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49.265(2)(a)1.1. A community action agency is any of the entities specified in par. (b) that meets the following conditions:
49.265(2)(a)1.a. a. Is capable of performing the functions specified in sub. (3).
49.265(2)(a)1.b. b. Receives the approval of the secretary.
49.265(2)(a)1.c. c. Receives the approval of the county board of supervisors, if the community action agency serves an entire county, or, if the agency serves a city, village or town, receives the approval of the city's, village's or town's legislative body.
49.265(2)(a)2. 2. Each private, nonprofit community action agency shall be governed by a board consisting of 15 to 51 members, chosen from the following groups:
49.265(2)(a)2.a. a. One-third of the members shall be elected public officials or their representatives. If the number of elected public officials who are reasonably available and willing to serve on a governing board is insufficient to meet this requirement, appointed public officials may be substituted. The chief executive or the legislative body of the county, city, village or town that approved the creation of a community action agency under subd. 1. c. shall appoint these members.
49.265(2)(a)2.b. b. At least one-third of the members shall represent poor persons in the community to be served by the community action agency, being chosen in accordance with democratic selection procedures adequate to ensure that they are selected by and that they represent poor persons.
49.265(2)(a)2.c. c. The remaining members shall represent specific groups or areas within the community to be served by the community action agency. The members selected under subd. 2. a. and b. shall determine which groups or areas are to be represented and shall delegate to the group, or to residents of the area, the task of selecting the representative. Representatives of an area of the community shall reside within that area.
49.265(2)(a)3. 3. Each community relations-social development commission created under s. 66.0125 that acts as a community action agency shall modify the composition of its commission so that the commission is composed of 15 to 51 members, chosen from the groups specified in subd. 2. a. to c.
49.265(2)(b) (b) The following entities may organize as community action agencies:
49.265(2)(b)1. 1. Any private, nonprofit community organization, including any migrant or seasonal farm worker organization.
49.265(2)(b)2. 2. Any community relations-social development commission created under s. 66.0125.
49.265(2)(b)3. 3. Any entity designated by the community services administration as a community action agency under 42 USC 2790 to 2797, in effect on August 1, 1981, for federal fiscal year 1981, unless the agency lost its designation. Any such entity is deemed to meet the conditions under par. (a) 1.
49.265(2)(c) (c) The approval of a community action agency may be rescinded but only if there is good cause and if the decision to rescind is made by both the legislative body of the county, city, village or town that granted the approval and the secretary. At least 90 days before rescinding approval, the legislative body or secretary shall notify the community action agency of its reasons for the action and hold a public hearing in the community concerning the action.
49.265(3) (3) Powers and duties.
49.265(3)(a)(a) A community action agency shall do all of the following:
49.265(3)(a)1. 1. Administer funds received under sub. (4) and funds from other sources provided to support a community action program.
49.265(3)(a)2. 2. Set personnel, program and fiscal policies. Each community action agency shall set policies and procedures governing employee compensation and employment qualifications for itself and its agents. These policies and procedures shall ensure that employment practices are impartial and are designed to employ only competent persons, and shall guard against personal or financial conflicts of interest. Each community action agency shall also define the duties of its employees regarding advocacy on behalf of poor persons.
49.265(3)(a)3. 3. Involve, to the greatest extent practicable, poor persons in developing and implementing programs in order to ensure that these programs:
49.265(3)(a)3.a. a. Will stimulate the capabilities of these persons for self-advancement.
49.265(3)(a)3.b. b. Will be meaningful to and widely utilized by these persons.
49.265(3)(a)4. 4. Allow poor persons to influence the character of programs operated by the community action agency.
49.265(3)(a)5. 5. Involve members of the community in planning, conducting and evaluating its programs.
49.265(3)(a)6. 6. Conduct its program in a manner free of discrimination based on political affiliation and of personal or familial favoritism. Each community action agency shall establish policies and procedures to carry out this requirement and to hold staff members accountable for complying with matters governed by this section and by other state or federal laws, rules or regulations.
49.265(3)(a)7. 7. Release any record of the community action agency for examination or copying upon request, unless disclosure would constitute an unwarranted invasion of an individual's privacy. Each community action agency shall require its agents to make their records similarly available. Each community action agency shall hold public hearings on request to provide information and to receive comments about its activities.
49.265(3)(a)8. 8. Appoint a representative or representatives to the citizen advisory committee under s. 49.325 (3) (a), in order to participate in developing and implementing programs designed to serve the poor.
49.265(3)(b) (b) A community action agency may:
49.265(3)(b)1. 1. Approve program plans and priorities.
49.265(3)(b)2. 2. Resolve internal personnel or fiscal matters.
49.265(3)(b)3. 3. Create a community action program. If the community action agency creates a program, it shall plan, coordinate, administer and evaluate the program. A community action program may include provisions that will help poor persons:
49.265(3)(b)3.a. a. Secure and retain employment.
49.265(3)(b)3.b. b. Improve their education.
49.265(3)(b)3.c. c. Make better use of available income.
49.265(3)(b)3.d. d. Obtain and maintain adequate housing and a suitable living environment.
49.265(3)(b)3.e. e. Secure needed transportation.
49.265(3)(b)3.f. f. Obtain emergency assistance. Through its program, the community action agency may provide emergency supplies or services to meet basic needs.
49.265(3)(b)3.g. g. Participate in community affairs.
49.265(3)(b)3.h. h. Use more effectively other available programs.
49.265(3)(b)4. 4. Create methods by which poor persons can work with private groups to solve common problems.
49.265(3)(b)5. 5. Research the causes of and problems created by poverty in the community.
49.265(3)(b)6. 6. Determine if programs to reduce poverty are working effectively.
49.265(3)(b)7. 7. Initiate and sponsor projects to aid poor persons that provide otherwise unavailable services.
49.265(3)(b)8. 8. Transmit information between public and private organizations and otherwise coordinate the provision of public and private social services programs to eliminate overlap and ensure effective delivery of the programs.
49.265(3)(b)9. 9. Contract with other persons to perform the community action agency's functions. The community action agency may delegate responsibility for funding or administering its programs or for making policy determinations concerning a particular geographic area of the community it serves only if poor persons represent at least one-third of the members of the governing body of the agent being delegated this responsibility.
49.265(3)(b)10. 10. Apply for funds from various sources to support a community action program.
49.265(3)(b)11. 11. Provide, to individuals who work at least 20 hours per week and whose earned income is at or below 150 percent of the poverty line, a program of skills enhancement that shall include access to transportation, child care, career counseling, job placement assistance, and financial support for education and training.
49.265(4) (4) Funding.
49.265(4)(a)(a) The department shall distribute the federal community services block grant funds received under 42 USC 9903 and credited to the appropriation account under s. 20.437 (2) (mg).
49.265(4)(b) (b) The department shall allocate at least 90 percent of the funds received under 42 USC 9903 to community action agencies and organizations.
49.265(4)(c) (c) The department may not allocate more than 5 percent of the funds received under 42 USC 9903 for state administrative expenses.
49.265(4)(cm) (cm) From the appropriation under s. 20.437 (2) (fr), the department of children and families shall distribute grants to community action agencies to provide the skills enhancement services specified under sub. (3) (b) 11.
49.265(4)(d) (d) Before January 1 of each year the department shall contract with each agency and organization being funded, specifying the amount of money the organization will receive under this section and the activities to be carried out by the organization.
49.265(5) (5) City, village or town assistance. A city, village or town may appropriate funds for promoting and assisting a community action agency.
49.265(6) (6) Reports. At least annually, the secretary shall submit a report to the chief clerk of each house of the legislature, for distribution to the appropriate standing committees under s. 13.172 (3), concerning activities of community action agencies under this section and their effectiveness in promoting social and economic opportunities for poor persons.
49.265 History History: 1983 a. 27, 538; 1985 a. 29; 1989 a. 31; 1991 a. 39; 1995 a. 27; 1997 a. 27; 1999 a. 150 ss. 451, 672; 2007 a. 20 ss. 796, 1076 to 1095; Stats. 2007 s. 49.265; 2009 a. 11, 265; 2011 a. 32; 2021 a. 239.
49.27 49.27 Legal actions. The department may sue and be sued.
49.27 History History: 2007 a. 20.
49.273 49.273 Research, investigations. The secretary shall plan for and establish within the department a program of research designed to determine the effectiveness of the treatment, curative, and rehabilitative programs of the various divisions of the department. The secretary may inquire into any matter affecting children and families, hold hearings, subpoena witnesses and make recommendations on those matters to the appropriate public or private agencies.
49.273 History History: 2007 a. 20.
49.275 49.275 Cooperation with federal government. The department may cooperate with the federal government in carrying out federal acts concerning public assistance under this subchapter, child welfare under ch. 48, and community-based juvenile delinquency-related services under ch. 938 and in other matters of mutual concern pertaining to public welfare, child welfare, and juvenile delinquency under this subchapter and chs. 48 and 938.
49.275 History History: 1995 a. 27; 2007 a. 20; 2015 a. 55.
49.29 49.29 Loss of eligibility. If a court finds or it is determined after an administrative hearing that meets the requirements in regulations of the federal department of health and human services under 42 USC 616 (b) that an individual who is a member of a family applying for or receiving aid under s. 49.19, for the purpose of establishing or maintaining eligibility for aid under s. 49.19 or of increasing the amount of aid received under s. 49.19, intentionally made a false or misleading statement, intentionally misrepresented or withheld facts or committed an act intended to mislead or to misrepresent or withhold facts, the department shall consider the income and assets of the person but shall remove the needs of the person in determining the amount of any payment made to the person's family under s. 49.19 as follows:
49.29(1) (1)Upon the first occurrence, for 6 months.
49.29(2) (2)Upon the 2nd occurrence, for one year.
49.29(3) (3)Upon the 3rd occurrence, permanently.
49.29 History History: 1985 a. 29; 1991 a. 313; 1993 a. 16; 1995 a. 27 ss. 2787, 2919.
49.32 49.32 Department; powers and duties.
49.32(1)(1)Uniform fee schedule, liability and collections.
49.32(1)(a) (a) Except as provided in s. 49.345 (14) (b) and (c), the department shall establish a uniform system of fees for services under this subchapter and ch. 48, and community-based juvenile delinquency-related services under ch. 938, purchased or provided by the department or by a county department under s. 46.215, 46.22, or 46.23, except as provided in s. 49.22 (6) and except when, as determined by the department, a fee is administratively unfeasible or would significantly prevent accomplishing the purpose of the service. A county department under s. 46.215, 46.22, or 46.23 shall apply the fees that it collects under this program to cover the cost of those services.
49.32(1)(am) (am) Paragraph (a) does not prevent the department from charging and collecting the cost of adoptive placement investigations and child care as authorized under s. 48.837 (7).
49.32(1)(ap) (ap) Paragraph (a) does not prevent a county department under s. 46.215, 46.22, or 46.23 from charging and collecting the cost of an examination ordered under s. 938.295 (2) (a) as authorized under s. 938.295 (2) (c).
49.32(1)(b) (b) Except as provided in s. 49.345 (14) (b) and (c), any person receiving services purchased or provided under par. (a) or the spouse of the person and, in the case of a minor, the parents of the person, and, in the case of a foreign child described in s. 48.839 (1) who became dependent on public funds for his or her primary support before an order granting his or her adoption, the resident of this state appointed guardian of the child by a foreign court who brought the child into this state for the purpose of adoption, shall be liable for the services in the amount of the fee established under par. (a).
49.32(1)(c) (c) The department shall make collections from the person who in the opinion of the department is best able to pay, giving due regard to the present needs of the person or of his or her lawful dependents. The department may bring an action in the name of the department to enforce the liability established under par. (b). This paragraph does not apply to the recovery of fees for the care and services specified under s. 49.345.
49.32(1)(d) (d) The department may compromise or waive all or part of the liability for services received. The sworn statement of the secretary shall be evidence of the services provided and the fees charged for the services.
49.32(1)(e) (e) The department may delegate to county departments under s. 46.215, 46.22 or 46.23 and other providers of care and services the powers and duties vested in the department by pars. (c) and (d) as it considers necessary to efficiently administer this subsection, subject to such conditions as the department considers appropriate.
49.32(1)(g) (g) The department shall return to county departments under s. 46.215, 46.22 or 46.23 50 percent of collections made by the department for delinquent accounts previously delegated under par. (e) and then referred back to the department for collections.
49.32(2) (2) Payment of benefits.
49.32(2)(a)(a) The department may make payments directly to recipients of public assistance or to such persons authorized to receive such payments in accordance with law and rules of the department on behalf of the counties. The department may charge the counties for the cost of operating public assistance systems which make such payments.
49.32(2)(b) (b) The department may make social services payments and payments for community-based juvenile delinquency-related services directly to recipients, vendors, or providers in accordance with law and rules of the department on behalf of the counties that have contracts to have those payments made on their behalf.
49.32(2)(c) (c) A county department under s. 46.215, 46.22 or 46.23 shall provide the department with information which the department shall use to determine each person's eligibility and amount of payment. A county department under s. 46.215, 46.22 or 46.23 shall provide the department all necessary information in the manner prescribed by the department.
49.32(2)(d) (d) The department shall disburse from state or federal funds or both the entire amount and charge the county for its share under s. 48.569.
49.32(3) (3) Uniform manual. The department shall adopt policies and procedures and a uniform county policy and procedure manual to minimize unnecessary variations between counties in the administration of the aid to families with dependent children program. The department shall also require each county to use the manual in the administration of the program.
49.32(4) (4) Employment of aid recipients. The department shall assist state agencies in efforts under s. 230.147 to employ recipients of aid under s. 49.19.
49.32(5) (5) Employment and training and education manual. The department shall produce a manual describing employment and training and education programs for which recipients of public assistance benefits under this subchapter may qualify. The department shall distribute the manual, free of charge, to each county department under s. 46.215, 46.22 or 46.23.
49.32(6) (6) Welfare reform studies. The department shall request proposals from persons in this state for studies of the effectiveness of various program changes, referred to as welfare reform, to the aid to families with dependent children program, including the requirement that certain recipients of aid to families with dependent children with children under age 6 participate in training programs, the learnfare school attendance requirement under s. 49.26 (1) (g) and the modification of the earned income disregard under s. 49.19 (5) (am). The studies shall evaluate the effectiveness of the various efforts, including their cost-effectiveness, in helping individuals gain independence through the securing of jobs and providing financial incentives and in identifying barriers to independence.
49.32(6m) (6m) Milwaukee parental choice program research.
49.32(6m)(a) (a) In this subsection, “qualified independent researcher" means a faculty member of a university who satisfies all of the following:
49.32(6m)(a)1. 1. The faculty member has an approved protocol from an institutional review board for human subjects research to work with data containing personal information for the purposes of evaluating the program under s. 119.23.
2021-22 Wisconsin Statutes updated through 2023 Wis. Act 33 and through all Supreme Court and Controlled Substances Board Orders filed before and in effect on October 4, 2023. Published and certified under s. 35.18. Changes effective after October 4, 2023, are designated by NOTES. (Published 10-4-23)