(a) The family stabilization services serve families who are not making significant progress within the Minnesota family investment program (MFIP) due to a variety of barriers to employment.
(b) The goal of the services is to stabilize and improve the lives of families at risk of long-term welfare dependency or family instability due to employment barriers such as physical disability, mental disability, age, or providing care for a disabled household member. These services promote and support families to achieve the greatest possible degree of self-sufficiency.
The terms used in this section have the meanings given them in paragraphs (a) to (d).
(a) "Case manager" means the county-designated staff person or employment services counselor.
(b) "Case management" means the services provided by or through the county agency or through the employment services agency to participating families, including assessment, information, referrals, and assistance in the preparation and implementation of a family stabilization plan under subdivision 5.
(c) "Family stabilization plan" means a plan developed by a case manager and the participant, which identifies the participant's most appropriate path to unsubsidized employment, family stability, and barrier reduction, taking into account the family's circumstances.
(d) "Family stabilization services" means programs, activities, and services in this section that provide participants and their family members with assistance regarding, but not limited to:
(1) obtaining and retaining unsubsidized employment;
(2) family stability;
(3) economic stability; and
(4) barrier reduction.
The goal of the services is to achieve the greatest degree of economic self-sufficiency and family well-being possible for the family under the circumstances.
(a) The following MFIP participants are eligible for the services under this section:
(1) a participant who meets the requirements for or has been granted a hardship extension under section 256J.425, subdivision 2 or 3, except that it is not necessary for the participant to have reached or be approaching 60 months of eligibility for this section to apply;
(2) a participant who is applying for Supplemental Security Income or Social Security disability insurance;
(3) a participant who is a noncitizen who has been in the United States for 12 or fewer months; and
(4) a participant who is age 60 or older.
(b) Families must meet all other eligibility requirements for MFIP established in this chapter. Families are eligible for financial assistance to the same extent as if they were participating in MFIP.
(c) A participant under paragraph (a), clause (3), must be provided with English as a second language opportunities and skills training for up to 12 months. After 12 months, the case manager and participant must determine whether the participant should continue with English as a second language classes or skills training, or both, and continue to receive family stabilization services.
(d) If a county agency or employment services provider has information that an MFIP participant may meet the eligibility criteria set forth in this subdivision, the county agency or employment services provider must assist the participant in obtaining the documentation necessary to determine eligibility.
All caregivers must participate in family stabilization services as defined in subdivision 2, except for caregivers exempt under section 256J.561, subdivision 3.
(a) The county agency or employment services provider shall provide family stabilization services to families through a case management model. A case manager shall be assigned to each participating family within 30 days after the family is determined to be eligible for family stabilization services. The case manager, with the full involvement of the participant, shall recommend, and the county agency shall establish and modify as necessary, a family stabilization plan for each participating family. If a participant is already assigned to a county case manager or a county-designated case manager in social services, disability services, or housing services that case manager already assigned may be the case manager for purposes of these services.
(b) The family stabilization plan must include:
(1) each participant's plan for long-term self-sufficiency, including an employment goal where applicable;
(2) an assessment of each participant's strengths and barriers, and any special circumstances of the participant's family that impact, or are likely to impact, the participant's progress towards the goals in the plan; and
(3) an identification of the services, supports, education, training, and accommodations needed to reduce or overcome any barriers to enable the family to achieve self-sufficiency and to fulfill each caregiver's personal and family responsibilities.
(c) The case manager and the participant shall meet within 30 days of the family's referral to the case manager. The initial family stabilization plan must be completed within 30 days of the first meeting with the case manager. The case manager shall establish a schedule for periodic review of the family stabilization plan that includes personal contact with the participant at least once per month. In addition, the case manager shall review and, if necessary, modify the plan under the following circumstances:
(1) there is a lack of satisfactory progress in achieving the goals of the plan;
(2) the participant has lost unsubsidized or subsidized employment;
(3) a family member has failed or is unable to comply with a family stabilization plan requirement;
(4) services, supports, or other activities required by the plan are unavailable;
(5) changes to the plan are needed to promote the well-being of the children; or
(6) the participant and case manager determine that the plan is no longer appropriate for any other reason.
(a) A participant who is eligible for family stabilization services under this section shall comply with paragraphs (b) to (d).
(b) Participants shall engage in family stabilization plan services for the appropriate number of hours per week that the activities are scheduled and available, unless good cause exists for not doing so, as defined in section 256J.57, subdivision 1. The appropriate number of hours must be based on the participant's plan.
(c) The case manager shall review the participant's progress toward the goals in the family stabilization plan every six months to determine whether conditions have changed, including whether revisions to the plan are needed.
(d) A participant's requirement to comply with any or all family stabilization plan requirements under this subdivision is excused when the case management services, training and educational services, or family support services identified in the participant's family stabilization plan are unavailable for reasons beyond the control of the participant, including when money appropriated is not sufficient to provide the services.
(a) The county agency or employment services provider must follow the requirements of this subdivision at the time the county agency or employment services provider has information that an MFIP recipient may meet the eligibility criteria in subdivision 3.
(b) The financial assistance grant of a participating family is reduced according to section 256J.46, if a participating adult fails without good cause to comply or continue to comply with the family stabilization plan requirements in this subdivision, unless compliance has been excused under subdivision 6, paragraph (d).
(c) Given the purpose of the family stabilization services in this section and the nature of the underlying family circumstances that act as barriers to both employment and full compliance with program requirements, there must be a review by the county agency prior to imposing a sanction to determine whether the plan was appropriated to the needs of the participant and family. There must be a current assessment by a behavioral health or medical professional confirming that the participant in all ways had the ability to comply with the plan.
(d) Prior to the imposition of a sanction, the county agency or employment services provider shall review the participant's case to determine if the family stabilization plan is still appropriate and meet with the participant face-to-face. The county agency or employment services provider must inform the participant of the right to bring an advocate to the face-to-face meeting.
During the face-to-face meeting, the county agency shall:
(1) determine whether the continued noncompliance can be explained and mitigated by providing a needed family stabilization service, as defined in subdivision 2, paragraph (d);
(2) determine whether the participant qualifies for a good cause exception under section 256J.57, or if the sanction is for noncooperation with child support requirements, determine if the participant qualifies for a good cause exemption under section 256.741, subdivision 10;
(3) determine whether activities in the family stabilization plan are appropriate based on the family's circumstances;
(4) explain the consequences of continuing noncompliance;
(5) identify other resources that may be available to the participant to meet the needs of the family; and
(6) inform the participant of the right to appeal under section 256J.40.
If the lack of an identified activity or service can explain the noncompliance, the county shall work with the participant to provide the identified activity.
(e) If the participant fails to come to the face-to-face meeting, the case manager or a designee shall attempt at least one home visit. If a face-to-face meeting is not conducted, the county agency shall send the participant a written notice that includes the information under paragraph (d).
(f) After the requirements of paragraphs (d) and (e) are met and prior to imposition of a sanction, the county agency shall provide a notice of intent to sanction under section 256J.57, subdivision 2, and, when applicable, a notice of adverse action under section 256J.31.
(g) Section 256J.57 applies to this section except to the extent that it is modified by this subdivision.
(a) The commissioner of human services shall treat MFIP expenditures made to or on behalf of any minor child under this section, who is part of a household that meets criteria in subdivision 3, as expenditures under a separately funded state program. These expenditures shall not count toward the state's maintenance of effort requirements under the federal TANF program.
(b) A family is no longer part of a separately funded program under this section if the caregiver no longer meets the criteria for family stabilization services in subdivision 3, or if it is determined at recertification that a caregiver with a child under the age of six is working at least 87 hours per month in paid or unpaid employment, or a caregiver without a child under the age of six is working at least 130 hours per month in paid or unpaid employment, whichever occurs sooner.