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.