Children's Services

The 2020 Family Group Decision Making (FGDM) Conference, “Adjusting our Lens: Gaining Perspective by Challenging Perceptions,” is planned for April 22–23, 2020 at Seven Springs Mountain Resort. Please see the conference brochure for details, along with registration information. This is a great training opportunity for county children and youth agency staff, the courts, private provider agencies, and other stakeholders who utilize FGDM with their populations.

Be sure to register as soon as possible and get your hotel accommodations reserved by March 20, 2020. If you have any further questions, please contact RCPA Children’s Division Director Jim Sharp.

The Office of Children, Youth and Families (OCYF) is releasing Bulletin #3680-20-02, 3800-20-03, titled “Specialized Residential Settings for Children and Youth.” The purpose of this bulletin is to release guidance to county and state officials, public and private children and youth social service agencies, and stakeholders regarding the Department of Human Services (DHS) OCYF voluntary certification process for child residential facilities or Supervised Independent Living (SIL) programs that provide specialized services to:

  • Pregnant, expecting, and parenting youth;
  • Youth who are transitioning to adulthood; or
  • Youth who are, or at risk of becoming, sex trafficking victims.

Also, OCYF is hosting two separate WebEx meetings to review the attached bulletin and application process for child residential facilities or SIL programs providing or planning to provide services to the above identified populations. Session opportunities are 9:30 am to 12:00 pm on February 25 or 28. If interested, please register for one of the two sessions by sending an email with:

  • Name
  • Agency
  • Email
  • Meeting: OCYF – Specialized Settings Bulletin Discussion
  • Date

There are only 150 slots available per meeting so please only register for one session. Groups of people within the same organization should plan to join using one phone line. Registration will be on a first-come, first-served basis.

If your agency is – or is interested in – providing services for Family First Prevention Services Programming in Pennsylvania, please contact RCPA Children’s Director Jim Sharp.

The 2020 RCPA Conference, Vision: 2020, will be held September 22–25 at the Hershey Lodge. The Conference is a premier statewide event, and the Conference Committee is seeking workshop proposals for possible inclusion. The Conference offers diverse educational opportunities and submissions are needed in every area. A complete listing of focus tracks is available on the proposal form. Presentations are encouraged that assist providers in developing and maintaining quality, stable, and effective treatments, services, and agencies in an industry where change is constant. The committee looks for presentations which:

  • Highlight new policy, research, and treatment initiatives;
  • Provide specific skills and information related to individual and organizational leadership development and enhancement;
  • Address system changes that affect business practices such as value-based purchasing; and
  • Offer concrete skills and tools to operate more efficient, effective agencies, as Vision: 2020 comes to you.

Workshop ideas for 2020 include workforce shortage solutions; the changing health care landscape; managing human capital/resources; executive leadership; integrated care strategies for implementation and reimbursement; managed care models for people with intellectual/developmental disabilities – other state experiences; ethics topics across the membership; emergency planning for community violence; acquisitions/mergers and consolidations; value-based purchasing; and employing people with disabilities. The committee welcomes any proposal that addresses these and other topics essential to the rehabilitation, mental health, drug and alcohol, children’s, aging, and physical/developmental disability communities. Members are encouraged to consider submitting proposals and to forward this opportunity to those who are exceptionally good speakers and have state-of-the-art information to share.

The Call for Proposals and accompanying Guidelines for Developing Educational Objectives outline requirements for submissions. The deadline for submissions is Monday, March 23 at 5:00 pm. Proposals must be submitted electronically to Sarah Eyster on the form provided. Confirmation of receipt will be sent. Proposals submitted after the deadline will not be considered.

Proposals selected stand out by inclusion of solid learning objectives, information that a participant can use to enhance professional skills or methods, and being geared to a diverse and advanced audience. If the proposal is accepted, individuals must be prepared to present on any day of the conference. Workshops are 60/75 minutes for a single session or 120/150 minutes in length for a double session. At the time of acceptance, presenters will be required to confirm the ability to submit workshop handouts electronically four weeks prior to the conference. Individuals unable to meet this expectation should not submit proposals for consideration.

Individuals are welcome to submit multiple proposals. Notification of inclusion will be made via email by May 8. Questions may be directed to Sarah Eyster, Conference Coordinator.

The Child Welfare Resource Center is pleased to offer “700: Foundations of Leadership,” a two-day course, to public and private agency leaders across Pennsylvania. The course is designed to introduce leadership and organizational effectiveness concepts that can be applied in organizations to develop continuous improvement plans to support agency outcomes. The prerequisite course, 9000 Leading with Strengths, must be completed online prior to attending the in-person course. Participants are encouraged to register for the courses together. The Foundations of Leadership course is approved for continuing education credit hours.

Please view this link for more information and instructions on how to register, via their registration line at 877-297-7488, email, or fax to Rachael Ickes at 717-795-8013. Space is limited.

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The Office of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services (OMHSAS) has released a bulletin today outlining Intensive Behavioral Health Services (IBHS) code clarification, rates, and MA Fee For Service (FFS) rates.

The bulletin outlines the IBHS overview, including the procedure codes for Individual Services, Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) Services, and Group Services. In addition to the rate fee schedule is language on prior authorization for services.

OMHSAS cites the following fiscal impact overview: the fiscal impact estimated for Fiscal Year (FY) 2019–20 is $11.1 million ($5.3 million in State funds). The estimated fiscal impact for FY 2020–21 is $38.5 million ($18.4 million in State funds). The estimated fiscal impact for FY 2021–22 is $45.8 million ($21.9 million in State funds).

RCPA recommends you review the rate schedule in accordance with your service delivery continuum as part of your implementation planning. RCPA will be reviewing the bulletin and working with RCPA members, OMHSAS, and the BH-MCOs on the fiscal and operational implementation of the IBHS regulations.

There will be a public comment period, whereby interested persons are invited to submit written comments regarding the changes to the MA Program Fee Schedule to the Department of Human Services, Office of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services, c/o Deputy Secretary’s Office, Attention: Regulations Coordinator, 11th Floor, Commonwealth Towers, 303 Walnut Street, Harrisburg, PA 17120.

Comments may also be emailed. Comments received will be reviewed and considered for any subsequent revisions to the MA Program Fee Schedule. Please forward comments and feedback to RCPA Children’s Division Director Jim Sharp as part of your OMHSAS response.

The RCPA IBHS work group will have its regularly scheduled meeting this week and report out as per process. Please contact Jim Sharp with any questions or feedback.

The Office of Children, Youth and Families (OCYF), as a part of the ongoing revision process for the Regulatory Compliance Guide (RCG), is seeking feedback and comments on the most recent guide. The guide has been developed over the past year as part of summer providers’ convenings and other stakeholder forums.

It is important to note that this guide is to act as a companion to the Chapter 3800 regulations and not in place of the regulations. However, prior to finalization of this document, OCYF requests your feedback and comments in relation to the RCG document.

The department requests that all feedback and comments be submitted by Friday, February 14, 2020 to their established resource account.

The RCPA Children’s Residential Work Group will also be working on this area, and they are asking that RCPA Children’s Division Director Jim Sharp be included on the correspondence for the group’s information. The RCG guide link can be found here.

The Office of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services (OMHSAS) is sponsoring their second annual “Supporting Transgender Clients” Training Series in partnership with the Gender and Sexuality Development Clinic at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. In-person training dates for Harrisburg, Pittsburgh, and Scranton are now available. Please see the flyers listed below for more details and registration information:

If you have any questions about this training series, please contact Jill Stemple.

Governor Tom Wolf is proposing a $5.1 million funding boost to the state’s oversight of residential juvenile programs, after Inquirer investigations into child abuse at the nation’s oldest reform school and the state’s failure to detect or stop it. The extra millions in the 2020/21 budget would fund more than 100 additional staff positions to several program areas within the Department of Human Services (DHS), the state agency that licenses and monitors privately run residential facilities for court-ordered youth. The funds would enable DHS to “complete timely inspections of facilities to ensure full compliance with regulations, investigate complaints, and monitor the implementation of corrective action measures,” according to materials provided by Wolf’s office. The Governor, who recently announced a juvenile-justice task force, is expected to pledge additional funding for the troubled system in the 2021/22 budget as well. Read full article here (subscription required).

The Family First Prevention Services Act will dramatically change the federal funding priorities for child welfare. There will be a host of new requirements and some new opportunities in the areas of prevention and older youth. There is more of a push toward evidence-based programs. Pennsylvania is working to implement the provisions of the Family First Act in October of this year.

The Pennsylvania Children and Youth Administrators would like to invite you to join them for an update regarding the Family First Act and Transition Act, as well as hear the latest of where Pennsylvania is at regarding implementation. The Office of Children, Youth, and Families (OCYF) has once again graciously agreed to present and to answer what questions they can. This training is open to commissioners, CYS agencies, providers, and others interested in learning more about Family First and Pennsylvania’s implementation efforts.

The training will be Monday, February 24, 10:00 am – 12:30 pm at the CCAP Office: 2789 Old Post Road, Harrisburg, PA 17110. See the flyer for registration details.