BILL REQ. #: S-1570.1
|State of Washington||61st Legislature||2009 Regular Session|
READ FIRST TIME 02/12/09.
AN ACT Relating to exemptions from the WorkFirst program; amending RCW 74.08A.270; and creating a new section.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF WASHINGTON:
NEW SECTION. Sec. 1 The legislature recognizes the unique
challenges faced by children born into poverty and the extreme
importance of early brain development on the child's future and the
role that bonding with an individual caregiver plays in early childhood
learning. The legislature also recognizes the importance of chemical
dependency treatment for people who need it and that parents faced with
barriers to employment based on alcohol and drug abuse must be
encouraged to address those issues as early in their child's life as
Sec. 2 RCW 74.08A.270 and 2007 c 289 s 1 are each amended to read
(1) Good cause reasons for failure to participate in WorkFirst program components include: (a) Situations where the recipient is a parent or other relative personally providing care for a child under the age of six years, and formal or informal child care, or day care for an incapacitated individual living in the same home as a dependent child, is necessary for an individual to participate or continue participation in the program or accept employment, and such care is not available, and the department fails to provide such care; or (b) the recipient is a parent with a child under the age of one year.
(2) A parent claiming a good cause exemption from WorkFirst participation under subsection (1)(b) of this section ((
may)) shall not
be required to participate in any activities during the first ninety
days following the birth of the child. Thereafter, a parent whose
preexisting comprehensive evaluation or other assessment indicates a
need for mental health, alcohol, or drug treatment; domestic violence
services; or parenting education or skills training must be notified of
the availability of these services and encouraged to participate in one
or more of the (( following)) services, up to a maximum total of twenty
hours per week(( , if such treatment, services, or training is indicated
by the comprehensive evaluation or other assessment:)). Parents in need of alcohol or drug treatment may be
required to obtain such treatment. The department shall identify
treatment providers who are available, and assure that safe child care
and transportation is available to the parent.
(a) Mental health treatment;
(b) Alcohol or drug treatment;
(c) Domestic violence services; or
(d) Parenting education or parenting skills training, if available
(3) No family with an infant twelve months of age or younger may have their grant reduced due to sanction.
(4) The department shall: (a) Work with a parent claiming a good cause exemption under subsection (1)(b) of this section to identify and access programs and services designed to improve parenting skills and promote child well-being, including but not limited to home visitation programs and services; and (b) provide information on the availability of home visitation services to temporary assistance for needy families caseworkers, who shall inform clients of the availability of the services. If desired by the client, the caseworker shall facilitate appropriate referrals to providers of home visitation services.
(4))) (5) Nothing in this section shall prevent a recipient from
participating in the WorkFirst program on a voluntary basis.
(5))) (6) A parent is eligible for a good cause exemption under
subsection (1)(b) of this section for a maximum total of twelve months
over the parent's lifetime.