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HF 2954

as introduced - 87th Legislature (2011 - 2012) Posted on 03/22/2012 05:32pm

KEY: stricken = removed, old language.
underscored = added, new language.

Current Version - as introduced

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A bill for an act
relating to human services; creating the Minnesota Children and Family
Investment Program Act; modifying the MFIP and child care assistance
programs; providing appointments; appropriating money; amending Minnesota
Statutes 2010, sections 119B.025, subdivision 1; 119B.05, subdivision 1;
256J.08, by adding a subdivision; 256J.45, subdivision 2; 256J.50, by adding
a subdivision; 256J.521, subdivision 2; Minnesota Statutes 2011 Supplement,
section 256J.49, subdivision 13; repealing Minnesota Statutes 2010, section
256J.24, subdivision 6.

BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MINNESOTA:

Section 1. new text beginCITATION.
new text end

new text begin Sections 2 to 14 may be cited as the "Minnesota Children and Family Investment
Program Act."
new text end

Sec. 2. new text beginLEGISLATIVE FINDINGS.
new text end

new text begin The legislature finds that:
new text end

new text begin (1) seven out of ten MFIP recipients are children;
new text end

new text begin (2) children receiving MFIP assistance are living in poverty;
new text end

new text begin (3) current MFIP policies are pushing children and their families deeper into poverty;
new text end

new text begin (4) half of Minnesota children receiving MFIP assistance are under the age of five;
new text end

new text begin (5) 90 percent of brain development occurs during the first five years of a child's
life; and
new text end

new text begin (6) research demonstrates that experiences affect the way a child's brain develops,
and that adverse childhood experiences can produce toxic levels of stress and disrupt the
architecture of a child's developing brain.
new text end

Sec. 3.

Minnesota Statutes 2010, section 119B.025, subdivision 1, is amended to read:


Subdivision 1.

Factors which must be verified.

(a) The county shall verify the
following at all initial child care applications using the universal application:

(1) identity of adults;

(2) presence of the minor child in the home, if questionable;

(3) relationship of minor child to the parent, stepparent, legal guardian, eligible
relative caretaker, or the spouses of any of the foregoing;

(4) age;

(5) immigration status, if related to eligibility;

(6) Social Security number, if given;

(7) income;

(8) spousal support and child support payments made to persons outside the
household;

(9) residence; and

(10) inconsistent information, if related to eligibility.

(b) If a family did not use the universal application or child care addendum to apply
for child care assistance, the family must complete the universal application or child care
addendum at its next eligibility redetermination and the county must verify the factors
listed in paragraph (a) as part of that redetermination. Once a family has completed a
universal application or child care addendum, the county shall use the redetermination
form described in paragraph (c) for that family's subsequent redeterminations. Eligibility
must be redetermined at least every deleted text beginsixdeleted text endnew text begin 12new text end months. For a family where at least one parent
is under the age of 21, does not have a high school or general equivalency diploma, and is
a student in a school district or another similar program that provides or arranges for child
care, as well as parenting, social services, career and employment supports, and academic
support to achieve high school graduation, the redetermination of eligibility shall be
deferred deleted text beginbeyond six monthsdeleted text end, but not to exceed 12 months, to the end of the student's
school year. If a family reports a change in an eligibility factor before the family's next
regularly scheduled redetermination, the county must recalculate eligibility without
requiring verification of any eligibility factor that did not change.

(c) The commissioner shall develop a redetermination form to redetermine eligibility
and a change report form to report changes that minimize paperwork for the county and
the participant.

Sec. 4.

Minnesota Statutes 2010, section 119B.05, subdivision 1, is amended to read:


Subdivision 1.

Eligible participants.

Families eligible for child care assistance
under the MFIP child care program are:

(1) MFIP participants who are employed or in job search and meet the requirements
of section 119B.10;

(2) persons who are members of transition year families under section 119B.011,
subdivision 20
, and meet the requirements of section 119B.10;

(3) families who are participating in employment orientation or job search, or
other employment or training activities that are included in an approved employability
development plan under section 256J.95;

(4) MFIP families who are participating in work job search, job support,
employment, or training activities as required in their employment plan, or in appeals,
hearings, assessments, or orientations according to chapter 256J;

(5) MFIP families who are participating in social services activities under chapter
256J as required in their employment plan approved according to chapter 256J;

(6) families who are participating in services or activities that are included in an
approved family stabilization plan under section 256J.575;

new text begin (7) MFIP child-only cases under section 256J.88 may be authorized to receive up to
12 hours of MFIP child care assistance per week as approved by the county, if the child is
not enrolled in any other early childhood programming;
new text end

deleted text begin (7)deleted text endnew text begin (8)new text end families who are participating in programs as required in tribal contracts
under section 119B.02, subdivision 2, or 256.01, subdivision 2; and

deleted text begin (8)deleted text endnew text begin (9)new text end families who are participating in the transition year extension under section
119B.011, subdivision 20a.

Sec. 5.

Minnesota Statutes 2010, section 256J.08, is amended by adding a subdivision
to read:


new text begin Subd. 11b. new text end

new text begin Child well-being. new text end

new text begin "Child well-being" means a child's developmental
progress relative to the child's age, including cognitive, physical, emotional, and social
development as measured through developmental screening tools, school achievement,
health status, and other relevant standardized measures of development.
new text end

Sec. 6.

Minnesota Statutes 2010, section 256J.45, subdivision 2, is amended to read:


Subd. 2.

General information.

new text begin(a) new text endThe MFIP orientation must consist of a
presentation that informs caregivers of:

(1) the necessity to obtain immediate employment;

(2) the work incentives under MFIP, including the availability of the federal earned
income tax credit and the Minnesota working family tax credit;

(3) the requirement to comply with the employment plan and other requirements
of the employment and training services component of MFIP, including a description
of the range of work and training activities that are allowable under MFIP to meet the
individual needs of participants;

(4) the consequences for failing to comply with the employment plan and other
program requirements, and that the county agency may not impose a sanction when failure
to comply is due to the unavailability of child care or other circumstances where the
participant has good cause under subdivision 3;

(5) the rights, responsibilities, and obligations of participants;

(6) the types and locations of child care services available through the county agency;

(7) the availability and the benefits of the early childhood health and developmental
screening under sections 121A.16 to 121A.19; 123B.02, subdivision 16; and 123B.10;

(8) the caregiver's eligibility for transition year child care assistance under section
119B.05;

(9) the availability of all health care programs, including transitional medical
assistance;

(10) the caregiver's option to choose an employment and training provider and
information about each provider, including but not limited to, services offered, program
components, job placement rates, job placement wages, and job retention rates;

(11) the caregiver's option to request approval of an education and training plan
according to section 256J.53;

(12) the work study programs available under the higher education system; deleted text beginand
deleted text end

(13) information about the 60-month time limit exemptions under the family
violence waiver and referral information about shelters and programs for victims of family
violencenew text begin; and
new text end

new text begin (14) the availability and benefits of early childhood health and developmental
screening and other early childhood resources and programs
new text end.

new text begin (b) For MFIP caregivers who are exempt from attending the orientation under
subdivision 1, the county agency must provide the information required under paragraph
(a), clause (14), via other means.
new text end

Sec. 7.

Minnesota Statutes 2011 Supplement, section 256J.49, subdivision 13, is
amended to read:


Subd. 13.

Work activity.

(a) "Work activity" means any activity in a participant's
approved employment plan that leads to employment. For purposes of the MFIP program,
this includes activities that meet the definition of work activity under the participation
requirements of TANF. Work activity includes:

(1) unsubsidized employment, including work study and paid apprenticeships or
internships;

(2) subsidized private sector or public sector employment, including grant diversion
as specified in section 256J.69, on-the-job training as specified in section 256J.66, paid
work experience, and supported work when a wage subsidy is provided;

(3) unpaid work experience, including community service, volunteer work,
the community work experience program as specified in section 256J.67, unpaid
apprenticeships or internships, and supported work when a wage subsidy is not provided.
Unpaid work experience is only an option if the participant has been unable to obtain or
maintain paid employment in the competitive labor market, and no paid work experience
programs are available to the participant. Prior to placing a participant in unpaid work,
the county must inform the participant that the participant will be notified if a paid work
experience or supported work position becomes available. Unless a participant consents in
writing to participate in unpaid work experience, the participant's employment plan may
only include unpaid work experience if including the unpaid work experience in the plan
will meet the following criteria:

(i) the unpaid work experience will provide the participant specific skills or
experience that cannot be obtained through other work activity options where the
participant resides or is willing to reside; and

(ii) the skills or experience gained through the unpaid work experience will result
in higher wages for the participant than the participant could earn without the unpaid
work experience;

(4) job search including job readiness assistance, job clubs, job placement,
job-related counseling, and job retention services;

(5) job readiness education, including English as a second language (ESL) or
functional work literacy classes as limited by the provisions of section 256J.531,
subdivision 2
, general educational development (GED) course work, high school
completion, and adult basic education as limited by the provisions of section 256J.531,
subdivision 1
;

(6) job skills training directly related to employment, including education and
training that can reasonably be expected to lead to employment, as limited by the
provisions of section 256J.53;

(7) providing child care services to a participant who is working in a community
service program;

(8) activities included in the employment plan that is developed under section
256J.521, subdivision 3; deleted text beginand
deleted text end

(9) preemployment activities including chemical and mental health assessments,
treatment, and services; learning disabilities services; child protective services; family
stabilization services; or other programs designed to enhance employabilitynew text begin; and
new text end

new text begin (10) attending a child's early childhood activities, including developmental
screenings and subsequent referral and follow-up services. MFIP employment and training
providers must coordinate with county social service agencies and health plans to assist
recipients in arranging referrals indicated by screening results
new text end.

(b) "Work activity" does not include activities done for political purposes as defined
in section 211B.01, subdivision 6.

Sec. 8.

Minnesota Statutes 2010, section 256J.50, is amended by adding a subdivision
to read:


new text begin Subd. 13. new text end

new text begin Child development information. new text end

new text begin MFIP employment and training
providers and county agencies shall post information regarding child development in areas
easily accessible to families participating in MFIP.
new text end

Sec. 9.

Minnesota Statutes 2010, section 256J.521, subdivision 2, is amended to read:


Subd. 2.

Employment plan; contents.

(a) Based on the assessment under
subdivision 1, the job counselor and the participant must develop an employment plan
that includes participation in activities and hours that meet the requirements of section
256J.55, subdivision 1. The purpose of the employment plan is to identify for each
participant the most direct path to unsubsidized employment and any subsequent steps that
support long-term economic stability. The employment plan should be developed using
the highest level of activity appropriate for the participant. Activities must be chosen from
clauses (1) to (6), which are listed in order of preference. Notwithstanding this order of
preference for activities, priority must be given for activities related to a family violence
waiver when developing the employment plan. The employment plan must also list the
specific steps the participant will take to obtain employment, including steps necessary
for the participant to progress from one level of activity to another, and a timetable for
completion of each step. Levels of activity include:

(1) unsubsidized employment;

(2) job search;

(3) subsidized employment or unpaid work experience;

(4) unsubsidized employment and job readiness education or job skills training;

(5) unsubsidized employment or unpaid work experience and activities related to
a family violence waiver or preemployment needs; and

(6) activities related to a family violence waiver or preemployment needs.

(b) Participants who are determined to possess sufficient skills such that the
participant is likely to succeed in obtaining unsubsidized employment must job search at
least 30 hours per week for up to six weeks and accept any offer of suitable employment.
The remaining hours necessary to meet the requirements of section 256J.55, subdivision
1
, may be met through participation in other work activities under section 256J.49,
subdivision 13
. The participant's employment plan must specify, at a minimum: (1)
whether the job search is supervised or unsupervised; (2) support services that will
be provided; and (3) how frequently the participant must report to the job counselor.
Participants who are unable to find suitable employment after six weeks must meet
with the job counselor to determine whether other activities in paragraph (a) should be
incorporated into the employment plan. Job search activities which are continued after six
weeks must be structured and supervised.

(c) Participants who are determined to have barriers to obtaining or maintaining
suitable employment that will not be overcome during six weeks of job search under
paragraph (b) must work with the job counselor to develop an employment plan that
addresses those barriers by incorporating appropriate activities from paragraph (a), clauses
(1) to (6). The employment plan must include enough hours to meet the participation
requirements in section 256J.55, subdivision 1, unless a compelling reason to require
fewer hours is noted in the participant's file.

(d) The job counselor and the participant must sign the employment plan to indicate
agreement on the contents.

(e) Except as provided under paragraph (f), failure to develop or comply with
activities in the plan, or voluntarily quitting suitable employment without good cause, will
result in the imposition of a sanction under section 256J.46.

(f) When a participant fails to meet the agreed-upon hours of participation in paid
employment because the participant is not eligible for holiday pay and the participant's
place of employment is closed for a holiday, the job counselor shall not impose a sanction
or increase the hours of participation in any other activity, including paid employment, to
offset the hours that were missed due to the holiday.

(g) Employment plans must be reviewed at least every three months to determine
whether activities and hourly requirements should be revised. new text beginAt the time of the
employment plan review, the job counselor must provide information to participants
regarding early childhood development and resources for families.
new text endThe job counselor
is encouraged to allow participants who are participating in at least 20 hours of work
activities to also participate in education and training activities in order to meet the federal
hourly participation rates.

Sec. 10. new text beginTASK FORCE ON LOW-INCOME FAMILIES.
new text end

new text begin Subdivision 1. new text end

new text begin Purpose. new text end

new text begin A task force on low-income families is established to
review the adequacy of state programs and tax policies to support low-income families.
new text end

new text begin Subd. 2. new text end

new text begin Membership. new text end

new text begin The task force shall include the following members:
new text end

new text begin (1) the commissioner of economic development or designee;
new text end

new text begin (2) the commissioner of health or designee;
new text end

new text begin (3) the commissioner of human services or designee;
new text end

new text begin (4) the commissioner of education or designee;
new text end

new text begin (5) the commissioner of revenue or designee;
new text end

new text begin (6) two county representatives appointed by the governor;
new text end

new text begin (7) two advocates for low-income families appointed by the governor;
new text end

new text begin (8) two members of the house of representatives, one from the majority party and
one from the minority party, appointed by the speaker of the house; and
new text end

new text begin (9) two members of the senate, one from the majority party and one from the
minority party, appointed by the Subcommittee on Committees of the Committee on
Rules and Administration.
new text end

new text begin Subd. 3. new text end

new text begin Staff. new text end

new text begin The Department of Employment and Economic Development shall
provide staff support for the task force.
new text end

new text begin Subd. 4. new text end

new text begin Duties. new text end

new text begin Within the context of the state's projected workforce and economic
development needs, the task force shall review current MFIP cash benefit levels and state
programs and tax policies affecting low-income families. The task force shall consider
the return on investment to the public and private sectors of family support policies such
as paid sick leave, parental leave, early childhood programs, and family tax policies.
The task force shall make recommendations to the legislature by January 15, 2014, to
modify state programs and tax policies to improve family economic security and child
well-being, including future worker productivity. The recommendations must be related to
the Minnesota Milestones goals and measures.
new text end

new text begin Subd. 5. new text end

new text begin Expiration. new text end

new text begin The task force under this section expires on June 30, 2013.
new text end

new text begin EFFECTIVE DATE. new text end

new text begin This section is effective the day following final enactment.
new text end

Sec. 11. new text beginMFIP MENTORING PILOT PROGRAM.
new text end

new text begin $....... is appropriated to the commissioner of human services from the general fund
in fiscal year 2013 for the purpose of providing grants to help local communities to train
and support volunteers mentoring families receiving MFIP. Organizations must apply for
grant funds according to the timelines and on the forms prescribed by the commissioner.
Organizations receiving grant funding must model their project on the circles of support
model. Projects must focus on reducing parents' and their children's isolation and
supporting families in making connections within their local communities.
new text end

Sec. 12. new text beginDIRECTIONS TO COMMISSIONER.
new text end

new text begin (a) The commissioner of human services shall include information regarding the
number of children and their ages: receiving MFIP; affected by sanctions; and in families
exceeding the 60-month time limit in the Department of Human Services' MFIP monthly
reports and trends reports. By February 1, 2013, the commissioner, in consultation with
the commissioners of education and health, shall make recommendations to the legislative
committees with jurisdiction over human services policy and finance on ways to provide
state and local-level information on child well-being and the participation of MFIP
children in early childhood programs, such as family home visiting, Early Head Start,
Head Start, Part C early intervention services for infants and toddlers with disabilities and
their utilization of health services, including well-child visits.
new text end

new text begin (b) The commissioner shall provide MFIP financial workers and case managers with
information regarding early childhood brain development, developmental screening, and
early childhood resources as part of their ongoing training.
new text end

new text begin (c) By February 1, 2013, the commissioner of education, in consultation with the
commissioners of health and human services, shall report to the legislative committees
with jurisdiction over education policy and finance and health and human services policy
and finance on the short and long-term costs and benefits of making low-income children
eligible for early childhood services, such as home visiting, Early Head Start, Head Start,
and Part C early intervention services for infants and toddlers with disabilities based on
their high risk for developmental delay due to living in poverty.
new text end

Sec. 13. new text beginREVISOR'S INSTRUCTION.
new text end

new text begin In Minnesota Statutes and Minnesota Rules, the revisor of statutes shall substitute
the terms "Minnesota Children and Family Investment Program" for "Minnesota Family
Investment Program" and "MCFIP" for "MFIP" wherever they appear.
new text end

Sec. 14. new text begin REPEALER.
new text end

new text begin Minnesota Statutes 2010, section 256J.24, subdivision 6, new text end new text begin is repealed.
new text end