Social Services should require county CWS agencies to file in CWS/CMS a detailed justification for any child placed with a foster family agency.
The CDSS continues to disagree with this recommendation and will not implement, because Assembly Bill 403 represents a significant shift in the scope of services provided by foster family agencies (FFAs). CDSS has issued All County Letter (ACL) 16-79, dated September 22, 2016, which describes the phased-in implementation of the new Home-Based Family Care (HBFC) rate structure for FFAs. Two components have been added to capture the new activities: Resource Family Approval and Services and Supports. The administrative component remains the same. Cost reports will be modified to track the new costs. The new HBFC rate structure will now standardize the rates paid to all resource families regardless of the HBFC setting; i.e., placed in a county resource family approved home or in an FFA. The child/youth's need for services will no longer be limited to the placement types. Additionally, FFAs will now expand their scope of services and supports to relatives and non-FFA homes.
CDSS continues its efforts to change state statutes and regulations, and to revise and establish a new foster family agency rate methodology to be implemented as part of Continuum of Care Reform (CCR). These ongoing reform efforts also will establish a process to make placement decisions based on the needs of a child or youth and not on the placement type. Moreover, CDSS continues its work with stakeholders, counties, and foster care providers to revise the rate structure, so that it is relevant and comprehensive and aligned with the requirements of CCR and Assembly Bill 403.
Partially Corrected. With the implementation of the recommendations contained in the Continuum of Care Reform's (CCR) report to the Legislature caseworkers will assess and document the needs of each child to determine the level of services required and the appropriate placement setting that will meet that child's identified needs. It is anticipated that this process will be operational in 2017. Development of new assessment will include instructions to counties and mechanisms for oversight.
Remains Not Implemented/Agree with Recommendation. The legislation that would have required the system change to CWS/CMS was withdrawn by the author (AB 1697, Perea, 2012) due to significant costs associated with the change. The CDSS continues work with the Program Impact Advisory Committee (PIAC) to explore a change to the CWS/CMS, which will create a field or fields within the system for county placing agencies to document their justifications for placement of a child within a foster family agency. However, the PIAC for the CWS/CMS has identified necessary system changes through Spring of 2015 resulting in this request being held for later reconsideration.
CDSS is currently exploring the utilization of the data entry instructions created in response to AB 74 that added Welfare and Institutions Code Section 16010.8 requiring CDSS to report to the Legislature on the outcomes of the assessment of youth in group care for longer than one year, and the outcomes of transitions or plans to transition youth to family settings. Due to the inability of the existing CWS/CMS system to collect this specific information, CDSS has had to develop an interim solution with instructions for counties to document in various fields in the CWS/CMS the results of the assessment and justification for continued placement of children in group care. CDSS is in the process of issuing the ACL with these instructions. Once issued, CDSS will be developing ad hoc reports and conducting random case reviews to determine whether these instructions yielded the required information. If successful, CDSS will work with stakeholders to collect similar information for placement of children into FFA, pending a larger system fix and for improved efficiency.
Social Services indicated that a workgroup has identified potential locations in CWS/CMS that can be modified to provide a consistent location to input and track placement justifications. However, the department stated the earliest that these changes could occur, due to funding constraints and other priorities, is in fall 2013. Moreover, Assembly Bill 1697, as amended in March 2012, would have required Social Services to designate a separate field in CWS/CMS for county CWS agencies to record reasons for placing a child with a foster family agency or group home and would have required a CWS agency to file this information in the system when a placement is made. However, this bill was not enacted during the 2011–12 legislative session.
Agency responses received after June 2013 are posted verbatim.