61st Legislature
2009 Regular Session

Passed by the House March 6, 2009
  Yeas 96   Nays 0

Speaker of the House of Representatives

Passed by the Senate April 2, 2009
  Yeas 45   Nays 0

President of the Senate

I, Barbara Baker, Chief Clerk of the House of Representatives of the State of Washington, do hereby certify that the attached is SUBSTITUTE HOUSE BILL 2071 as passed by the House of Representatives and the Senate on the dates hereon set forth.

Chief Clerk

Governor of the State of Washington

Secretary of State
State of Washington



Passed Legislature - 2009 Regular Session
State of Washington61st Legislature2009 Regular Session

By House Early Learning & Children's Services (originally sponsored by Representatives Green, Kagi, Miloscia, Pettigrew, Nelson, Haler, Priest, Goodman, Conway, Ormsby, Santos, and Kenney)

READ FIRST TIME 02/23/09.   

     AN ACT Relating to increasing the earning potential of parents of needy families; amending RCW 74.08A.260; adding a new section to chapter 74.08A RCW; and creating a new section.


NEW SECTION.  Sec. 1   The legislature finds that nearly half of all recipients in the state's temporary assistance for needy families program return to the program more than once, seeking financial assistance. The legislature also finds that the inability of those recipients to attain a living wage job and to exit the program permanently remains a concern. The legislature finds that ample evidence demonstrates the connection between educational attainment and increased earnings over time. The legislature also finds that policies to encourage more recipients in the temporary assistance for needy families program to pursue the educational and training opportunities available to them can move more recipients into living wage jobs so they can exit public financial assistance programs permanently. Therefore, the legislature intends to direct the WorkFirst program to develop appropriate strategies to increase participation in educational and training programs available to recipients in order to promote higher rates of postprogram employment in living wage jobs and to reduce the rate of reentry into the program.

Sec. 2   RCW 74.08A.260 and 2006 c 107 s 3 are each amended to read as follows:
     (1) Each recipient shall be assessed after determination of program eligibility and before referral to job search. Assessments shall be based upon factors that are critical to obtaining employment, including but not limited to education, availability of child care, history of family violence, history of substance abuse, and other factors that affect the ability to obtain employment. Assessments may be performed by the department or by a contracted entity. The assessment shall be based on a uniform, consistent, transferable format that will be accepted by all agencies and organizations serving the recipient. Based on the assessment, an individual responsibility plan shall be prepared that: (a) Sets forth an employment goal and a plan for ((moving the recipient immediately into)) maximizing the recipient's success at meeting the employment goal; (b) considers WorkFirst educational and training programs from which the recipient could benefit; (c) contains the obligation of the recipient to ((become and remain employed)) participate in the program by complying with the plan; (((c))) (d) moves the recipient into ((whatever employment the recipient is capable of handling)) full-time WorkFirst activities as quickly as possible; and (((d))) (e) describes the services available to the recipient either during or after WorkFirst to enable the recipient to obtain and keep employment and to advance in the workplace and increase the recipient's wage earning potential over time.
     (2) Recipients who are not engaged in work and work activities, and do not qualify for a good cause exemption under RCW 74.08A.270, shall engage in self-directed service as provided in RCW 74.08A.330.
     (3) If a recipient refuses to engage in work and work activities required by the department, the family's grant shall be reduced by the recipient's share, and may, if the department determines it appropriate, be terminated.
     (4) The department may waive the penalties required under subsection (3) of this section, subject to a finding that the recipient refused to engage in work for good cause provided in RCW 74.08A.270.
     (5) In implementing this section, the department shall assign the highest priority to the most employable clients, including adults in two-parent families and parents in single-parent families that include older preschool or school-age children to be engaged in work activities.
     (6) In consultation with the recipient, the department or contractor shall place the recipient into a work activity that is available in the local area where the recipient resides.
     (7) Assessments conducted under this section shall include a consideration of the potential benefit to the recipient of engaging in financial literacy activities. The department shall consider the options for financial literacy activities available in the community, including information and resources available through the financial literacy public-private partnership created under RCW 28A.300.450. The department may authorize up to ten hours of financial literacy activities as a core activity or an optional activity under WorkFirst.

NEW SECTION.  Sec. 3   A new section is added to chapter 74.08A RCW to read as follows:
     The department shall continue to implement WorkFirst program improvements that are designed to achieve progress against outcome measures specified in RCW 74.08A.410. Outcome data regarding job retention and wage progression shall be reported quarterly to appropriate fiscal and policy committees of the legislature for families who leave assistance, measured after twelve months, twenty-four months, and thirty-six months. The department shall also report the percentage of families who have returned to temporary assistance for needy families after twelve months, twenty-four months, and thirty-six months. The department shall make every effort to maximize vocational training, as allowed by federal and state requirements.

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