Foster Care Crisis - What’s an Agency to Do? Part 1

Child welfare agencies in jurisdictions across the country face a growing foster care crisis: decreasing numbers of licensed foster homes can’t support the increasing demand for licensed out of home placement, fueled, in part, by the opioid and prescription drug crisis. What is causing this shift in the demand for traditional licensed foster homes? While the recent increase in agency referrals has exacerbated the crisis of too few licensed foster homes, several other factors are at play... [More]

Planning for Zika should start now— and not just at your Department of Public Health

Winter may not be ending until March 20—but it is never too early for state officials from many agencies, not just public health specialists, to start planning for this coming summer’s likely spike in Zika infections. As of this writing, 47 women in the U.S. have given birth to babies with neurological defects caused by the Zika virus, according to the latest data from a U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) registry. That’s approximately 6 percent of all pregnant women infected with Zika who have given birth, and the numbers look certain to rise as more and more women infected by Zika last August and September come to the full term of their pregnancies. [More]

Proposed ACA repeal legislation would impose new restrictions on state Medicaid programs

On March 6, 2017, the U.S. House of Representatives released its initial draft legislation to “repeal and replace” the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The initial draft legislation would impose significant new restrictions on state Medicaid programs. The legislation would impose annual per capita caps on federal financial participation (FFP) in state Medicaid expenditures beginning with the federal fiscal year (FFY) 2020 (October 1, 2019 – September 30, 2020). The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) would impose separate per capita caps for six Medicaid eligibility categories: the aged, blind, disabled, children, Medicaid expansion adults, and non-expansion adults.
For FFY 2020, CMS would... [More]

Improving the Student Experience

One four-year program in New York City helped change the way high-school boys think about their schools – and about themselves.

Last spring, when seniors at 40 public high schools across New York City walked across the graduation stage, they carried some intangible things along with their diplomas: a sense of belonging in their school communities, meaningful connections with the adults in their buildings, and a tendency to look toward the future.

The Young Men’s Initiative – part of a larger program called the Expanding Success Initiative – launched in 2012. Each of the 40 participating public high schools received $250,000 in funding over three years for the four-year program, which was focused on improving college and career readiness for black and Latino young men. [More]

Learning together, and from each other

When we think of education, we often picture a teacher in a classroom full of neatly ordered rows of desks. Some of the most important learning students do, however, comes from each other. This happens on the playground when students learn to interact as equals, on the ballfield where they learn to win and lose as team, and through programs like the Village Movement Mentoring Program.In school districts around the country, students who take part in PCG’s EPIC summer camp’s public speaking module take turns presenting at least one thing they learned to an audience of their peers, parents, district leaders. In other modules, students learn about Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) and team-building skills, and are encouraged to be creative while exercising their problem-solving skills. [More]

Villages, Villagers, and Scholars

Several years ago, Dr. Brenda Manuel, director of the Student Involvement, Development and Empowerment (SIDE) unit of the Los Angeles Unified School District, organized a conference for 400 high school boys of color – delivering workshops, introducing them to role models, and presenting content relevant to their lives. “The young men said, ‘Okay, now you’ve done this for us,” Dr. Manuel recalls. “‘What else are you going to do?’” Dr. Manuel took the boys to another conference, but they pushed for more. “This is not it,” she remembers them saying. “What we need is ongoing support, role models who tell us how and help us to mitigate systems through their life lessons, and then check on us to see that we are making progress.” [More]

Alleviating Emergency Medical Services’ Fiscal Challenges”

State budgets are under significant pressure and Emergency Medical Service (EMS) providers are facing declining reimbursement in response to serving as the public health care safety net. Many fiscal challenges exist for over-burdened departments and the prospects for addressing these inequities are dim. Healthcare systems and EMS ambulance transport providers are struggling to find alternative funding sources because of the decreasing reimbursement dollars from private and public insurance. This overall sentiment is evidenced by an article posted on the EMSWorld Website, which highlights the challenges faced by the EMS provider community. [More]

GAO-17-129: HHS Has Taken Steps to Support States' Oversight of Psychotropic Medications, but Additional Assistance Could Further Collaboration

The Government Accounting Office (GAO) completed another report (GAO-17-129) exploring how states are addressing the huge percent of children prescribed psychotropic medications while in foster care. Surveys conducted between 2008 and 2011 by the Administration for Children and Families (ACF) found that 18 percent of foster care children were taking a psychotropic medication. ACF further defined the group and discovered that children in group homes or residential treatment facilities were taking psychotropic medications at a significantly higher rate (48 percent) than children living in nonrelative foster homes or formal kinship care (14 percent). [More]

CMS proposes rules to stabilize health insurance markets

On February 15, 2017, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) issued draft proposed regulations intended to stabilize the individual and small group health insurance markets under the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The proposed rules would shorten the open enrollment period for 2018, amend standards on special enrollment periods, increase pre-enrollment verification of eligibility on the HealthCare.gov website, allow health insurance issuers to apply consumers’ payments to past unpaid debts for coverage, increase allowable variations in the actuarial value (AV) calculations, offer more flexibility in substantiating provider network adequacy, and facilitate insurers’ compliance with essential community provider (ECP) standards. [More]

A Great and Historic Partnership

An historic coalition has recently formed, one that has the potential to impact the child welfare community for decades. The American Public Human Services Association (APHSA) and the Alliance for Strong Families and Communities (Alliance) have partnered to host a joint summit from April 30-May 3 to “advance solutions within and across sectors to improve outcomes for individuals, families and communities.” In these uncertain and changing times, the need to explore new methods of obtaining resources and gaining funding support has never been more critical. Only with strong, dynamic and insightful leadership can changes of the nature needed in child welfare occur. This coalition is such an example. [More]