The legislature finds that the children's mental health work group, in its December 2016 final report, recommended that state agencies provide at least twelve months of stable child care through the working connections child care program for certain children involved in the child welfare system, regardless of the employment status of their parents or guardians.
HB 1624 would require the department of early learning to establish and implement policies in the working connections child care program to allow eligibility for families with children who: (1) In the last six months have received child protective services, child welfare services, or services through a family assessment response; (2) Have been referred for child care as part of the family's case management; and (3) Are residing with a biological parent or guardian. Also, children who are eligible for working connections child care do not have to keep receiving services through the department of social and health services to maintain twelve-month authorization. The bill states that the department of social and health services' involvement with the family referred for working connections child care ends when the family's child protective services, child welfare services, or family assessment response case is closed, and that the law would take effect in Dec., 2018.
Amendment: A null and void clause is added and the bill is null and void unless funded in the budget.
Striker Amendment in Senate Ways & Means:
Adds language specifying that for individuals who experience a non-temporary change in their status as working or attending a job training or education program, assistance shall be discontinued after three months. This requirement is also extended to the children who have been involved in the child welfare system in the last 6 months and are authorized to receive 12 months of service. Adds language specifying that as a condition of receiving a child care subsidy, an applicant or recipient must seek child support enforcement unless DSHS finds that the applicant or recipient has good cause not to cooperate. Good cause includes consideration of the safety of domestic violence victims.
Senate Floor Amendment:
Parents of children who are authorized to receive 12 months of Working Connections Child Care (WCCC) because of being involved in child welfare services in the last 6 months shall not be subject to the requirements that they maintain employment or participate in a job training or education program or cooperate with child support enforcement in order for their child to remain eligible for WCCC.