Bill Text: NJ A4996 | 2018-2019 | Regular Session | Introduced


Bill Title: Establishes annual cost of living adjustment based on Consumer Price Index for certain children, youth and family services organizations.

Spectrum: Partisan Bill (Democrat 4-0)

Status: (Introduced) 2019-02-07 - Introduced, Referred to Assembly Health and Senior Services Committee [A4996 Detail]

Download: New_Jersey-2018-A4996-Introduced.html

ASSEMBLY, No. 4996

STATE OF NEW JERSEY

218th LEGISLATURE

 

INTRODUCED FEBRUARY 7, 2019

 


 

Sponsored by:

Assemblywoman  YVONNE LOPEZ

District 19 (Middlesex)

Assemblyman  GORDON M. JOHNSON

District 37 (Bergen)

 

 

 

 

SYNOPSIS

     Establishes annual cost of living adjustment based on Consumer Price Index for certain children, youth, and family services organizations.

 

CURRENT VERSION OF TEXT

     As introduced.

  


An Act concerning certain children, youth, and family services organizations and supplementing Chapter 4C of Title 30 of the Revised Statutes.

 

     Be It Enacted by the Senate and General Assembly of the State of New Jersey:

 

     1.    The Legislature finds and declares that:

     a.     It is in the public interest that the health, safety, and welfare of children, youth and families are of paramount concern to the State.

     b.    The Department of Children and Families was created in July of 2006 as the State's first Cabinet level agency exclusively devoted to safeguarding and providing services to children and families.  The department collaborates with federal, State, and local agencies and organizations to maximize resources and provide an array of high-quality, child protective and treatment services to children, youth, and families.

     c.     The department contracts with State and local governmental and community-based social services organizations to provide these services through a competitive bidding process, whereby a rate is established for the provision of services.

     d.    The rate established is fixed, and includes all the costs associated with the delivery of services including, but not limited to, salary, wages, and compensation for the staff of the social service organizations who provide direct services to children, youth, and families.

     e.     The staff members of social service organizations continually face increases in their living expenses, including rent, utilities, food, and health insurance.  However, the rates provided to the social services organizations contracted with the department are not adjusted for cost of living increases.

     f.     The Legislature has provided one-time cost of living adjustments for rates paid to such social services organizations.  These adjustments, however, when provided, do not keep pace with rising costs and inflation.

     g.    Therefore, it is the obligation of the Legislature to promote the health, safety, and welfare of children, youth, and families of the State through the establishment of a statutory mechanism for providing annual cost of living adjustments to social services agencies contracted with the Department of Children and Families.  The mechanism would ensure that the provision of essential services are fully funded and sustainable, and the staff providing such services are appropriately compensated.

 

     2.    a.  Notwithstanding any other provision of law to the contrary, the terms of a contract entered into between the Department of Children and Families and a children, youth, and family organization on or after the effective date of this act shall include an annual increase in the cost of living adjustment received by the organization.  The cost of living adjustment shall be based on the Consumer Price Index for the previous 12-month period beginning October 1 and ending September 30, as published by the United States Department of Labor.

     b.    On October 1 of each year, the department shall announce the rate of the increase in the cost of living adjustment received by a children, youth, and family organization pursuant to subsection a. of this section.

     c.     As used in this section, "children, youth, and family organization" means an organization that provides programs and services to children, youth, and families through contracts entered into with the Department of Children and Families including, but not limited to, programs partially or fully funded by the State Medicaid program established pursuant to P.L.1968, c.413 (C.30:4D-1 et seq.).

 

     3.    The Commissioner of Children and Families, pursuant to the "Administrative Procedure Act," P.L.1968, c.410 (C.52:14B-1 et seq.), shall adopt rules and regulations to effectuate the purposes of this act.

 

     4.    This act shall take effect immediately.

 

 

STATEMENT

 

     This bill stipulates that on or after the effective date of the bill, the terms of a contract entered into between the Department of Children and Families (DCF) and a children, youth, and family organization include an annual increase in the cost of living adjustment received by the organization.

     The cost of living adjustment would be based on the Consumer Price Index for the previous 12-month period beginning October 1 and ending September 30, as published by the United States Department of Labor, and DCF would be required to announce the rate of the increase on October 1 of each year.

     As used in the bill, a "children, youth, and family organization" means an organization that provides programs and services to children, youth, and families through contracts entered into with DCF including, but not limited to, programs partially or fully funded by the State Medicaid program established pursuant to P.L.1968, c.413 (C.30:4D-1 et seq.).

     DCF contracts with children, youth, and family organizations to provide child protective and treatment services through a competitive bidding process whereby a fixed rate is established for the provision of services.

     The fixed rate includes all the costs associated with the delivery of services including, but not limited to, salary, wages, and compensation for the staff of the organizations who provide the direct services to children, youth, and families.

     Such staff members continually face increases in their living expenses, but the rates provided to children, youth, and family organizations contracted with DCF are not adjusted for cost of living increases.  One-time cost of living adjustments provided to the organizations by the Legislature do not keep pace with rising costs and inflation.

     This bill would establish a statutory mechanism for providing annual cost of living adjustments to children, youth, and family organizations contracted with DCF to ensure that the provision of essential services are fully funded and sustainable, and the staff providing such services are appropriately compensated.

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