Existing law  generally provides for various human services programs, including, but not limited to, child welfare services. Existing law requires the state, through the department and county welfare departments, to establish and support a public system of statewide child welfare services to be available in each county of the state, and requires all counties to establish and maintain specialized organizational entities within the county welfare department, which have sole responsibility for the operation of the child welfare services program.
This bill would require the State Department of Social Services to establish a stipend program, subject to an appropriation by the Legislature, for the purpose of providing grants in the form of educational stipends to community college students who have an interest in public child welfare work. The bill would require the department to administer the program through existing mechanisms applicable to other postsecondary education stipend programs administered by the department for which the state receives matching funds pursuant to specified federal law. The bill would require the program to provide stipends to students who either reside in, or are enrolled in a community college in, counties with a population of 500,000 or less, and who are in a relevant program of coursework, as specified.
Existing law vests the Department of Human Resources with the jurisdiction and responsibility of establishing and maintaining personnel standards on a merit basis, and administering merit systems for local government agencies where those merit systems of employment are required by statute or regulation as a condition of a state-funded program or a federal grant-in-aid program established under federal law, including, but not limited to, the Social Security Act, as specified. Existing law requires the department, for the purposes of administering those state or federally supported programs, by regulation, to establish and maintain personnel standards on a merit basis for local agencies, as specified, as necessary for proper and efficient administration, and to ensure state conformity with applicable federal requirements. Existing law requires the department to administer the merit system for employees engaged in administering state-funded and federal grant-in-aid programs in a local agency not administering its own merit system, as specified.
This bill, notwithstanding those provisions, would require the department, for specified local agencies with an employment vacancy rate of 20% or greater for 30 consecutive days in any state-funded or federal grant-in-aid program, to allow those agencies to use alternate processes to screen applications and establish eligibility lists for recruitment of new staff, and advancement of existing staff, until the vacancy rate falls below 20 percent continuously for 3 consecutive months. The bill would authorize those alternatives to include allowing counties to screen and establish eligibility lists directly with oversight by the department, implementing alternative examination requirements without advance approval by the department, and waiving examination components. If the employees are represented by an employee organization, as specified, the bill would authorize a local agency to implement alternative examination requirements or waive examination components only after meeting and conferring with, and obtaining mutual agreement from, the employee organization. The bill would authorize the alternative processes to be implemented until January 1, 2029. The bill would require the department, by July 1, 2026, to convene representatives of local agencies and applicable state departments, including, but not limited to, the State Department of Social Services, the Department of Child Support Services, and representatives from employee organizations that represent local agency employees, to develop and implement streamlined processes and requirements in the implementation of a merit-based personnel system for local agencies that are not implementing their own merit systems. The bill would require the department to implement any policy changes through departmental memoranda until regulations are adopted, and would require those regulations to be adopted by July 1, 2027.