Connecticut Seal

Substitute House Bill No. 5482

Public Act No. 05-244

AN ACT CONCERNING THE IMPLEMENTATION OF THE RECOMMENDATIONS OF THE CHILD POVERTY COUNCIL.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Assembly convened:

Section 1. Section 4-67x of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective from passage):

(a) There shall be a Child Poverty Council consisting of the following members or their designees: The Secretary of the Office of Policy and Management, the president pro tempore of the Senate, the speaker of the House of Representatives, the minority leader of the Senate and the minority leader of the House of Representatives, the Commissioners of Children and Families, Social Services, Correction, Mental Retardation, Mental Health and Addiction Services, Transportation, Public Health, Education, Economic and Community Development and Health Care Access, the Labor Commissioner, the Chairman of the Board of Governors for Higher Education, the Child Advocate, the chairperson of the State Prevention Council, the chairperson of the Children's Trust Fund and the executive [director] directors of the Commission on Children and the Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities. The Secretary of the Office of Policy and Management, or the secretary's designee, shall be the chairperson of the council. The council shall develop a ten-year plan, to begin June 8, 2004, to reduce the number of children living in poverty in the state by fifty per cent.

(b) The plan shall contain: (1) An identification and analysis of the occurrence of child poverty in the state, (2) an analysis of the long-term effects of child poverty on children, their families and their communities, (3) an analysis of costs of child poverty to municipalities and the state, (4) an inventory of state-wide public and private programs that address child poverty, (5) the percentage of the target population served by such programs and the current state funding levels, if any, for such programs, (6) an identification and analysis of any deficiencies or inefficiencies of such programs, and (7) procedures and priorities for implementing strategies to achieve a fifty per cent reduction in child poverty in the state by June 30, 2014. Such procedures and priorities shall include, but not be limited to, (A) vocational training and placement to promote career progression [,] for parents of children living in poverty, (B) educational opportunities, including higher education opportunities, and advancement for such parents and children, including, but not limited to, preliteracy, literacy and family literacy programs, (C) housing for such parents and children, (D) day care and after-school programs and mentoring programs for such children and for single parents, (E) health care access for such parents and children, including access to mental health services and family planning, (F) treatment programs and services, including substance abuse programs and services, for such parents and children, and (G) accessible childhood nutrition programs.

(c) In developing the plan, the council shall consult with experts and providers of services to children living in poverty and parents of such children. The council shall hold at least one public hearing on the plan. After the public hearing, the council may make any modifications that the members deem necessary based on testimony given at the public hearing.

(d) Funds from private and public sources may be accepted and utilized by the council to develop and implement the plan and the provisions of this section.

(e) Not later than January 1, 2005, the council shall submit the plan, in accordance with section 11-4a, to the joint standing committees of the General Assembly having cognizance of matters relating to appropriations and human services and to the select committee of the General Assembly having cognizance of matters relating to children, along with any recommendations for legislation and funding necessary to implement the plan.

(f) On or before January 1, 2006, and annually thereafter, until January 1, 2015, the council shall report, in accordance with section 11-4a, to the joint standing committees of the General Assembly having cognizance of matters relating to appropriations and human services and to the select committee of the General Assembly having cognizance of matters relating to children on the implementation of the plan, [and] progress made toward meeting the child poverty reduction goal specified in subsection (a) of this section and the extent to which state actions are in conformity with the plan. The council shall meet at least two times annually to review and coordinate state agency efforts to meet the child poverty reduction goal specified in subsection (a) of this section.

(g) Not later than July 1, 2006, the Office of Policy and Management shall, within available appropriations, develop a protocol requiring state contracts for programs aimed at reducing poverty for children and families to include performance-based standards and outcome measures related to the child poverty reduction goal specified in subsection (a) of this section. Not later than July 1, 2007, the Office of Policy and Management shall, within available appropriations, require such state contracts to include such performance-based standards and outcomes. The Secretary of the Office of Policy and Management may consult with the commission on children to identify academic, private and other available funding sources and may accept and utilize funds from private and public sources to implement the provisions of this section.

[(g)] (h) For purposes of this section, the Secretary of the Office of Policy and Management, or the secretary's designee, shall be responsible for coordinating all necessary activities, including, but not limited to, scheduling and presiding over meetings and public hearings.

[(h)] (i) The council shall terminate on June 30, 2015.

Sec. 2. Section 17b-16 of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective October 1, 2005):

The Labor Department, in cooperation with the Department of Social Services, shall provide information and assistance in obtaining, within available appropriations, the federal earned income credit established pursuant to 26 USC 32, to each applicant for or recipient of assistance from the department. The Labor Department, in cooperation with the Department of Revenue Services, shall promote the earned income credit program to recipients of benefits pursuant to section 17b-112. The Department of Social Services, in consultation with the Child Poverty Council, shall, within available appropriations, promote greater utilization of the federal earned income credit to municipalities, public and private employers, community-based organizations and other entities that have frequent contact with low-income families and shall enhance financial literacy and self-sufficiency programs. School and business partnership funds, private funds and other available funds may be used for purposes of this section.

Sec. 3. (Effective from passage) Within available appropriations, the Board of Trustees for Community-Technical Colleges may establish up to three pilot programs to provide for student household and family expenses of students with dependents while such students are attending a community-technical college. Participation in the pilot program shall be limited to students who are eligible for a federal Pell grant.

Approved July 8, 2005