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Essex County Welfare Board v. Department of Institutions and Agencies

Decided: January 21, 1976.

ESSEX COUNTY WELFARE BOARD, APPELLANT,
v.
DEPARTMENT OF INSTITUTIONS AND AGENCIES AND EVYONNE YORK, RESPONDENTS



Lynch, Larner and Fulop.

Per Curiam

The Essex County Welfare Board appeals from the fair hearing decision of the Division of Public Welfare, Department of Institutions and Agencies, ordering the Board to restore training allowance and child care payments to Evyonne York.

Mrs. York has three children. She is a student at Kean College. In 1974 she finished a two-year course and was awarded a certificate as an Associate in Science. She has been receiving aid to families with dependent children (AFDC). For the first two years of her schooling she also received service payments for expenses incidental to training and for child care allowance. All these were received through the Essex County Welfare Board.

She is continuing her course at Kean College. On September 20, 1974 the Board notified Mrs. York of its intention to terminate her service payments in accordance with a policy of the Essex Board to disallow service payments to

recipients after successful completion of two years of college training. The Essex Board has determined that after training for that length of time an aid recipient has marketable skills and should employ them to earn. It therefore adopted and applied in this case a policy not to finance further education.

Mrs. York demanded a fair hearing. It was held. The hearing officer determined that the applicable regulation, F.A.M. § 420.1, requires the local board to make an individual determination of a recipient's eligibility for training allowance and child care. Since the Essex Board had not done so but had applied a general rule cutting off such aid after two years, the hearing officer recommended that the action of the local board be reversed and that service payments be restored.

The Division's Decisional Panel adopted the recommendation of the hearing officer. This appeal followed.

New Jersey has voluntarily chosen to participate in the jointly funded federal-state AFDC program. N.J.S.A. 44:10-1 et seq. Receipt of federal funding by the State for the program is dependent on state conformity to the requirements of the Federal Social Security Act (42 U.S.C.A. § 601 et seq.) and those regulations promulgated thereunder by the federal Department of Health, Education, and Welfare (45 C.F.R. § 201 et seq.). See King v. Smith , 392 U.S. 309, 88 S. Ct. 2128, 20 L. Ed. 2d 1118 (1968); Hausman v. N.J. Dept. of Institutions and Agencies , 64 N.J. 202 (1974), cert. den. 417 U.S. 955, 94 S. Ct. 3083, 41 L. Ed. 2d 674 (1974). The New Jersey Legislature has authorized and directed the Commissioner of Institutions and Agencies to do everything necessary to maximize such federal funding and to promulgate all necessary rules, regulations and administrative orders for that purpose. N.J.S.A. 44:10-3.

Among the federal regulatory requirements is the mandate found at 45 C.F.R. § 205.100(a)(i). That section provides that a state plan under the AFDC program must be administered

or supervised by a single state agency. Specifically with regard to service payments of the type involved in the instant case, 45 C.F.R. § 220.2(a) requires a single state agency to provide or supervise all services included in the state plan. Additionally, 45 C.F.R. § 220.2(b)(1) and (2) provide that the single unit supervising services is responsible for the "development of policy and the maintenance of policy control for all parts of the service program" and must "direct program supervision of the local agency or otherwise be in a position to assure proper program implementation."

Thus, pursuant to federal mandate, the AFDC program in New Jersey must be administered according to the rules and regulations of a single state agency. In New Jersey that agency is the Division of Public Welfare, Department of Institutions and Agencies. County welfare boards are established to administer the AFDC program locally but always in conformity with ...


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