BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    



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          Date of Hearing:   April 12, 2016


                        ASSEMBLY COMMITTEE ON HUMAN SERVICES


                                Susan Bonilla, Chair


          AB 2058  
          (Mayes) - As Amended April 4, 2016


          SUBJECT:  CalWORKs: education incentives


          SUMMARY:  Creates the California Work Opportunity and  
          Responsibility to Kids (CalWORKs) Educational Opportunity and  
          Attainment Program to offer education grants to eligible  
          CalWORKs participants who complete certain educational programs.



          Specifically, this bill:  



          1)Makes certain Legislative findings and declarations regarding,  
            among other things, the correlation between postsecondary  
            education and employment and economic mobility.


          2)Permits a CalWORKs recipient to apply to receive an education  
            grant, which constitutes an ongoing adjustment to a  
            participant's monthly CalWORKs cash grant, awarded as follows:


             a)   $100 per month for completion of high school or its  
               equivalent;








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             b)   $200 per month for completion of an associate's degree;  
               and


             c)   $300 per month for completion of a bachelor's degree.


          3)Stipulates that grant amounts are not cumulative, and that a  
            participant shall receive, on an ongoing basis, the highest  
            monthly bonus for which he or she is eligible.


          4)Requires a participant to submit evidence of completion of an  
            educational program to the county when applying for the  
            education grant.


          5)Requires a participant to complete an educational program that  
            meets all of the following criteria in order to be eligible  
            for an education grant:


             a)   Is included in the participant's welfare-to-work plan  
               approved by the county;


             b)   Is offered by an accredited educational institution; and


               c)     Is completed by the participant while he or she is  
                 receiving CalWORKs assistance.


          6)Requires the county to, upon verification of completion of an  
            educational program, certify that a participant is eligible  
            for an education grant and to ensure that the participant's  
            monthly cash grant is increased, as specified.








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          7)Prohibits a participant who was receiving an education grant  
            and then ceased to receive CalWORKs assistance from being  
            eligible to receive the same education grant if he or she  
            begins receiving CalWORKs assistance again in the future, but  
            permits the participant to be eligible to receive a different  
            education grant if he or she attains a higher level of  
            education while receiving CalWORKs assistance.


          8)Makes a CalWORKs participant permanently ineligible for an  
            education grant if the recipient has done any of the  
            following:


             a)   Exhausted his or her CalWORKs benefits;


             b)   Been sanctioned; or


             c)   Committed public assistance fraud, as specified.


          9)Appropriates $20 million from the General Fund to the Board of  
            Governors of the California Community Colleges to fund  
            services provided under the CalWORKs Recipients Education  
            Program, as specified and including, but not limited to,  
            education and career counseling services, employment  
            development services, including job development staff  
            positions, and work study positions.


          EXISTING LAW:  


          1)Establishes under federal law the Temporary Assistance for  
            Needy Families (TANF) program to provide aid and  








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            welfare-to-work services to eligible families and, in  
            California, provides that TANF funds for welfare-to-work  
            services are administered through the CalWORKs program.  (42  
            U.S.C. 601 et seq., WIC 11200 et seq.) 



          2)Establishes income, asset and real property limits used to  
            determine eligibility for the program, including net income  
            below the Maximum Aid Payment (MAP), based on family size and  
            county of residence, which is around 40% of the Federal  
            Poverty Level.  (WIC 11150 to 11160, 11450 et seq.)

          3)Establishes a 48-month lifetime limit of CalWORKs benefits for  
            eligible adults, including 24 months during which a recipient  
            must meet federal work requirements in order to retain  
            eligibility.  (WIC 11454, 11322.85)

          4)Requires all individuals over 16 years of age, unless they are  
            otherwise exempt, to participate in welfare-to-work activities  
            as a condition of eligibility for CalWORKs.  (WIC 11320.3,  
            11322.6)

          5)Establishes the number of weekly hours of welfare-to-work  
            participation necessary to remain eligible for aid, including  
            requirements for an unemployed parent in a two-parent  
            assistance unit, as specified.  (WIC 11322.8)

          6)States that there is, in the California Community Colleges,  
            the CalWORKs Recipients Education Program, the intent of which  
            is to assist CalWORKs recipients prepare for employment.   
            Further requires, as specified and to the extent that funding  
            is appropriated in the annual Budget Act, a community college  
            to receive funds for curriculum development or redesign aimed  
            at, among other things, linking CalWORKs courses to job  
            placement through work experience and internships.  (EDC 79200  
            -79203)

          7)Requires that, as specified and to the extent funding is  








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            provided in the annual Budget Act, a community college receive  
            funds in addition to those allotted for curriculum development  
            and redesign to provide special services for CalWORKs  
            recipients, including, but not limited to job placement, child  
            care and workstudy, coordination with county welfare offices  
            and other agencies, postemployment skills training and related  
            skills training.  (EDC 79204-79206)

          8)Requires, as a condition for receiving funds for special  
            services, community college districts and colleges to submit a  
            report, as specified, to the Chancellor of the California  
            Community Colleges that includes data on the use of the moneys  
            and other factors, including, but not limited to, the number  
            of workstudy hours provided, the number of students receiving  
            case management, and the hourly salaries and types of jobs in  
            which CalWORKs recipients were placed.  (EDC 79207)
          


          FISCAL EFFECT:  Unknown.





          COMMENTS:  


          CalWORKs:  The CalWORKs program provides monthly income  
          assistance and employment-related services aimed at moving  
          children out of poverty and helping families meet basic needs.   
          Federal funding for CalWORKs comes from the TANF block grant.   
          The average 2016-17 monthly cash grant for a family of three on  
          CalWORKs (one parent and two children) is $497.35, and the  
          maximum monthly grant amount for a family of three, if the  
          family has no other income and lives in a high-cost county, is  
          $704.  According to recent data from the California Department  
          of Social Services (DSS), around 497,000 families rely on  
          CalWORKs, including over one million children.  Nearly 60% of  








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          cases include children under 6 years old.

          Maximum grant amounts in high-cost counties of $704 per month  
          for a family of three, with no other income, means $23.46 per  
          day, per family, or $7.82 per family member, per day to meet  
          basic needs, including rent, clothing, utility bills, food, and  
          anything else a family needs to ensure children can be cared for  
          at home and safely remain with their families.  This grant  
          amount puts the annual household income at $8,448 per year, or  
          42% of poverty.  Federal Poverty Guidelines for 2016 show that  
          100% of poverty for a family of three is $20,160 per year.  

          Welfare-to-Work requirements:  Welfare-to-work activities within  
          the CalWORKs program include public or private sector subsidized  
          or unsubsidized employment; on-the-job training; community  
          service; secondary school, adult basic education and vocational  
          education and training when the education is needed for the  
          recipient to become employed; specific mental health, substance  
          abuse, or domestic violence services if they are necessary to  
          obtain or retain employment; and a number of other activities  
          necessary to assist a recipient in obtaining unsubsidized  
          employment.  

          Unless they are exempt, single parent adults must participate  
          for at least 30 hours per week in welfare-to-work activities,  
          whereas the minimum participation requirement for two-parent  
          families is 35 hours per week.  After receiving aid for up to a  
          maximum of 24 months, adults without an exemption must meet  
          federal work requirements, with more restrictive employment  
          settings and allowable employment activities.  If a CalWORKs  
          recipient who is not exempt from participation does not meet his  
          or her welfare-to-work requirements, the recipient is sanctioned  
          for noncompliance, and that recipient's portion of the family's  
          grant is subtracted from the amount provided to the family to  
          meet basic needs.

          CalWORKs time limits:  Passage of the Personal Responsibility  
          and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996 (PRWORA), which  
          was the final piece of federal welfare reform legislation,  








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          marked the end of the previous Aid to Families with Dependent  
          Children (AFDC) program and the beginning of the block-granted  
          TANF program, under which CalWORKs was established in California  
          state law.  Among the numerous programmatic changes included  
          within the TANF program was a requirement that eligible parents  
          work or participate in work training or other activities that  
          lead to employment.  The TANF program provides a great deal of  
          flexibility in how states implement their respective programs,  
          including the ability for states to establish more truncated  
          time limits than the 60-month lifetime limit on aid for adult  
          recipients authorized within it.  As of 2011, California has  
          limited aid to adult CalWORKs recipients to a lifetime limit of  
          48 months.

          California Community College CalWORKs Program:  The California  
          Community Colleges CalWORKs program was created in 1997 when the  
          state established the CalWORKs program in response to the  
          federal welfare reform of 1996.  Today, there are CalWORKs  
          programs in all 113 of the state's community colleges, as well  
          as in one adult education center.  Over 31,000 CalWORKs  
          participants are enrolled in community colleges across the  
          state.  

          The individual community college CalWORKs programs coordinate  
          with local county human services offices and deliver case  
          management and a number of services to participants, including:  
          on- and off-campus subsidized work study placements; academic,  
          career, and personal counseling involving intensive case  
          management, career exploration, coordination of child care  
          services, and collaboration with on-campus student services and  
          off-campus community based organizations for emergency  
          assistance.  Importantly, English language learners and  
          individuals seeking to complete a high school equivalency  
          program can also access educational and other services through  
          the California Community College CalWORKs program.

          When originally established, the California Community Colleges  
          CalWORKs program had an annual budget of approximately $81  
          million ($65 million in Prop 98 dollars, and $16 million in  








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          federal Temporary Assistance for Needy Families [TANF] monies).   
          This budget was cut significantly - by 46%  - in 2002-03 as the  
          state struggled with a budget deficit.  Other cuts and  
          augmentations have taken place since then; the budget for the  
          California Community Colleges CalWORKs program is currently  
          approximately $43 million ($35 million Prop 98, and $8 million  
          TANF).

          Educational attainment of CalWORKs participants:  DSS reports  
          that, in Federal Fiscal Year 2013, 52.3% of heads-of-household  
          in single-parent CalWORKs families had completed high school or  
          the equivalent, and 56.1% of heads-of-household in two-parent  
          families had.  In each of fiscal years 2013-14 and 2014-15, DSS  
          reports that approximately 19,000 associate's degrees were  
          earned by CalWORKs recipients (note that one individual may have  
          received more than one degree in given year).  During those same  
          fiscal years, the California Community Colleges Chancellor's  
          Office reports that approximately 31,000 CalWORKs participants  
          were enrolled in community college in the state.


          Need for this bill:  According to the author, "The goal of [this  
          bill] is to encourage and support those on CalWORKs to get the  
          education they need to become self-sufficient and to thrive.  It  
          is also intended to change the life trajectory of children in  
          low-income households-not only would their immediate needs be  
          better met, they would have a greater chance of achieving  
          successful and fulfilling lives as adults.  [This bill] will  
          provide supports and incentives to help CalWORKs recipients  
          pursue education, improving the well-being of low-income  
          California families and helping break the cycle of poverty."


          Staff comments:  The correlation between educational attainment  
          and employment and income is well-documented.  For example, the  
          U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that, in 2015 for adults  
          ages 25 and over with full-time jobs, those without a high  
          school diploma or equivalent saw median weekly earnings of $493,  
          compared to their counterparts with a high school diploma whose  








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          median weekly earnings were $678.  Among the same population,  
          the unemployment rate for those without a high school diploma  
          was 8.0%, compared to 5.4% for those with a high school diploma.  
           According to the same data, acquisition of an associate's  
          degree only improves outcomes:  median weekly earnings were $798  
          and the unemployment rate was 2.8%.  For those with a bachelor's  
          degree, median weekly earnings were $1,137, and the unemployment  
          rate was 2.4%.


          This bill seeks to facilitate CalWORKs recipient attainment of  
          education by offering grants upon completion of various degrees.  
           Ultimately, the hope is that educational attainment leads to  
          acquisition of better-paying jobs leads to family  
          self-sufficiency.  These are important goals, and the CalWORKs  
          program is designed to support families as they work to achieve  
          them.  However, many families can face barriers along the way:   
          mental health issues, learning disabilities, physical  
          disabilities, substance use disorders, domestic violence, and  
          other factors and circumstances can hinder participation in and  
          progress towards educational and career goals. 


          Recent changes in the CalWORKs program - including intensive  
          up-front assessment of family circumstances using the Online  
          CalWORKs Appraisal Tool (OCAT) and provision of family  
          stabilization services - recognize the need to identify and  
          address barriers many families face, barriers which can get in  
          the way of attending school or finding a job, and which can also  
          result in adults being sanctioned and the household CalWORKs  
          grant amount being reduced.  The CalWORKs Educational  
          Opportunity and Attainment Program proposed by this bill may be  
          better integrated into the CalWORKs program as a whole if it  
          also took the approach of providing supports and barrier-removal  
          services to participants en route to obtaining a diploma or  
          degree, ensuring that any underlying causes that may be standing  
          in the way of educational and career success are themselves  
          addressed.  The restoration of funding to the California  
          Community Colleges CalWORKs program proposed by this bill may  








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          help to provide some of these supports and services, but no  
          mechanism is currently proposed to measure the impact of this  
          increased funding.  Should this bill move forward, the author  
          may wish to consider further refining the proposed CalWORKs  
          Educational Opportunity and Attainment Program to better support  
          students as they work to obtain diplomas and degrees.  The  
          author may also wish to request an annual report to the  
          Legislature from the California Community Colleges CalWORKs  
          program on the additional impacts seen on enrollment and  
          graduation rates resulting from the increased funding proposed  
          by this bill.


          Suggested amendments:  In order to ensure that CalWORKs  
          participants who have cured any sanctions are not unduly  
          prohibited from participating in the CalWORKs Education  
          Opportunity and Attainment Program, and to make a technical  
          amendment to remove findings and declarations from State Code,  
          committee staff recommends the following amendments:


          1)Strike line 18 on page 5 of the bill.


          2)After line 20 on page 5 of the bill, insert:


             (c) A CalWORKs recipient shall not receive an education  
            incentive grant in any month during which he or she is  
            sanctioned.


           3)After line 7 on page 3 of the bill, insert:  


            The Legislature finds and declares all of the following:


          (1) In California's high-skill economy, it is very difficult to  








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          get a good, middle-class job without vocational education or a  
          college degree, let alone a high school diploma.


          (2) This is a significant barrier to socioeconomic mobility for  
          California's highly vulnerable CalWORKs recipients, because as  
          many as 65 percent of CalWORKs recipients do not have a high  
          school education.


          (3) Research has consistently shown that postsecondary education  
          boosts social mobility, particularly for those at the bottom of  
          the income distribution scale, and that a parent's level of  
          education has positive effects on his or her child's level of  
          success into middle adulthood.


          (4) California has the seventh-largest federal Temporary  
          Assistance for Needy Families cash grant in the nation, and the  
          second largest among the 10 largest states.


          (5) Poverty remains a persistent problem.


          (6) This act is intended to provide incentives for CalWORKs  
          recipients to pursue education, thereby improving the  
          opportunities and outcomes for adults and children in the  
          CalWORKs program. 




           4)Strike lines 10 through 34 on page 3, and lines 1 through 10  
            on page 4 of the bill.



          RELATED LEGISLATION:








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          AB 1994 (Lopez), 2016, creates the CalED program to provide a  
          one-time $500 supplement to eligible CalWORKs participants upon  
          successful completion of a high school equivalency examination.   
          This bill is referred to the Assembly Appropriations Committee.


          AB 2448 (Burke), 2016, changes CalWORKs requirements regarding  
          permissible welfare-to-work activities to facilitate a  
          recipient's completion of a high school equivalency program.  
          This bill is referred to the Assembly Floor.


          


          REGISTERED SUPPORT / OPPOSITION:




          Support


          Coalition of California Welfare Rights Organization (CCWRO)


          County Welfare Directors Association of California


          Western Center on Law & Poverty












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          Opposition


          None on file.




          Analysis Prepared by:Daphne Hunt / HUM. S. / (916) 319-2089