Children's Services

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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.

The Department of Human Services (DHS) is seeking comments on a draft bulletin regarding Consent to Mental Health Treatment for Minor Children. Please submit any comments you have on this draft bulletin via email no later than the close of business on Thursday, June 7, 2018. Should you decide to submit comments, please feel free to copy Robena Spangler, RCPA Children’s Division Director. Thank you for your interest and participation.

CMS’ Medicaid Innovation Accelerator Program (IAP) Maternal and Infant Health Initiative (MIHI) Value-Based Payment (VBP) team is hosting a national webinar on Thursday, May 17, 2018, from 2:00 pm – 3:30 pm ET about using VBP strategies to incentivize change in maternal and infant health care delivery models.

During this webinar, participants will learn about VBP and contractual approaches that incentivize the use of innovative maternal and infant health care delivery models within Medicaid and CHIP. The speakers will also describe the considerations for implementing VBP approaches to finance care delivery models that improve maternal and infant health outcomes. Finally, presenters from Ohio and New York will describe the opportunities and challenges they faced when aligning maternal and infant health care delivery models with VBP approaches.

To register for this webinar, please visit this link.

Today, The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) released an informational bulletin that discusses the importance of state Medicaid and CHIP programs properly implementing their pediatric dental periodicity schedules in order to ensure children’s access to critical dental coverage. In particular, two dimensions are discussed. First, states should ensure that fee schedules and payment policies are aligned with periodicity schedules. Second, the periodicity schedule should be treated as a “floor” for coverage of dental services, not a “ceiling.” The informational bulletin can also be accessed on this Medicaid.gov web page.

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We are asking everyone to share this link to the action alert urging our legislators to provide a 3% increase in funding for the Early Intervention Birth to Three program. The House and Senate leadership are currently preparing the 2018/19 budget. We need to encourage our local legislators to communicate to their leadership the need to address this critical funding for Early Intervention, especially considering there have been no rate increases in 8 years.

Our providers are truly struggling to retain therapists as they compete with higher paying hospitals. They are also challenged to find therapists to provide Early Intervention services to children in more rural areas of the state. Please feel free to broadly share this action alert.

Thank you to our partners at The Arc of PA for sharing this very important information!