FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 6, 2000
Contact: Pauline Notch
County to Implement
State-Required Fingerprint "Imaging"
(Santa Ana) New
technology will go into use next month as the Countys
Social Services Agency (SSA) implements a state requirement
to collect scanned fingerprint and photo images of all
CalWORKS and food stamp recipients.
"This new requirement is simply another piece of
identification, such as a Social Security number which
we already gather, that will be compulsory for all current
recipients and new applicants," said Larry Leaman,
SSA Director. "The images will become part of a statewide
Social Services database that will help prevent potential
welfare fraud. The fingerprints will not be shared with
any other agency including local police and sheriffs
departments or immigration services. Using this tool as
another screening method will help us ensure that only
eligible people receive this aid."
Beginning in July, all new applicants must comply with
this requirement. CalWORKs and food stamp recipients will
be phased in over the next 12 months. Also beginning next
month, appointment letters will be mailed to clients with
instructions to visit the Santa Ana, Anaheim, Garden Grove
or Laguna Hills offices. At the office, the recipient
will be asked to place two fingers on an electronic scan
screen. The equipment obtains an electronic scan of the
fingerprints and a computer photo image of the client.
These images will be matched against other California
welfare recipients to alert for any attempts to receive
duplicate aid. The program requires that the fingerprints
and photo image also be obligatory for the parents or
caretakers of children receiving assistance, even though
the adults do not receive aid. The same requirement holds
true for any applicant or aided adult who is 18 or over.
"Because it would be the adults, not the children,
who would make application for assistance, the program
requires that we gather their fingerprints and photo image
whether or not they receive aid, and whether or
not they are citizens," said Leaman. "But I
would remind the public that the results of this new method
of gathering identification will only be used within the
social services database and not with any other agency."
The state law that created this program requires that
failure to comply with the fingerprint imaging requirement
will result in denial or discontinuance of benefits for
the entire family.