(a) The second stage of child care begins when the county determines that the recipient's work or approved work activity is stable or when a recipient is transitioning off of aid and child care is available through a local stage two program. Second stage childcare may be provided to a family who elects to receive a lump-sum diversion payment or diversion services under Section 11266.5 of the Welfare and Institutions Code when a funded space is not immediately available for the family in third stage. The local stage two agency shall assist in moving families to stage three as quickly as feasible. Former CalWORKs recipients are eligible to receive childcare services in stage one and stage two for up to a total of no more than 24 months after they leave cash aid, or until they are otherwise ineligible within that 24-month period. Family size and income for purposes of determining eligibility and calculating the family fee shall be determined pursuant to Sections 8263 and 8263.1.A family leaving cash aid under the CalWORKS program shall receive up to two years of child care, if otherwise eligible, as needed to continue the family's employment. The provision of the two-year time limit is not intended to limit eligibility for child care under Section 8354.
(b) The second stage shall be administered by agencies contracting with the State Department of Education. These contractors may be either agencies that have an alternative payment contract pursuant to Section 8220.1 or county welfare departments that choose to administer this stage in order to continue to provide child care services for recipients or former recipients of aid. If the county chooses to contract with the department to provide alternative payment services, this contract shall not displace, or result in the reduction of an existing contract of, a current alternative payment program.8354. (a) The third stage of child care begins when a funded space is available. CalWORKs recipients are eligible for the third stage of child care. Persons who received a lump-sum diversion payment or diversion services and former CalWORKs participants are eligible if they have an income that does not exceed 75 percent of the state median income. The third stage shall be administered by programs contracting with the State Department of Education. Parents' eligibility for child care and development services will be governed by Section 8263 and regulations adopted by the State Department of Education.
(b) In order to move welfare recipients and former recipients from their relationship with county welfare departments to relationships with institutions providing services to working families, it is the intent of the Legislature that families that are former recipients of aid, or are transitioning off aid, receive their child care assistance in the same fashion as other low-income working families. Therefore, it is the intent of the Legislature that families no longer rely on county welfare departments to obtain child care subsidies beyond the time they are receiving other services from the welfare department.
(c) A county welfare department shall not administer the third stage of child care for CalWORKs recipients except to the extent to which it delivered those services to families receiving, or within one year of having received, Aid to Families with Dependent Children prior to the enactment of this section.
(d) This article does not preclude county welfare departments from operating an alternative payment program under contract with the State Department of Education to serve families referred by child protective services.
(Amended by Stats. 1998, Ch. 902, Sec. 2.)