Amended in Senate August 8, 2016

Amended in Senate May 11, 2016

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, 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 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.begin insert Existing law establishes a 48-month lifetime limit of CalWORKs benefits for eligible adults, as specified.end insert Existing law requires a recipient of CalWORKs to participate inbegin insert certainend insert welfare-to-work activities as a condition ofbegin delete eligibility.end deletebegin insert eligibility for 24 cumulative months, as specified, and to meet other federal requirements, as specified. Existing law provides that participation in certain activities is not counted against that 24-month period.end insert 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 ofbegin delete Education.end deletebegin insert Education, and that a specified amount of time participating in that activity would not count against the 24-month period described above for certain recipients.end insert The bill would authorizebegin delete theend deletebegin insert aend insert recipient to participate in a high school equivalency program in lieu of participating in a job search or job club,begin insert as specified,end insert and would prohibitbegin delete theend deletebegin insert aend insert 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, 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).

P3    1(c) Assessment. If employment is not found during the period
2provided for pursuant to subdivision (b), or at any time the county
3determines that participation in job search for the period specified
4in subdivision (a) of Section 11325.22 is not likely to lead to
5employment or that, based on information gathered during the
6appraisal, further information is needed to make an effective
7determination regarding the recipient’s next welfare-to-work
8activity, the recipient shall be referred to assessment, as provided
9for in Section 11325.4. Following assessment, the county and the
10recipient shall develop a welfare-to-work plan, as specified in
11Section 11325.21. The plan shall specify the activities provided
12for in Section 11322.6 to which the recipient shall be assigned,
13and the supportive services, as provided for pursuant to Section
1411323.2, with which the recipient will be provided.

15(d) Work activities. A recipient who has signed a
16welfare-to-work plan pursuant to Section 11325.21 shall participate
17in work activities, as described in this article.

18

SEC. 2.  

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

20

11322.6.  

The welfare-to-work plan developed by the county
21welfare department and the participant pursuant to this article shall
22provide for welfare-to-work activities. Welfare-to-work activities
23may include, but are not limited to, any of the following:

24(a) Unsubsidized employment.

25(b) Subsidized private sector employment.

26(c) Subsidized public sector employment.

27(d) Work experience, which means public or private sector work
28that shall help provide basic job skills, enhance existing job skills
29in a position related to the participant’s experience, or provide a
30needed community service that will lead to employment. Unpaid
31work experience shall be limited to 12 months, unless the county
32welfare department and the recipient agree to extend this period
33by an amendment to the welfare-to-work plan. The county welfare
34department shall review the work experience assignment as
35appropriate and make revisions as necessary to ensure that it
36continues to be consistent with the participant’s plan and effective
37in preparing the participant to attain employment.

38(e) On-the-job training.

39(f) (1) Grant-based on-the-job training, which means public or
40private sector employment or on-the-job training in which the
P4    1recipient’s cash grant, or a portion thereof, or the aid grant savings
2resulting from employment, or both, is diverted to the employer
3as a wage subsidy to partially or wholly offset the payment of
4wages to the participant, so long as the total amount diverted does
5 not exceed the family’s maximum aid payment.

6(2) A county shall not assign a participant to grant-based
7on-the-job training unless and until the participant has voluntarily
8agreed to participate in grant-based on-the-job training by executing
9a voluntary agreement form, which shall be developed by the
10department. The agreement shall include, but not be limited to,
11information on the following:

12(A) How job termination or another event will not result in loss
13of the recipient’s grant funds, pursuant to department regulations.

14(B) (i) How to obtain the federal Earned Income Tax Credit
15(EITC), including the Advance EITC, and increased CalFresh
16benefits, which may become available due to increased earned
17income.

18(ii) This subparagraph shall only become operative when and
19to the extent that the department determines that it reflects current
20federal law and Internal Revenue Service regulations.

21(C) How these financial supports should increase the
22participant’s current income and how increasing earned income
23should increase the recipient’s future social security income.

24(3) Grant-based on-the-job training shall include community
25service positions pursuant to Section 11322.9.

26(4) Any portion of a wage from employment that is funded by
27the diversion of a recipient’s cash grant, or the grant savings from
28employment pursuant to this subdivision, or both, shall not be
29exempt under Section 11451.5 from the calculation of the income
30of the family for purposes of subdivision (a) of Section 11450.

31(g) Supported work or transitional employment, which means
32forms of grant-based on-the-job training in which the recipient’s
33cash grant, or a portion thereof, or the aid grant savings from
34employment, is diverted to an intermediary service provider, to
35partially or wholly offset the payment of wages to the participant.

36(h) Workstudy.

37(i) Self-employment.

38(j) Community service.

39(k) Adult basic education, which shall include reading, writing,
40arithmetic, high school proficiency, or a high school equivalency
P5    1program, and English as a second language. Participants under
2this subdivision shall be referred to appropriate service providers
3that include, but are not limited to, educational programs operated
4by school districts or county offices of education that have
5contracted with the Superintendent of Public Instruction to provide
6services to participants pursuant to Section 33117.5 of the
7Education Code.

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

9(m) Vocational education and training, including, but not limited
10to, college and community college education, adult education,
11regional occupational centers, and regional occupational programs.

12(n) Job search and job readiness assistance, which means
13providing the recipient with training to learn job seeking and
14interviewing skills, to understand employer expectations, and learn
15skills designed to enhance an individual’s capacity to move toward
16self-sufficiency, including financial management education.

17(o) Education directly related to employment.

18(p) Satisfactory progress in secondary school or in a course of
19study leading to completion of a high school equivalency program,
20in the case of a recipient who has not completed secondary school
21or a high school equivalency program, as described in Section
2211325.3.

23(q) Mental health, substance abuse, and domestic violence
24services, described in Sections 11325.7 and 11325.8, and Article
257.5 (commencing with Section 11495), that are necessary to obtain
26and retain employment.

27(r) Other activities necessary to assist an individual in obtaining
28unsubsidized employment.

29(s) Assignment to an educational activity identified in
30subdivisions (k), (m), (o), and (p) is limited to those situations in
31which the education is needed to become employed.

32

SEC. 3.  

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

34

11322.85.  

(a) Unless otherwise exempt, an applicant or
35recipient shall participate in welfare-to-work activities.

36(1) For 24 cumulative months during a recipient’s lifetime, these
37activities may include the activities listed in Section 11322.6 that
38are consistent with the assessment performed in accordance with
39Section 11325.4 and that are included in the individual’s
40welfare-to-work plan, as described in Section 11325.21, to meet
P6    1the hours required in Section 11322.8. These 24 months need not
2be consecutive.

3(2) Any month in which the recipient meets the requirements
4of Section 11322.8, through participation in an activity or activities
5described in paragraph (3), shall not count as a month of activities
6for purposes of the 24-month time limit described in paragraph
7(1).

8(3) After a total of 24 months of participation in welfare-to-work
9activities pursuant to paragraph (1), an aided adult shall participate
10in one or more of the following welfare-to-work activities, in
11accordance with Section 607(c) and (d) of Title 42 of the United
12States Code as of the operative date of this section, that are
13consistent with the assessment performed in accordance with
14Section 11325.4, and included in the individual’s welfare-to-work
15plan, described in Section 11325.21:

16(A) Unsubsidized employment.

17(B) Subsidized private sector employment.

18(C) Subsidized public sector employment.

19(D) Work experience, including work associated with the
20refurbishing of publicly assisted housing, if sufficient private sector
21employment is not available.

22(E) On-the-job training.

23(F) Job search and job readiness assistance.

24(G) Community service programs.

25(H) Vocational educational training (not to exceed 12 months
26with respect to any individual).

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

28(J) Education directly related to employment, in the case of a
29recipient who has not received a high school diploma or a
30certificate of high school equivalence.

31(K) Satisfactory attendance at a secondary school or in a course
32of study leading to a certificate of general equivalence, in the case
33of a recipient who has not completed secondary school or received
34such a certificate.

35(L) The provision of child care services to an individual who is
36participating in a community service program.

37(b) Any month in which any of the following conditions exists
38shall not be counted as one of the 24 months of participation
39allowed under paragraph (1) of subdivision (a):

P7    1(1) The recipient is participating in job search in accordance
2with Section 11325.22, assessment pursuant to Section 11325.4,
3is in the process of appraisal as described in Section 11325.2, or
4is participating in the development of a welfare-to-work plan as
5described in Section 11325.21.

6(2) The recipient is no longer receiving aid, pursuant to Sections
7 11327.4 and 11327.5.

8(3) The recipient has been excused from participation for good
9cause, pursuant to Section 11320.3.

10(4) The recipient is exempt from participation pursuant to
11subdivision (b) of Section 11320.3.

12(5) The recipient is only required to participate in accordance
13with subdivision (d) of Section 11320.3.

14(6) The recipient is participating in family stabilization pursuant
15to Section 11325.24, and the recipient would meet the criteria for
16good cause pursuant to Section 11320.3. This paragraph may apply
17to a recipient for no more than six cumulative months.

18(7) The recipientbegin delete isend deletebegin insert has beenend insert participating in a high school
19equivalency program pursuant to Sectionbegin delete 11325.3.end deletebegin insert 11325.3 for at
20least six months, but has not yet obtained a certificate of high
21school equivalency. This paragraph may apply to a recipient for
22no more than six cumulative months, which may be extended for
23no more than an additional six cumulative months based on a
24likelihood that the recipient will obtain his or her certificate of
25high school equivalency during that time period.end insert

26(c) County welfare departments shall provide each recipient
27who is subject to the requirements of paragraph (3) of subdivision
28(a) written notice describing the 24-month time limitation described
29in that paragraph and the process by which recipients may claim
30exemptions from, and extensions to, those requirements.

31(d) The notice described in subdivision (c) shall be provided at
32the time the individual applies for aid, during the recipient’s annual
33redetermination, and at least once after the individual has
34participated for a total of 18 months, and prior to the end of the
3521st month, that count toward the 24-month time limit.

36(e) The notice described in this section shall include, but shall
37not be limited to, all of the following:

38(1) The number of remaining months the adult recipient may
39be eligible to receive aid.

P8    1(2) The requirements that the recipient must meet in accordance
2with paragraph (3) of subdivision (a) and the action that the county
3will take if the adult recipient does not meet those requirements.

4(3) The manner in which the recipient may dispute the number
5of months counted toward the 24-month time limit.

6(4) The opportunity for the recipient to modify his or her
7welfare-to-work plan to meet the requirements of paragraph (3)
8of subdivision (a).

9(5) The opportunity for an exemption to, or extension of, the
1024-month time limitation.

11(f) For an individual subject to the requirements of paragraph
12(3) of subdivision (a), who is not exempt or granted an extension,
13and who does not meet those requirements, the provisions of
14Sections 11327.4, 11327.5, 11327.9, and 11328.2 shall apply to
15the extent consistent with the requirements of this section. For
16purposes of this section, the procedures referenced in this
17subdivision shall not be described as sanctions.

18(g) (1) The department, in consultation with stakeholders, shall
19convene a workgroup to determine further details of the noticing
20and engagement requirements for the 24-month time limit, and
21shall instruct counties via an all-county letter, followed by
22regulations, no later than 18 months after the effective date of the
23act that added this section.

24(2) The workgroup described in paragraph (1) may also make
25recommendations to refine or differentiate the procedures and due
26process requirements applicable to individuals as described in
27subdivision (f).

28(h) (1) Notwithstanding paragraph (3) of subdivision (a) or any
29other law, an assistance unit that contains an eligible adult who
30has received assistance under this chapter, or from any state
31pursuant to the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program
32(Part A (commencing with Section 401) of Title IV of the federal
33Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. Sec. 601 et seq.)) prior to January
341, 2013, may continue in a welfare-to-work plan that meets the
35requirements of Section 11322.6 for a cumulative period of 24
36months commencing January 1, 2013, unless or until he or she
37exceeds the 48-month time limitation described in Section 11454.

38(2) All months of assistance described in paragraph (1) prior to
39January 1, 2013, shall not be applied to the 24-month limitation
40described in paragraph (1) of subdivision (a).

P9    1

SEC. 4.  

Section 11325.3 is added to the Welfare and
2Institutions Code
, to read:

3

11325.3.  

(a) If, in the course of appraisal pursuant to Section
411325.2, it is determined that the recipient has not received his or
5her high school diploma or its equivalent, the recipient shall be
6eligible to participate in a high school equivalency program in
7order to complete the High School Equivalency Test, General
8Education Development Test, Test Assessing Secondary
9Completion, or any other high school equivalency test recognized
10by the State Department of Education.

11(b) This section does not require a recipient to participate in a
12high school equivalency program. A recipient may choose to
13engage in a job club or a job search pursuant to Section 11325.22.

14(c) Recipients eligible pursuant to this section shall not be
15required to participate in an assessment pursuant to Section 11325.4
16prior to, or as a condition of, participation in a high school
17equivalency program.



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