AB 2058, as introduced, Mayes. CalWORKs Educational Opportunity and Attainment Program.
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, state, and county funds. Under existing law, a recipient of CalWORKs is required to participate in welfare-to-work activities for a specified number of hours each week as a condition of eligibility for aid. Existing law authorizes certain welfare-to-work participants to engage in adult basic education in satisfaction of these work requirements.
Existing law establishes the Cal-Learn Program, under which a recipient of CalWORKs aid who is under 19 years of age and who does not have a high school diploma or its equivalent is required to participate in the program as a student attending school on a full-time basis. Existing law provides for a supplement to, or a reduction in, a Cal-Learn participant’s aid grant based on his or her performance in school.
This bill would create the CalWORKs Educational Opportunity and Attainment Program to provide CalWORKs recipients with an education bonus, in an unspecified amount, each month after the attainment of a high school diploma or its equivalent, an associate’s degree, or a bachelor’s degree, if the diploma or degree was earned while the recipient was receiving CalWORKs assistance. The bill would require a recipient, when applying for an education bonus, to submit evidence of completion of the educational program to the county. The bill would also require the State Department of Social Services to develop a process for verifying educational achievement. The bill would establish the CalWORKs Educational Opportunity and Attainment Support Fund, and would provide that moneys in the fund be used, upon appropriation by the Legislature, to support the program. By imposing additional administrative duties on counties, this 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, 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 these statutory provisions.
Vote: majority. Appropriation: no. Fiscal committee: yes. State-mandated local program: yes.
The people of the State of California do enact as follows:
Article 3.7 (commencing with Section 11340) is
2added to Chapter 2 of Part 3 of Division 9 of the Welfare and
3Institutions Code, to read:
(a) This article shall be known, and may be cited, as
9the CalWORKs Educational Opportunity and Attainment Program.
10(b) The Legislature finds and declares all of the following:
11(1) California is expected to spend one hundred thirty-six billion
12dollars ($136,000,000,000) on health and human services programs
13in 2016, which is by far the largest state budget expenditure, while
14total education spending for kindergarten, grades 1 to 12, inclusive,
15and higher education programs is less than seventy billion dollars
16($70,000,000,000) per year.
P3 1(2) California has the fifth largest Temporary Assistance for
2Needy Families (TANF) cash grant in the nation, and the second
3largest amongst the 10 largest states, yet poverty remains a
5(3) We must recognize that California’s problems of poverty
6and inequality do not stem from a lack of safety net programs.
7(4) California needs to invest in programs that elevate people
8out of poverty rather than helping people live better in poverty.
9(5) This act is intended to provide incentives for CalWORKs
10recipients to pursue education, thereby improving the opportunities
11and outcomes for adults and children in the CalWORKs program.
(a) A CalWORKs recipient may apply to receive an
13education bonus in the following amounts:
14(1) ____ dollars ($____) per month for completion of high
15school or its equivalent.
16(2) ____ dollars ($____) per month for completion of an
18(3) ____ dollars ($____) per month for completion of a
20(b) The amounts listed in subdivision (a) are not cumulative. A
21recipient shall receive the highest monthly bonus to which he or
22she is entitled.
(a) When applying for an education bonus, a recipient
24shall submit evidence of completion of the educational program
25to the county. A recipient is not eligible unless both of the
26following criteria are satisfied:
27(1) The recipient graduated from an accredited educational
29(2) The recipient attained the diploma or degree while receiving
31(b) The State Department of Social Services shall develop a
32process for verifying educational achievement.
The CalWORKs Educational Opportunity and
34Attainment Support Fund is hereby established in the State
35Treasury. The moneys in the fund are available, upon appropriation
36by the Legislature, for the support of CalWORKs Educational
37Opportunity and Attainment Program.
If the Commission on State Mandates determines that
39this act contains costs mandated by the state, reimbursement to
40local agencies and school districts for those costs shall be made
P4 1pursuant to Part 7 (commencing with Section 17500) of Division
24 of Title 2 of the Government Code.