Children's Services

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The Pennsylvania Department of Human Services (DHS) and Office of Child Development and Early Learning (OCDEL) are inviting providers and others to review and provide comments on its draft State Plan for the Child Care Development Block Grant.

To submit comments, download and complete the response form by Friday, January 8, 2016, and email or mail to:

The Office of Child Development and Early Learning
Attn: State Plan
333 Market Street
Sixth Floor
Harrisburg, Pennsylvania 17126

The Child Care Development Block Grant is one of the primary federal funding sources for monitoring regulated child care programs, child care subsidy through Child Care Works, and child care quality improvement through Keystone STARS. Pennsylvania’s plan, once finalized, will address how the state will implement new requirements imposed by the reauthorization over the next three federal fiscal years. Key features of the plan include:

  • Supporting child development by providing greater opportunities for stable, quality child care.
  • Exploring payment rates to providers serving children receiving Child Care Works, to ensure equal access, and compensation for providers that is closer to the market rate.
  • Improving health and safety requirements for child care providers through child care regulations and inspections.
  • Reaffirming professional development requirements for providers participating in Keystone STARS.

The Office of Child Development and Early Learning has also posted and begun accepting public comment on a policy announcement, Reduction of Expulsion and Suspension in Early Childhood Programs in Pennsylvania. OCDEL will hold a webinar to review the public comments received to date and give the stakeholder community a final opportunity to provide feedback. OCDEL will also accept additional comments via email until Monday, January 18, 2016, at which time the public comment period will be closed.

Pursuant to Executive Order 1996-1, the State Board of Physical Therapy (PT) has requested member comments and suggestions on two draft rulemakings.

The first draft rulemaking, 16A-6518-Foreign Trained Evaluation, would amend the board’s regulations so that a foreign-trained applicant would be required to submit an evaluation showing that the applicant’s training was equivalent to what is required in a program accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE) — the accrediting body for United States programs — rather than program contents specified in the regulations.

The second draft rulemaking, 16A-6519-Student in Master’s Program Statement of Policy, is for a statement of policy that would make clear that, for purposes of the exception to the licensure requirement for physical therapy students, the term “Board-approved School” includes all physical therapy programs at a school that has a program accredited by CAPTE, as CAPTE accredits only pre-licensure programs.

The State Board of PT welcomes comments on these draft rulemakings. Comments are due by Friday, January 15, 2016, and should be submitted via email. Please specify rulemaking 16A-6518 (foreign-trained applicant evaluation) or 16A-6519 (student in master’s program) as appropriate on your comments.

On December 10, 2015, the Legislative Budget and Finance Committee (LB&FC) released and presented their report, Implementation of the PA Safety in Youth Sports Act, pursuant to HR 2014-1064. This bill called on the House of Representatives to direct the LB&FC to assess compliance with the Safety in Youth Sports Act, determine the best practices for managing concussions and traumatic brain injuries, and make recommendations on provisions of the act that should be strengthened to be more effective.

While changes were not recommended to the current act, there was concern expressed that concussions are still not taken as seriously as they should be. As a result, it was recommended that the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) develop additional guidelines and recommended practices for schools to follow with regard to identifying, assessing, and managing student athletes suspected of having sustained a concussion. The recommendation was made to PDE to consider the guidelines developed by the New York Department of Education (Guidelines for Concussion Management in the School Setting) as a possible model. The report was accepted and approved to be released.

This article from Capitolwire is a good and extensive overview of what is going on with the budget here in Harrisburg. Health and Human service budget line items are still fluid until the House and Senate negotiate a final budget deal. RCPA will provide updates on any budget deal, and RCPA encourages members to continue to contact the governor and state legislators to inform them why it’s necessary for them to pass a state budget sooner rather than later. Questions, contact Jack Phillips.

RCPA has learned that the University of Millersville, Office of Diversity and Social Justice, will be sponsoring the first annual mental health conference on April 2, 2016. Presenter proposal information is available about this event here. RCPA supports the efforts of the Millersville University community for wanting to inform and create a compassionate community.

The College for Behavioral Health Leadership will be hosting a symposium to focus on population health for behavioral and physical health on Wednesday, January 20, 2016, in Washington, DC. During this one day event, the focus will be on the components of population health, and how behavioral and physical health can work together to impact the triple aim of improving care for individuals, reducing costs, and improving health. Please consider joining us on January 20 to learn more and become part of the solution.

The Bureau of Autism Services is conducting a preliminary survey to help inform the design of services for individuals with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) who are transitioning out of high school, including those who may have had juvenile justice contact or psychiatric hospitalizations. The survey is designed to be completed by individuals with ASD and their families and caregivers. Surveys should be completed by Friday, December 4. Any questions about this survey can be sent via email to the Bureau of Autism Services.

On November 23, the leadership of the Office of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services (OMHSAS), including Deputy Secretary Dennis Marion and Medical Director Dr. Dale Adair, provided a webcast presentation on the development of Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) services for children with an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). The webcast to more than 130 RCPA members reviewed the current concepts and recommendations developed by a clinical work group, assisting OMHSAS in the development of ABA medical necessity guidelines, clarifying the authorization pathway for Behavioral Health Rehabilitation Services for children and adolescents diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder.

RCPA Input Session for Medical Necessity Guidelines for BHRS including Applied Behavioral Analysis

In August 2015, OMHSAS convened a small, time-limited clinical work group to assist in the development of new Medical Necessity Guidelines (MNG) for children and adolescents with ASD. The guidelines are specific to Applied Behavioral Analysis within the home and community based services level of care. The work group is seeking stakeholder feedback on preliminary MNG content prior to issuing recommendations to OMHSAS.

OMHSAS will present an update with Dennis Marion via webcast on Monday, November 23, 2015 from 9:30 – 10:30 am. OMHSAS Deputy Secretary Marion will provide RCPA members with updates from OMHSAS;

The Pennsylvania Department of Human Services (DHS) issued this Request for Information (RFI) to seek input for improving Pennsylvania’s Medical Assistance Transportation Program (MATP). By soliciting the knowledge of stakeholders and industry leaders from Pennsylvania and throughout the United States, the department seeks to broaden its perspectives regarding potential strategies and solutions to enhance efficiencies and management of non-emergency medical transportation (NEMT) services for Medical Assistance (MA) consumers.