Child Welfare in the 21st Century

  • May 2014
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Leadership!: Sen. Tammy Baldwin; Ms. Sylvia Burwell

Posted by lboyd544 on May 17, 2014

As you may know, Sylvia Burwell has been nominated by President Obama to replace Kathleen Sibelius as Secretary of HHS. Pleasantly, both Democrats and Republicans on the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions committee appear to approve!

What you don’t know is that Sen. Tammy Baldwin, champion of the national effort to pass legislation creating a uniform definition of therapeutic foster care for children requiring intensive mental and behavioral health services while being served in special foster homes in their communities, continued her leadership and advocacy of this effort by addressing the issue at the public hearing.

Sen. Baldwin: “The President’s Budget proposes a new five-year collaborative Medicaid demonstration to encourage states to provide evidence-based psychosocial interventions to children and youth in the foster care system to reduce the over-prescription of psychotropic medications and to improve health outcomes. My bipartisan Quality Foster Care Services Act (S.1992) would improve access to the high-quality, evidence-based intervention therapeutic foster care (TFC) for children with special behavioral health needs and/or medical disabilities. My bill would improve access to these services by providing for a standard Medicaid definition for TFC. TFC works to keep particularly vulnerable youth out of costly and often ineffective institutional care. In addition, it provides needed clinical therapy options to youth in lieu of overmedication.

I am encouraged by the Department’s existing efforts through CMS, SAMHSA, and ACF to evaluate TFC and I look forward to the report on these findings. As Secretary, how would you continue the critical work to improve access to TFC and other evidence-based interventions for vulnerable youth? And how would you collaborate with state partners to clarify the availability of Medicaid financing for TFC for children with serious mental and emotional disorders?”

We will receive a written response from Ms. Burwell. I, for one, am thrilled. Will keep you posted.

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