256J.50 County duties.
Subdivision 1. Employment and training services component of MFIP. (a) By January 1, 1998, each county must develop and implement an employment and training services component of MFIP which is designed to put participants on the most direct path to unsubsidized employment. Participation in these services is mandatory for all MFIP caregivers, unless the caregiver is exempt under section 256J.56.
(b) A county must provide employment and training services under sections 256J.515 to 256J.74 within 30 days after the caregiver's participation becomes mandatory under subdivision 5 or within 30 days of receipt of a request for services from a caregiver who under section 256J.42 is no longer eligible to receive MFIP but whose income is below 120 percent of the federal poverty guidelines for a family of the same size. The request must be made within 12 months of the date the caregivers' MFIP case was closed.
Subd. 2. Pilot programs. In counties selected for the work first or work focused pilot programs, first-time applicants for assistance must meet the requirements of those programs in place of the requirements of the MFIP-S program. A county may, at its option, discontinue a work first or work focused pilot program.
Subd. 3. Transitional rule; MFIP or MFIP-R participant. A caregiver who was enrolled in MFIP or MFIP-R on the date the county implements the employment and training services component of MFIP-S and was making satisfactory progress toward the objectives specified in the caregiver's employment plan, may continue with the existing employment plan for up to two years with the approval of a job counselor. The job counselor may require changes to the plan in order to be consistent with this two-year time limit.
Subd. 3a. Transitional rule; STRIDE, ACCESS. (a) A county agency that is not a participant in the MFIP or MFIP-R field trials formerly codified in sections 256.031 to 256.0361 shall not enroll a recipient into project STRIDE or ACCESS after the date that MFIP is implemented in the county.
(b) A caregiver who:
(i) was enrolled in project STRIDE or ACCESS continuously since March 1, 1997;
(ii) is not a part of an MFIP or MFIP-R comparison group; and
(iii) who is making satisfactory progress toward the objectives specified in the caregiver's employment plan, may, with the approval of the job counselor, continue with the existing employment plan for up to two years after the caregiver is enrolled in MFIP. For purposes of the federal participation standards, the activities in the caregiver's employment plan are work activities, as that term is defined in section 256J.49, subdivision 13.
(c) Notwithstanding contrary provisions of section 256.736, the employability plan of a caregiver who is enrolled in project STRIDE or ACCESS on or after July 1, 1997, must meet the requirements of section 256J.53.
Subd. 4. Service providing agencies. Unless the provisions of subdivision 8 apply, a county must select at least two employment and training service providers. A county may opt to provide services on its own as one of these providers.
Subd. 5. Participation requirements for all cases. (a) For two-parent cases, participation is required concurrent with the receipt of MFIP cash assistance.
For single-parent cases, participation is required concurrent with the receipt of MFIP cash assistance for all counties except Blue Earth and Nicollet, effective July 1, 2000, and is required for Blue Earth and Nicollet counties effective January 1, 2001. For Blue Earth and Nicollet counties only, from July 1, 2000 to December 31, 2000, mandatory participation for single-parent cases must be required within six months of eligibility for cash assistance.
(b) Beginning January 1, 1998, with the exception of caregivers required to attend high school under the provisions of section 256J.54, subdivision 5, MFIP caregivers, upon completion of the secondary assessment, must develop an employment plan and participate in work activities.
(c) Upon completion of the secondary assessment:
(1) In single-parent families with no children under six years of age, the job counselor and the caregiver must develop an employment plan that includes 20 to 35 hours per week of work activities for the period January 1, 1998, to September 30, 1998; 25 to 35 hours of work activities per week in federal fiscal year 1999; and 30 to 35 hours per week of work activities in federal fiscal year 2000 and thereafter.
(2) In single-parent families with a child under six years of age, the job counselor and the caregiver must develop an employment plan that includes 20 to 35 hours per week of work activities.
(3) In two-parent families, the job counselor and the caregivers must develop employment plans which result in a combined total of at least 55 hours per week of work activities.
Subd. 6. Explanatory materials required. The county must:
(1) explain to applicants and recipients and provide explanatory materials regarding the relationship between the 60-month time limit on assistance funded with TANF dollars and the receipt of various benefits, including cash assistance, food stamps, medical assistance, and child care assistance; and
(2) provide assistance to applicants and recipients to enable them to minimize the use of their 60 allowable months of TANF-funded assistance.
Subd. 7. Local service unit plan. (a) Each local or county service unit shall prepare and submit a plan as specified in section 268.88.
(b) The plan must include a description of how projects funded under the local intervention grants for self-sufficiency in section 256J.625, subdivisions 2 and 3, operate in the local service unit, including:
(1) the target populations of hard-to-employ participants, working participants in need of job retention and wage advancement services, and caregivers who, within the last 12 months, have been determined under section 256J.42 to no longer be eligible to receive MFIP and whose income is below 120 percent of the federal poverty guidelines for a family of the same size, with a description of how individual participant needs will be met;
(2) services that will be provided which may include paid work experience, enhanced mental health services, outreach to sanctioned families and to caregivers who, within the last 12 months, have been determined under section 256J.42 to no longer be eligible to receive MFIP but whose income is below 120 percent of the federal poverty guidelines for a family of the same size, child care for social services, child care transition year set-aside, homeless and housing advocacy, and transportation;
(3) projected expenditures by activity;
(4) anticipated program outcomes including the anticipated impact the intervention efforts will have on performance measures under section 256J.751 and on reducing the number of MFIP participants expected to reach their 60-month time limit; and
(5) a description of services that are provided or will be provided to MFIP participants affected by chemical dependency, mental health issues, learning disabilities, or family violence.
Each plan must demonstrate how the county or tribe is working within its organization and with other organizations in the community to serve hard-to-employ populations, including how organizations in the community were engaged in planning for use of these funds, services other entities will provide under the plan, and whether multicounty or regional strategies are being implemented as part of this plan.
(c) Activities and expenditures in the plan must enhance or supplement MFIP activities without supplanting existing activities and expenditures. However, this paragraph does not require a county to maintain either:
(1) its current provision of child care assistance to MFIP families through the expenditure of county resources under chapter 256E for social services child care assistance if funds are appropriated by another law for an MFIP social services child care pool;
(2) its current provision of transition-year child care assistance through the expenditure of county resources if funds are appropriated by another law for this purpose; or
(3) its current provision of intensive ESL programs through the expenditure of county resources if funds are appropriated by another law for intensive ESL grants.
(d) The plan required under this subdivision must be approved before the local or county service unit is eligible to receive funds under section 256J.625, subdivisions 2 and 3.
Subd. 8. County duty to ensure employment and training choices for participants. Each county, or group of counties working cooperatively, shall make available to participants the choice of at least two employment and training service providers as defined under section 256J.49, subdivision 4, except in counties utilizing workforce centers that use multiple employment and training services, offer multiple services options under a collaborative effort and can document that participants have choice among employment and training services designed to meet specialized needs.
Subd. 9. Exception; financial hardship. Notwithstanding subdivision 8, a county that explains in the plan required under subdivision 7 that the provision of alternative employment and training service providers would result in financial hardship for the county is not required to make available more than one employment and training provider.
Subd. 10. Required notification to victims of family violence. County agencies and their contractors must provide universal notification to all applicants and recipients of MFIP that:
(1) referrals to counseling and supportive services are available for victims of family violence;
(2) nonpermanent resident battered individuals married to United States citizens or permanent residents may be eligible to petition for permanent residency under the federal Violence Against Women Act, and that referrals to appropriate legal services are available;
(3) victims of family violence are exempt from the 60-month limit on assistance while the individual is complying with an approved safety plan or, after October 1, 2001, an alternative employment plan, as defined in section 256J.49, subdivision 1a; and
(4) victims of family violence may choose to have regular work requirements waived while the individual is complying with an alternative employment plan as defined in section 256J.49, subdivision 1a.
If an alternative plan is denied, the county or a job counselor must provide reasons why the plan is not approved and document how the denial of the plan does not interfere with the safety of the participant or children.
Notification must be in writing and orally at the time of application and recertification, when the individual is referred to the title IV-D child support agency, and at the beginning of any job training or work placement assistance program.
Subd. 11. Coordination. The county agency and the county agency's employment and training providers must consult and coordinate with other providers of employment and training services to identify existing resources, in order to prevent duplication of services, to assure that other programs' services are available to enable participants to achieve self-sufficiency, and to assure that costs for these other services for which participants are eligible are not incurred by MFIP-S. At a minimum, the county agency and its providers must coordinate with Jobs Training and Partnership Act providers and with any other relevant employment, training, and education programs in the county.
Subd. 12. Access to persons trained in domestic violence. In a county where there is no staff person who is trained in domestic violence, as that term is defined in section 256J.08, subdivision 67a, the county must work with the nearest organization that is designated as providing services to victims of domestic violence to develop a process, which ensures that domestic violence victims have access to a person trained in domestic violence.
Official Publication of the State of Minnesota
Revisor of Statutes