Licensing Minutes October 13, 2010

LICENSING MIN • 9:30-10:30 AM
October 13, 2010

1. Welcome and Introductions
Federation members present: Jill Clark, Highfields; Brian Philson, Highfields; Heidi Nicewander, Forever Families; Cheryl Giesa, Judson Center; Angela Barney, ChildHelp; Jim Scherrer, Child & Family Services NW; James Juchartz, Child & Family Services NE; Dawn Stewart, Starr Commonwealth; Sabrina Corbin, Starr Commonwealth; Michelle Zalewski, Lutheran Social Services; Kirsta Grapentine, Family Service & Children’s Aid; Teresa Postema, Catholic Charities of West MI; Christine Ball, St. Vincent Catholic Charities; Kari Mascar, St. Francis Family Center; Meredith Smillie, Bethany Christian Services; Jeff Roley, Bethany Christian Services; Kelly Quinn, Vista Maria; Scott Cherry, Eagle Village; Laura Mitchell, Lutheran Social Services MI; Elisha DeVries, Lutheran Social Services MI; Nancy Oliver, Child & Family Services Capitol Area; Laura Hall, Children’s Center; Catherine Nolta, Lutheran Social Services MI; Lena Wilson, Lutheran Social Services MI; Carolyn Rayford, Lutheran Child and Family Services of MI; Cristina Peixoto, Spaulding for Children
Guests: Janice Tribble, BCAL
Federation staff present: Rose Homa, Kadi Janssen

2. Minutes of the June 16, 2010, Joint Licensing/Foster Care MIN meeting, were approved as written.

3. Guest Janice Tribble, of the Bureau of Child and Adult Licensing joined our MIN group. These questions were provided to Janice for clarification, and her responses are below:

a. We have had conflicting messages regarding the required reporting...as an example, DHS contract compliance officers have indicated an incident is required reporting, when licensing consultants have said it is not an incident qualifying as required reporting. This has placed residential providers in a quandary.
-Janice noted that the requirements and standards that BCAL looks at are different than those of the Contract Compliance Unit. Debora Buchanan of the Contract Compliance Unit has hired a lot of new staff in the past few years, and acknowledges some of them may be over zealous. Janice recommends that when in doubt, always call CPS, even if you do not think the claim made is valid; if there is any question that an “incident” could be construed as abuse or neglect, it needs to be reported to CPS, and let them decide what to do with the information and screen it out because the consequences of failure to report can be so detrimental for the agency. Always remember to get a log number of what was put into the SWSS system before you hang up the phone with CPS so that you can keep this in your own records. Janice will encourage Steve Yaeger to send out an L-Letter about the process for the CPS Specialized Unit and Failure to Report; Steve is the person to contact with questions. The failure to report requirement of “2 strikes and you’re out,” refers to citations from BCAL, not from the Contract Compliance Unit. An incident must be reported within 24 hours of its occurrence in order to be in compliance with the BCAL rules, as they have been developed by legal affairs. There is currently no appeal process related to a contract being pulled for failure to report. Failure to report is noted based upon the agency’s license number, so if a single agency has multiple license numbers due to a number of regional branches, then the failure to report incident would apply to that single license number where the incident occurred.
b. I am aware of other facilities having staff placed on Central Registry, and it resulted in their termination. Subsequently, some of those staff have "appealed" and won, while other agencies have been told that there is no "appeal" process. Can you clarify this for us?
-Janice clarified that people who are put on Central Registry cannot work for a child welfare agency. The Child Protection Law outlines that a request for expungement is sent to the local office supervisor and then goes to a hearing. BCAL requests for expungement go to the Central Office in Lansing and are reviewed by two Division Directors who make the decision about whether or not to expunge the record. If a worker stays on Central Registry after this review, the individual cannot work at the agency. A committee with representatives from SCAO, attorneys, Guardian ad Litems, and Child Welfare Supervisors are looking at the Central Registry process as a whole, and the issues related to who gets put on the Registry and the concern of being on it for life. The process will probably change, as research about other states, levels of what puts a person on the Central Registry, and time limits are explored. This committee is looking at a legislative bill sponsor for these changes, as the language is nearly drafted and ready.
c. What's the staffing at BCAL? It seems like the time it is taking to license homes has increased dramatically again.
-BCAL is down several consultants in the field due to retirements, and there are currently 2 reviewers in Lansing. From BCAL’s perspective, they have experienced some frustrations with agencies expecting a fast response on a report. If your agency is experiencing pressure coming from the local DHS to get an approval back quickly, Janice encourages you to let BCAL know of this so BCAL can handle working with the local office on the issue. Janice views every local office as a child placing agency as well because they need to follow the same rules that private agencies do. For Janice the big issue when she receives a bad report from an agency is that the supervisor signed off on the report; the supervisor needs to be reading these reports very thoroughly before signing off on them.

d. What changes to the licensing rules regarding Adoption Evaluation Services and Adoption Placement Services are being considered?
-The Rules Promulgation group for CPA’s has finished their first draft of the rules, and it has been sent on for review. There will be some changes related to adoption evaluation, including clarification on pre-placement visits. Time constraints on how long pre-placement visits can occur for, and when a child needs to be moved towards adoption will be outlined. The adoption evaluation itself will not be that different. One change in both foster care and adoption rules for placement services will be that visits to the home are for the purpose of assessing child safety and well-being and need to be taking place in the home. BCAL is looking to the federal monitoring team for some clarification on how the licensing staff ratios were established and how a caseload is counted.
e. A consultant indicated to an agency that if BCAL calls an agency regarding initial home studies for questions/clarification/more information and such calls occur “too much,” that agency can/will be put on a provisional. Is that true, and if so, is that documented somewhere?
-If BCAL sends a report back to the agency, it means the report has been rejected. If the consultant does not send the report back, but needs additional information so they call the agency or email for additional information, that can be quickly added to the documents and the report will not be considered rejected. If the consultant calls or emails asking for something pretty simple, the worker needs to respond quickly so that it can be handled and the family’s license opened. Nothing results in a status change on the agency’s license until the agency has been made aware about the issues upfront. All provisional licenses have to be approved in Lansing; a consultant cannot issue a provisional without approval from Lansing first. BCAL does not take the issue of a provisional license lightly, but there is of course an obligation for BCAL to be responsive.
To make communication easier with BCAL, make sure your consultant is aware of who at your agency you want notified if there is additional information needed for a report. If you want the supervisor cc’d on the request, be sure to include the supervisor email on the report or let your consultant know of this request. If you feel reports are not being read thoroughly, contact the area manager to let them know there is a problem. Janice will send a list to the Federation about who is working in the BCAL office and all of their contact information to make this process easy.
f. We have foster parents who have been licensed for over 5 years and have not had PRIDE training. They have the required number of pre-licensing hours and continuing training hours but have never completed PRIDE. Do they need to complete PRIDE to stay licensed? If these families go on to adopt, do they need to attend core PRIDE? Similar question: Have there been any identified ways to forego the PRIDE training, when a long- time licensed family (prior to mandatory PRIDE) has applied to adopt a foster child living in their home?
-PRIDE is not a licensing requirement, it is a contract requirement. BCAL is not concerned about whether or not a family has received PRIDE training. Janice did request that this requirement was thrown out and was not successful in doing so.
g. Can Contracts find you in violation of a Failure to Report if BCAL has not found you in violation of the rule. If so, what is the appeal process?
- The failure to report requirement of “2 strikes and you’re out,” refers to citations from BCAL, not from the Contract Compliance Unit. An incident must be reported within 24 hours of its occurrence in order to be in compliance with the BCAL rules, as they have been developed by legal affairs. There is currently no appeal process related to a contract being pulled for failure to report. Failure to report is noted based upon the agency’s license number, so if a single agency has multiple license numbers due to a number of regional branches, then the failure to report incident would apply to that single license number where the incident occurred.
h. Reporting requirement states to report “immediately”…is there a timeframe such as within 1 hour or within 24 hours?
- An incident must be reported within 24 hours of its occurrence in order to be in compliance with the BCAL rules, as they have been developed by legal affairs.
4. The next Licensing MIN meeting will take place January 19, 2011 at 12:30pm.

Independent Living/Homeless Youth Minutes October 13, 2010

October 13, 2010

1. Welcome and Introductions
Federation Members Present: Celia Thoma, Matrix Human Services; Mark Lawrence, Office of Representative Spade; Sandra Ohl, Judson Center; Heidi Nicewander, Forever Families; Jim Scherrer, Child and Family Services NW; Nasreen Paytas, Adoption Option, Inc; Teresa Postema, Catholic Charities West MI; Diana Ripley, Lutheran Social Services of MI; Meredith Smillie, Bethany Christian Services; Jeff Roley, Bethany Christian Services; Kelly Quinn, Vista Maria; Scott Cherry, Eagle Village; Laura Mitchell, Lutheran Social Services of MI; Elisha DeVries, Lutheran Social Services of MI; Karshibia Davidson, Children’s Center; Laura Higle, Children’s Center; Lena Wilson, Lutheran Social Services of MI; Cristina Peixoto, Spaulding for Children
Federation Staff Present: Janet Reynolds Snyder, Rose Homa, Kadi Janssen

2. Minutes of the June 16, 2010, IL/HY MIN meeting were approved as written.

3. Guest Sherie Bailey came to discuss education policy and the role of the 14 Educational Planners at DHS with youth in the foster care system. Sherie asked the group whether agencies have been provided with an assessment to determine a child’s needs when they enter the system, and Federation members reported using the Child and Adolescent Needs and Strengths (CANS). Sherie’s work focuses on youth ages 14 and older in the system; it is helpful to know what makes sense for the workers in the field that can be streamlined to become easier. CANS is not a very effective tool for assessing the child’s educational needs, as it is too broad. The IEP is a useful tool, but we need to approach the use of something that is more effective to assessing the child’s true needs. This is an example of something we could supply to the schools and ask them to help with.

As child welfare workers, we are mandated to do certain things due to the consent decree and federal guidelines, and we need to be taking reasonable steps to be sure a child is registered to be in school within 5 days of a placement change. Continuity of care is critically important. If a foster parent insists a child move schools because it is convenient for the parent, is it appropriate to move the child? When considering what is in the ‘best interest of the child,’ discussion should include: transportation needs, what the impact of changing schools will be, travel time, what school the siblings attend, special education programming, extra curricular activities, how many schools they have attended in the past few years, and supportive relationships that are in their school, should all be considered in the permanency plan. We must be limiting the number of school changes a youth experiences, as we know that each time a youth has a school disruption, it impacts the child’s development and their pace in school. Our children in foster care are already more disadvantaged when it comes to schooling; we need to be sure all resources are exhausted to meet the child’s needs.

The Fostering Connections (2008) and McKinney Vento (2001) Acts are the most applicable pieces of legislation related to a child’s stay in care and educational requirements. In Michigan, if a child is under court jurisdiction and placed in foster care, a school district shall allow a child to enroll in a school recommended by the DHS or a private agency, regardless of whether or not the child is enrolled in the district. Agencies must include assurances of school stability in the case plan, which should be discussed during the initial PPC. The school of origin needs to be considered when making a foster care placement. Agencies should be working with the schools to ensure a child remains in the school in which they were enrolled in at the time of placement. McKinney Vento school liaisons are a big help in this process; if remaining in the same school is not in the child’s best interest, the case plan must include that immediate and appropriate enrollment in a new school will occur. States need to be providing assurances that all students who are in foster care are enrolled in school and graduate.

The State Coordinator for McKinney Vento in Michigan is Pamela Keyes Lowe. Sherie provided the Federation with a list of liaisons in each district so that your agency will know how to contact these individuals. Any agency that works with the liaisons have access to the McKinney Vento funds, which is spread out among the districts that are served by the liaison. The McKinney Vento Act is designed to increase school enrollment and attendance for children who lack an adequate nighttime residence. If you can work out an agreement with the local school to provide volunteer drivers to keep the child in their school of origin, that would develop a strong collaboration and promote overall success for the child. If foster parents are providing transportation, we need to be sure we are not using McKinney Vento funds as well to transport the youth because this is considered a duplicate use of the resources. Some DHS local offices have volunteer drivers available; however, the reimbursement was cut for the drivers, and many of them stopped driving. There are provisions through Title IV-E as well as the FOM of Fostering Connections to help defray the transportation costs. Members would like clarification as to whether the FOM payments can be used towards transportation costs for foster parents, or whether it should just be included in the $37/day per diem.

The caseworker’s role in meeting the child’s educational needs includes: being familiar with all resources available, advocating for the child, and developing partnerships with schools and the homeless education liaison. Educational Planners will help with developing education goals for the children in care. EduGuide has a website the Educational Planners use to educate foster care workers on this, and have teams of youth that also help. The Planners will set measurable goals and outcomes, and can help with follow-up when there is not a way to avoid a move for the child. Youth who are below their appropriate grade level can also be serviced by the Ed Planners. Currently, 88.6% of the youth in care are covered by the Educational Planners; there are 28 counties assigned with Educational Planners in regions where they can achieve the most results for the youth who are in need of services. The planners would like to do training for foster care workers about the expectations and the policy changes related to this role. The Educational Planners can come to the private agencies to connect with the local DHS and private agency offices to conduct at a minimum a 2-hour presentation on the expectations for services.

Finally, one member asked Sherie what impact the Fostering Connections Act has on children in residential placement. Sherie will follow-up as there is uncertainty about what is working best at this time.

4. The next meeting will take place January 19, 2011 at 3:30pm.

--Kadi Janssen, recorder

Foster Care Minutes October 13, 2010

FOSTER CARE MIN • 10:30 AM-12:00 noon
October 13, 2010

1. Welcome and Introductions
Federation members present: Cristina Peixoto, Chair, Spaulding for Children;
Sandra Ohl, Judson Center; Heidi Nicewander, Forever Families; Jennifer Sherman, Lutheran Social Services of MI; Angela Barney, ChildHelp; Jim Scherrer, Child and Family Services NW; Stephanie McCann, Lutheran Social Services of MI; Nancy Willemin, Child and Family Services Capital Area; James Juchartz, Child and Family Services NE; Dawn Stewart, Starr Commonwealth; Sabrina Corbin, Starr Commonwealth; Michelle Zalewski, Lutheran Social Services of MI; Kirsta Grapentine, Family Service & Children’s Aid; Teresa Postema, Catholic Charities of West MI; Diana Ripley, Lutheran Social Services of MI; Nasreen Paytas, Adoption Option, Inc; Gina Villas, St. Vincent Catholic Charities; Heather Akers, St. Vincent Catholic Charities; Kari Mascar, St. Francis Family Center; Meredith Smillie, Bethany Christian Services; Jeff Roley, Bethany Christian Services; Kelly Quinn, Vista Maria; Scott Cherry, Eagle Village; Nancy Oliver, Child & Family Services Capital Area; Karshibia Davidson, The Children’s Center; Laura Higle, The Children’s Center; Lena Wilson, Lutheran Social Services; Carolyn Rayford, Child and Family Services of MI
Federation staff present: Rose Homa, Kadi Janssen

2. Minutes of June 16, 2010, Joint Licensing/Foster Care MIN meeting, were approved as written.

3. Review of new Foster Care Contract:
Federation members discussed the foster care contract that was recently distributed by the Department, and whether there are any concerns in the contract language, and what the status of receipt of the contract for each agency was. An overall concern with the contract is that it is a macro level contract, focused on audits, data, entry/reporting requirements, and training. The services aspects that are typically outlined in contract are referred back to DHS policy. Regarding the per diem rate, Federation members questioned whether the $37/day rate will be the expectation as the caseload ratio decreases from 1:20 under the current contract to 1:15, and if this per diem rate will be the expectation for the next three years of the contract. Federation members would advocate for a one-year contract.

There was an amendment made last year to the foster care contract to include independent living in the contract. The contract presented does not include any special language for IL, and with the rates all over the board right now, there is a lack of consistency. If IL is considered a foster care placement, it should be included in the foster care contract under the foster care per diem. The $28/day per diem rate is included in the contract on page 11, for the 15 agencies that have a separate IL program.

Other Specific Concerns:

Pg 2: (first paragraph) It is necessary to comply with all of the policy changes, but there is no mention of a reimbursement shift. There is a financial impact on the agency with these frequent policy changes.

Pg 2: (second paragraph) There is a paragraph that states all DHS policies, amendments, including policy bulletins and L-letters are published on the internet. The L-letters are not found on the website, only some bulletins which are not necessarily current. If they going to have in the contract that contractors shall comply with all DHS policies and amendments including interim policies and L-letters, they must have a system in place for agencies to retrieve them.

Pg 2: (paragraph 4) States that “all treatment services” shall be provided; what do they mean by psychiatric, counseling, services, who will pay for them, and is there a limit on the rate?

Pg 2: 3.(b) Regarding an immediate investigation following a one time occurrence: Clarification on who will be making this determination is needed, maybe in the form of an L-letter, and should be brought up at the next Quarterly Contractor’s meeting. Does this mean if there is 1 time of “failure to report,” DHS has the authority to terminate a contract? This goes beyond the scope of Children Rights settlement, and if this is true, then what will the factors/criteria to determine the termination? This could be a problem that allows for too much power to DHS.

Pg 3: 4.(b) Regarding staffing ratios: leaves out the percentages attached to staffing ratios. For example, through September 2011 caseloads are to be no more than 20 children for foster care, however this is for 80% of the staff, not 100%, which is not noted.

Pg 3: Item 5(4). Are the training hours required during the contract year (October1-September 30) or January to December as contract mentions “calendar year”?

Pg 4: Item 4. CWTI qualifying in-service trainings are required for 50% of the trainings, not all, but there is no percentage noted here again. This was stated in a L-Letter, but not in the contract and is an example of where contract and policy are inconsistent.

Pg 6: Item 3(d). Certification supervisors cannot assume supervisory responsibilities until they are trained by BCAL. BCAL does not offer the training often and when they do, there is a limited number to attend, which also has to accommodate persons statewide. They need to conduct training more often than they do now.

Pg 6: Item 7. Regarding relative licensing, the contract needs to state what the payment for relative licensure will be, as it is stated in budget boilerplate language.

Pg 7: Item 9. We must put in place a mechanism for approval delays that consistently reports these matters to the county directors. Preferably, a process that can be streamlined through the Federation. Same issue with pg 11 item 4.

Pg 9: Item 7. Private agencies have not historically provided this data on sibling placements, it is a new reporting expectation.

Pg 10: Item 2a. What is the timeframe for this expectation?

Pg 24: Item K & Pg 28 Item R.2.c Private agencies must diligently utilize these two steps. If private agencies sign a contract and then DHS adds requirements to policy and/or contract by amendment BUT does not renegotiate the rate, we must utilize these two steps as objections to providing the increased requirements. Private agencies can no longer afford to just add on expectations to the contract, we need to notify DHS that the added expectations are unfunded and violate the language of our agreed upon contracts. Private agencies can no longer simply act on good faith and continue adding on services under the same reimbursement rate.

4. Guest DHS Communications Director Edward Woods III
DHS Communications Director Edward Woods III asked for private agencies' involvement in launching a "partnership to recruit foster and adoptive parents." The timing, of course, relates directly to November as Adoption Month. The campaign launch is being announced via a news conference this morning at Spaulding for Children, and ties into the national ad campaign, "Answering the Call: You don't have to be perfect to be a perfect parent."

The department has prepared a sample news release, background statistics, talking points, and suggestions for making the pitch locally for recruitment, both through traditional media contacts and through new social media venues.
With the exception of the DHS Director Ahmed quote, you should feel comfortable modifying the documents to ensure your agency’s message is included.

The materials available include:
1. Two pages of talking points regarding the partnership, sent separately for formatting purposes
2. Pitch sheet for the privates to use to pitch their stories to local media outlets where the private agency resides for onsite interviews
3. Social media messages to place on private agencies Facebook or Twitter site
4. Sample press release to send to the local media where the private agency resides
5. Fact sheet that provides statistics related to foster care and adoption
6. Media Outreach Form to use to measure our coverage.
Please email rose@michfed.org if you are interested in receiving these materials.

5. Next meeting will take place January 19, 2011 at 1:30pm.

Adoption MIN Minutes October 13, 2010

ADOPTION MIN • 1:30-3:30 PM
October 13, 2010

1. Welcome and Introductions
Federation Members Present: Michelle Parra, MARE; Cristina Peixoto, Spaulding for Children; Kathy Yates, St. Vincent Catholic Charities; Laura Higle, Children’s Center; Karshibia Davidson, Children’s Center; Tom Mulder, Bethany Christian Services; Joy Engelman, D.A. Blodgett-St. Johns; Mahrah Jensen, Eagle Village; Susanne Jordan, Bethany Christian Services; Jeff Roley, Bethany Christian Services; Meredith Smillie, Bethany Christian Services; Kari Mascar, St. Francis Family Services; Susanna Wolf-Heuerman, Lutheran Adoption Services; Teresa Postema, Catholic Charities of West MI; Lynn Isaacson, Family Service and Children Aid; Nasreen Paytas, Adoption Option, Inc; James Juchartz, Child and Family Services NE; Jim Scherrer, Child and Family Services NW; Angela Barney, Childhelp; Korey Wheeler, Child and Family Services; Heidi Nicewander, Forever Families; Dona Abbott, Bethany Christian Services; Sandra Ohl, Judson Center; Mark Lawrence, Office of Representative Spade
Federation Staff Present: Janet Reynolds Snyder, Rose Homa, Kadi Janssen

2. Minutes of June 16, 2010, Adoption MIN meeting were approved as written.

3. MARE update/Michelle Parra
This is an exciting month for MARE because Adoption Month (November) is approaching! There are a lot of swag items available through MARE that can be requested by your agency for your recruitment efforts. Heidi will be sending out a recruitment plan on Friday, in which photo listing on MARE cannot be the only effort listed for recruitment. Michigan has to look at out of state families that might be interested in adopting. The Adoption Oversight Committee is meeting Friday, October 15th at Lutheran Adoption Services at 11:30, and will discuss how to deal with out of state inquiries for workers and come up with a best practice. This process will be all about workers knowing what to do and how to do it. The new Youth Poster Contest winner will be announced at the Heart Gallery opening.

4. Questions from members:
Have there been any identified ways to forego the PRIDE training, when a long- time licensed family (prior to mandatory PRIDE) has applied to adopt a foster child living in their home?

PRIDE is not a licensing requirement, it is a contract requirement. BCAL is not concerned about whether or not a family has received PRIDE training. Janice did request that this requirement was thrown out and was not successful in doing so.
5. Adoption Contract Discussion
If you have any concerns with the new medical subsidy program, please send them to the Federation. The Adoption Oversight Committee committee has worked on this, as there have been changes on how every child is enrolled. The idea is to stop fraud and reduce the number of faulty claims that are coming through to DHS.

Adoption Contracts:
Representative Spade and Senator Hardiman have been steadfast champions in their support for private agencies throughout the passage of the budget bill. The House and Senate passed the DHS budget bill the last week in September with increased funding for adoptions, maintaining the current foster care rate of $37/day and the residential rate as it was adjusted as of July 1, 2010, as well as other boilerplate issues important to Federation members. Governor Granholm issued her veto letter which included the funding for adoptions of children from the backlog cohort with a special rate of $16,000.00 for each finalized placement, as well as funding appropriated for an increase to the rate paid to private adoption agencies for all categories of adoption placements. In her veto letter, the Governor simply states that she has disapproved those appropriations for increased provider payments "as they can not be sustained given the challenging fiscal situation."

As alarming as this action is, there are opportunities for this void to be filled in other ways. HHS recently awarded Michigan $3.5million to increase the number of children adopted from foster care. This is money that can be used to support adoption services provided by our nonprofit agencies. There may be other funds available from appropriations allocated to DHS as well and that is not yet completely clear. These avenues and others are what I'm pursuing today with legislators, lobbyists and DHS. Janet Reynolds Snyder has also made Children's Rights and the Monitor aware of the situation - the settlement includes provision of appropriate funding to meet its requirements, as mandated by the Federal court Discussion with Children’s Rights and the Monitors. The Federal Monitor, Kevin Ryan, mentioned to Janet that the team feels information that comes from the Federation is always spot on, and they are always looking for this sort of involvement and feedback because they know they can trust the information that comes back from the Federation.

Senator Hardiman called a small meeting in his office last week, and Janet Reynolds Snyder and Kadi Janssen were present where dialogue was shared about where we are with the state of adoption. We brought to his attention that there is no contract in place right now and what the implications of the vetoes are. Senator Hardiman made several phone calls regarding any sort of reasonability behind the adoption vetoes.

Senator Hardiman and Representative Spade are working on a resolution to this adoption crisis. We are working on a strategy with Michael Williams from AACFA to see private agencies as a whole and be unified on the items that need to be resolved. The Department canceled the meeting scheduled with Director Ahmed this morning; the meeting was intended to be a forum for discussion about the vetoes and the residential contract among a number of other things. There are also a number of different options being considered legislatively that Senator Hardiman and Representative Spade have involved the Federation in. Discussions includes a Joint Committee hearing to bring DHS forward and address the issues related to adoption and also get a small group meeting together to discuss strategy for dealing with these issues. All of this will be accomplished between now and the December 7th Federal Court hearing, which is a key point of leverage right now.

Members discussed the Adoption Contract Concerns that are of the greatest concern with no funding changes:
1. Caseload and related supervisory ratios of 1:15 and 1:5, respectively, are the most difficult to comply with and also the most expensive.
2. PPC requirement- the number of meetings required to be provided by the private agency, and if a child does not have a family identified within 9 months, the staff coordination involved. Travel is a hidden cost in this category to host the meetings and get everyone needed there.
3. Continue to increase the expectations on cases that we may never receive funding for if a placement for the child never occurs. Some of the most difficult cases are the only referrals private agencies are receiving.
4. The issue with training that a worker cannot carry a caseload of more than three cases; if there is a delay in getting the new worker into training at all, this becomes extremely costly.
5. Increase in visitation of care and supervision, with required visits moving from 1 to 2 required visits that must be in-person.
6. Delay in reimbursement due to the adoption rate structure where more than half of the cost of service is not provided to the agency until the end of placement.

For Federation members, the bottom line is that the contract outlines all good work for the children, but it adds cost to the work that is being done by the agency. With all the timeframes being so much slower now with getting exceptions and subsidy approved, private agencies are still held to the same standards. Subsidy is still taking about 2-3 months on average, while multiple party MCI cases are taking a minimum of 4-6 months. CFSR timeframes are structured around this, but some categories need to be condensed. Federation members have suggested that subsidy needs to be connected to the child, instead because it is related to the family, the process continues to be slowed down waiting for an identified family. If subsidy was connected to the child, it could be applied for at termination of parental rights, rather than having to wait for the family to be found and the child placed with them. This improvement would allow for cases to move forward in a more timely manner when an adoptive family is identified. There are a number of system efficiencies that could be worked on that would help to offset costs if funding is not available, and agencies could focus on real concerns for the consent decree if some of those concerns were addressed.

Janet Reynolds Snyder asked if there were no change in funding, would any adoption agencies still be able to provide adoption services. Members unanimously felt this was a difficult position, and added these comments:
-Our agency would still do adoptions, but would not be willing to run all over the state to complete them.
-This is not sustainable for agencies as we continue to lose money for the services we provide; no idea how long this could go on for until we are out of business.
-It would be helpful to know whether adoptions will be privatized. It would be a challenge for how many cases the agency could cover in rural areas.
-At some point the agency would not be able to reject referrals, and how can the agency be expected to handle all referrals and cases without the resources or support; there just is not capacity for that.
-There will be concern that without capacity to complete adoptions, then there may be a perception arising that private agencies cannot actually do the job, which would be setting us up for failure or a poor perception in the public eye.
-There would be fragmentation of service if DHS holds onto the foster care case, but does not transfer over the case until adoption.

Ending on a positive note, the Department of Health and Human Services awarded Michigan $3.5 million! Hurray! Michigan was the 3rd highest ranked state for the number of adoptions that were completed last year! The record number of 3,030 children were adopted, and 70% of this work was completed by the private agencies. A special thanks to Senator Hardiman for his privatization of adoption so that kids could find homes, and especially to the agencies and workers who helped children achieve permanency!

6. The next meeting will take place January 19, 2011 from 10:00-noon.

--Kadi Janssen, recorder

June 16, 2010 Independent Living/Homeless Youth Minutes

Minutes of June 16, 2010

Members present: Chair Patrick Okoronkwo, Meredith Reese, Sonia Noorman, Thomas DuRussel-Weston, Kari Mascar, Nasreen Paytas, Brenda Bolin, Jennifer Sherman, Mary Mulliet, Laura Mitchell, Lena Wilson, Pamela Smith, Jeff Roley.
Federation staff: Janet Reynolds Snyder, Rose Homa, Katie Wilson
Guest present: Sherie Bailey of the Youth in Transition program at DHS

1. Welcome and introductions
2. Minutes of March 31, 2010 IL/HY MIN meeting were approved as written.

3. Michigan Teen Conference is next week: June 22-23 at CMU. Registration is 100 youth, 50 adults and planning committee members.

4. Guest Sherie Bailey of the Youth in Transition program at DHS. Sherie talked specifically about one of the new features within the federal Fostering Connections Act: extension of foster care to age 21. Michigan has chosen to allow youth at age 18 to sign a form to agree to stay in foster care until age 20 if they are eligible for Title IV-E funding, employed, attending school or meet certain disability requirements. The next step is to define what services will look like for youth ages 18-20. A group has been formed to begin this work so it’s ready for implementation October 1, 2010. Several work groups will be formed to meet in July:
(1) Outreach and Marketing (includes training and support);
(2) Resource Development and Delivery (includes placement options and housing);
(3) Caseworker Roles and Responsibilities;
(4) Courts/Cross Systems; and
(5) Policies, Procedures and Eligibility.
Those interested should email rose@michfed.org to have their names forwarded to Sherie.

Sherie reported that currently the state’s annual Youth in Transition plan is being reviewed and recommendations being considered for updates. One of the major focuses of the plan is the 90-day pre-discharge period for youth transitioning out of foster care. The 90-day pre-discharge planning mandates intensive education regarding employment and housing and emphasizes development of relationships with supportive adults. The federal monitoring team recommends that the transition focus begin by age 16 at the latest.

Also on a fast track is training of 12 newly hired educational planners located in southern Michigan—covering 28 counties serving 80-85% of foster youth—whose responsibility will be to serve as resources and liaisons with schools to advocate for and assist youth with fulfilling their educational needs and to train DHS and private agency workers to access these resources.

Sherie discussed higher education involvement in scholarship programs for foster youth and the potential for programs in other colleges and universities similar to the Seita Scholarship at Western Michigan University. Sherie emphasized the need for permanency teaming. The Seita Scholarship is successful because the youth have relationships not only with one another, but also with their campus coaches. We must work on fostering connections with our youth and maintaining those relationships.

4. Next meeting date: Wednesday, October 13, 2010, 3:30 PM (or earlier, immediately following the Foster Care MIN meeting).
—Katie Wilson and Rose Homa, recorders

June 16, 2010 Joint Foster Care/Licensing minutes

Minutes of June 16, 2010

Members present: Foster Care MIN Chair Sonia Noorman, Teresa Postema, Sandra Ohl, Cheryl Giesa, Ed Burley, Lisa Thomas, Thomas DuRussel-Weston, Vickie Tyler, Kelly Quinn, Kari Mascar, Nasreen Paytas, Brenda Bolin, Christine Ball, Deborah Hayman, Betty Rathfon, James Juchartz, Heather Akers, Angela Barney, Mary Mulliett, Laura Mitchell, Stasia Phillips, Doug Gardner, Meredith Smillie, Greg Cooper, Deborah Disler, Patrick Okoronkwo, Pamela Smith, Catherine Nolta, Lena Wilson, Jennifer Sherman, Melissa Jenovai, Kim Goree, Teri Underwood.
Federation staff: Janet Reynolds Snyder, Rose Homa, and Katie Wilson.
Guests present: Jim Gale and Janice Tribble of BCAL; Deb Buchanan, Christine Rehagen, and Fran Cook of DHS Contract Compliance Unit; Nancy Rostoni DHS Foster Care Program.

1. Welcome and introductions

2. Minutes of March 31, 2010 Licensing MIN meeting were approved with corrections as follows:
• It was stated in the minutes that discipline is prohibited in foster homes; what should have been written was that corporal punishment is prohibited.
• On the second page, it stated that BCAL is looking at revising the referral process, when it is really the foster care program office considering the revisions.
Minutes of March 31, 2010 Foster Care MIN meeting were approved as written.

3. Guests Jim Gale and Janice Tribble of BCAL. Jim and Janice were invited to today’s meeting to address licensing issues raised by members. The beginning of their discussion provided members with the answers to a series of submitted questions and issues from members. Yes, 100% compliance is the rule; this is necessary in order to avoid inconsistencies of applying the rules and any hint of favoritism. Safety and protection of children in care is the goal at all times. BCAL’s goal is to help agencies be in compliance.
Janice then spoke to members about issues within BCAL that she felt the need to address. The process of going through certification files to find documents has been very challenging. This could be avoided by agency staff taking steps to ensure that documents stay organized, keep like documents together, and make sure that copies are kept of every item sent to BCAL, especially related to clearances, i.e., the original clearance report, fingerprint report, etc. A coversheet that lays out exactly what is in the file is a helpful tool.
Janice discussed the critical issue of failure to report. Agency staff are mandated reporters, thus they are required to make reports in every instance where a child says that he or she has been a victim of abuse or neglect; regardless of the child’s perceived credibility in his or her allegation. Statute requires that these reports are to be made immediately following any accusation (do not wait until the next day). A whole agency is held accountable when one person fails to report. Before a citation is finalized, the recommendation goes through central administration at BCAL and is reviewed before it becomes a formal citation, due to the consequences of that action.
Janice reported that DHS will be moving toward a centralized intake for Protective Services, which will be piloted in the fall.
Transfers of foster home licenses were also discussed. Janice stated that a transfer must be agreeable to both parties—the family and the agency involved. If there is any disagreement about the matter, an administrative-level meeting should be called to resolve the issues.

4. Guests Deb Buchanan, Christine Rehagen, and Fran Cook of DHS Contract Compliance Unit. Deb, Christine, and Fran attended today’s meeting to speak with members about their concerns with contract auditing. Members remarked that sometimes a contract review report does not match up with what was discussed in the exit interview. Deb stated that at the exit interview, the major issue items should be discussed with the agency, understanding the written report is going to reflect the full findings of the review. Agencies should express any questions or concerns at the time of the exit interview, and if not satisfied with the response, they should call or email the contract monitor and/or supervisor. In some cases, an addendum can be made to the report to address the issue at hand. There is no formal appeal process at this time.
The question was asked about which document takes precedence: contract language or policy issued via L-Letters. Deb answered by saying that policy changes faster than contracts and that policy trumps contracts, regardless of the timing of amendments of the contracts.
Deb pointed out that there is a new standard for the hiring of staff within DHS; they must have recent experience in child welfare and trying to train someone without that foundational basis would be very difficult. DHS has implemented a new routine to assist with new staff adjustment: each new staff member is partnered with a more experienced staff member, and they take turns switching leadership roles in handling reviews. This method had thus far been extremely successful.
Deb also discussed how handling long reports and the strict time frame that they fall under is very difficult. Although these reports are long, members are reminded that they ought to be meaningful to the person receiving them. DHS’s reading tool follows the specific format known as hidden text. If all hidden text information is documented in a report, it would be hard for someone to be found noncompliant. It was noted that the foster care report writing session within CWTI is an excellent training for agency staff.
Lastly, Deb spoke about DHS having considered if new contract monitoring staff should specialize with certain contracts or if they should handle all contracts. Historically, DHS contract reviewers have liked the variety, but more recently, people are feeling that policies are coming at a rapid rate, thus, DHS is giving more consideration to having specializations. If this change occurs, then it will occur in the month of October.

5. 2010 Teen Conference. Laura Mitchell reported approximately 150 registrants are slated to attend the conference at CMU. Lots of new activities are planned for the evenings for the youth participants. She thanked the fantastic planning committee members for their commitment and enthusiasm.

6. Next meeting date: Wednesday, October 13, 2010, 12:30 PM.

—Katie Wilson and Rose Homa, recorder

Adoption Minutes June 16, 2010

Minutes of June 16, 2010

Members present: Chair Dona Abbott, Teresa Postema, Mahrah Jensen, Sandra Ohl, Edward Burley, Lisa Thomas, Susanne Jordan, Lynn Isaacson, Sarah Stiver, Kari Mascar, Nasreen Paytas, Brenda Bolin, Joy Engelsman, Deborah Hayman, Betty Rathfon, James Juchartz, Dawn Mead, Tom Mulder, Doug Gardner, Kathy Yates, Jeff Roley, Meredith Smillie, Patrick Okoronkwo, Michelle Parra
Federation Staff: Janet Reynolds Snyder, Rose Homa, Katie Wilson
Guest present: Karen Iverson of the DHS Adoption Subsidy Office

1. Welcome and introductions

2. Minutes of March 31, 2010 Adoption MIN meeting were approved as written.

3. Guest Karen Iverson, DHS Adoption Subsidy Office. Karen was invited to today’s meeting to provide any policy/process updates and to discuss several recommendations specific to Adoption Subsidy that members believe would help reduce the length of time needed to process adoptions in Michigan. In April, the Federation conducted a short survey of its adoption agency members regarding case processing delays related to Adoption Subsidy to get a better understanding of what's happening in the field. The Federation’s subsidy-related recommendations and a summary of the survey information were provided as handouts for a solution-focused discussion.
Karen reported staff in the Adoption Subsidy office have been reorganized and increased to better address the backlog of cases awaiting processing, with the goal of needing just 35 days to process a case. As of today, Karen said cases that arrived the first week of April are being processed. If anyone is awaiting decisions on applications older than April, you should contact Karen directly: iversonk@michigan.gov. Karen provided a list of staff contact information within the ASO. She is considering assigning ASO staff to a specific region of the state (by DHS county that has the case) as this may also help with faster processing.
Instead of returning files when something is missing, ASO staff now email the DHS foster care supervisor and private agency adoption supervisor to request the information, giving three business days to respond. Members asked for two things: that the adoption worker be cc’d on the email to alert them to the need for additional information; this would help particularly in instances when the supervisor is away; plus, consideration of allowing five business days to respond as sometimes a signed document is needed and this can take longer to arrange. It’s highly recommended that when an adoption supervisor is going to be away, they should provide ASO with an alternative email as a contact regarding adoption subsidy application information in order to be prompt with needed responses.
Karen mentioned one idea being considered is to require a signature from the local DHS office before an application is submitted to ASO; members felt this would hinder rather than help the situation.
Regarding medical subsidies: Do not take for granted that a IV-E eligible case is automatically eligible for adoption subsidy; on an application for medical subsidy, the medical condition must be verified and well-documented.
Karen mentioned that modifications to the Foster Care Manual are being considered to better guide DOC applications. The current form is not capturing what is needed to accurately describe a child’s needs.
Members discussed with Karen reinstituting early, child-specific eligibility determination for adoption subsidy. Karen stated the arrangement used in the past is not feasible due to the changes in definitions of special needs and the timing of circumstances that affect eligibility. Members suggested an early child-specific eligibility determination with a “shelf life” of six months, for example, would greatly improve the processing times for competing party cases, in particular. Karen agreed this may be a good solution.
Another Federation member recommendation for easing adoption subsidy processing is to allow private agencies access to Permanency Placement Specialists to assist with collection of documentation needed for subsidy applications. Karen will make this recommendation to Anita Peters and Kate Hanley.
Karen mentioned that at a recent Kinship meeting in Wayne/Oakland/Macomb, they discussed developing a form to use for transferring a case from foster care to adoption. This would greatly assist private agencies in knowing what is needed. A copy of Oakland County’s draft form was distributed today for feedback. MIN members should email rose@michfed.org with their input. A second draft form developed by Wayne County will be distributed once received.
Members asked how a new medical diagnosis is to be reported using Form 1341. Karen will consult with Martha Ballou about this and report back to the membership.
When asked how to best handle adoption subsidy applications for sibling groups, Karen said she recommends listing all siblings on each application and rubber-banding the applications together. Members asked what is the appropriate place to list the siblings, as the only place right now asks if the child is part of a sibling group for which some siblings are pre-approved. If a subsidy application is for a cohort case, bring this fact to the attention of the ASO by attaching a note on the front; these cases are to receive immediate attention.
Members asked if any subcommittee is focusing on adoption support subsidy delays. There is a group working through MARE on this topic. If you want to be involved, please contact the MARE office.
Currently, the Adoption Subsidy Subcommittee of the Adoption Oversight Committee is focused on medical subsidy. Karen is trying to get the manual revised to describe what medical subsidy will pay for. The biggest expense right now is residential treatment ($4 million spent on 75 cases); next are counseling ($2 million for 500 kids) and orthodontics ($2 million). DHS feels the need to tighten up on the covered services; for example, many orthodontics requests have come in for children adopted through voluntary release to agencies, not state ward adoptions. Karen stated that residential treatment is often requested by families. Efforts are being made to ensure that residential remains short term, and Karen stated that DHS is trying to also develop some other family support services that would reduce the need for residential placements such as respite care, camps, etc.
Regarding counseling through medical subsidy, Karen stated new fair market rate counseling contracts are needed, different from foster care, asking for different credentials—individuals with expertise in post-adoption issues. MSU School of Social Work is working to develop a special Adoption Certificate curriculum, which would meet this criteria. Members urged inclusion of LPCs as eligible counselors as many have the experience needed for this population. Members also recommend some type of grandfathering for current counselors who demonstrate post-adoption expertise. Karen pointed out that Adoption Medical Subsidy is supposed to be the funder of last resort, that counseling for children should first be sought through sources such as Medicaid and CMH, i.e., SED eligibility. Members noted that post-adoption expertise is not always available through CMH therapists, thus, it is important that the pool of counseling resources through adoption medical subsidy include individual therapists, including LPCs, who have the post-adoption expertise.

4. MARE/Michelle Parra. Minutes from the May Adoption Oversight Committee will be sent to Rose Homa and she will send those out to MIN members via email.
Two staff members in the MARE office are working to record videos of children needed for recruitment of adoptive families. Those who would like MARE staff members to come to their area for videotaping should contact MARE. Upcoming events on MARE’s website include several match parties; these have been very successful.

5. Adoption contract/rates update. Chair Dona Abbott reviewed the process for input from members to the three Federation individuals who will participate with Janet Reynolds Snyder in negotiating with DHS regarding the new adoption contract. Dona Abbott, Addie Williams, James Juchartz, and Janet are scheduled to meet with DHS administrators on June 24. The handouts provided to members today will be provided to DHS as the basis for the Federation recommendations. The House and Senate versions of the FY 2011 DHS budget bills both include an increase in adoption contract rates of 36%. This increase is critical to being able to meet the mandates of the consent decree and is supported by a fiscal analysis of members’ cost projections, which showed a need for a 42% increase to meet the 1:15 (actually 1:13) caseload size and 1:5 supervisory ratio needed by October of 2011. The most recent DHS definition of caseload size is problematic as it includes casework prior to the adoptive placement, work while the child is in placement, and supervision after placement through finalization. Changing Michigan’s adoption law may be the way to resolve how a caseload is counted. In the meantime, Michigan’s failure to be in compliance with the CFSR standards has drawn the attention of the monitors and federal judge who insist caseload sizes must include the full period described above, which results in a double count of cases on both adoption and foster care workers’ caseloads.

6. MSU survey: Understanding the Costs of Adoption. Eight agencies have volunteered to participate in this research by distributing, or having the Federation staff distribute, the survey to families who have adopted within the past three years. Approximately 1,200 families statewide will be surveyed; mailings should be out within the next week or so, with a requested return date of July 31, 2010. If additional agencies wish to participate, please contact Rose Homa. MSU is covering the cost of copies, mailing and staff time. Preliminary results are expected by this fall.

7. Next meeting date: Wednesday, October 13, 2010, 10:00 AM.

—Katie Wilson and Rose Homa, recorders

July 21, 2010 Residential Treatment Minutes

Minutes of JULY 21, 2010

Members present: Chair Fred Prasser, The Manor; Randy Copas, Starr Commonwealth; Aaron Morandani, Girlstown Foundation; Meredith Reese, Vista Maria; Deb Westveer, Bethany Christian Services; Peggy Krajniak, Hope House; Amy McGavey, Pine Rest CMHS; John Yablonky, Christ Child House; Jim Murdock, Kevin Roach, Whaley Children’s Center; Andrea Seyka, Lynn Radzilowski, St. Vincent Catholic Charities; Kathleen Neumann, Judson Center; Cathey Prudhomme, Eagle Village; Kevin Van Den Bosch, Wedgwood Christian Services.
Federation Staff: Janet Reynolds Snyder, Rose Homa, Kadi Janssen, Katie Wilson (student intern).

Guest present: Jim Gale, Director, Bureau of Child & Adult Licensing, DHS.

1. Welcome and introductions

2. Minutes of April 28, 2010 Residential MIN meeting were approved as written.

3. Guest Jim Gale, Director, Bureau of Child & Adult Licensing, DHS, joined Federation members to discuss matters of importance to residential treatment providers. Jim announced that Janice Tribble has been promoted to Director of the Child Welfare Services Division within BCAL. He hopes to fill her former position within the next few weeks.

Discussion with Jim included the CWLA recommendations issued earlier this year regarding seclusion and restraint as they relate to the settlement agreement. The Federation continues to encourage member agencies to review these recommendations and provide feedback through Janet Reynolds Snyder, who will continue to relay input to the federal monitor and Jim Gale.

The settlement agreement calls for a web-based data reporting of incidents of seclusion and restraint. While agencies can already report these online, Jim stated the current database is going to migrate to JJOLT approximately in October, and agencies will receive notification of that move and how to use the new data system. The suggestion was made that entering in data is easier to do on a regular basis, rather than just annually. Some agencies already use JJOLT for cases and report it is user-friendly. Agencies with their own data systems continue to have the challenge of double entry of information and would welcome the chance to interface with the state’s system. Once seclusion/restraint data is present in JJOLT, MPAS will have access to it.

Jim updated members regarding the CCI, CPA and Foster Home licensing rules, which are all “in process” of review and updating. Focus at the present time is on the CPA and FH rules and coordinating them with mandates within the settlement agreement. Once those rules are complete, attention will return to the CCI rules (whose review process had begun more than a year ago), looking at how they fit with settlement agreement requirements. Jim emphasized the importance of having all stakeholders at the table during these review and revision processes; it is a consensus process. He noted that one of the considerations in writing rules is to understand the cost of implementation; this does have a bearing on how rules are written as the bureau must defend cost increases related to implementation of new rules. One example is the settlement agreement’s call for all direct care workers to have two-year post-high school education, which is unaffordable for residential facilities.

Members were reminded that Rule Interpretation documents are posted on the web for easy reference.

Protocols for CPS investigations as they relate to residential facilities were discussed. The consent decree called for creation of special protective service units. In 2009, urban counties were the first to have these units in place. The process has been fairly seamless and has worked well in these areas with both their concentration and their availability of their staff. The remaining counties are still in the process of hiring their protective units and will undergo the same process as the urban counties.

Regarding mandated reporter requirements, agencies need to be especially diligent in getting new workers trained and trained well, given the serious consequences of failure to report. It is vital that mandated reporting be done “immediately”—within 24 hours of an incident, no waiting until the next day or later. No matter the situation or whether or not the youth is perceived as credible, a report absolutely must be made. DHS bases their licensing action on the incident, and the severity of that action depends on the circumstances. Jim encouraged agencies to be engaged with the individuals conducting the investigation; be sure all information is provided during the review. Definitely discuss any concerns at the exit conference. If an organization does not agree with a finding, one should speak up and contact a manager or a division director to ask why a particular citation has been made. BCAL staff meet monthly and review findings to be sure everyone is being consistent as they apply the rules. When asked, Jim stated a very small percentage of failure to report citations have been made; some field recommendations have been overturned through the three-tier review in the BCAL office (Janice, Mindy and Jim). In their review, BCAL weighs field staff’s recommendations, “Would this withstand the scrutiny of an administrative law judge?” BCAL is very aware of the seriousness of a provisional license and must balance this with assuring the safety and protection of children in care. Despite all these precautions within BCAL, members reported receiving citations for certain issues, directly contradicting one another, i.e., using a certain restraint as allowed by an approved training curriculum, another for not using a similar restraint. The lack of an appeal process to a citation is a serious concern for agencies.

Jim Gale reported that Senate Bills 1100, 1101 and 1102 are currently under consideration in the House Committee on Families and Children. If passed, these bills will bring consistency to the criminal background check requirements across both adult and child licensed programming. Currently, child day care licensees and foster parents are required to be fingerprinted; the proposed bills add licensed private agency CEOs to this requirement.

On this same topic, the Federation may want to consider proposing legislation that would allow private agency employers to have access to the Central Registry to conduct regular reviews of employees and volunteers.

4. Other. Residential contracts are set to expire March 30, 2011. The joint DHS/private agency discussions about new contracting processes and/or certification for a pre-approved provider status have yet to take place. [Update: a first meeting was held August 4.]

The issue of closing and/or downsizing residential treatment programs was mentioned, and members were asked to each speak about the status of their agencies’ program utilization experience. Several agencies have closed residential programs; some have downsized. The majority of those reporting indicated approximately 90% or better occupancy as of today, although several have much lower utilization at this time. Judson Center closed its residential program in June, with an October 1 date set for opening a trauma crisis program for youth exiting hospital stays. They also are planning a step-down program for girls and in-home treatment, with staff being trained in DBT.

Regarding the FY 2010-2011 state budget, the $7 a day increase for residential treatment facilities remains in the Senate budget bill but is not in the House version of the bill. Representative Dudley Spade is aware of this need and is very supportive of it. A conference committee is to be brought together approximately mid-August, with Representative Spade as a member of the committee. The Federation remains confident that the $7 increase will survive.

5. Next meeting date will be Wednesday, October 20, 2010, at 10:00 AM at the Federation office. Issues discussed during the next meeting will include tele-psychiatry (for example, consultations via Skype) and agency self-funded unemployment insurance. Members would also like to discuss recidivism—what they are seeing in the way of youth returning to residential treatment given the recent emphasis on shortening lengths of stay. Please be prepared with rough data for this discussion.

—Katie Wilson and Rose Homa, recorders

March 31, 2010 Foster Care MIN Meeting

Minutes of March 31, 2010

Present: Chairs Carolyn Rayford and Sonia Noorman, Cristina Peixoto, Mahrah Jensen, Angela Powell Medlock, Teresa Postema, Kelly Quinn, Nancy Rostoni, Ed Burley, DeLois Leapheart, Mary Muliett, Robin Brumlow, Nasreen Paytas, Laura Mitchell, Diana Ripley, Jennifer Maurer, Aaron Morandini, Deborah Hayman, Betty Rathfon, Missy Bell, Sarah Zachmann, Sandra Ohl, Heidi Nicewander, Melissa Jenovai, Heather Akers, Monica Carrion, Lena Wilson, Patrick Okowronkwo, Greg Cooper, Jeff Roley, Justin Beane
Federation Staff: Janet Reynolds Snyder, Kadi Janssen

1. Welcome and Introductions

2. Minutes of January 13, 2010 Foster Care MIN meeting were approved as written.

3. Guest Lynn Nee, Program Coordinator, MSU Kinship Care Resource Center
The purpose of the Kinship Care Resource Center historically has been to provide support to relatives who are caring for their relatives’ children. The Center also works with service providers who are working with kinship families to support their work in the community. The Center is working with MAFAK and MARE to provide supports to these families across the whole continuum of care, not just with the aging community where these families have historically been reached. The Center works in conjunction with DHS and Offices of Services to the Aging to provide outreach. The Center would like to work with Federation members as well to provide services around these families and work more closely with foster care providers.
Each agency will have information sent to you from the Kinship Care Resource Center, including the You Are Not Alone booklet. There will be workshops offered through the MSU Continuing Education program coming up around the subject of legal issues of working with kinship care families that you are encouraged to attend if you work with this population. Lynn will follow up at a subsequent meeting to find out what the Center can be doing to help support the families.
Lynn held discussion with Federation members, asking about when working with placing a child with the family, what are the challenges. Members shared that many of the families do not want to work with the system, they just want to provide care to their family members. They do not want to be licensed most of the time and be scrutinized in these matters. There is a tremendous distress on the system to be working with licensed relatives and develop best practices around this very subject. A lot of grandparents are younger and younger, and sometimes are not yet as well established as we are used to thinking about. There can also be difficulty with getting families to commit to permanency because they want to see the child returned home to that individual’s sister or child or whomever. Lynn will come to a MIN meeting in the future to follow-up.

4. Discussion regarding Foster Care Licensing and Contract Audit Reviews
Federation members explored different issues of non-compliance as they relate to audit reviews. Members would like to invite individuals from the Contract Compliance Unit to work with our group to problem solve and work through how to have an effective relationship. It would be best to have BCAL and the Contract Compliance Unit here together; our next meeting will be a forum for discussion.

5. Policy updates
The House Appropriations Subcommittee on Human Services, chaired by Representative Spade, voted the FY 2010-2011 DHS Budget Bill, HB 5882 out of Subcommittee on Thursday March 25th. The bill will be taken up by the full House Appropriations in the coming weeks for vote. Some of the highlights of the bill include the increase in rates of 36% for private adoption agencies; maintaining language establishing an administrative rate of $37/day for foster care services and $28/day for general independent living services for private child placing agencies, and setting rates for specialized independent living to be at least as high as the rates in FY 2008-09; Providing $7/day increase in the daily per diem rate for providers of residential services for both juvenile justice and abuse/neglect youth over the rates paid on January 1, 2010, and increasing the floor funding from $130 per day to $137 per day; and restores language providing $1.0 million to support contracts with adoption agencies that place long-term wards who have been wards for over one year after termination of parental rights. Agencies would receive $16,000 for each finalized placement under this special contract. We will keep you apprised and will be requesting further advocacy among legislators from Federation members related to support for the passage of HB 5882.

6. ETV Program, Jennifer Maurer
Jennifer Maurer of Lutheran Social Services of Michigan shared with Federation members that there will be a series of 6 upcoming meetings across the state of Michigan in which YIT information will be provided by Ann Rossi of DHS. The ETV program has $2 million in funds to give out this year; the program has already given out $1.2 million since October and are not anticipating running out of funds. Jennifer encouraged members to please apply soon if you know a youth that will be needing ETV funds.

7. Teen Conference, Laura Mitchell
The Teen Conference program brochures have been distributed, and are also available on the michfed.org website. New to the conference this year there will be 2 sessions specific to refugee youth. There have also been new activities added to the program this year. We are fortunate to have 2 foster care alumni participating on the committee this year, and value their input. Again this conference is for youth in foster care or independent living ages 14-21 to attend, all youth under the age of 18 need a chaperone to attend with them. It is critical to be requesting YIT funds from the county now to pay for youth to attend the conference and chaperones’ travel expenses. Consent forms must be filled out and completed and are required for every youth to attend. For state wards, the DHS monitor can sign off on the youth’s consent forms, they do not need to go through Bill Johnson. Email dripl@lssm.org for questions related to registration and the conference.

8. Recent DHS communications affecting foster care:
Email of March 29: Change in reporting period for medical and dental visits
Letter of March 24: Requirement for physical examinations for children in foster care
Training announcement for April 7-8, 2010: Keeping Families Together: Removal Prevention and Timely Reunification
Letter of March 11: Supervisor experience and educational requirements

9. Next meeting date will be June 16, 2010, from 1:30-3:30.

--Kadi Janssen, recorder

March 31, 2010 Licensing MIN Meeting

Minutes of March 31, 2010

Present: Chair Cristina Peixoto, Sonia Noorman, Mahrah Jensen, Angela Powell Medlock, Doug Gardner, Teresa Postema, Lynn Radzilowski, Kelly Quinn, Nancy Rostoni, Ed Burley, Robin Brumlow, Nasreen Paytas, Laura Mitchell, Diana Ripley, Kirsta Grapentine, Lynn Isaacson, Deborah Hayman, Betty Rathfon, Missy Bell, Sarah Zachmann, Sandra Ohl, Heidi Nicewander, Christine Ball, Kelly Baber, Monica Carrion, Catherine Nolla, Lena Wilson, Patrick Okowronkwo, Carolyn Rayford, Greg Cooper, Jeff Roley
Federation Staff: Janet Reynolds Snyder, Kadi Janssen, Rose Homa

1. Welcome and Introductions

2. Minutes of January 13, 2010 Licensing MIN meeting were approved as written.

3. Guest Janice Tribble, BCAL, and Nancy Rostoni, DHS Foster Care Program
Nancy and Janice are working with Children’s Rights to understand the issue of maltreatment of children in care. CPA rules state that an agency must prohibit discipline in a foster home. They are collaboratively working to develop rules regarding corporal punishment, define that, and amend rules for foster homes stating that a foster home must not use corporal punishment. By establishing this rule, BCAL will be able to track allegations of maltreatment. BCAL is finding that the biggest number of incidents occurring are taking place in the homes of unlicensed and licensed relatives. One Federation member suggested that in the tracking reports there should be a way to separate out if allegations of maltreatment are occurring in a relatives’ home.
 CPS complaints
BCAL will be updating the reporting process, starting April 1, for private agencies to include a category for the number of foster homes where a substantiated abuse/neglect incident has occurred. All of the investigations in these types cases are being completed by specialized CPS units in the 6 urban counties. The specialized units will be looking at failures to report as well. Janice suggested that agencies should report everything and allow CPS to screen out things that do not need to be followed up on. Any suspicion of abuse/neglect needs to be reported to CPS to be on the safe side, err on the side of caution on this because there are certainly a number of contractual consequences for a failure to report.
Janice recognizes that there needs to be more open communication from CPS to private agencies when an investigation is conducted. Whether the case is substantiated or not, a report of the findings should be sent to the agency by CPS. Federation members shared that this was not happening in many areas.

BCAL is looking at revising the referral process right now, because statistics show that 20% of kids move within their first 90 days in care. It should be responsibility of the foster care worker who is evaluating the placement and moving forward to recommend licensure of a relative. A referral for licensure will not take place until the 30-day assessment has been completed. If there is a disruption in placement within the first 30 days, the 30 day process will start over again. The statewide average for relative placement licenses is 168 days for approval of a packet once it is signed by the family; this figure does not take into account the referral process period.

4. Recent DHS communications re Licensing:
Janice shared with Federation members a new form that is to be used starting April 10th. A few things to note about this new form:
-If someone MAY want to be licensed, start them out as an AWF. This will help with speeding up the fingerprinting process.
-Applicant licensee/adult member of household: Adult members of the household are NOT to be licensed; it is not something we need to be spending resources on.
-Now will be using Drivers License numbers to clear people through secretary of state to verify the name and birthday are matches, and that the correct address is listed.
-On Sex Offender Registry, they will only be clearing the address, not the individual. Using the address to check for sex offenders is more effective because individuals that the family does not tell us about, who are living at that address, will show up.
-Janice noted that you can go online to fill out the form, and print it and sign it; However, the family ought to be filling out the form themselves, not the worker. Please have the family include all maiden and previous names on the form as well.

 Letter of March 26: Reporting of staffing to license relatives

5. Next meeting date/time will be June 16, 2010 from 12:30-1:30.

-- Kadi Janssen, recorder


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