Children's Services

The Department of Human Services (DHS) proposes to add Chapters 1155 and 5240 relating to IBHS to Title 55 of the Pennsylvania Code. The proposed rulemaking is published in the Pennsylvania Bulletin on August 4, 2018 and can be accessed here.

Written comments, suggestions, or objections regarding this proposed rulemaking may be submitted to the Office of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services (OMHSAS) at the following address:

Attention: Tara Pride, Bureau of Policy, Planning and Program Development, Commonwealth Towers, 11th Floor, PO Box 2675, 303 Walnut Street, Harrisburg, PA 17105 or by email during the 30-day public comment period, which closes September 4, 2018.

The next RCPA BHRS/IBHS work group will be held on Wednesday, August 15. The work group will compile comments from discussions held over the past year and those offered by the members of the group. We are asking providers who choose to send comments into OMHSAS directly to also send a copy of your comments to Robena Spangler. This is our long-awaited opportunity to provide input into the regulations; we hope that all BHRS providers and ABA professionals are engaged. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me at the email address above.

Contact Tribune-Review

Editorial: Lend your feedback to the Pa. School Safety Task Force

RCPA is encouraging our members to take this opportunity to provide Governor Wolf and Auditor General Eugene DePasquale with input about what state officials and the mental health community should do to improve school safety. The task force, led by Governor Wolf and Auditor General DePasquale, is compiling a report due later this year.

The Task Force’s mission is to evaluate issues such as funding for school safety, access to physical and mental health support, effectiveness of state requirements for training and security, how well safety issues are reported, and whether precautions like anonymous tip tools are in place. The Pennsylvania School Safety Task Force was formed after the Feb. 14 shooting in Parkland, Florida.

Please use this link to submit feedback.

Transformational Change Requires Transformational Leadership
National Council for Behavioral Health and MTM Services Webinar Series

The move to measurement-based care as well as the operational, clinical, and financial changes ahead for behavioral health providers require transformational leadership. Get equipped to be successful in this changing world — join David Lloyd, founder of MTM Services, in a two-part webinar where he will revisit his popular NatCon18 presentation, share his insights based on more than twenty-five years of implementing transformational change, and take questions from the audience.

About the Webinars
On Thursday, June 21 at 12:30 pm ET, David will address the biggest challenges facing today’s behavioral health care providers and how to assess an organization’s readiness for change, including strengths and areas of risk.

Then on Wednesday, July 11 at 12:30 pm ET, David will discuss tangible strategies for shifting to a sustained Continuous Quality Improvement (CQI) -based change process, including appropriate roles for all team members.

Have a question about one of the topics? Submit your questions at the end of your registration and it will be addressed during the appropriate webinar session.

Register today.

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The Statewide Adoption and Permanency Network (SWAN) Unit of Service Payment Rates and Programmatic Changes Bulletin is now available for viewing. This bulletin rescinds and replaces the payment chart on page 3 of the Office of Children, Youth, and Families (OCYF) Bulletin 3350-17-01, titled Statewide Adoption and Permanency Network Unit of Service Payment Rates and Programmatic Changes, and replaces the unit costs on page 84 of OCYF Bulletin 3140-18-03, titled Fiscal Year 2019-20 Children, Youth and Families Needs-Based Plan and Fiscal Year 2018-19 Implementation Plan Instructions. The programmatic changes outlined in OCYF Bulletin 3350-17-01 remain in effect, with an exception to the finalization unit of service.

The new SWAN payment rates established in this bulletin were developed as a result of actual cost and time data submitted by SWAN affiliate agencies from January 2017 – December 2017. The new rates apply to all services referred on or after July 1, 2018. Any services referred prior to that date will be paid at the existing rate.

As a reminder, cost adjustments for SWAN units of service will be determined by the Office of Children, Youth, and Families on an annual basis, and communicated in an annual SWAN Unit of Service Payment Rates Bulletin, as well as in the annual Needs-Based Plan and Budget Bulletin. Established rates will be based upon actual cost and time data submitted by SWAN affiliate agencies to the SWAN prime contractor.

If you have any questions about the bulletin or payment rates, please contact Carrie Keiser.

The Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape (PCAR) is hosting a two-day conference on Wednesday, July 18 & Thursday, July 19, that will provide participants with an opportunity to network and learn about the latest developments in the sexual assault movement. The conference will showcase how different parts of the field are tackling sexual violence. There will be a Prevention track; a track hosted by the PA Chapter of Children’s Advocacy Centers. Other topics include self-care and human trafficking.

Please follow this link for details about registration and contact information for PCAR.

Please join our friends at the Pennsylvania Children and Youth Administrators (PCYA), an affiliate of the County Commissioners Association of PA, and the Pennsylvania Council on Children, Youth, and Family Services (PCCYFS) as they recognize the dedicated professionals and service providers who work to protect and provide services that support safety, well-being, and permanency for Pennsylvania’s children.

In light of the focus on the child welfare system in PA, RCPA Children’s Division will continue to provide additional advocacy and support of recommendations and activities that lead to comprehensive child welfare systems reform. RCPA children’s services providers are well-positioned to provide a diverse array of services that address child abuse prevention, intervention, trauma treatment, and when necessary, post-placement services.

For more information about the Providers’ Awareness Week and related activities, please contact Jennifer A. James at PCYA.

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) released a funding opportunity announcement for fiscal year 2018 Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinics (CCBHCs) Expansion Grants. SAMHSA anticipates awarding 25 eligible providers up to $2,000,000 annually to increase access to, and improve the quality of, community behavioral health services through the expansion of CCBHCs. CCBHCs and community behavioral health providers in states that participated in the CCBHC planning year are eligible to apply. These states include: AK, CA, CO, CT, IA, IL, IN, KY, MA, MD, MI, MN, MO, NC, NJ, NM, NV, NY, OK, OR, PA, RI, TX, and VA. Applications are due July 9, 2018. For a program description and details on eligibility click here. Contact RCPA Mental Health Division Director Sarah Eyster with any questions.

The Department of Human Services (DHS) has announced that effective July 1, 2018, the cost of child abuse clearances will increase from $8 to $13. Child abuse clearance fees for volunteers will continue to be waived one time within a five-year period.

The legislative passage of Act 40 of 2017 included the increase to assist in covering actual costs for processing child abuse clearances, after the previously amended Child Protective Services Law (CPSL) expanded who is required to receive clearances, and instituted a five-year renewal cycle. Beginning in December 2014, individuals who required clearances expanded to include: volunteers, youth camp employees, coaches, youth mentors, Boy Scout and Girl Scout leaders, work study programs, internships, family-living home employees, and community-home employees for individuals with disabilities.

In 2014 and 2015, legislation was passed amending the CPSL. These amendments expanded clearance and background check requirements for individuals working or volunteering with children. In 2016, DHS received 951,414 child abuse clearance applications and identified 2,272 substantiated or alleged perpetrators of child abuse.

For more information on clearance and background check requirements as required by the CPSL, please visit this website.