Questions for the County of San Bernardino, welfare recipients with drug felonies.

The county of San Bernardino has a policy of granting welfare under the Calworks program to parents who have drug felonies. The policy is disguised under the Calworks program where the children are listed as the recipients with the drug felony parent receiving the benefits on behalf of the children.

Calworks as a program has a rigorous work search requirement and is supposed to promote self sufficiency. However, parents who receive welfare benefits under the program for their children are not required to participate in work search programs, nor are they disclosing their actual income to the county. Thus the county is enabling dependency on a welfare program for over 5 years at a stretch.

Perhaps the county can explain how this approach fulfills the requirement of WIC section 10540 as outlined in the County’s Calwork’s addendum which provides that the goal of welfare is to promote self sufficiency and to find work.

The guidelines of the Calworks program CalWORKs Eligibility Handbook specify that there are three categories of person who are not eligible for cash aid permanently or for a specific period of time:

1) Drug Felons
Any persons convicted of a felony related to the possession, use, or distribution of a “controlled substance” will be permanently ineligible for cash aid. At this time, only drugs are considered “controlled substances,” although the legal definition goes beyond that. To be ineligible, the person must have committed the drug-related felony after 8-22-96 and must have been convicted as a drug felon in a state or federal court after 12-31-97.

2) Fleeing Felons
Any person fleeing to avoid felony prosecution, custody or confinement after conviction, or violating a condition of probation or parole will also be permanently ineligible for cash aid. Fleeing to avoid prosecution or custody or confinement after conviction means that a warrant for arrest has been issued. Violating a condition of probation or parole means a warrant has been issued for a crime that violates a condition of probation or parole, or an order has been issued revoking parole or probation.

3) Intentional Program Violators
Persons convicted of Intentional Program Violations (IPVs) are subject to sanctions for specific periods of time or permanently.

The law was enacted in 1997 as defined by the letter from the State of California to California Alcohol and Drug Program Administrators.



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