BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    



          SENATE COMMITTEE ON EDUCATION
                              Senator Carol Liu, Chair
                                2015 - 2016  Regular 

          Bill No:             SB 567               
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          |Author:    |Liu                                                  |
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          |Version:   |February 26, 2015                      Hearing Date: |
          |           |    April 29, 2015                                   |
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          |Urgency:   |No                     |Fiscal:     |Yes             |
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          |Consultant:|Olgalilia Ramirez                                    |
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          Subject:  Child care programs:  continuity of services

            SUMMARY
          
          This bill deems a child who is enrolled in a federal or state  
          funded child care program to be eligible for the remainder of  
          the program year in order to promote continuity of service and  
          includes legislative intent language regarding early learning  
          and child development services.  

            BACKGROUND
          
          Existing law establishes the Child Care and Developmental  
          Services Act to provide child care and development services as  
          part of a coordinated, comprehensive, and cost-effective system  
          serving children from birth to 13 years old and their parents  
          including a full range of supervision, health, and support  
          services through full- and part-time programs. (Education Code   
          8200, et. seq.)

          Existing law states legislative intent that all families have  
          access to child care and development services, regardless of  
          demographic background or special needs, that families are  
          provided the opportunity to attain financial stability through  
          employment, while maximizing growth and development of their  
          children, and enhancing their parenting skills through  
          participation in child care and development programs, among  
          other things. (EC  8202)

          Existing law requires the Superintendent of Public Instruction  







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          to adopt rules and regulations regarding eligibility,  
          enrollment, and priority of services. The Superintendent may  
          extend the 60-day eligibility limit for job-seeking activities,  
          as specified, in order to promote continuity of care. Existing  
          law also requires a physical examination and evaluation for  
          enrollment, as specified.  (EC  8263)

            ANALYSIS
          
          This bill:

          1.   Deems a child who is enrolled in a federal or state funded  
               child care program to be eligible for the remainder of the  
               program year in order to promote continuity of service.

          2.   States legislative intent that promotes access to specified  
               federal and state funded early learning and educational  
               support services from birth to five years of age,  
               including:

                    A.             Supporting parent-child relationships,  
                    promoting language enrichment, developing curriculum  
                    with differentiated instruction, knowledgeable  
                    educators and staff, developing appropriate  program  
                    activities and services, promoting  healthy practices,  
                    supporting cultural, linguistic and ability diversity,  
                    ensuring a safe environment, providing for nutritional  
                    needs and physical activity and ensuring access for  
                    low-income families.

                    B.             Support services that include specified  
                    referrals related to health care, child abuse  
                    prevention, identifying child and family needs, mental  
                    health services, parenting education, family and  
                    community engagement, counseling, nutrition services  
                    and interagency collaboration among state agencies.   

          STAFF COMMENTS

          1.   Need for the bill.  According to the author, families in  
               California that receive state subsidized childcare are  
               certified for 12-months of eligibility, however, they are  
               also required to report changes in circumstances throughout  
               that period which can result in  the loss of the child care  








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               subsidy. For example, an increase in hourly wages could  
               push a family past the income threshold resulting in  
               termination of service.  The author contends that the loss  
               of the child care subsidy can destabilize families, create  
               financial disincentives, and interrupt the continuity of  
               care for children. This bill seeks to guarantee eligibility  
               to families enrolled in subsidized care for the remainder  
               of the program year. 

          2.   Child Care Eligibility. Existing law specifies that  
               children are eligible for subsidized child care if the  
               family currently receives aid, meets specified income  
               eligibility requirements, is homeless, or if the child is  
               the recipient of protective services, or has been  
               identified as neglected, abused or exploited (or at risk of  
               such). In addition, the family must be in need of the child  
               care services due to specified social service  
               circumstances, employment training, or other specified  
               needs. 

          Families are required to report changes in these circumstances  
          throughout their child's enrollment that could disqualify a  
          child from the program. Specifically, state regulations require:

                  A.        Recertification and eligibility verification  
                    of each family/child as follows: 

                           (1)     Families receiving services because the  
                         child is at risk of abuse, neglect, or  
                         exploitation are recertified at least once every  
                         six months.

                           (2)     Families receiving services because of  
                         actual abuse, neglect, or exploitation are  
                         recertified at least every six months, as  
                         specified. 

                           (3)     All other families are recertified at  
                         least once each contract period and at intervals  
                         not to exceed 12 months. (5 CCR  18103)

                  B.        Families to notify the child care provider  
                    (contractor) within five calendar days of any changes  
                    in family income, size or the need for service. 








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                    (5 CCR  18102)

                  C.        Documentation to determine continued need and  
                    eligibility and any change to fee assessment, if  
                    applicable. (5 CCR   18103)

               This bill statutorily deems a child enrolled in a  
               subsidized child care program to remain eligible for the  
               remainder of the program year before they can be  
               terminated. As a result, a child that becomes ineligible  
               during the program year would be allowed to continue to  
               receive federal or state funded child care for the duration  
               of the program year. 

          3.   Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG):  The  
               federal Child Care and Development Block Grant Act of 1990  
               was reauthorized in 2014. This reauthorization brought  
               about a number of changes aimed at addressing health and  
               safety requirements, quality of care, and consumer and  
               provider education. Among the changes adopted, the  
               reauthorization establishes a 12-month eligibility  
               redetermination period for families, regardless of changes  
               in income (provided income does not exceed 85% of State  
               median income), or temporary changes in participation in  
               work, training, or education activities. 

          As mentioned in comment 2 in the analysis, state regulations  
          establish a 6-month eligibility redetermination period in some  
          special cases. These provisions call into question whether the  
          state currently meets the federal 12-month eligibility  
          requirement. The Department of Education is seeking a legal  
          opinion to determine if the state qualifies for CCDBG based on  
          current regulations and/or if clarifying language is needed.  
          According to the author's office, this bill moves the state  
          toward meeting the 12-month eligibility requirement by  
          clarifying that families should receive care for a full program  
          year or for the remainder of the program year if a family is  
          offered care after the program year has begun. 

          4.   Related and prior legislation.
          
          RELATED LEGISLATION 

          AB 233 (Lopez, 2015) adopts a 12-month eligibility determination  








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          process for subsidized child care and removes certain reporting  
          and administrative requirements. AB 233 is scheduled to be heard  
          in Assembly Education on April 29th.

               PRIOR LEGISLATION

               SB 1123 (Liu, 2014) would have increased access to infant  
               and toddler care and family support services by  
               establishing grant programs in parent engagement and  
               voluntary home visitation. Additionally the bill would have  
               provided for greater flexibility and allowed services to be  
               tailored to fit community needs including remainder of  
               program year eligibility.  SB 1123 was held in the Assembly  
               Appropriations Committee. 

            SUPPORT
          
          Los Angeles Unified School District

            OPPOSITION
           
           None received. 



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