Office of Inspector General (OIG) releases audits on multiple states

Congress requested the OIG conduct audits regarding the proper reporting, investigation, and resolution of allegations or referrals of abuse and neglect of children in the foster care system. In recent months, the OIG of the U. S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has released audits completed on aspects of child welfare agency requirements in California, New York, and Texas. When a child welfare agency is fully operational and claims Title IV-E, a federal requirement for the agency is to ensure that all allegations and referrals of child abuse and neglect are properly reported, investigated, and resolved. This requirement refers to both allegations of the child’s original home as well as of a foster home or placement following removal; however, children in foster care were the focus of these OIG audits in California, New York, and Texas. [More]

Foster care payments now required for approved temporary kinship placements in Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio and Tennessee

On October 10, 2017, the Supreme Court denied a petition to hear a child welfare case about kinship placements decided in January 2017 in the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals. The Circuit Court ruled on January 27, 2017, that kinship foster families are entitled to the same foster care maintenance payments as unrelated foster parents. D.O., et al. v. Glisson, No. 16-5461 (6th Cir. Jan. 27, 2017). The court’s ruling primarily rests on provisions of the Civil Rights Act of 1871 (42 U.S.C. § 1983), the Adoption and Child Welfare Act of 1980 (also known as the Child Welfare Act, CWA or Title IV-E of the Social Security Act codified in 42 U.S.C. § 672), and Supreme Court cases that have collectively interpreted these two statutes to confer a private right to foster care maintenance payments that is enforceable by foster parents regardless of whether the foster parents are related or unrelated to the child(ren). [More]

Bipartisan Support for Child Protection Improvements Act Passes in the Senate

On October 16, 2017, the Child Protection Improvements Act (S. 705) was introduced by Senators Orrin Hatch (R-UT) and Al Franken (D-MN) and was passed in the Senate by unanimous consent.
This bill amends the National Child Protection Act of 1993 to establish a national criminal history background check system and criminal history review program for organizations that serve children, the elderly, and individuals with disabilities. [More]

The Demands of Foster Care

With increasing regularity, there is comment by publication, news article or editorial about the need for foster parents. Why? Because foster parents are an important partner of the child protection system; they provide care and safety to children who are unable to remain in their home environment. The ever evolving philosophy of child welfare reflects the research, practice, and leadership at any point in time in a state, county, or local organization. Jurisdictions are also affected by the service provider community and its philosophical, financial, and operational practices. All of these together complicate the capacity and practice in the foster care system. [More]

Upgrading Training in Child Welfare Agencies – Five Steps to Creating a Learning Organization

After the hiring process, training is the most important aspect in the development of a good case manager. Training is understood to be an important first step by management of administration in understanding the philosophy of child welfare and child protection, the policies and practices of the agency, and the functions necessary to become an effective and efficient case manager.
There are many moving parts to consider when implementing a successful training program. Child protection, child welfare, the clients, the agency’s operation, the laws, technology, paperwork, and stakeholders are not just complicated individually, but collectively such considerations can be overwhelming.
After the hiring process, training is the most important aspect in the development of a good case manager. Training is understood to be an important first step by management of administration in understanding the philosophy of child welfare and child protection, the policies and practices of the agency, and the functions necessary to become an effective and efficient case manager.
There are many moving parts to consider when implementing a successful training program. Child protection, child welfare, the clients, the agency’s operation, the laws, technology, paperwork, and stakeholders are not just complicated individually, but collectively such considerations can be overwhelming. [More]

U.S. District Court in Connecticut certifies nationwide class of Medicare beneficiaries in challenge to “observation status”

On July 31, 2017, the U.S. District Court for the District of Connecticut certified a nationwide class of Medicare beneficiaries who desire to challenge their placement on “observation status” during their hospital stays. Alexander v. Price, No. 3:11-cv-1703 (D. Conn. July 31,2017).

The plaintiffs in this long-running action argue that the decision to categorize Medicare beneficiaries as outpatients on observation status rather than inpatients should be subject to administrative review. Currently, Medicare does not allow beneficiaries to appeal this determination. [More]

Stability and Child Protection Leadership

Every organization, regardless of focus or sector, needs good, solid leadership to thrive. Why? Leadership not only provides the organization’s vision and guidance so that the executive management team can implement the direction of the organization, but also serves as the role model and principal image of the work of the organization. Two of the most important elements of effective leadership are continuity and stability. Because change is an inevitable part of every organization, leadership that prepares for, addresses, and adapts to change will be more successful with organizational transformation. [More]

House Ways and Means introduces legislation supporting Welfare to Work

On June 8, 2017, bipartisan legislation was introduced to support low-income Americans as they transition out of welfare and into the workforce. The legislation – entitled the “Accelerating Individuals into the Workforce Act (H.R. 2842)” and sponsored by Reps. Carlos Curbelo (R-FL) and Danny Davis (D-IL) – is intended to expedite the time it takes for families to obtain employment. In the opening statement by Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady (R-TX), Brady cited the Bureau of Labor Statistics, which indicates that despite job openings at the highest level since the government began tracking in 2000, the labor force participation rate is at a near forty-year low. [More]

Federal Leadership -- It Does Matter

More and more, leadership is talked about and addressed through issues such as appointment, training, and mentoring. Leadership is particularly important and timely when considering child protection and child welfare issues over the last several years. Every election cycle is an opportunity for a local jurisdiction or state to be confronted with the challenges of appointing new leadership. Conflict or controversy often cause a change in leadership, which presents additional challenges, given the requirements of addressing an agency or system in crisis. Finally, there is need to address leadership transition upon retirement, or the decision to leave after a limited time in office. The need for stability and length of leadership is more important than ever to ensure continuity of progress and strength of improvement. [More]

Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court holds that the retention of the right to live in a home transferred to an irrevocable trust does not render the home an “asset” for Medicaid purposes

On May 31, 2017, the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts reversed and remanded two cases involving determinations of eligibility for long-term care assistance under the Massachusetts Medicaid program (MassHealth). Nadeau v. Director of the Office of Medicaid and Daley v. Secretary of the Executive Office of Health and Human Services, SJC 12200 and 12205, May 31, 2017. [More]