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SB-321 CalWORKs: supportive services: childcare.(2019-2020)

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Date Published: 04/01/2019 09:00 PM
SB321:v98#DOCUMENT

Amended  IN  Senate  April 01, 2019

CALIFORNIA LEGISLATURE— 2019–2020 REGULAR SESSION

Senate Bill
No. 321


Introduced by Senator Mitchell
(Coauthors: Senators Caballero and Hurtado)
(Coauthors: Assembly Members Aguiar-Curry, Bonta, and Wicks)

February 15, 2019


An act to amend Section 8350 of the Education Code, and to amend Sections 11323.2, 11323.3, and 11323.4 of the Welfare and Institutions Code, relating to public social services.


LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


SB 321, as amended, Mitchell. CalWORKs: supportive services: childcare.
Existing law provides for 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 and individuals. Existing law generally requires a recipient of CalWORKs benefits to participate in welfare-to-work activities as a condition of eligibility for aid. Existing law requires that necessary supportive services be available to participants in welfare-to-work activities, including childcare, which is provided pursuant to the Child Care and Development Services Act. The act establishes 3 stages of childcare services through which a recipient of CalWORKs will pass. The act requires county welfare departments to manage the first stage of childcare and requires the State Department of Education to manage the 2nd and 3rd stages.
This bill would increase access to childcare supportive services for welfare-to-work participants by, among other things, requiring that the childcare be full-time unless the participant determines that part-time care better meets the family’s needs, requiring first-stage childcare to be authorized for one year, or until the participant is transferred to the 2nd stage of childcare, and prohibiting the first stage or the 2nd stage of childcare services from being discontinued until confirmation is received from the administrator of the subsequent stage of childcare that the family has been enrolled or that the family is ineligible for services in the subsequent stage of childcare. The bill would also specify additional welfare-to-work program activities for which childcare services are available. This bill would require that the participant be informed of the availability of childcare services upon enrollment in the CalWORKs program and at later times when a participant expresses a need for childcare. By imposing new duties on county welfare departments, this bill would impose a state-mandated local program.
Existing law makes confidential and prohibits the release of information about applicants for public social services. Notwithstanding this prohibition, existing law authorizes a county welfare department to share information necessary for the administration of childcare programs and the CalWORKs program.
This bill would require that specified information necessary to enroll or transfer a family into childcare services be made available by a county welfare department to a contractor that provides childcare services. The bill would require, beginning no later than November 1, 2020, a county welfare department to provide a monthly report to stage-2 contractors containing specified information. The bill would authorize a county welfare department to provide training on security protocols and confidentiality of individual family data to a contractor who is given access to data pursuant to those provisions. By imposing new duties on county welfare departments, this bill would impose a state-mandated local program.
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.
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 all of the following:
(a) The California Work Opportunity and Responsibility to Kids (CalWORKs) program serves the poorest families with children in the state by providing a basic needs cash grant and support services needed for family stabilization, employment, or job training. Childcare is a critical support service for CalWORKs families.
(b) Children in poverty are most in need of quality, stable early care and education to achieve their full potential. Research demonstrates the benefits of providing early care and education to ameliorate the effects of poverty and address inequities before achievement gaps widen.
(c) Families that are initially afforded the opportunity to participate in CalWORKs childcare are more likely to avoid sanction, and to be able to promptly participate in the necessary activities and progress toward economic stability, knowing that their children are in a safe, nurturing environment.
(d) In 2017, less than 30 percent of parents or other adult caretakers who were participating in the CalWORKs Welfare-to-Work Program and were responsible for the care of an eligible child were receiving Stage 1 childcare services.
(e) All Child Care and Development Services Act programs, except for CalWORKs Stage 1 childcare, have adopted 12-month continuous eligibility rules pursuant to subdivision (h) of Section 8263 of the Education Code. Aligning Stage 1 childcare eligibility periods with all other childcare and development programs will benefit families, childcare providers, and the state and local agencies that administer the various childcare programs.

SEC. 2.

 Section 8350 of the Education Code is amended to read:

8350.
 (a) It is the intent of the Legislature in enacting this article to ensure that recipients of aid under Chapter 2 (commencing with Section 11200) of Part 3 of Division 9 of the Welfare and Institutions Code, or any successor program, and former recipients who have left aid for employment, are connected as soon as possible to local childcare resources, make stable childcare arrangements, and continue to receive subsidized childcare services after they no longer receive aid as long as they require those services and meet the eligibility requirements set forth in Sections 8263 and 8263.1.
(b) This article establishes three stages of childcare services through which a recipient of aid under Chapter 2 (commencing with Section 11200) of Part 3 of Division 9 of the Welfare and Institutions Code, or any successor program, will pass. Further, as families’ childcare needs are met by county welfare departments and later by other local childcare and development contractors, it is the intent of the Legislature that families experience no break in their childcare services due to a transition between the three stages of childcare services.
(c) In order to ensure that there is no disruption in childcare services due to the planned transitions between the stages of CalWORKs childcare, the first stage or the second stage of childcare services shall not be discontinued until confirmation is received from the administrator of the subsequent stage of childcare that the family has been enrolled in the subsequent stage of childcare, or that the family is ineligible for services in the subsequent stage of childcare.

SEC. 3.

 Section 11323.2 of the Welfare and Institutions Code is amended to read:

11323.2.
 (a) Necessary supportive services shall be offered and available to every participant to enable them to participate in a program activity or to accept or maintain employment. Necessary supportive services shall also be offered and available to every individual who is not required to participate, but chooses to participate voluntarily, to allow them to participate in a program activity activity, as defined in subdivision (c), or to accept or maintain employment. A participant who is required to participate and who does not receive necessary supportive services shall have good cause for not participating under subdivision (f) of Section 11320.3. Supportive services shall be listed in the welfare-to-work plan or other agreement entered into between the county and participant pursuant to this article, and shall include all of the following:
(1) Childcare.
(A) Paid childcare shall be offered and available to every participant, including an individual who is not required to participate, but chooses to participate voluntarily, with a dependent child in the household who needs paid childcare if the child is 12 years of age or under, or requires childcare or supervision due to a physical, mental, or developmental disability or other similar condition as verified by the school, a qualified professional, or the county welfare department, or who is under court supervision. A county welfare department may verify the need for childcare or supervision for a child over 12 years of age from an individualized education plan or a statement from a qualified professional that the child is a child with exceptional needs, as defined in subdivision (l) of Section 8208 of the Education Code.
(B) First-stage childcare, as described in Article 15.5 (commencing with Section 8350) of Chapter 2 of Part 6 of Division 1 of Title 1 of the Education Code, shall be full-time, unless the participant determines that part-time care better meets the family’s needs. First-stage childcare shall be authorized for one year, or until the participant is transferred to the second stage of childcare, for every participant, including a sanctioned participant who indicates an intent to participate in any program activity, who indicates a need for childcare in order to engage in a program activity or employment. A participant may, at any time, indicate a new or increased need for childcare and the information shall be used, as applicable, to authorize childcare in accordance with this subparagraph or increase the family’s services.
(C) Necessary childcare services shall be available to every former recipient for up to two years, pursuant to Article 15.5 (commencing with Section 8350) of Chapter 2 of Part 6 of Division 1 of Title 1 of the Education Code. In the 21st 18th month following the date of last receipt of aid, the county shall send a notice, via mail to the last known address, text message, or email, to a former recipient who is not currently receiving second or third stage childcare informing them that their eligibility for stage-two childcare will expire by the end of the 24th month following their last receipt of aid, and how to obtain stage-two childcare services.
(D) A child in foster care receiving benefits under Title IV-E of the federal Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. Sec. 670 et seq.), a child who would become a dependent child except for the receipt of federal Supplemental Security Income benefits pursuant to Title XVI of the federal Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. Sec. 1381 et seq.), or a child who is not a member of the assistance unit but for whom the recipient is responsible for providing support, shall be deemed to be a dependent child for the purposes of this paragraph.
(E) The provision of care and payment rates under this paragraph shall be governed by Article 15.5 (commencing with Section 8350) of Chapter 2 of Part 6 of Division 1 of Title 1 of the Education Code. Parent fees shall be governed by Sections 8263 and 8273.1 of the Education Code.
(2) Diaper costs.
(A) On and after April 1, 2018, a participant who is participating in a welfare-to-work plan shall be eligible for thirty dollars ($30) per month to assist with diaper costs for each child who is under 36 months of age.
(B) The department shall adopt regulations by January 1, 2020, to implement this paragraph. 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 shall implement this paragraph through all-county letters until regulations are adopted.
(3) Transportation costs, which shall be governed by regional market rates as determined in accordance with regulations established by the department.
(4) Ancillary expenses, which shall include the cost of books, tools, clothing specifically required for the job, fees, and other necessary costs.
(5) Personal counseling. A participant who has personal or family problems that would affect the outcome of the welfare-to-work plan entered into pursuant to this article shall, to the extent available, receive necessary counseling or therapy, and related supportive services, to help the participant and the participant’s family adjust to the participant’s job or training assignment.
(b) If provided in a county plan, the county may continue to provide case management and supportive services under this section to former participants who become employed. The county may provide these services for up to the first 12 months of employment to the extent they are not available from other sources and are needed for the individual to retain the employment.
(c) For the purposes of this section, paragraph (1) of subdivision (a), “program activity” includes, but is not limited to, any welfare-to-work activity, orientation, appraisal, assessment, job search, job club, domestic violence services, court appearances, housing or homelessness activities, mental health services, including therapy or personal counseling, home visiting, drug and substance abuse services, parenting classes, therapy, and medical or education-related appointments for the participant or their dependents.

SEC. 4.

 Section 11323.3 of the Welfare and Institutions Code is amended to read:
11323.3.

(a)It is the intent of the Legislature that all CalWORKs applicants and recipients be aware of their potential liability for childcare payment, and that childcare providers be promptly paid for their services to eligible families.

(b)

11323.3.
 (a) An applicant for, or a recipient of, CalWORKs benefits shall be informed of the availability of childcare services upon enrollment in the CalWORKs program, and at later times when a participant expresses to the county a need for childcare. The county shall verify if childcare is needed to participate in a program activity, as defined in subdivision (c) of Section 11323.2, and, if needed, that childcare services are authorized and that the participant has secured appropriate childcare prior to requiring a participant to participate in any mandatory activity. The county shall give the participant, at a minimum, 20 days after childcare services have been authorized to locate a childcare provider. Verification that childcare has been secured may be established by the participant, the childcare contractor, or the childcare provider.

(c)

(b) An applicant for, or a recipient of, CalWORKs benefits shall be provided written notice, at the time of application, at the time of orientation, when they are assigned to a program activity, when they report engagement new or increased participation in a program activity, when they report new earned income or employment, and when they sign an original or amended welfare-to-work plan, of the availability of paid childcare as provided in Section 11323.2. The notice shall inform applicants and recipients of all of the following:
(1) Paid childcare is available to allow them to be employed or participate in a program activity, as defined in Section 11323.2.
(2) Assistance in finding and choosing a childcare provider is available.
(3) The name and contact information for the local childcare resource and referral program.
(4) A recipient is required to inform the county welfare department of the recipient’s need for paid childcare as soon as that need arises.
(5) The recipient is required to request a childcare subsidy from the county within 30 days from the first day childcare services are received from each different provider, to be fully reimbursed for childcare services.

(d)

(c) The notice shall be provided in the applicant or recipient’s primary language or shall be translated for the applicant or recipient.

(e)

(d) An applicant for, or recipient of, CalWORKs benefits shall be required asked to sign a copy of the written notice acknowledging that they have been informed of and understand received the notice. The signed notice shall be retained in the client’s file and a copy shall be given to the client.

(f)

(e) No payment shall be made for childcare services provided pursuant to Section 8351 of the Education Code more than 30 days prior to the recipient’s initial request for payment for the childcare service from that provider, when the recipient received the written notice provided in subdivision (b).

(g)

(f) (1) The department shall develop regulations to implement this section.
(2) 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 the amendments to this section by the act that added this paragraph by all-county letter or similar directive until regulations are adopted.

SEC. 5.

 Section 11323.4 of the Welfare and Institutions Code is amended to read:

11323.4.
 (a) Payments for supportive services, as described in Section 11323.2, shall be advanced to the participant, whenever necessary, and when desired by the participant, so that the participant need not use the participant’s funds to pay for these services. Payments for childcare services shall be made in accordance with Article 15.5 (commencing with Section 8350) of Chapter 2 of Part 6 of the Education Code.
(b) The county welfare department shall take all reasonable steps necessary to promptly correct any overpayment or underpayment of supportive services payments to a recipient or a service provider, including, but not limited to, all cases involving fraud and abuse, consistent with procedures developed by the department.
(c) Notwithstanding any other provision of this article, any participant in on-the-job training who becomes ineligible for aid under this chapter due to earned income or hours worked, shall remain a participant in the program under this article for the duration of the on-the-job training assignment and shall be eligible for supportive services for the duration of the on-the-job training, provided this duration does not exceed the time limits otherwise applicable to the recipient.
(d) Notwithstanding any other provision of this article, any participant in on-the-job training, grant-based on-the-job training, supported work, or transitional employment who remains eligible for aid pursuant to this chapter, shall be eligible for transportation and ancillary expenses pursuant to paragraphs (3) and (4) of subdivision (a) of Section 11323.2.
(e) (1) Participants shall be encouraged to apply for financial aid, including educational grants, scholarships, and awards.
(2) To the extent permitted by federal law, the county shall coordinate with financial aid offices to establish procedures whereby the educational expenses of participants are met through available financial aid and the supportive services described in Section 11323.2. These procedures shall not result in duplication of payments, and shall require determinations to be made on an individual basis to ensure that using financial aid will not prevent the person’s participation in their welfare-to-work plan.
(f) (1) Notwithstanding Section 10850, for purposes of childcare supportive services, county welfare departments shall share information necessary for the administration of the childcare programs and the CalWORKs program.
(2) By no later than July 1, 2020, a county welfare department shall provide limited, read-only, online access through individual county-level Statewide Automated Welfare System (SAWS) databases to local contractors providing CalWORKs childcare services. Access provided pursuant to this paragraph shall include a single summary page that contains current individual family data needed to enroll a family in CalWORKs childcare services or to transfer a family between stages. This data shall include, but not be limited to, all of the following items, if applicable:
(A) All of the information required in subdivision (a) of Section 18409 of Title 5 of the California Code of Regulations, or any successor regulation thereto.
(B) If the family is no longer receiving CalWORKs cash aid, the date that a parent or adult caretaker last received CalWORKs cash aid.
(3) Paragraph (2) does not supersede any agreement between a county and a CalWORKs childcare contractor that was in effect on January 1, 2020, and provides for online access to the data described in that paragraph.
(4) Beginning no later than November 1, 2020, a county welfare department shall provide to stage-two contractors on a monthly basis a report of all families for which the parent’s cash aid has been discontinued, the parent has not received aid for at least one month, and the parent has children in the home who are eligible for childcare services. The report shall include the parent’s most up-to-date contact information. The report shall be jointly designed with representatives from the department, the County Welfare Directors Association of California, and Parent Voices, in consultation with county welfare departments and SAWS.
(5) A county welfare department may provide training on security protocols and confidentiality of individual family data to a contractor who is given access to data pursuant to this subdivision.
(6) This subdivision is not intended to limit the information shared for the administration of childcare in addition to the data described in paragraph (2).
(7) After consultation with stakeholders, the department shall issue an all-county letter or similar directive by January 1, 2021, to implement paragraphs (2) to (6), inclusive, until regulations are adopted.

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.