Children's Services

Today, the 55 Pa. Code Chapter 1153, Outpatient Psychiatric Services and 55 Pa. Code Chapter 5200, Psychiatric Outpatient Clinics were approved unanimously by the Independent Regulatory Review Commission (IRRC). This has been a long time coming. These regulations are the result of a work group that began in late 2013 and was adjusted and updated over the course of the last several years. The next stop is the Office of the Attorney General.

The need for revisions to the regulatory reform process was discussed, and IRRC leaders reminded the attendees that the IRRC is a place for re-review three years after promulgation.

While RCPA congratulates the Department of Human Services (DHS) on this latest development, RPCA members continue to work on a redesigned outpatient model to present to DHS and payors.

RCPA will send the final regulations out as soon as they are approved by the Office of the Attorney General and published by DHS. Contact RCPA Mental Health Division Director Sarah Eyster or RCPA Children’s Division Director Jim Sharp with questions.

Department of Human Services Highlights Resources for Families Supporting People with an Intellectual Disability or Autism

(From DHS)

Harrisburg, PA (July 15, 2019) – The Department of Human Services’ (DHS) Office of Developmental Programs (ODP) today highlighted programs and services offered to families of individuals who have an intellectual disability or autism (ID/A). The nationally recognized approach, LifeCourse Framework, assists families to support their family member to live an everyday life.

“We are committed to helping individuals access opportunities to support their goals and dreams, and that includes helping their families understand how to help support them to live an everyday life,” said DHS Secretary Teresa Miller. “It is important to continue to review best practices for helping individuals with intellectual disabilities and autism. The LifeCourse approach is this best practice. LifeCourse is focused on planning for a good life throughout someone’s lifespan and supporting families.”

The LifeCourse Framework is an approach that focuses on the whole person and targets the needs of people at critical periods throughout their lifetime. There are a variety of planning tools created by the National Community of Practice to support people with using this approach. The core belief of the framework is all people have the right to live, love, work, play and pursue their life aspirations in their community. ODP has worked through regional collaboratives in the commonwealth to implement LifeCourse. Two organizations that support ODP’s work by supporting strong visions and high expectations for individuals and families for their everyday life are PA Family Network and Self-Advocates United as 1 (SAU1).

PA Family Network is a major element of Pennsylvania’s statewide strategy of supporting families of individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. PA Family Network offers both workshops and one-on-one family mentoring. They also hold regular events to teach attendees the LifeCourse Framework. Upcoming workshops include:

  • July 18 – Bellefonte, Centre County
  • July 25 – Philadelphia, Philadelphia County
  • July 26 – Altoona, Blair County
  • July 30 – Honesdale, Wayne County
  • August 27 – Honesdale, Wayne County
  • September 17 – Meadville, Crawford County
  • October 15 – Marlin, Schuylkill County

Self–Advocates United as 1 manages the Self Advocacy Power Network for All (SAPNA), which is funded by ODP. SAPNA provides peer–to–peer targeted training and technical assistance to individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities to further self–advocacy. SAU1 also teaches LifeCourse Frameworks at various events. Upcoming dates include:

  • July 31 – Clarion, Clarion County
  • August 19 – Mercer, Mercer County
  • August 21 – Philadelphia, Philadelphia County
  • August 27 – Pittsburgh, Allegheny County
  • August 29 – Stroudsburg, Monroe County
  • September 9 – Erie, Erie County
  • September 10 – Warren, Warren County
  • September 13 – St. Mary’s, Elk County
  • September 17 – Greensburg, Westmoreland County
  • September 20 – Kittanning, Armstrong County
  • September 27 – DuBois, Clearfield County
  • October 17 – Butler, Butler County

The LifeCourse Framework training and events at both the PA Family Network and SAU1 are free, but registration is required through the organizations. For more information about PA Family Network’s workshops, visit here. For more information about SAU1’s events, visit here.

To learn more about the LifeCourse Framework, visit here.

To learn more about DHS’s Office of Developmental Programs, visit here.
MEDIA CONTACT: Erin James – 7174257606

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In response to commentators’ questions regarding the recently released Intensive Behavioral Health Services (IBHS) Regulations–Final; DHS has released the IBHS Preamble. The RCPA Children’s IBHS Work Group is reconvening the week of July 29, to provide a substantive review and a prepared response in advance of the IRRC public hearing on August 15, 2019.

Please note that any comments should be submitted to DHS prior to the 48-hour blackout period, which begins on Tuesday, August 13 at 10:00 am. Please provide IRRC with a copy of any comments submitted to DHS, and also copy RCPA Children’s Division Director Jim Sharp, by close of business on August 12.

Please contact Jim Sharp with questions, thoughts, or concerns.

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When Governor Wolf signed the FY 19/20 budget at the end of June, it included $2.5 Million for the Parent Pathways initiative, led by the Department of Human Services (DHS) and the Department of Education (PDE). The Parent Pathways initiative is funded as a component of the DHS Cash Grants appropriation of $18.287 Million in FY 19/20.

Parent Pathways seeks to establish community-specific comprehensive models to support access to, and success in, post-secondary education and training for single parents. Specifically, the departments propose to invest in holistic models that address the needs of parents and children together and successfully leverage partnerships to offer sustainable solutions to the multiple barriers often facing families experiencing economic challenges.

Removing barriers to education empowers parents to pursue the skills needed for enriching, family-sustaining careers. Single parents, in particular, often face significant challenges around finances, housing, and child care that prevent them from accessing and successfully completing programs that could lift their family out of poverty, while also finding fulfillment in a meaningful career. Overcoming these barriers is often challenging for single-parent families on their own, but a network of support envisioned through the Parent Pathways model will create bridges to a life out of poverty that will shape families’ trajectories for years to come.

Next Steps
The departments are continuing to receive input on the initiative, explore our options for distributing the $2.5M implementation funding, and are developing a competitive Request for Application (RFA) to award Parent Pathway models later this calendar year. As previously shared, it is the plan to award grants in two phases for Parent Pathway models – 1) planning and development technical assistance and 2) implementation.

Prior to the release of the RFA, the departments will hold informational webinars for the public with more detailed information. In the meantime, we encourage interested parties to work with community partners, education institutions, and housing support entities to explore community-specific strategies to address the goals of Parent Pathways and meet the needs of single parents and their families in pursuit of post-secondary education.

Please visit this website for updates on the initiative and various resources available to assist you in community engagement and development. Contact Jim Sharp, RCPA Children’s Division Director, with questions.

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The Department of Human Services (DHS) has submitted the Intensive Behavioral Health Services (IBHS) final-form regulation. The Independent Regulatory Review Commission (IRRC) plans to meet and act on this regulation at a public meeting on Thursday, August 15, 2019, at 10:00 am. The agenda and any changes to the time or date of the meeting will be posted on the IRRC website.

Please note that any comments should be submitted to DHS prior to the 48-hour blackout period, which begins on Tuesday, August 13 at 10:00 am. Please provide IRRC with a copy of any comments submitted. Additionally, please copy RCPA Children’s Division Director, Jim Sharp, on any comments submitted to DHS by close of business on August 12.

The RCPA Children’s IBHS Work Group will provide a substantive review in advance of the public hearing. Please contact Jim Sharp with questions, thoughts, or concerns.

Folders with the label Applications and Grants

The 2019 PA Projects for Assistance in Transition from Homelessness (PATH) grant application is now available for review. The PATH grant is funded by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), Center for Mental Health Services. PATH was created as part of the Stewart B. McKinney Homeless Assistance Amendments Act of 1990.

Since 1991, PATH has funded the 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and four U.S. Territories (the U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam, American Samoa, and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands). The goal of the PATH Program is to reduce or eliminate homelessness for individuals with serious mental illnesses or serious mental illness and substance use disorders who experience homelessness or are at imminent risk of becoming homeless. PATH funds are used to provide a menu of allowable services, including street outreach, case management, and services which are not supported by mainstream mental health programs. Since PATH is not HUD-funded, PATH funds often can be used to supplement and fill in cracks left by HUD limitations.

OMHSAS distributes funds to 24 county/joinder MH/ID program offices, which cover 36 of PA’s 67 counties, to provide PATH services. Many of these offices sub-contract with local community providers to provide PATH services. Please forward any questions or concerns to Michelle Baxter by end of business Friday, July 12, 2019.

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Attention Child Care Providers: New Clearance Required

A federal requirement under the reauthorization of the Child Care Developmental Block Grant (CCDBG) means a new clearance – the National Crime Information Center/National Sex Offender Registry (referred to as the NSOR clearance).

The following individuals must complete the NSOR verification certificate by July 1, 2020:

  • Any individual 18 years or older residing in the child care facility;
  • All individuals working for regulated child care providers; and
  • Any individual with an ownership interest (corporate or non-corporate) in a regulated child care provider and who participates in the organization and management of the operation.

The clearance is in addition to the currently required clearances of Child Abuse History Clearance (CY113), Pennsylvania State Police Criminal Record Checks for Employment (SPA-164) or Volunteers (SPA-164A), and Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Fingerprinting.

The NSOR will verify that a check of the National Sex Offenders Registry was conducted and whether the individual can or cannot work for a regulated child care provider. There is no fee for the NSOR clearance.

By late summer/early fall 2019, there will be a paper application process for the NSOR clearance, and in late fall there will be an electronic process in place at keepkidssafe.pa.gov.

By July 1, 2020, all existing staff and household members must have a completed NSOR clearance. See the printable one-pager to share with staff and partners. Contact RCPA Children’s Division Director Jim Sharp with questions.