October 7, 1999

The Honorable Board of Supervisors

County of Los Angeles

383 Kenneth Hahn Hall of Administration

500 West Temple Street

Los Angeles, California 90012

Dear Supervisors:



Approve the attached County implementation plan for the new CalWORKs Diversion program to begin December, 1999 which provides a lump sum payment to eligible CalWORKs applicants to help them get or keep a job and divert them from long term cash assistance.


On January 6, 1998, your Board approved the County's CalWORKs Plan which outlined a broad framework within which the County would develop its Countywide Implementation of CalWORKs. This letter transmits the County's detailed plan for providing Diversion payments to CalWORKs eligible applicants who are able to become self-sufficient without long term cash assistance. Diversion is designed to offer CalWORKs applicants an up-front lump sum payment to help secure or retain employment and divert these applicants from ongoing CalWORKs assistance.


Many families do not want to seek welfare assistance. However, due to unforeseen circumstances they may need a one-time lump sum assistance payment to help them get or keep a job. The CalWORKs Diversion plan is based on the belief that, if qualified families have access to funds which could remove barriers to employment, they would opt to receive the one-time payment and, therefore, remain off public assistance.

12860 CROSSROADS PARKWAY SOUTH, CITY OF INDUSTRY, CALIFORNIA 91746 / TEL (562) 908-8400 / FAX (562) 908-0459

The Honorable Board of Supervisors

October 7, 1999

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The goal of this program is to provide qualified applicants a viable alternative to CalWORKs assistance and keep them on the road to self-sufficiency.

All CalWORKs applicants will receive information on the Diversion program; although, an actual offer of the Diversion assistance will be made only to those applicants who meet the specific criteria for the Diversion program. The County has sole discretion in determining when it would be appropriate to offer a lump-sum payment to an applicant.

Program safeguards, including clearances on Statewide and local participant databases; utilization of Early Fraud Investigators; utilization of the Automated Fingerprint Image Reporting and Match (AFIRM) system; verification of need and expenditure and issuance of two party checks, will ensure the integrity of the Diversion program and help prevent fraud.

DPSS obtained data from other Southern California counties and several states which have implemented Diversion programs. In these jurisdictions, an average of three Diversion payments were issued per month. Payments ranging from $500 to $2,250 were issued for such emergency needs as auto repair, housing, child care and the cost of relocation to obtain or maintain employment.


There is no fiscal impact. The estimated total cost is approximately $4.2 million which has been included in our FY 1999-2000 budget.


The cost for Diversion payments is covered by Federal/State funds. The County share of cost is approximately 2.5% which is consistent with our current share of grant payments to CalWORKs participants.


AB 1542, the State's Welfare Reform law that created CalWORKs mandated a Diversion program. Each county, however, is allowed to exercise discretion in the determination of the criteria for, and the amount and frequency of, its own benefits. A fiscal advantage for counties is that Welfare and Institutions Code section 10544.1 counts positive outcomes resulting from the Diversion program toward the county's incentive funding. However, to receive credit, applicants must be diverted from the CalWORKs program for at least six months following the Diversion period, the number of months covered by the Diversion payment.


Implementation of this program will impact the CalWORKs applicants in the following ways:

The Honorable Board of Supervisors

October 7, 1999

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Repayment may be made in one of three ways:

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