Legislature(2015 - 2016)BUTROVICH 205
01/27/2016 01:30 PM HEALTH & SOCIAL SERVICES
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SB 145-DAY CARE ASSISTANCE & CHILD CARE GRANTS 1:53:17 PM CHAIR STEDMAN announced the consideration of SB 145. He noted it is the first hearing on the bill and is sponsored by the Office of the Governor. SEAN O'BRIEN, Director, Division of Public Assistance (DPA), Department of Health and Social Services (DHSS), presented information on SB 145. He related that the Child Care Program Office administers the federal Child Care Development Program, which provides child care funding for qualified low income individuals. It offers temporary assistance programs to support those individuals so they can return to work. He explained that SB 145 would allow for the collection of overpayments and the garnishment of PFDs when necessary. There is currently no garnish option, only voluntary repayment. MR. O'BRIEN stated that the bill addresses four aspects: it supports the compliance with the Child Care Development Program to recover improper or fraudulent payments and addresses a gap in DPA's authority to refute those payments, it provides consistency of collection and practices within DPA programs streamlining the collection process and releasing an amount of staff time in collection attempts, it enables an alternative source of recruitment when the recipient does not voluntarily repay the overpayment, and it allows the division to leverage an estimated $500,000 in the future to help cover the cost of this effort. 1:56:28 PM MR. O'BRIEN reported that Section 1 of the bill contains the statutes that would allow the division to move forward. He said the bill provides for a long-needed change. He noted an attached zero fiscal note. 1:57:00 PM SENATOR STOLTZE asked how far the reach back to recover funds goes. MR. O'BRIEN said the effectual date of the bill is July 1, 2016. SENATOR STOLTZE asked if the bill reaches back to FY 15. MR. O'BRIEN deferred to Ms. Kraly to answer. 1:58:45 PM STACIE KRALY, Assistant Attorney General, Human Services Section, Department of Law, answered questions related to SB 145. She said the effective date is July 1, 2016, which allows the Division to garnish the 2016 PFD and also collect past debts. SENATOR STOLTZE asked if collected funds go back to the general fund. MR. O'BRIEN explained that the monies collected would go back into the federal fund account. 2:00:41 PM JANICE BRADEN, Program Manager; Child Care Program Office, Division of Public Assistance (DPA), Department of Health and Social Services (DHSS), answered questions related to SB 145. She agreed that all collected funds would be returned to the federal account. SENATOR STOLTZE asked for the method of appropriation. MS. BRADEN offered to get back to the committee on that. 2:02:08 PM SENATOR GIESSEL referred to page 2, line 2, of the bill and inquired how far back the recovery process could go. MR. O'BRIEN understood that the program would have a one-year look back period from July 1, 2016. CHAIR STEDMAN requested more information about the amount of unpaid monies looking back. SENATOR STOLTZE asked whether a federal audit initiated the bill. 2:04:15 PM MS. BRADEN explained that the Child Care Assistance Program is funded through the Child Care and Development Fund and has a requirement to recoup improper or fraudulent payments. There are regulations in place that support that policy. Currently, there is no ability for anything but a voluntary repayment. SENATOR STOLTZE asked what caused the overpayments. CHAIR STEDMAN requested that the division provide that information at a later date. 2:06:15 PM SENATOR ELLIS provided a brief history of the program under Governor Wally Hickel. He shared a story about Governor Hickel's plan to get rid of day care assistance and child care grants. The legislature informed Governor Hickel that the monies were primarily federal funded. Senator Ellis described a button he made that said "Day Care Prevents Welfare," which was noticed by Mrs. Hickel who then influenced the Governor's decision to continue to accept federal funding for day care assistance and child care. 2:07:57 PM CHAIR STEDMAN opened public hearing, and seeing no testifiers, closed public hearing. CHAIR STEDMAN held SB 145 in committee. MR. O'BRIEN offered to provide the requested information to the committee at the next hearing.