Bill Text: CA AB1229 | 2019-2020 | Regular Session | Amended


Bill Title: End Foster Youth Student Hunger in California Act of 2019.

Spectrum: Partisan Bill (Democrat 2-0)

Status: (Engrossed) 2019-07-11 - Read second time and amended. Re-referred to Com. on APPR. [AB1229 Detail]

Download: California-2019-AB1229-Amended.html

Amended  IN  Senate  July 11, 2019
Amended  IN  Senate  June 27, 2019
Amended  IN  Senate  June 17, 2019
Amended  IN  Assembly  May 16, 2019
Amended  IN  Assembly  April 03, 2019

CALIFORNIA LEGISLATURE— 2019–2020 REGULAR SESSION

Assembly Bill
No. 1229


Introduced by Assembly Member Wicks
(Coauthor: Assembly Member Gipson)

February 21, 2019


An act to add and repeal Section 69519.1 of the Education Code, and to add Sections 18901.12 and 18901.13 to, and to add Chapter 16 (commencing with Section 18997) to Part 6 of Division 9 of, the Welfare and Institutions Code, relating to student hunger.


LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


AB 1229, as amended, Wicks. End Foster Youth Student Hunger in California Act of 2019.
Existing federal law provides for the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), known in California as CalFresh, under which nutrition assistance benefits are distributed to eligible individuals by the counties. Existing law establishes eligibility and benefit level requirements for receipt of CalFresh benefits.
Existing law establishes the Aid to Families with Dependent Children-Foster Care (AFDC-FC) program, under which counties provide payments to foster care providers on behalf of qualified children in foster care. The program is funded by a combination of federal, state, and county funds. In order to be eligible for AFDC-FC, existing law requires a child or nonminor dependent to be placed in one of several specified placements, including, for nonminor dependents, a supervised independent living setting. Existing law authorizes a nonminor dependent to receive all of the AFDC-FC payment directly if the nonminor dependent is living in a supervised independent living placement and complies with certain requirements.
Existing law establishes the Student Aid Commission as the primary state agency for the administration of state-authorized student financial aid programs available to students attending all segments of postsecondary education. Existing law requires the commission to work cooperatively with the State Department of Social Services to develop an automated system to verify a student’s status as a foster youth to aid in the processing of applications for federal financial aid. Under existing law, the commission, through an interagency agreement with the State Department of Social Services, operates the Chafee Educational and Training Vouchers Program, to provide federal grants to current and former foster youth with access to postsecondary education.
This bill, the End Foster Youth Student Hunger in California Act of 2019, would require the Student Aid Commission to report to the Legislature, no later than March July 1, 2020, the amount of funding and the authority it would need to establish a Transition Age Foster Youth Meal Plan Program. The bill would also require the commission to identify the proposed amount, and method of issuance, of a benefit under that program.
The act would require the State Department of Social Services to provide a state-funded cash benefit for purposes of food assistance to nonminor dependents in supervised independent living placements, as defined, who directly receive their AFDC-FC payments. The supplemental nutrition benefit would be provided as a cash benefit paid directly to the nonminor dependent, as specified.
Existing federal law provides that students who are enrolled in college or other institutions of higher education at least half time are not eligible for SNAP benefits unless they meet one of several specified exemptions, including being employed for a minimum of 20 hours per week and being paid for such employment, as specified, or participating in a state or federally financed work study program during the regular school year.
The act would require the State Department of Social Services to establish an official approval process to ensure that paid or unpaid internship hours worked by a foster youth student, as defined, outside of approved federal or state work study will qualify the foster youth student for an exemption to the student eligibility rule described above. The act would require the department to issue guidance to county human services agencies to require certain practices identified by the department to increase rates of completed CalFresh applications and CalFresh participation rates of exiting foster youth.
By imposing these duties on counties with respect to foster youth participation in CalFresh, the bill would create a state-mandated local program.
The California Constitution requires the state to reimburse local agencies and school districts for certain costs mandated by the state. Statutory provisions establish procedures for making that reimbursement.
This bill would provide that, if the Commission on State Mandates determines that the bill contains costs mandated by the state, reimbursement for those costs shall be made pursuant to the statutory provisions noted above.
Vote: MAJORITY   Appropriation: NO   Fiscal Committee: YES   Local Program: YES  

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


SECTION 1.

 This act shall be known, and may be cited, as the End Foster Youth Student Hunger in California Act of 2019.

SEC. 2.

 The Legislature finds and declares the following:
(a) The State of California has the largest population of foster youth in the nation, with more than 50,000 children in California’s child welfare system. About 12 percent of foster youth in California age out of the system each year, for a total of approximately 4,500 young people.
(b) Approximately 50 percent of those formerly in the foster care system complete high school or the equivalent. While more than 93 percent of foster youth aspire to get a college degree, only 3 to 4 percent will earn a Bachelor’s degree, and fewer than 1 percent will receive a master’s or a doctorate degree. A significant factor leading to low college education attainment within this community is the lack of financial stability and other supports that many more traditional students receive for basic needs, such as housing, books, childcare, and food.
(c) General issues of food insecurity and hunger on California’s college campuses exists, with half of all community college students reporting housing and hunger issues, one in five California State University students experiencing hunger and 1 in 10 experiencing homelessness, and one in five University of California students not having access to adequate food or nutrition.
(d) Federal efforts to remove barriers to receiving federal food assistance for foster youth and former foster youth who are attending college have failed, and without the changes made by this act, providing CalFresh to some former foster youth would cost more administratively than the youth would receive in benefits.
(e) It is reprehensible that foster youth and former foster youth attending college suffer with food insecurity and hunger, and so the Legislature is committed to policy change that prevents that from happening.

SEC. 3.

 Section 69519.1 is added to the Education Code, to read:

69519.1.
 (a) The Student Aid Commission shall report to the Legislature, no later than March July 1, 2020, the amount of funding and the authority it would need to establish a Transition Age Foster Youth Meal Plan Program. In developing this report, the commission shall assume all of the following:
(1) The purpose of the program would be to prevent hunger and basic needs deprivation among low-income transition age foster youth when they are studying for a higher education degree at a public postsecondary educational institution.
(2) Participants in the program would be transition age foster youth attending a public postsecondary educational institution with an enrollment status of half-time or full-time and eligible for a state-funded benefit or service established pursuant to Section 11403.1 of the Welfare and Institutions Code would be eligible to apply for an award under the program.
(3) A student eligible for the program would receive an award equal to the amount of the cost of a meal plan that would cover 10 meals per week and the cost of all campus fees.
(b) The commission shall work with one institution of higher education from each of the California Community Colleges, the California State University, and the University of California to identify a proposed amount, and method of issuance, of a benefit under a Transition Age Foster Youth Meal Plan Program. That proposal shall be included in the report described in subdivision (a).
(c) (1) A report to be submitted pursuant to this section shall be submitted in compliance with Section 9795 of the Government Code.
(2) Pursuant to Section 10231.5 of the Government Code, this section is repealed on January 1, 2024.

SEC. 4.

 Section 18901.12 is added to the Welfare and Institutions Code, to read:

18901.12.
 (a) To the extent permitted by federal law, the department shall establish an official approval process to ensure that paid or unpaid internship hours worked by a foster youth student outside of approved federal or state work study, such as working in a hospital, clinic, school, university, nonprofit community-based group, nongovernmental organization, business entity, or corporation, qualify the foster youth student for an exemption to the student eligibility rule described in Section 273.5(a) of Title 7 of the Code of Federal Regulations. The purpose of the approval process is to expand the type of work hours allowable to qualify a foster youth student for CalFresh benefits by including hours worked through an official paid or unpaid internship.
(b) On or before January 1, 2021, the department shall seek all necessary waivers from the United States Department of Agriculture to implement subdivision (a).
(c) For the purposes of this chapter “foster youth student” means an individual attending an institution of higher education who is a foster youth or a former foster youth up to 26 years of age.

SEC. 5.

 Section 18901.13 is added to the Welfare and Institutions Code, to read:

18901.13.
 The department shall issue guidance to county human services agencies to require the following practices that have been identified by the department to increase rates of completed CalFresh applications and CalFresh participation rates of exiting foster youth:
(a) Include CalFresh participation outcomes as part of the contract with Independent Living Program (ILP) providers.
(b) Designate CalFresh eligibility workers who are subject matter experts on foster youth applications and funding, and who can expedite the youth’s CalFresh applications.
(c) Colocate ILP coordinators, probation officers, social workers, and eligibility workers so they are able to work together to assist the foster youth in applying for and receiving benefits.
(d) Allow a notice of action for a youth to be sent to the county child welfare services office until the youth obtains stable housing.
(e) Provide program guides with detailed instructions for social workers and probation officers to follow at specific intervals of the case planning and emancipation planning processes.
(f) To the extent permitted by law, establish a self-initiated workfare program for former foster youth up to 26 years of age that will allow them to meet the able-bodied adult without dependents (ABAWD) time limit-related work requirement described in Section 18926.1.

SEC. 6.

 Chapter 16 (commencing with Section 18997) is added to Part 6 of Division 9 of the Welfare and Institutions Code, to read:
CHAPTER  16. End Foster Youth Student Hunger in California Act of 2019

18997.
 (a) The State Department of Social Services shall provide a state-funded cash benefit for nonminor dependents described in subdivision (b) for purposes of food assistance. The amount of the benefit shall be equal to the maximum benefit amount allotted for a household size of one under the CalFresh program (Chapter 10 (commencing with Section 18900)), and shall be provided as a cash benefit that is paid directly to the nonminor dependent via the same delivery method that the nonminor dependent elects to receive their AFDC-FC payment.
(b) The benefit shall be available to a nonminor dependent in a supervised independent living placement, as defined in subdivision (w) of Section 11400, who directly receives the AFDC-FC payment, as provided in subdivision (d) of Section 11403.
(c) A nonminor dependent’s receipt of CalFresh benefits shall not make the nonminor dependent ineligible for the benefit described in subdivision (a).

SEC. 7.

 If the Commission on State Mandates determines that this act contains costs mandated by the state, reimbursement to local agencies and school districts for those costs shall be made pursuant to Part 7 (commencing with Section 17500) of Division 4 of Title 2 of the Government Code.
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