to emergency caregivers, as defined in subdivision (c), who care for children and nonminor dependents before approval of an application under the Resource Family Approval Program.
(b) For placements made on and after July 1, 2018, each county shall provide a payment equivalent to the resource family basic level rate of the home-based family care rate structure, pursuant to Section 11463, and a payment to cover the cost of reasonable travel for the child or nonminor dependent to remain in the school in which the child or nonminor dependent is enrolled at the time of placement, to an emergency caregiver on behalf of a child or nonminor dependent placed in the home of the caregiver pursuant to subdivision (d) of Section 309 or Section 361.45, or based on a compelling reason pursuant to subdivision (e) of Section 16519.5, subject to the availability of state and federal funds pursuant to subdivision (e), if all of the following criteria are met:
(1) The child or nonminor dependent is not otherwise eligible for AFDC-FC or the Approved Relative Caregiver Funding Program, pursuant to Section 11461.3, while placed in the home of the emergency caregiver.
(2) The child or nonminor dependent resides in California.
(3) The emergency caregiver has signed and submitted to the county an application for resource family approval.
(4) An application for the Emergency Assistance Program has been completed.
(c) For purposes of this section, an “emergency caregiver” means an individual who has a pending resource family application filed with an appropriate agency on or after July 1, 2018, and who meets one of the following requirements:
(1) The individual has been assessed pursuant to Section 361.4.
(2) The individual has successfully completed the home environment assessment portion of the resource family approval pursuant to paragraph (2) of subdivision (d) of Section 16519.5.
(d) The beginning date of aid for payments made pursuant to subdivision (b) shall be the date of placement.
(e) Funding for payments made pursuant to subdivision (b) shall be as follows:
(1) For emergency or compelling reason placements made during the 2018–19 fiscal year:
(A) Payments shall be made to an emergency caregiver through the Emergency Assistance Program included in the state’s Temporary Assistance for Needy Families block grant.
(B) The county shall be solely responsible for the nonfederal share of cost.
(C) Notwithstanding subparagraphs (A) and (B), if the child or nonminor dependent is determined to be ineligible for the Emergency Assistance Program included in the state’s Temporary Assistance for Needy Families block grant, 70 percent of the cost of emergency payments made to the emergency caregiver shall be funded by the department and 30 percent shall be funded by the county.
(D) Notwithstanding subparagraphs (A), (B), and (C), payments required to be provided pursuant to subdivision (b) shall not be eligible for the federal or state share of cost upon approval or denial of the resource family application, consistent with subdivision (g), beyond 180 days, or, if the conditions of subparagraph (E) are met, beyond 365 days, whichever occurs first.
(E) The federal and state share of payment made pursuant to this paragraph shall be available beyond 180 days of payments, and up to 365 days of payments, if all of the following conditions are met:
(i) On a monthly basis, the county has documented good cause for the delay in approving the resource family application that is outside the direct control of the county, which may include delays in processing background check clearances or exemptions, medical examinations, or delays that are based on the needs of the family.
(ii) On a monthly basis, the deputy director or director of the county child welfare department, or a designee of the deputy director or director, has been notified of the delay in approving the resource family application and that notification is documented in the resource family approval file.
(iii) On a monthly basis, the county provides to the department a list of the resource family applications that have been pending for more than 90 days and the reason for the delays.
(2) For emergency or compelling reason placements made during the 2019–20 fiscal year, and each fiscal year thereafter:
(A) Payments shall be made to an emergency caregiver through the Emergency Assistance Program included in the state’s Temporary Assistance for Needy Families block grant.
(B) The county shall be solely responsible for the nonfederal share of cost.
(C) Notwithstanding subparagraphs (A) and (B), if the child or nonminor dependent is determined to be ineligible for the Emergency Assistance Program included in the state’s Temporary Assistance for Needy Families block grant, 70 percent of the cost of emergency payments made to the emergency caregiver shall be funded by the department and 30 percent shall be funded by the county.
(D) Notwithstanding subparagraphs (A), (B), and (C), payments required to be provided pursuant to subdivision (b) shall not be eligible for the federal or state share of cost upon approval or denial of the resource family application, consistent with subdivision (g), or beyond 90 days, whichever occurs first.
(E) The department shall consider extending the payments required pursuant to subdivision (b) beyond the 90-day limit identified in subparagraph (D) if it makes a determination that the resource family approval process cannot be completed within 90 days due to circumstances outside of a county’s control.
(f) (1) An emergency caregiver eligible for payments pursuant to subdivision (b) of Section 11461.35, as that section read on June 30, 2018, shall continue to be eligible for those payments on and after July 1, 2018, until the emergency caregiver’s resource family application is approved or denied.
(2) Funding for a payment described in paragraph (1) shall be as follows:
(A) If the emergency caregiver was eligible to receive payments funded through the Approved Relative Caregiver Funding Program, payments shall be made through that program until the application for resource family approval is approved or denied.
(B) If the emergency caregiver was eligible to receive payments funded through the Emergency Assistance Program, payments shall be made through that program, subject to the following conditions:
(i) Up to 180 total days or, if the conditions of subparagraph (D) are met, up to 365 total days of payments shall be made to the emergency caregiver through the Emergency Assistance Program. For the purpose of this subdivision, “total days of payments” includes all payments made to the emergency caregiver through the Emergency Assistance Program pursuant to this section and Section 11461.35, as that section read on June 30, 2018.
(ii) The county shall be solely responsible for the nonfederal share of cost.
(C) Notwithstanding subparagraphs (A) and (B), payments required to be provided pursuant to subdivision (b) shall not be eligible for the federal or state share of cost upon approval or denial of the resource family application, consistent with subdivision (g), beyond 180 days, or, if the conditions of subparagraph (D) are met, beyond 365 days, whichever occurs first.
(D) The federal and state share of payment made pursuant to this subdivision shall be available beyond 180 total days of payments, and up to 365 total days of payments, when the following conditions are met:
(i) On a monthly basis, the county has documented good cause for the delay in approving the resource family application that is outside the direct control of the county, which may include delays in processing background check clearances or exemptions, medical examinations, or delays that are based on the needs of the family.
(ii) On a monthly basis, the deputy director or director of the county child welfare department, or a designee of the deputy director or director, has been notified of the delay in approving the resource family application and that notification is documented in the resource family approval file.
(iii) On a monthly basis, the county provides to the department a list of the resource family applications that have been pending for more than 90 days, the number of cases that have received more than 90 total days of payments pursuant to this section and Section 11461.35, and the reason for the delays in approval or denial of the resource family applications.
(g) (1) If the application for resource family approval is approved, the funding source for the placement shall be changed to AFDC-FC or the Approved Relative Caregiver Funding Program, as appropriate and consistent with existing eligibility requirements.
(2) If the application for resource family approval is denied, eligibility for funding pursuant to this section shall be terminated.
(h) A county shall not be liable for any federal disallowance or penalty imposed on the state as a result of a county’s action in reliance on the state’s instruction related to implementation of this section.
(i) (1) For the 2018–19 and 2019–20 fiscal years, the department shall determine, on a county-by-county basis, whether the timeframe for the resource family approval process resulted in net assistance costs or net assistance savings for assistance payments, pursuant to this section.
(2) For the 2018–19 and 2019–20 fiscal years, the department shall also consider, on a county-by-county basis, the impact to the receipt of federal Title IV-E funding that may result from implementation of this section.
(3) The department shall work with the California State Association of Counties to jointly determine the timeframe for subsequent reviews of county costs and savings beyond the 2019–20 fiscal year.
(j) (1) The department shall monitor the implementation of this section, including, but not limited to, tracking the usage and duration of Emergency Assistance Program payments made pursuant to this section and evaluating the duration of time a child or nonminor dependent is in a home pending resource family approval. The department may conduct county reviews or case reviews, or both, to monitor the implementation of this section and to ensure successful implementation of the county plan, submitted pursuant to subparagraph (B) of paragraph (2) of subdivision (e) of Section 11461.35, to eliminate any resource family approval backlog by September 1, 2018.
(2) The department may request information or data necessary to oversee the implementation of this section until data collection is available through automation. Pending the completion of automation, information or data collected manually shall be determined in consultation with the County Welfare Directors Association of California.
(k) An appropriation shall not be made pursuant to Section 15200 for purposes of implementing this section.
(l) 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 department may implement and administer this section through an all-county letter or similar instructions, which shall include instructions regarding the eligibility standards for emergency assistance until regulations are adopted.

SEC. 3.

 To the extent that this act has an overall effect of increasing the costs already borne by a local agency for programs or levels of service mandated by the 2011 Realignment Legislation within the meaning of Section 36 of Article XIII of the California Constitution, it shall apply to local agencies only to the extent that the state provides annual funding for the cost increase. Any new program or higher level of service provided by a local agency pursuant to this act above the level for which funding has been provided shall not require a subvention of funds by the state or otherwise be subject to Section 6 of Article XIII B of the California Constitution.