Bill Text: CA AB321 | 2021-2022 | Regular Session | Amended


Bill Title: Childcare services: eligibility.

Spectrum: Partisan Bill (Republican 1-0)

Status: (Introduced) 2021-02-24 - Re-referred to Com. on HUM. S. [AB321 Detail]

Download: California-2021-AB321-Amended.html

Amended  IN  Assembly  February 23, 2021

CALIFORNIA LEGISLATURE— 2021–2022 REGULAR SESSION

Assembly Bill
No. 321


Introduced by Assembly Member Valladares

January 26, 2021


An act to amend Section Sections 8236 and 8263 of the Education Code, relating to childcare.


LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


AB 321, as amended, Valladares. Childcare services: eligibility.
The Child care and Development Services Act has a purpose of providing a comprehensive, coordinated, and cost-effective system of childcare and development services for children from infancy to 13 years of age and their parents, including a full range of supervision, health, and support services through full- and part-time programs. Existing law requires the Superintendent of Public Instruction to administer all California state preschool programs, which include, but are not limited to, part-day age and developmentally appropriate programs designed to facilitate the transition to kindergarten for 3- and 4-year-old children in educational development, health services, social services, nutritional services, parent education and parent participation, evaluation, and staff development. Existing law requires the Superintendent of Public Instruction to adopt rules and regulations on eligibility, enrollment, and priority of services needed to implement the act. Existing law requires that in order to be eligible for federal and state subsidized child development services, families meet at least one requirement in specified areas, including the requirement that the family be a current aid recipient, income eligible, homeless, or a family whose children are recipients of protective services, or whose children are identified as being abused, neglected, or exploited, or at risk of being abused, neglected, or exploited. Existing law specifies priority for services pursuant to the act and requires that first priority be given to neglected or abused children, as specified. Existing law also requires that 2nd priority be given equally to all eligible families, regardless of the number of parents in the home, that are income eligible. Existing law further requires that if 2 or more families are in the same priority in relation to income, the family that has a child with exceptional needs shall be admitted first.

This bill would include in that list of eligibility requirements, one of which must be met by a family in order to be eligible for services, the requirement that the family is one where the primary home language is a language other than English.

This bill would authorize a part-day California state preschool program to provide services to 3- and 4-year-old children in families whose income is above the income eligibility threshold if those children come from a family in which the primary home language is a language other than English. The bill would also require that priority be given to a family in which the primary home language is a language other than English be admitted first if there is no family of the same priority with a child with exceptional needs.
Vote: MAJORITY   Appropriation: NO   Fiscal Committee: YES   Local Program: NO  

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


SECTION 1.

 The Legislature finds and declares all of the following:
(a) The English language is the national public language of the United States of America and of the State of California, is spoken by the vast majority of California residents, and is also the leading world language for science and technology, thereby being an important language of economic opportunity.
(b) All parents are eager to have their children master the English language and obtain a high-quality education, thereby preparing them to fully participate in the American dream of economic and social advancement.
(c) The government and the public schools of California have a moral obligation and a constitutional duty to provide all of California’s children, regardless of their ethnicity or national origin, with the skills necessary to become productive members of society, and of these skills, literacy in the English language is among the most important.
(d) The recently published Master Plan for Early Learning and Care calls upon the Legislature and stakeholders to, “Update the English Learner Roadmap to address birth to age three to fully address the learning and development continuum for [dual language learners] DLLs, acknowledging that language development begins at birth.”
(e) The Legislature is committed to prioritizing access to state preschool and childcare and developmental services for children who reside in homes in which the primary language is a language other than English.

SEC. 2.

 Section 8236 of the Education Code is amended to read:

8236.
 (a) (1) Each applicant or contracting agency funded pursuant to Section 8235 shall give first priority to three- or four-year-old neglected or abused children who are recipients of child protective services, or who are at risk of being neglected, abused, or exploited upon written referral from a legal, medical, or social service agency. If an agency is unable to enroll a child in this first priority category, the agency shall refer the child’s parent or guardian to local resources and referral services so that services for the child can be located.
(2) Notwithstanding Section 8263, after children in the first priority category set forth in paragraph (1) are enrolled, each agency funded pursuant to Section 8235 shall give priority to eligible four-year-old children who are not enrolled in a state-funded transitional kindergarten program before enrolling eligible three-year-old children. Each agency shall certify to the Superintendent that enrollment priority is being given to eligible four-year-old children.
(b) (1) (A) Commencing June 15, 2015, and notwithstanding any other law, in awarding new funding for the expansion of a California state preschool program that is appropriated by the Legislature for that purpose in any fiscal year, the Superintendent, after taking into account the geographic criteria established pursuant to Section 8279.3 and the data described in subparagraph (B), shall give priority to applicant agencies that, in expending the expansion funds, will provide the greatest progress toward achieving access to full-day, full-year services for all income-eligible four-year-old children.
(B) In awarding funding pursuant to subparagraph (A) and in order to promote access for all income-eligible four-year-old children to at least a part-day California state preschool program, the department shall take into account the needs assessments submitted to the department pursuant to Section 8499.5 and any other high-quality data resources available to the department.
(2) Expansion funding awarded pursuant to paragraph (1) shall be apportioned at the rate described in Section 8265 and as determined in the annual Budget Act.
(3) A family child care home education network shall be eligible to apply for expansion funding awarded pursuant to paragraph (1).
(c) This section does not preclude a local educational agency from subcontracting with an appropriate public or private agency to operate a California state preschool program and to apply for funds made available for purposes of this section. If a school district chooses not to operate or subcontract for a California state preschool program, the Superintendent shall work with the county office of education and other eligible agencies to explore possible opportunities in contracting or alternative subcontracting to provide a California state preschool program.
(d) This section does not prevent eligible children who are receiving services from continuing to receive those services in future years pursuant to this chapter.

(e)This section shall become operative on July 1, 2019.

(e) Notwithstanding any other law, after all otherwise eligible children have been enrolled, a part-day California state preschool program may provide services to three- and four-year-old children in families whose income is above the income eligibility threshold if those children come from a family in which the primary home language is a language other than English. Children receiving services pursuant to this subdivision shall not count towards the 10-percent limit of children from families above the income eligibility threshold as specified in subdivision (c) of Section 8235.

SEC. 2.SEC. 3.

 Section 8263 of the Education Code is amended to read:

8263.
 (a) (1) The Superintendent shall adopt rules and regulations on eligibility, enrollment, and priority of services needed to implement this chapter. In order to be eligible for federal and state subsidized child development services, families shall meet at least one requirement in each of the following areas:
(A) A family is (i) a current aid recipient, (ii) income eligible, (iii) homeless, or (iv) one whose children are recipients of protective services, or whose children have been identified as being abused, neglected, or exploited, or at risk of being abused, neglected, or exploited, or (v) a family in which the primary home language is a language other than English. exploited.
(B) A family needs the childcare services (i) because the child is identified by a legal, medical, or social services agency, a local educational agency liaison for homeless children and youths designated pursuant to Section 11432(g)(1)(J)(ii) of Title 42 of the United States Code, a Head Start program, or an emergency or transitional shelter as (I) a recipient of protective services, (II) being neglected, abused, or exploited, or at risk of neglect, abuse, or exploitation, or (III) being homeless or (ii) because the parents are (I) engaged in vocational training leading directly to a recognized trade, paraprofession, or profession, (II) engaged in an educational program for English language learners or to attain a high school diploma or general educational development certificate, (III) employed or seeking employment, (IV) seeking permanent housing for family stability, or (V) incapacitated.
(2) Notwithstanding paragraph (1), after all families meeting at least one of the criteria specified in subparagraph (B) of paragraph (1) have been enrolled, a full-day California state preschool program may provide services to three- and four-year-old children in families who do not meet at least one of the criteria specified in subparagraph (B) of paragraph (1).
(3) If only one parent has signed an application for enrollment in childcare services, as required by this chapter or regulations adopted to implement this chapter, and the information provided on the application indicates that there is a second parent who has not signed the application, the parent who has signed the application shall self-certify the presence or absence of the second parent under penalty of perjury. The parent who has signed the application shall not be required to submit additional information documenting the presence or absence of the second parent.
(b) Except as provided in Article 15.5 (commencing with Section 8350), priority for federal and state subsidized child development services is as follows:
(1) First priority shall be given to neglected or abused children who are recipients of child protective services, or children who are at risk of being neglected or abused, upon written referral from a legal, medical, or social services agency. If an agency is unable to enroll a child in the first priority category, the agency shall refer the family to local resource and referral services to locate services for the child.
(2) Second priority shall be given equally to eligible families, regardless of the number of parents in the home, who are income eligible. Within this priority, families with the lowest gross monthly income in relation to family size, as determined by a schedule adopted by the Superintendent, shall be admitted first. If two or more families are in the same priority in relation to income, the family that has a child with exceptional needs shall be admitted first. If there is no family of the same priority with a child with exceptional needs, If there is no family of the same priority with a child with exceptional needs, that family in which the primary home language is a language other than English shall be admitted first. If there is no family of the same priority with a child with exceptional needs, nor a family in which the primary home language is a language other than English, the same priority family that has been on the waiting list for the longest time shall be admitted first. For purposes of determining order of admission, grants of public assistance recipients shall be counted as income.
(3) The Superintendent shall set criteria for, and may grant specific waivers of, the priorities established in this subdivision for agencies that wish to serve specific populations, including children with exceptional needs or children of prisoners. These new waivers shall not include proposals to avoid appropriate fee schedules or admit ineligible families, but may include proposals to accept members of special populations in other than strict income order, as long as appropriate fees are paid.
(c) Notwithstanding any other law, in order to promote continuity of services, a family enrolled in a state or federally funded childcare and development program whose services would otherwise be terminated because the family no longer meets the program income, eligibility, or need criteria may continue to receive child development services in another state or federally funded childcare and development program if the contractor is able to transfer the family’s enrollment to another program for which the family is eligible before the date of termination of services or to exchange the family’s existing enrollment with the enrollment of a family in another program, provided that both families satisfy the eligibility requirements for the program in which they are being enrolled. The transfer of enrollment may be to another program within the same administrative agency or to another agency that administers state or federally funded childcare and development programs.
(d) A physical examination and evaluation, including age-appropriate immunization, shall be required before, or within six weeks of, enrollment. A standard, rule, or regulation shall not require medical examination or immunization for admission to a childcare and development program of a child whose parent or guardian files a letter with the governing board of the childcare and development program stating that the medical examination or immunization is contrary to the parent’s or guardian’s religious beliefs, or provide for the exclusion of a child from the program because of a parent or guardian having filed the letter. However, if there is good cause to believe that a child is suffering from a recognized contagious or infectious disease, the child shall be temporarily excluded from the program until the governing board of the childcare and development program is satisfied that the child is not suffering from that contagious or infectious disease.
(e) Regulations formulated and promulgated pursuant to this section shall include the recommendations of the State Department of Health Care Services relative to health care screening and the provision of health care services. The Superintendent shall seek the advice and assistance of these health authorities in situations where service under this chapter includes or requires care of children who are ill or children with exceptional needs.
(f) The Superintendent shall establish guidelines for the collection of employer-sponsored childcare benefit payments from a parent whose child receives subsidized childcare and development services. These guidelines shall provide for the collection of the full amount of the benefit payment, but not to exceed the actual cost of childcare and development services provided, notwithstanding the applicable fee based on the fee schedule.
(g) The Superintendent shall establish guidelines according to which the director or a duly authorized representative of the childcare and development program will certify children as eligible for state reimbursement pursuant to this section.
(h) (1) Except as provided in paragraphs (2) and (3), upon establishing initial eligibility or ongoing eligibility for services under this chapter, a family shall be considered to meet all eligibility and need requirements for those services for not less than 12 months, shall receive those services for not less than 12 months before having their eligibility or need recertified, and shall not be required to report changes to income or other changes for at least 12 months.
(2) A family that establishes initial eligibility or ongoing eligibility on the basis of income shall report increases in income that exceed the threshold for ongoing income eligibility as described in subdivision (b) of Section 8263.1, and the family’s ongoing eligibility for services shall at that time be recertified.
(3) A family may at any time voluntarily report income or other changes. This information shall be used, as applicable, to reduce the family’s fees, increase the family’s services, or extend the period of the family’s eligibility before recertification.
(i) (1) Because a family that meets eligibility requirements at its most recent eligibility certification or recertification is considered eligible until the next recertification, as provided in subdivision (h), a payment made by a child development program for a child during this period shall not be considered an error or an improper payment due to a change in the family’s circumstances during that same period.
(2) Notwithstanding paragraph (1), the Superintendent or the Superintendent’s designated agent may seek to recover payments that are the result of fraud.
(j) (1) Notwithstanding the rulemaking provisions of the Administrative Procedure Act (Chapter 3.5 (commencing with Section 11340) of Part 1 of Division 3 of Title 2 of the Government Code) and Section 33308.5 of this code, until regulations are filed with the Secretary of State to implement subdivision (h), the department shall implement subdivision (h) through management bulletins or similar letters of instruction on or before October 1, 2017.
(2) The department shall initiate a rulemaking action to implement subdivision (h) on or before December 31, 2018. The department shall convene a workgroup of parents, advocates, department staff, child development program representatives, and other stakeholders to develop recommendations regarding implementing subdivision (h).
(k) Public funds shall not be paid directly or indirectly to an agency that does not pay at least the minimum wage to each of its employees.

feedback