SB 0387 Creates and modifies several public assistance programs
LR Number:L1583.07T Fiscal Note:1583-07
Committee:Aging, Families and Mental Health
Last Action:07/13/99 - Signed by Governor Journal page:
Title:HS HCS SCS SBs 387, 206 & 131
Effective Date:August 28, 1999
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Current Bill Summary

HS/HCS/SCS/SBs 387, 206 & 131 - This act modifies provisions for the educational placement of certain children and creates programs for the elderly and those requiring public assistance.

EDUCATIONAL PLACEMENT - Current law allows institutions that provide a home for out-of-district children to enroll the children in schools within the district, unless the placement is for the sole purpose of enrollment in that specific district. The school district of residence may receive payment from the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, in lieu of receiving tax proceeds from the school district of domicile, provided that excess educational costs are billed to the Department. However, these alternative payments are only possible if the children are placed in the school by a state agency or by the court.

Current law does not allow pupils who have committed certain offenses to be re-enrolled in a program of regular instruction. New language allows the pupils to be re-enrolled in an alternative education program if the district offers such a program and determines it is appropriate.

PUBLIC ASSISTANCE - Current law allows state temporary assistance benefits to parents or other needy eligible relatives caring for a child or children. This act requires that the earned income disregard be increased to two-thirds by October 1, 1999. It will apply only to recipients of assistance who obtain employment, but not to those who are already working. The Department of Social Services was allowed, but not required, to increase the earned income disregard to two-thirds for those receiving Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF). This act requires the Department to apply the disregard and provides that assistance to families with at least 20 hours of earnings per week will be funded by state Maintenance of Effort funds rather than federal funds. After receiving the earned income disregard for twelve months, the recipient will not be eligible for the disregard again for twelve consecutive months. The Department of Social Services must develop eligibility requirements.

The Welfare to Work Protection Program is created. It requires all adults receiving Work First Program benefits who are employed or assigned to a work activity to be considered an employee for the purpose of coverage under all state and federal labor laws. Such adults will receive leave time on the same basis as regular employees. In addition, supplemental wage assistance positions shall be new positions within places of employment. Direct placement programs are not required to sanction public assistance recipients who refuse employment or offers of employment. Finally, the Department of Social Services shall maintain lists of employers used in supplemental wage assistance programs.

CHILDREN - Currently, the Department of Social Services is required to address the needs of dependent and neglected children. This act allows the Department to fund only the regional child assessment centers in St. Louis City, St. Louis County, Jackson County, Buchanan County, Greene County, Boone County, Newton County and St. Charles County. Also, in addition to the current jurisdictions, the venue for the appointment of a guardian or conservator may be in a Missouri county with prior and continuing jurisdiction over a minor in question.

The "Mature Worker Child Care Program" is created as a community service to enroll disadvantaged individuals, age fifty- five or older, to work in child care assignments. Organizations contracting to supervise program participants will be responsible for recruiting, training, and paying participants and locating child care assignments. Participating facilities may claim up to $2500 in tax credits per participant each year, with a total program tax credit cap of $2 million. Tax credits may be taken each taxable year after December 31, 1999 and are assignable. These provisions were contained in SB 206.

The Division of Family Services shall remove and destroy records two years from the date of a finding of insufficient evidence of neglect or abuse, without petition by the subject of the report. These provisions were contained in SB 131.

The age at which persons may participate in the "Grandparents as Foster Parents Program" is reduced to fifty years of age. In addition, close relatives may receive funds if they have legal guardianship or legal custody of a child. Such assistance will be funded through Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) funds and all work requirements and time limits for TANF will apply. These provisions were drawn from SB 302.

The number of Children's Trust Fund Board members is increased to 17 and the number of public members within that board to 12.

CASELOAD STANDARDS - The Director of the Department of Social Services must convene, at least biannually, a Caseload Standards Committee, to recommend minimum and maximum caseloads for each category of employees in the Department. The Director, after consideration of established caseload standards, must develop caseload standards for employees in each program area within the Department, which will form the basis for the Department's annual personnel budget request. An employee's good faith effort to complete assignments in excess of the standards shall be considered in the employee's evaluation.

FAMILY DEVELOPMENT ACCOUNTS - The Family Development Account (FDA) Program is created to provide eligible families and individuals with an opportunity to establish special savings accounts for funds which may be used for specified purposes only. Community-based organizations may submit proposals to administer FDAs. The family account holder must match the contributions.

Families or individuals with a household income of less than or equal to 200 percent of the federal poverty level may open a FDA. The FDA may be used for education, job training, home ownership, home improvement, or small business capitalization. The total deposits to a FDA in any calendar year shall not exceed $2000 and the total balance of a FDA shall not exceed $50,000. If money is withdrawn from a FDA for any purpose other than those specified, the funds will be subject to tax and all matching funds will be forfeited. Administrative costs are limited to no more than 20% of reserve funds for each of the first two years of the program and no more than 15% for subsequent years. No FDA funds may be used for administrative costs.

FDA funds and interest are tax exempt, except for withholding taxes. Tax credits will be given to contributors, up to $50,000. FDA funds will also be disregarded when determining eligibility to receive public assistance. Family Development Accounts were contained in SB 97 and HB 349 (1999).