BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    



                                                                    AB 2448


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          Date of Hearing:  March 29, 2016


                        ASSEMBLY COMMITTEE ON HUMAN SERVICES


                                Susan Bonilla, Chair


          AB 2448  
          (Burke) - As Introduced February 19, 2016


          SUBJECT:  CalWORKs:  welfare-to-work:  education


          SUMMARY:  Changes certain California Work Opportunity and  
          Responsibility to Kids (CalWORKs) requirements regarding  
          permissible welfare-to-work activities in order to facilitate a  
          recipient's completion of a high school equivalency program.


          Specifically, this bill:  


          1)Includes participation in a high school equivalency program  
            among the list of permissible welfare-to-work activities a  
            CalWORKs participant is required to engage in after  
            orientation and appraisal, as specified.


          2)Stipulates that any month in which a CalWORKs recipient  
            participates in a high school equivalency program, as  
            specified, shall be prohibited from counting against that  
            recipient's "24-month clock," the cumulative time limit during  
            which a broader set of activities are permitted to count as  
            welfare-to-work activities, and after which a more restricted  
            list of welfare-to-work activities is permissible.  Further,  
            in accordance with this change, removes participation in a  








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            secondary school or high school equivalency program from the  
            list of required activities a CalWORKs recipient must  
            participate in after exhausting the 24-month clock.


          3)Permits, but does not require, a CalWORKs recipient to  
            participate in a high school equivalency program, as  
            specified, if it is determined during the appraisal that he or  
            she has not yet received his or her high school diploma or its  
            equivalent. 


          4)Exempts a CalWORKs recipient who is determined to not have yet  
            received his or her high school diploma or its equivalent from  
            having to participate in an assessment prior to, or as a  
            condition of, participation in a high school equivalency  
            program.


          5)Makes technical amendments.


          EXISTING LAW: 


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








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          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 specified welfare-to-work  
            activities as a condition of eligibility for CalWORKs.  (WIC  
            11320.3, 11322.6)

          5)Stipulates the sequence of employment-related activities a  
            CalWORKs participant must engage in subsequent to the receipt  
            of aid.  (WIC 11320.3)

          6)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)



          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, around 497,000 families rely on CalWORKs,  
          including over one million children.  Nearly 60% of cases  








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          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 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.

          Need for this bill:  In Federal Fiscal Year 2013, it was  
          reported that only 52.3% of heads-of-household in single-parent  
          CalWORKs families had completed high school or the equivalent,  
          and only 56.1% of heads-of-household in two-parent families had.  
           The impact of having a high school diploma or its equivalent on  
          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, those without a high school diploma or equivalent  
          saw median weekly earnings of $493, compared to their  
          counterparts with a high school diploma whose median weekly  
          earnings were $678.  Amongst 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 author, "The ultimate goal of the CalWORKs  
          program is to provide support to recipients who need assistance  
          making the transition to work and this bill makes sure high  
          school equivalency is obtained without the 24 month time limit  
          being reached first.  This effectively ensures they have enough  
          time to get the education and training needed before entering  
          the workforce full time, increasing their odds of avoiding  
          chronic unemployment and other obstacles in the way of  
          self-sufficiency."









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          Suggested amendments:  In order to make clear that allowable  
          high school equivalency education per this bill is not  
          restricted to just general educational development (GED)  
          certificate instruction, but includes a broader range of high  
          school equivalency programs, committee staff recommends the  
          following amendments to Section 11322.6 of the bill:


          1)Starting on line 29 of page 4:

              28


            (k)Adult basic education, which shall include reading,  
          writing, 
              29


          arithmetic, high school proficiency, or  general educational 
              30


          development certificate of instruction   a high school equivalency  
          program  , and English as a second 
              31


          language. Participants under this subdivision shall be referred  
          to 
              32


          appropriate service providers that include, but are not limited  
          to, 
              33


          educational programs operated by school districts or county  








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          offices 
              34


          of education that have contracted with the Superintendent of  
          Public 
              35


          Instruction to provide services to participants pursuant to  
          Section 
              36


          33117.5 of the Education Code.
































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          2)Starting on line 8 of page 5:



            (p)Satisfactory progress in secondary school or in a course of  

               8


          study leading to  a certificate of general educational  
          development   completion of a high school equivalency program  , 
               9


          in the case of a recipient who has not completed secondary  
          school 
              10


          or  received such a certificate.   certificate   a high school  
          equivalency program  , as described in Section 
              11


          11325.3.
          
          RELATED LEGISLATION:


          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.   
          The bill will be heard in Assembly Human Services on March 29,  
          2016. 










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          AB 2058 (Mayes), 2016,  creates the CalWORKs Educational  
          Opportunity and Attainment Program and awards grant increases to  
          CalWORKs recipients upon completion of educational milestones,  
          as specified.  The bill will be heard in Assembly Human Services  
          on April 12, 2016.


          REGISTERED SUPPORT / OPPOSITION:




          Support


          California Alternative Payment Program Association (CAPPA)


          California Catholic Conference


          County Welfare Directors Association of CA (CWDA) - sponsor


          National Association of Social Workers, CA Chapter (NASW-CA)


          Western Center on Law and Poverty




          Opposition


          None on file.











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