Children's Services

Tablet on a desk - Questions and Answers

The Office of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services (OMHSAS) has released an updated version of the Intensive Behavioral Health Services (IBHS) FAQ. Additionally, there will be another FAQ update in early January. Please review the new version as the inquiries include OMHSAS responses on staff training / qualifications, licensing parameters, service delivery, and other key feedback brought forth by stakeholders. The new IBHS FAQ can be found here.

We have been informed that there will be new OMHSAS IBHS bulletins released in December, regarding the prior authorized services in the fee-for-service delivery system and the medical necessity guidelines. All new IBHS information provided will also be reviewed by the RCPA IBHS Work Group.

As the IBHS implementation moves forward, we ask that RCPA Children’s Division Director Jim Sharp be included on questions sent to the IBHS RA account or directly to OMHSAS regional offices. We will continue to maintain our own member inquiry repository. If you have any questions or feedback, please contact Jim Sharp.

As we approach the conclusion of the Governor’s Council on Reform public comment period on December 16, 2019, RCPA would like to ensure that each member has the materials for providing their public comments, feedback, and support. RCPA will be submitting commentary within each policy director’s purview, and we strongly urge your agency to submit your thoughts to the Council, including areas and issues that may not be represented in the current recommendations.

If you would like to send your submissions to your respective policy director for inclusion in the RCPA public comment, please have them submitted by close of business on Wednesday December 11, 2019.

Below you will find the links to important documents relating to the Council on Reform, including the Public Comment Submission Form. If you have further questions, please contact your respective RCPA Policy Director.

  1. Governor’s Executive Order
  2. November 1 Press Release
  3. Recommendation Document
  4. Public Comment Form

Thank you for your efforts and partnership to bring these recommendations to the forefront of your work.

As a result of the Rate Methodology Task Force of 2014 and 2016, one of the key recommendations was the implementation of a statewide standardized time study process. The purpose is to ensure consistency across providers, as well as eliminate challenges experienced by private providers whose own time study process or other quantifiable methodology is not accepted by the Office of Children, Youth and Families (OCYF) during the review of the budget documentation, which ultimately reduces Federal Title IV-E funding.

The implementation of a standardized time study should reduce provider time and resources spent on developing, conducting, and analyzing methodologies to support the allocation of time spent on the Title IV-E program. Additionally, it should improve the efficiency of the budget documentation review process.

Over the next several weeks, providers will begin to receive communication from OCYF regarding their individual staff requirements for time study participation. Training on the standardized time study process will be provided January through March 2020. The initial time study periods will be conducted in April/May 2020. The time study data collected in 2020 will be used to support the budget documentation reviews for state fiscal year 2021/22. Please review the full correspondence from Acting OCYF Deputy Secretary Jon Rubin for all details of the Standardized Time Study Process.

For questions on this process, OCYF has set up an RA account. Please copy RCPA Children’s Division Director Jim Sharp on submitted questions or feedback.

To:             All LEAs

Secretary Pedro A. Rivera, Department of Education
Secretary Teresa D. Miller, Department of Human Services

Date:         December 2, 2019

Subject:     Pennsylvania Family Engagement Birth through College, Career, Community Ready Framework

The Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) is pleased to unveil the Pennsylvania Family Engagement Birth through College, Career, Community Ready Framework.

This “framework” is a collaborative initiative between PDE’s Office of Child Development and Early Learning (OCDEL) and Office of Elementary and Secondary Education (OESE), and includes family engagement resources and information for local education agencies (LEAs) aligned with the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). The framework is a tool to guide learning communities in the implementation of effective practices, use of shared language, and application of a family engagement continuum for families across their child’s educational lifespan.

  • Purpose: Effective family engagement, beginning with early learning programs through K12, are important to supporting a child’s learning and development. The framework fosters a clear path and identifies a set of common standards for how learning communities can plan and implement family engagement practice.
  • Audience: Many members of Pennsylvania’s learning communities can employ this framework. A learning community is defined as programs and schools to which PDE, including the OCDEL and OESE, provide funding, guidance, and monitoring. It also includes LEAs, such as school districts and associated community partners.
  • Goal: Research has demonstrated that regardless of socioeconomic background, when schools, families, and community groups work together to support learning, children perform better academically, enjoy school more, remain in school longer, and have better long-term outcomes such as higher graduation rates and improved postsecondary educational attainment and career readiness.

Additionally, PDE is collaborating with the Mid Atlantic Equity Consortium (MAEC) to launch a new state family engagement center — the Collaborative Action for Family Engagement Center (CAFE) — which is an online resource to provide opportunities for collaboration, learning, and to promote high-impact, culturally responsive family engagement. CAFE will serve diverse families who reside in Pennsylvania. More information on CAFE is forthcoming.

More information on family engagement and the framework can be found on PDE’s website.

The Juvenile Court Judges Commission (JCJC) and the Pennsylvania Council for Chief Juvenile Probation Officers (JPOs), along with input from systems stakeholders, has released two operational reference guides that will go into effect immediately:

Work groups consisting of JCJC staff, representatives from juvenile probation departments, providers, and others, worked diligently to develop these resources. The resources have also been vetted by various groups to ensure the appropriate individuals were actively involved with the development of these guides. Their feedback was invaluable and incorporated wherever appropriate.

Each document includes introductory language describing the purpose of the resource. You will also note the JPO Reference Guide for Dispositional Hearings has a companion checklist that may be used by JPOs and judges during dispositional hearings.

If you have any questions or feedback as you begin to implement these processes, please contact RCPA Children’s Division Director Jim Sharp.

The Office of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services (OMHSAS) is sponsoring our second annual training series, “Supporting Transgender Clients,” in partnership with the Gender and Sexuality Development Clinic at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. Training dates/locations for in-person trainings will be coming soon; once the dates are announced, RCPA will send out an Alert. Dates for the webinar series are available here. Webinar slots are limited; if multiple staff from one location wish to participate, please consider viewing jointly. If you have questions, or would like additional information, please email Jill Stemple or RCPA Children’s Director Jim Sharp.

On Wednesday, November 20, the Office of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services (OMHSAS) conducted its most recent WebEx, outlining several key areas to the Intensive Behavioral Health Services (IBHS) implementation. The materials for the presentation can be found here.

This presentation provided an overview of the following:

  • Written Orders;
  • Assessment;
  • Training Approval Process;
  • Current Department Approved Trainings;
  • Family Outreach;
  • Medical Necessity Guidelines;
  • Licensing;
  • Enrollment/ Billing; and
  • Rates.

This link will direct you to the IBHS Website on the HealthChoices server. At the bottom of the page is the repository of information on these topics as well as the updated FAQ. The RCPA IBHS Work Group will be reconvening in early December to continue to address implementation issues in conjunction with OMHSAS. If you have any questions or feedback, please contact RCPA Children’s Division Director Jim Sharp.