Authors Posts by Jim Sharp

Jim Sharp


As part of RPCA’s ongoing effort with members and stakeholders regarding the Alternative Pay Arrangements/Agreements (APA), we are asking members to complete this APA Survey.

We understand that these may look different across our membership, so we have requested input and feedback from the BH-MCOs in the development of the survey questions.

We respectfully request that one survey be completed for each of those program areas if the APAs differ across your service continuum. The data we collect will be instrumental in our collective efforts with DHS, and managed care organizations, regarding strategic fiscal considerations in the coming months.

We request the surveys be completed by August 7, 2020. Thank you, and if you have questions, please contact RCPA Children’s Division Director Jim Sharp or your RCPA Policy Director.

On Thursday, August 6 at 10:00 am, The Office of Children, Youth & Families (OCYF) will offer a free American Bar Association (ABA) webinar on Adolescent Brain Science and Authentic Youth Engagement, presented by the ABA Center on Children and the Law, Pennsylvania Department of Human Services, Office of Children, Youth and Families and Pennsylvania Children and Youth Administrators.

Participants will learn about the science of adolescent brain development, gain an understanding of the importance of authentic youth engagement from a youth perspective, and receive tools and resources to help incorporate brain science into practice.

This webinar is free to all participants and is eligible for up to 1.5 hours of Continuing Legal Education credits. See this link for more details. Registration is required and may be completed here.

As part of the continued implementation of IBHS services, OMHSAS has released Bulletin OMHSAS-20-05; outlining the new Medical Necessity Guidelines. The links below provide an overview and process outline for each service.

If you have questions or feedback, please contact RCPA Children’s Division Director Jim Sharp.

The Medical Necessity Guideline Bulletin can be found here: Bulletin OMHSAS-20-05.

Fingerprint scanning technology on pixellated screen - 3d rendered with slight DOF

If your staff are in need of fingerprinting; there are available fingerprinting appointments on July 21, 2020; however, pre enrollment is required.

Location: Chambersburg Holiday Inn Express, 1097 Wayne Avenue, Chambersburg, PA 17201

Times: 9 am–5 pm, by appointment only, so everyone must pre-enroll. If individuals come to the event and are not enrolled, they may be turned away. They also ask that in order to maintain the COVID-19 safety measures, please do not enter the building until a few minutes before your scheduled appointment time.

Enrollment: Make sure to have your appropriate service code from your human resources department. If you do not know what the appropriate service code is and you cannot contact your employer, you may contact this email.

To be able to enroll for this particular event, you must use the special enrollment code of: SP-DHSCHAMBER721

For directions on enrollment, please review the attachment.

Further Requirements:

  • When the individual enrolls, they will be sent an enrollment confirmation via email. They MUST bring their enrollment confirmation information with them to their appointment. It can be on their phone, it does not have to be printed out, but they must have it!
  • They must bring an appropriate form of identification. The most common forms of identification are: Drivers License (if it has expired during COVID-19 (after March 1, 2020), please make sure to bring your renewal form), current passport, Pennsylvania State Identification, or Green Card.
  • Everyone must wear a mask to the event and keep it on at all times until the Enrollment Agent asks them to remove it so that they can be photographed as part of the fingerprinting protocol.

Payment: If your employer is paying for your fingerprinting, please make sure to obtain a payment voucher code, as you will need that during the enrollment process. If your employer has not provided you with a payment voucher, you will be required to pay for the fingerprinting at the time of the event. The current cost is $23.85 and the Enrollment Agent may only accept (1) credit card (2) debit card or (3) money order made out to “Idemia.”

See the Pre Enrollment Instructions for Mobile Fingerprinting. If you have questions, please contact RCPA Children’s Director Jim Sharp.

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The purpose of this bulletin is to advise County Children and Youth Agencies (CCYAs) and Statewide Adoption and Permanency Network (SWAN) affiliate agencies of adjustments to payment rates for SWAN direct units of service for State Fiscal Year (SFY) 2020–2021 and tentative payment rates for SFY 2021–2022. This bulletin rescinds and replaces the payment chart on page 3 of the Office of Children, Youth and Families (OCYF) Bulletin 3350-19-02, titled “Statewide Adoption and Permanency Network Unit of Service Payment Rates and Programmatic Changes” and replaces the unit costs on page 74 of OCYF Bulletin 3140-20-02, titled “Fiscal Year 2021-22 Children, Youth and Family’s Needs-Based Plan and Fiscal Year 2020-21 Implementation Plan Instructions.

See the Bulletin to view the document and rates; the SWAN rates will be effective for all services referred on or after July 1, 2020. Payment for any services referred prior to July 1, 2020, will be paid at the rate established for the year in which the referral was made. If you have questions, please contact RCPA Children’s Director Jim Sharp.

July 7, 2020 

Harrisburg, PA – The Department of Human Services (DHS) today announced that older Pennsylvania youth exiting the foster-care system will now be eligible for aftercare services until age 23 – a policy change that will offer myriad supportive services to a particularly vulnerable population of youth as they transition to adulthood. Previously, youth became ineligible for aftercare services on their 21st birthday.

DHS estimates that the extension of aftercare services to age 23 will benefit about 1,500 former foster youth in fiscal year 2020-21.

“Every child deserves a safe and healthy environment to grow up, and every person deserves a stable support system to help them transition from childhood to adulthood,” DHS Secretary Teresa Miller said. “For former foster youth aging out of the system, the traditional family support system may not be there for them. I’m proud that Pennsylvania is stepping up to fill that gap and provide the types of services these young adults need to go on to lead happy, healthy and productive lives.”

DHS convened a workgroup to study the possibility of extending aftercare services to age 23 for former foster youth after the federal Family First Prevention Services Act gave states the option of doing so. After studying the issue in collaboration with stakeholders, DHS has opted into this provision effective July 1, 2020.

In Pennsylvania, child welfare is a county-administered and state-supervised system. Counties provide aftercare services that meet the needs of the youth who exit foster care on or after their 14th birthday – and now until age 23 – that can include: needs assessment/case planning, life skills training, prevention services, education, support services, employment, location of housing, room and board, retreats and camps, indirect services, and program administration. Some services require youth to meet other eligibility criteria.

This policy change to extend aftercare services to age 23 ensures that all former foster youth, including those who remain in foster care to age 21 have access to aftercare services to help them safely and successfully transition to independence and adulthood after they’ve exited the formal foster-care system.

Research shows that youth who age out or leave foster care without a permanent family/connection experience worse outcomes than that of their peers in the general population. Former foster youth are disproportionately represented among young adults entering the mental health and substance use disorder systems, homeless services, employment services and criminal justice systems. This policy change is a critical step forward in serving older youth and preventing the outcomes seen nationally for foster youth who age out of the foster-care system.

In addition, beginning July 1, 2020, DHS has extended eligibility for the Chafee Education and Training Voucher program — known as Education and Training Grants (ETG) in Pennsylvania — to youth up until their 26th birthday. This program provides eligible youth financial support to attend post-secondary education and training classes for up to five years (consecutive or non-consecutive). The previous cutoff age was 23.

ETG eligibility includes youth who are in foster care or discharged from foster care on or after age 16, including those youth have exited foster care to adoption or permanent legal guardianship. The ETG application for the 2020-21 academic year is available online.

Youth applying for ETG will be evaluated to determine if they also qualify for the Fostering Independence Tuition Waiver Program (FosterEd). The FosterEd program requires Pennsylvania post-secondary institutions to waive tuition and mandatory fees for Pennsylvania youth who meet Chafee ETG eligibility requirements and who have applied for all available federal and state grants.

If you have any questions, please contact RCPA Children’s Policy Director Jim Sharp


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