California Legislature—2015–16 Regular Session

Assembly BillNo. 2448


Introduced by Assembly Member Burke

February 19, 2016


An act to amend Sections 11320.1, 11322.6, and 11322.85, of, and to add Section 11325.3 to, the Welfare and Institutions Code, relating to CalWORKs.

LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL’S DIGEST

AB 2448, as introduced, Burke. CalWORKs: welfare-to-work: education.

Existing law establishes 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 using federal, state, and county funds. Existing law requires a recipient of CalWORKs to participate in welfare-to-work activities as a condition of eligibility. Existing law requires the county to assign a CalWORKs recipient who lacks a high school diploma or its equivalent to participate in adult basic education, if the recipient has completed job search activities but did not find employment and the education is needed to become employed. Existing law also requires, in order for a recipient to engage in adult basic education in satisfaction of welfare-to-work requirements, the county to perform an assessment and develop a welfare-to-work plan that includes participation in the educational activity.

This bill would instead provide that if the county determines that a CalWORKs recipient has not received his or her high school diploma or its equivalent, the recipient may participate in a high school equivalency program in order to complete a high school equivalency test recognized by the State Department of Education. The bill would authorize the recipient to participate in a high school equivalency program in lieu of participating in a job search or job club, and would prohibit the county from requiring the recipient to participate in an assessment before the recipient may engage in a high school equivalency program in satisfaction of welfare-to-work requirements.

Vote: majority. Appropriation: no. Fiscal committee: no. State-mandated local program: no.

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

P2    1

SECTION 1.  

Section 11320.1 of the Welfare and Institutions
2Code
is amended to read:

3

11320.1.  

Subsequent to the commencement of the receipt of
4aid under this chapter, the sequence of employment-related
5activities required of recipients under this article, unless exempted
6under Section 11320.3, shall be as follows:

7(a) Orientation and appraisal. Recipients shall, and applicants
8may, at the option of a county and with the consent of the applicant,
9receive orientation to the welfare-to-work program provided under
10this article and receive appraisal pursuant to Section 11325.2.

11(b) After orientation and appraisal, recipients shall participate
12in job search and job club pursuant to Section 11325.22, family
13stabilization pursuant to Section 11325.24,begin insert a high school
14equivalency program pursuant to Section 11325.3,end insert
or substance
15abuse, mental health, or domestic violence services, unless the
16county determines that the recipient should first go to assessment
17pursuant to subdivision (c).

18(c) Assessment. If employment is not found during the period
19provided for pursuant to subdivision (b), or at any time the county
20determines that participation in job search for the period specified
21in subdivision (a) of Section 11325.22 is not likely to lead to
22employment or that, based on information gathered during the
23appraisal, further information is needed to make an effective
24determination regarding the recipient’s next welfare-to-work
25activity, the recipient shall be referred to assessment, as provided
26for in Section 11325.4. Following assessment, the county and the
27recipient shall develop a welfare-to-work plan, as specified in
28Section 11325.21. The plan shall specify the activities provided
29for in Section 11322.6 to which the recipient shall be assigned,
P3    1and the supportive services, as provided for pursuant to Section
211323.2, with which the recipient will be provided.

3(d) Work activities. A recipient who has signed a
4welfare-to-work plan pursuant to Section 11325.21 shall participate
5in work activities, as described in this article.

begin delete

6(e) This section shall become operative on January 1, 2014.

end delete
7

SEC. 2.  

Section 11322.6 of the Welfare and Institutions Code
8 is amended to read:

9

11322.6.  

The welfare-to-work plan developed by the county
10welfare department and the participant pursuant to this article shall
11provide for welfare-to-work activities. Welfare-to-work activities
12may include, but are not limited to, any of the following:

13(a) Unsubsidized employment.

14(b) Subsidized private sector employment.

15(c) Subsidized public sector employment.

16(d) Work experience, which means public or private sector work
17that shall help provide basic job skills, enhance existing job skills
18in a position related to the participant’s experience, or provide a
19needed community service that will lead to employment. Unpaid
20work experience shall be limited to 12 months, unless the county
21welfare department and the recipient agree to extend this period
22by an amendment to the welfare-to-work plan. The county welfare
23department shall review the work experience assignment as
24appropriate and make revisions as necessary to ensure that it
25continues to be consistent with the participant’s plan and effective
26in preparing the participant to attain employment.

27(e) On-the-job training.

28(f) (1) Grant-based on-the-job training, which means public or
29private sector employment or on-the-job training in which the
30recipient’s cash grant, or a portion thereof, or the aid grant savings
31resulting from employment, or both, is diverted to the employer
32as a wage subsidy to partially or wholly offset the payment of
33wages to the participant, so long as the total amount diverted does
34 not exceed the family’s maximum aid payment.

35(2) A county shall not assign a participant to grant-based
36on-the-job training unless and until the participant has voluntarily
37agreed to participate in grant-based on-the-job training by executing
38a voluntary agreement form, which shall be developed by the
39department. The agreement shall include, but not be limited to,
40information on the following:

P4    1(A) How job termination or another event will not result in loss
2of the recipient’s grant funds, pursuant to department regulations.

3(B) (i) How to obtain the federal Earned Income Tax Credit
4(EITC), including the Advance EITC, and increased CalFresh
5benefits, which may become available due to increased earned
6income.

7(ii) This subparagraph shall only become operative when and
8to the extent that the department determines that it reflects current
9federal law and Internal Revenue Service regulations.

10(C) How these financial supports should increase the
11participant’s current income and how increasing earned income
12should increase the recipient’s future social security income.

13(3) Grant-based on-the-job training shall include community
14service positions pursuant to Section 11322.9.

15(4) Any portion of a wage from employment that is funded by
16the diversion of a recipient’s cash grant, or the grant savings from
17employment pursuant to this subdivision, or both, shall not be
18exempt under Section 11451.5 from the calculation of the income
19of the family for purposes of subdivision (a) of Section 11450.

20(g) Supported work or transitional employment, which means
21forms of grant-based on-the-job training in which the recipient’s
22cash grant, or a portion thereof, or the aid grant savings from
23employment, is diverted to an intermediary service provider, to
24partially or wholly offset the payment of wages to the participant.

25(h) Workstudy.

26(i) Self-employment.

27(j) Community service.

28(k) Adult basic education, which shall include reading, writing,
29arithmetic, high school proficiency, or general educational
30development certificate of instruction, and English as a second
31language. Participants under this subdivision shall be referred to
32appropriate service providers that include, but are not limited to,
33educational programs operated by school districts or county offices
34of education that have contracted with the Superintendent of Public
35Instruction to provide services to participants pursuant to Section
3633117.5 of the Education Code.

37(l) Job skills training directly related to employment.

38(m) Vocational education and training, including, but not limited
39to, college and community college education, adult education,
40regional occupational centers, and regional occupational programs.

P5    1(n) Job search and job readiness assistance, which means
2providing the recipient with training to learn job seeking and
3interviewing skills, to understand employer expectations, and learn
4skills designed to enhance an individual’s capacity to move toward
5self-sufficiency, including financial management education.

6(o) Education directly related to employment.

7(p) Satisfactory progress in secondary school or in a course of
8study leading to a certificate of general educational development,
9in the case of a recipient who has not completed secondary school
10or received such abegin delete certificate.end deletebegin insert certificate, as described in Section
1111325.3.end insert

12(q) Mental health, substance abuse, and domestic violence
13services, described in Sections 11325.7 and 11325.8, and Article
147.5 (commencing with Section 11495), that are necessary to obtain
15and retain employment.

16(r) Other activities necessary to assist an individual in obtaining
17unsubsidized employment.

begin delete

18Assignment

end delete

19begin insert(s)end insertbegin insertend insertbegin insertAssignmentend insert to an educational activity identified in
20subdivisions (k), (m),begin delete (o), and (p)end deletebegin insert and (o)end insert is limited to those
21situations in which the education is needed to become employed.

22

SEC. 3.  

Section 11322.85 of the Welfare and Institutions Code
23 is amended to read:

24

11322.85.  

(a) Unless otherwise exempt, an applicant or
25recipient shall participate in welfare-to-work activities.

26(1) For 24 cumulative months during a recipient’s lifetime, these
27activities may include the activities listed in Section 11322.6 that
28are consistent with the assessment performed in accordance with
29Section 11325.4 and that are included in the individual’s
30welfare-to-work plan, as described in Section 11325.21, to meet
31the hours required in Section 11322.8. These 24 months need not
32be consecutive.

33(2) Any month in which the recipient meets the requirements
34of Section 11322.8, through participation in an activity or activities
35described in paragraph (3), shall not count as a month of activities
36for purposes of the 24-month time limit described in paragraph
37(1).

38(3) After a total of 24 months of participation in welfare-to-work
39activities pursuant to paragraph (1), an aided adult shall participate
40in one or more of the following welfare-to-work activities, in
P6    1accordance with Section 607(c) and (d) of Title 42 of the United
2States Code as of the operative date of this section, that are
3consistent with the assessment performed in accordance with
4Section 11325.4, and included in the individual’s welfare-to-work
5plan, described in Section 11325.21:

6(A) Unsubsidized employment.

7(B) Subsidized private sector employment.

8(C) Subsidized public sector employment.

9(D) Work experience, including work associated with the
10refurbishing of publicly assisted housing, if sufficient private sector
11employment is not available.

12(E) On-the-job training.

13(F) Job search and job readiness assistance.

14(G) Community service programs.

15(H) Vocational educational training (not to exceed 12 months
16with respect to any individual).

17(I) Job skills training directly related to employment.

18(J) Education directly related tobegin delete employment, in the case of a
19recipient who has not received a high school diploma or a
20certificate of high school equivalency.end delete
begin insert employment.end insert

begin delete

21(K) Satisfactory attendance at a secondary school or in a course
22of study leading to a certificate of general equivalence, in the case
23of a recipient who has not completed secondary school or received
24such a certificate.

end delete
begin delete

25(L)

end delete

26begin insert(K)end insert The provision of child care services to an individual who
27is participating in a community service program.

28(b) Any month in which any of the following conditions exists
29shall not be counted as one of the 24 months of participation
30allowed under paragraph (1) of subdivision (a):

31(1) The recipient is participating in job search in accordance
32with Section 11325.22, assessment pursuant to Section 11325.4,
33is in the process of appraisal as described in Section 11325.2, or
34is participating in the development of a welfare-to-work plan as
35described in Section 11325.21.

36(2) The recipient is no longer receiving aid, pursuant to Sections
37 11327.4 and 11327.5.

38(3) The recipient has been excused from participation for good
39cause, pursuant to Section 11320.3.

P7    1(4) The recipient is exempt from participation pursuant to
2subdivision (b) of Section 11320.3.

3(5) The recipient is only required to participate in accordance
4with subdivision (d) of Section 11320.3.

5(6) The recipient is participating in family stabilization pursuant
6to Section 11325.24, and the recipient would meet the criteria for
7good cause pursuant to Section 11320.3. This paragraph may apply
8to a recipient for no more than six cumulative months.

begin insert

9(7) The recipient is participating in a high school equivalency
10program pursuant to Section 11325.3.

end insert

11(c) County welfare departments shall provide each recipient
12who is subject to the requirements of paragraph (3) of subdivision
13(a) written notice describing the 24-month time limitation described
14in that paragraph and the process by which recipients may claim
15exemptions from, and extensions to, those requirements.

16(d) The notice described in subdivision (c) shall be provided at
17the time the individual applies for aid, during the recipient’s annual
18redetermination, and at least once after the individual has
19participated for a total of 18 months, and prior to the end of the
2021st month, that count toward the 24-month time limit.

21(e) The notice described in this section shall include, but shall
22not be limited to, all of the following:

23(1) The number of remaining months the adult recipient may
24be eligible to receive aid.

25(2) The requirements that the recipient must meet in accordance
26with paragraph (3) of subdivision (a) and the action that the county
27will take if the adult recipient does not meet those requirements.

28(3) The manner in which the recipient may dispute the number
29of months counted toward the 24-month time limit.

30(4) The opportunity for the recipient to modify his or her
31welfare-to-work plan to meet the requirements of paragraph (3)
32of subdivision (a).

33(5) The opportunity for an exemption to, or extension of, the
3424-month time limitation.

35(f) For an individual subject to the requirements of paragraph
36(3) of subdivision (a), who is not exempt or granted an extension,
37and who does not meet those requirements, the provisions of
38Sections 11327.4, 11327.5, 11327.9, and 11328.2 shall apply to
39the extent consistent with the requirements of this section. For
P8    1purposes of this section, the procedures referenced in this
2subdivision shall not be described as sanctions.

3(g) (1) The department, in consultation with stakeholders, shall
4convene a workgroup to determine further details of the noticing
5and engagement requirements for the 24-month time limit, and
6shall instruct counties via an all-county letter, followed by
7regulations, no later than 18 months after the effective date of the
8act that added this section.

9(2) The workgroup described in paragraph (1) may also make
10recommendations to refine or differentiate the procedures and due
11process requirements applicable to individuals as described in
12subdivision (f).

13(h) (1) Notwithstanding paragraph (3) of subdivision (a) or any
14other law, an assistance unit that contains an eligible adult who
15has received assistance under this chapter, or from any state
16pursuant to the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program
17(Part A (commencing with Section 401) of Title IV of the federal
18Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. Sec. 601 et seq.)) prior to January
191, 2013, may continue in a welfare-to-work plan that meets the
20requirements of Section 11322.6 for a cumulative period of 24
21months commencing January 1, 2013, unless or until he or she
22exceeds the 48-month time limitation described in Section 11454.

23(2) All months of assistance described in paragraph (1) prior to
24January 1, 2013, shall not be applied to the 24-month limitation
25described in paragraph (1) of subdivision (a).

begin delete

26(i) This section shall become operative on January 1, 2014.

end delete
27

SEC. 4.  

Section 11325.3 is added to the Welfare and
28Institutions Code
, to read:

29

11325.3.  

(a) If, in the course of appraisal pursuant to Section
3011325.2, it is determined that the recipient has not received his or
31her high school diploma or its equivalent, the recipient shall be
32eligible to participate in a high school equivalency program in
33order to complete the High School Equivalency Test, General
34Education Development Test, Test Assessing Secondary
35Completion, or any other high school equivalency test recognized
36by the State Department of Education.

37(b) This section does not require a recipient to participate in a
38high school equivalency program. A recipient may choose to
39engage in a job club or a job search pursuant to Section 11325.22.

P9    1(c) Recipients eligible pursuant to this section shall not be
2required to participate in an assessment pursuant to Section 11325.4
3prior to, or as a condition of, participation in a high school
4equivalency program.



O

    99