SENATE BILL REPORT
This analysis was prepared by non-partisan legislative staff for the use of legislative members in their deliberations. This analysis is not a part of the legislation nor does it constitute a statement of legislative intent.
As Passed Senate, April 12, 2019
Title: An act relating to improving access and completion for students at institutions of higher education, especially at community and technical colleges, by removing restrictions on subsidized child care.
Brief Description: Improving access and completion for students at institutions of higher education, especially at community and technical colleges, by removing restrictions on subsidized child care.
Sponsors: House Committee on Appropriations (originally sponsored by Representatives Shewmake, Eslick, Pollet, Griffey, Riccelli, Senn, Appleton, Dolan, Frame, Paul, Goodman, Robinson, Springer, Lekanoff, Macri, Thai, Tharinger, Stanford, Bergquist, Jinkins, Leavitt and Ormsby).
Brief History: Passed House: 3/06/19, 90-6.
Committee Activity: Early Learning & K-12 Education: 3/15/19, 3/20/19 [DP-WM, w/oRec].
Ways & Means: 4/09/19 [DP, DNP, w/oRec].
Passed Senate: 4/12/19, 43-4.
SENATE COMMITTEE ON EARLY LEARNING & K-12 EDUCATION
Majority Report: Do pass and be referred to Committee on Ways & Means.
Signed by Senators Wellman, Chair; Wilson, C., Vice Chair; Hawkins, Ranking Member; Hunt, McCoy, Mullet, Pedersen, Salomon and Wagoner.
Minority Report: That it be referred without recommendation.
Signed by Senator Padden.
Staff: Ailey Kato (786-7434)
SENATE COMMITTEE ON WAYS & MEANS
Majority Report: Do pass.
Signed by Senators Rolfes, Chair; Frockt, Vice Chair, Operating, Capital Lead; Billig, Carlyle, Conway, Darneille, Hasegawa, Hunt, Keiser, Liias, Palumbo, Pedersen, Rivers, Van De Wege and Wagoner.
Minority Report: Do not pass.
Signed by Senators Honeyford, Assistant Ranking Member, Capital; Schoesler and Warnick.
Minority Report: That it be referred without recommendation.
Signed by Senators Mullet, Capital Budget Cabinet; Braun, Ranking Member; Brown, Assistant Ranking Member, Operating; Bailey and Becker.
Staff: Maria Hovde (786-7474)
Background: Working Connections Child Care. This federally and state-funded program provides child care subsidies to families with an income at or below 200 percent of the federal poverty level—$51,500 for a family of four. The state pays part of the cost of childcare when a parent is employed, self-employed, or in approved activities unless the family has received child welfare, child protective, or family assessment response services in the previous six months. The family is responsible for making a copayment to the child care provider based on the family's countable income.
Currently, the Department of Children, Youth, and Families (DCFY) sets childcare subsidy policy for Working Connections Child Care (WCCC), and the Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS) administers the program. Effective July 1, 2019, all powers, duties, and functions of DSHS pertaining to the WCCC program are transferred to DCYF.
Authorizations for a WCCC subsidy are effective for 12 months. Historically, DCYF must manage the program, so the average monthly caseload does not exceed 33,000 households and must give access to the program based on priorities specified in the budget.
Working Connections Child Care Education Requirements. Eligibility for WCCC is provided in rule, and these requirements must be in accordance with federal law.
Applicants or consumers participating in WorkFirst may be eligible for WCCC benefits for vocational educational training and up to ten hours per week of study time for approved classes. Vocational education is training that leads to a degree or certificate in a specific occupation, not to result in a bachelor's or advanced degree, except in certain circumstances.
Applicants or consumers not participating in WorkFirst may be eligible for WCCC benefits for certain types of education programs. An applicant or consumer who is twenty-two or older may be eligible to receive general education and training benefits. The consumer must work either:
an average of 20 or more hours per week of unsubsidized employment; or
an average of 16 or more hours per week in a paid federal or state work study program.
An applicant or consumer who is twenty-two or older is limited to up to:
36 months of benefits during the consumer's lifetime for participation in vocational education offered by a public or private technical college or school, community college, or tribal college; and
10 hours per week of benefits for study time for approved classes.
Summary of Bill: Beginning August 1, 2020, DCYF may not require an applicant or consumer to meet work requirements as a condition of receiving WCCC benefits when the applicant or consumer is:
a full-time student of a community, technical, or tribal college; and
pursuing a certificate in nursing, early childhood education, a mental health profession, or paraeducation.
An applicant or consumer is a full-time student if the applicant or consumer meets the college's definition of a full-time student. The student must maintain passing grades and be in good standing pursuant to college attendance requirements.
These requirements are not intended to change how applicants or consumers are prioritized when applicants or consumers are placed on a wait list for WCCC benefits. They also do not require a community or technical college to expand any of its existing child care facilities.
Appropriation: The bill contains a null and void clause requiring specific funding be provided in an omnibus appropriation act.
Fiscal Note: Available. New fiscal note requested on March 6, 2019.
Creates Committee/Commission/Task Force that includes Legislative members: No.
Effective Date: Ninety days after adjournment of session in which bill is passed.
Staff Summary of Public Testimony (Early Learning & K-12 Education): PRO: Students who are parents need help with removing barriers to graduation including increasing access to subsidized child care. Access to child care without work requirements can help full-time students complete their programs and graduate on time. It is difficult to juggle work, school, and being a good parent. This bill will help reduce intergenerational poverty and will help build a skilled workforce.
Persons Testifying (Early Learning & K-12 Education): PRO: Representative Sharon Shewmake, Prime Sponsor; Joel Ryan, Washington State Association of Head Start and Early Childhood Education and Assistance Program; Erin Frasier, State Board for Community and Technical Colleges.
Persons Signed In To Testify But Not Testifying (Early Learning & K-12 Education): No one.
Staff Summary of Public Testimony (Ways & Means): PRO: Twenty-three percent of all community and technical college students are parents and research shows that child care helps these individuals complete their degree programs. Parents who have child care are more likely to return to school and almost three times more likely to complete a degree. Work requirements decrease the likelihood of this happening. Fifty-eight percent of community and technical college parents will leave school after six years without a degree. Most states in the nation do not not have a work requirement for these individuals. This bill eliminates the work requirement for full-time students. The fiscal impact has decreased as work has been done to narrow the number of certificate programs. The programs in the bill were chosen from survey results that indicated these were the four areas of highest demand.
Persons Testifying (Ways & Means): PRO: Melissa Johnson, Washington State Association of Headstart & ECEAP.
Persons Signed In To Testify But Not Testifying (Ways & Means): No one.