Amended in Assembly April 6, 2016

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, andbegin delete 11322.85,end deletebegin insert 11322.85end insert of, and to add Section 11325.3 to, the Welfare and Institutions Code, relating to CalWORKs.


AB 2448, as amended, 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 11320.1 of the Welfare and Institutions
is amended to read:



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, a high school
14equivalency program pursuant to Section 11325.3, 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
P3    1for in Section 11322.6 to which the recipient shall be assigned,
2and the supportive services, as provided for pursuant to Section
311323.2, with which the recipient will be provided.

4(d) Work activities. A recipient who has signed a
5welfare-to-work plan pursuant to Section 11325.21 shall participate
6in work activities, as described in this article.


SEC. 2.  

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



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

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, orbegin delete general educational
30development certificate of instruction,end delete
begin insert a high school equivalency
31program,end insert
and English as a second language. Participants under
32this subdivision shall be referred to appropriate service providers
33that include, but are not limited to, educational programs operated
34by school districts or county offices of education that have
35contracted with the Superintendent of Public Instruction to provide
36services to participants pursuant to Section 33117.5 of the
37Education Code.

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

P5    1(m) Vocational education and training, including, but not limited
2to, college and community college education, adult education,
3regional occupational centers, and regional occupational programs.

4(n) Job search and job readiness assistance, which means
5providing the recipient with training to learn job seeking and
6interviewing skills, to understand employer expectations, and learn
7skills designed to enhance an individual’s capacity to move toward
8self-sufficiency, including financial management education.

9(o) Education directly related to employment.

10(p) Satisfactory progress in secondary school or in a course of
11study leading tobegin delete a certificate of general educational development,end delete
12begin insert completion of a high school equivalency program,end insert in the case of
13a recipient who has not completed secondary school orbegin delete received
14such a certificate,end delete
begin insert a high school equivalency program,end insert as described
15in Section 11325.3.

16(q) Mental health, substance abuse, and domestic violence
17services, described in Sections 11325.7 and 11325.8, and Article
187.5 (commencing with Section 11495), that are necessary to obtain
19and retain employment.

20(r) Other activities necessary to assist an individual in obtaining
21unsubsidized employment.

22(s) Assignment to an educational activity identified in
23subdivisions (k), (m), and (o) is limited to those situations in which
24the education is needed to become employed.


SEC. 3.  

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



(a) Unless otherwise exempt, an applicant or
28recipient shall participate in welfare-to-work activities.

29(1) For 24 cumulative months during a recipient’s lifetime, these
30activities may include the activities listed in Section 11322.6 that
31are consistent with the assessment performed in accordance with
32Section 11325.4 and that are included in the individual’s
33welfare-to-work plan, as described in Section 11325.21, to meet
34the hours required in Section 11322.8. These 24 months need not
35be consecutive.

36(2) Any month in which the recipient meets the requirements
37of Section 11322.8, through participation in an activity or activities
38described in paragraph (3), shall not count as a month of activities
39for purposes of the 24-month time limit described in paragraph

P6    1(3) After a total of 24 months of participation in welfare-to-work
2activities pursuant to paragraph (1), an aided adult shall participate
3in one or more of the following welfare-to-work activities, in
4accordance with Section 607(c) and (d) of Title 42 of the United
5States Code as of the operative date of this section, that are
6consistent with the assessment performed in accordance with
7Section 11325.4, and included in the individual’s welfare-to-work
8plan, described in Section 11325.21:

9(A) Unsubsidized employment.

10(B) Subsidized private sector employment.

11(C) Subsidized public sector employment.

12(D) Work experience, including work associated with the
13refurbishing of publicly assisted housing, if sufficient private sector
14employment is not available.

15(E) On-the-job training.

16(F) Job search and job readiness assistance.

17(G) Community service programs.

18(H) Vocational educational training (not to exceed 12 months
19with respect to any individual).

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

21(J) Education directly related to employment.

22(K) The provision of child care services to an individual who
23is participating in a community service program.

24(b) Any month in which any of the following conditions exists
25shall not be counted as one of the 24 months of participation
26allowed under paragraph (1) of subdivision (a):

27(1) The recipient is participating in job search in accordance
28with Section 11325.22, assessment pursuant to Section 11325.4,
29is in the process of appraisal as described in Section 11325.2, or
30is participating in the development of a welfare-to-work plan as
31described in Section 11325.21.

32(2) The recipient is no longer receiving aid, pursuant to Sections
33 11327.4 and 11327.5.

34(3) The recipient has been excused from participation for good
35cause, pursuant to Section 11320.3.

36(4) The recipient is exempt from participation pursuant to
37subdivision (b) of Section 11320.3.

38(5) The recipient is only required to participate in accordance
39with subdivision (d) of Section 11320.3.

P7    1(6) The recipient is participating in family stabilization pursuant
2to Section 11325.24, and the recipient would meet the criteria for
3good cause pursuant to Section 11320.3. This paragraph may apply
4to a recipient for no more than six cumulative months.

5(7) The recipient is participating in a high school equivalency
6program pursuant to Section 11325.3.

7(c) County welfare departments shall provide each recipient
8who is subject to the requirements of paragraph (3) of subdivision
9(a) written notice describing the 24-month time limitation described
10in that paragraph and the process by which recipients may claim
11exemptions from, and extensions to, those requirements.

12(d) The notice described in subdivision (c) shall be provided at
13the time the individual applies for aid, during the recipient’s annual
14redetermination, and at least once after the individual has
15participated for a total of 18 months, and prior to the end of the
1621st month, that count toward the 24-month time limit.

17(e) The notice described in this section shall include, but shall
18not be limited to, all of the following:

19(1) The number of remaining months the adult recipient may
20be eligible to receive aid.

21(2) The requirements that the recipient must meet in accordance
22with paragraph (3) of subdivision (a) and the action that the county
23will take if the adult recipient does not meet those requirements.

24(3) The manner in which the recipient may dispute the number
25of months counted toward the 24-month time limit.

26(4) The opportunity for the recipient to modify his or her
27welfare-to-work plan to meet the requirements of paragraph (3)
28of subdivision (a).

29(5) The opportunity for an exemption to, or extension of, the
3024-month time limitation.

31(f) For an individual subject to the requirements of paragraph
32(3) of subdivision (a), who is not exempt or granted an extension,
33and who does not meet those requirements, the provisions of
34Sections 11327.4, 11327.5, 11327.9, and 11328.2 shall apply to
35the extent consistent with the requirements of this section. For
36purposes of this section, the procedures referenced in this
37subdivision shall not be described as sanctions.

38(g) (1) The department, in consultation with stakeholders, shall
39convene a workgroup to determine further details of the noticing
40and engagement requirements for the 24-month time limit, and
P8    1shall instruct counties via an all-county letter, followed by
2regulations, no later than 18 months after the effective date of the
3act that added this section.

4(2) The workgroup described in paragraph (1) may also make
5recommendations to refine or differentiate the procedures and due
6process requirements applicable to individuals as described in
7subdivision (f).

8(h) (1) Notwithstanding paragraph (3) of subdivision (a) or any
9other law, an assistance unit that contains an eligible adult who
10has received assistance under this chapter, or from any state
11pursuant to the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program
12(Part A (commencing with Section 401) of Title IV of the federal
13Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. Sec. 601 et seq.)) prior to January
141, 2013, may continue in a welfare-to-work plan that meets the
15requirements of Section 11322.6 for a cumulative period of 24
16months commencing January 1, 2013, unless or until he or she
17exceeds the 48-month time limitation described in Section 11454.

18(2) All months of assistance described in paragraph (1) prior to
19January 1, 2013, shall not be applied to the 24-month limitation
20described in paragraph (1) of subdivision (a).


SEC. 4.  

Section 11325.3 is added to the Welfare and
22Institutions Code
, to read:



(a) If, in the course of appraisal pursuant to Section
2411325.2, it is determined that the recipient has not received his or
25her high school diploma or its equivalent, the recipient shall be
26eligible to participate in a high school equivalency program in
27order to complete the High School Equivalency Test, General
28Education Development Test, Test Assessing Secondary
29Completion, or any other high school equivalency test recognized
30by the State Department of Education.

31(b) This section does not require a recipient to participate in a
32high school equivalency program. A recipient may choose to
33engage in a job club or a job search pursuant to Section 11325.22.

34(c) Recipients eligible pursuant to this section shall not be
35required to participate in an assessment pursuant to Section 11325.4
36prior to, or as a condition of, participation in a high school
37equivalency program.