Child Welfare in the 21st Century

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Coming soon to a Foster Care Agency near you: Performance Based Contracting!

Posted by lboyd544 on August 30, 2014

Performance Based Contracting has long been implemented in sales, manufacturing, and other business environments. Over the past few years, health care and hospitals have joined this path in defining desired outcomes for patient care and in rewarding the meeting of these goals.

PBC, short for Performance Based Contracting, has spread out into the fields of human services, behavioral health care, and foster care as well.

All members of the Oklahoma Therapeutic Foster Care Association are fully engaged with the Oklahoma Department of Human Services to define organization and service goals for the foster care population we serve, for our foster families, and for our agencies. We are in the midst of identifying : goals for recruitment, outcomes for TFC implementation and services, strengths of TFC providers, and system barriers to achieving desired outcomes.

OTFCA specifically is committed to being the best TFC service delivery group in the US! We know we are well on our way. All agencies of the Association are trained in trauma-informed services for families and youth. All agencies are nationally accredited in behavior healthAll agencies utilize evidence-based programming, such as Together Facing the Challenge. We know of no other state association where all agencies meet these criteria.

Proud of you OTFCA!

 

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National Foster Care Month

Posted by lboyd544 on May 24, 2014

There are many heroes in Congress when it comes to foster care: Sen. Grassley, Sen. Wyden, Sen. Carper, Sen. Baldwin, Sen. Stabenow, Sen. Portman, Landrieu….and others.  Also: Congresswoman Bass leads a Congressional Caucus on Foster Care of almost 200 members. These elected officials are each honoring foster families across the country this month, as they should. I also want to send a shout out to them and thank them for their tireless work!

And to you: the families and children…Thank You!

In the words of Sen. Grassley: “This month we take the opportunity to shed light on the foster care system and the thousands of children who have no permanent place to call home.

Every day, 691 new children find themselves entering foster care. There are more than 400,000 children and youth across the U.S. in the foster care system. More than 79,000 children will stay in foster care for more than three years. Of those, more than 23,400 will age out of foster care without ever finding an adoptive family or a permanent place to call home.

Society owes a debt of gratitude to the brigade of foster families, teachers, social workers, friends and neighbors who are caring for this vulnerable population and helping foster kids feel welcome and loved. These extraordinary citizens in our communities are making an extraordinary difference in the lives of foster kids.

In Congress, we are working to improve the lives of all those touched by the foster care system. 

We will continue working to keep the national spotlight on the challenges confronting foster youth — because every child deserves the stability and certainty that a loving, permanent home and family can provide.”

 

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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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Check out “Profiles – Laura Boyd, Ph.D., advocate for foster children, Member of OK S tate House of Representatives (1992 – 98), Gubernatorial Nominee and Lt . Governor Nominee” on ACEs Connection

Posted by policyperformanceconsultants on April 30, 2014

ACEs Connection
Healthy, happy kids grow up to create a healthy, happy world.
Laura Boyd, P… Laura Boyd, Ph.D. Check out the blog post ‘Profiles – Laura Boyd, Ph.D., advocate for foster children, Member of OK State House of Representatives (1992 – 98), Gubernatorial Nominee and Lt. Governor Nominee’

Blog post added by Elizabeth Prewitt:

What do you do, and what does your organization do? I own a consulting company. The breadth and extent of major contracts has allowed me to…

Blog post link:
Profiles – Laura Boyd, Ph.D., advocate for foster children, Member of OK State House of Representatives (1992 – 98), Gubernatorial Nominee and Lt. Governor Nominee

About ACEs Connection
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America’s Shame…more

Posted by lboyd544 on March 10, 2014

Think about the children in your state. In Oklahoma, March 2014, we have over 11,000 children in DHS custody. 5500 of those are under the age of 5 years! (2015 are ages birth to 1 year; 3482 are ages 2-5 years.)

In Oklahoma one-half of all children under age 6, live with their grandparents.

25% of all children under age 5 years are high risk for developmental impairment. 65% of all children under age 5 years have at least 1 risk factor for abuse and neglect.

Oklahoma is 40th in the nation overall in t

erms of child well being. As if the above statistics were not bad enough, there are 12 other states and the District of Columbia who have worse numbers.

In 2011, 81.6% of child fatalities in foster care nationally were children under age 3! One-half of all children in foster care nationally 2011 were under age 6. Infants and toddlers were and continue to be the largest group entering foster care: 31% are under age 3; 16% are ages 3-5. African American infants are 5 times as likely as white of Hispanic infants to come into care.

Spring break is right upon us. Bring out the neighborhood cookies and cool-aid. Welcome those young ones in your area. Smile at the teens at the mall. Approval goes a long way! Tell a Mom, no matter how old the child, how beautiful or talented or entertaining their youngster is…and let her know her good job of mothering matters. Look for good things in others to reward. Find joy and spread it.

Who knows how many days you will enliven….maybe even save a break-down moment or two from occurring. Little things often make a very big difference.

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Removed! America’s shame!

Posted by lboyd544 on March 9, 2014

Prepare to be uncomfortable, impatient, angry, desiring to delete this blog message….BUT DON’T. 

Instead….read through, watch this 10 minute video link and change your life! And maybe the life of a child. Maybe several lives of other children and adults.

For those days when you wonder:
1- Why do “I”/”we” do this work?
2- What can I do to help?
3- “What’s wrong” with society?
4- Can the future be better/fixed?

Bring a tissue and give this 10 minutes.

http://vimeo.com/m/73172036

 

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Update from the Adoption Tax Credit Working Group

Posted by lboyd544 on March 3, 2014

ALERT – BREAKING NEWS: Last Wednesday, February 26, Chairman Camp of the Ways and Means Committee released his much anticipated tax reform proposal and it eliminates the adoption tax credit. This breaking news makes our advocacy efforts that much more critical. Now that an actual legislative proposal has suggested eliminating the credit altogether, we need to ensure that every single Member of Congress hears from us about its importance. Members will only be compelled to fight for its protection if they hear real stories from all of you.

Key Message: Outreach to your legislators is the only way to protect the adoption tax credit.

Members of Congress want to hear from you – their constituents – about what matters to you. Legislators only need to hear from 20 constituents about an issue before it becomes important to them. Remember, Members of Congress are people and oftentimes it is a personal story about why a law is needed that motivates them to act. They also understand that they are there to represent the people of their district. They want to know how a particular policy will affect those they are called to serve.

Highlighted FAQ: When will Congress vote on the Adoption Tax Credit Refundability Act (H.R. 2144/S.1056)?

• An individual vote on this bill is unlikely to happen. However, the adoption tax credit will remain part of the broader tax reform discussions and is now particularly vulnerable given the proposal to eliminate it. The more Congressional co-sponsors these bills have, the more likely the adoption tax credit will receive favorable attention in these discussions in Congress. Members of Congress are hearing daily from paid lobbyists about other tax related interests, and will have to make tough decisions about which tax policies are their ultimate priorities. Let’s not let the adoption tax credit become a victim because Members of Congress haven’t heard enough about its importance to their constituents! Don’t delay. Ask your Members of Congress to cosponsor H.R. 2144/S.1056 and share their responses here: info@adoptiontaxcredit.org.

For more advocacy tips visit: http://adoptiontaxcredit.org/advocate

Call to Action: Initial Emails to Your Members of Congress – Figure out who your three Members of Congress (2 Senators and 1 Representative) are by using senate.gov and house.gov. Using their websites, figure out the best way to contact each of them (often it will be through an email or a form on their website). Email each of them and explain the importance of adoption and ask for their support in protecting the credit. Use our sample template letter (here) as a starting point, but be sure to personalize it. Speak from the heart and share your story about why the ATC is important to children, your family, or others in your life. Provide the link to http://www.adoptiontaxcredit.org

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Let’s all work together on behalf of children to motivate the thousands of families in our communities to take action on the Adoption Tax Credit!

Posted by lboyd544 on February 18, 2014

We need your help! The Adoption Tax Credit Working Group (ATCWG) has set a goal of obtaining 30 Congressional Co-Sponsors on the Adoption Tax Credit (ATC) Refundability Bills: S. 1056 and H.R. 2144 in 100 days.

Why the urgency? Tax discussions are underway in the House and Senate and we need to keep the adoption tax credit top-of-mind with legislators and staff. The best way to do that is to demonstrate to legislators that their constituents care about this issue. Additionally, because refundability was not included in the bill that made the Credit permanent, many adoptive families are still not able to receive this critical support, a fact which some Members of Congress may not yet be aware.  

 Highlighted FAQ: What is “tax reform” and how does it relate to the adoption tax credit?

  • For the past several years, key Members of Congress have been calling for the U.S. tax code to be reformed and simplified. If tax reform occurs, ALL existing tax credits or policies, including the now permanent adoption tax credit, would be subject to review and there is always a chance that it could be changed or eliminated. The House Committee on Ways and Means and Senate Finance Committees (the two committees with jurisdiction over tax policy) have begun their review of the U.S. tax code and have signaled their interest in continuing to determine which of the existing credits should be eliminated. In order to ensure that the adoption tax credit not only remains a permanent part of the code but is amended to add back in refundability in order to serve the needs of all children in need of adoption, Members of Congress need to be educated about how this credit is affecting you and your family. To learn more about tax reform, go to www. http://waysandmeans.house.gov/ or www.finance.senate.gov .


Call to Action: Get educated on the ATC by visiting the website link below, reading the FAQ section, and liking Facebook for frequent updates: http://www.adoptiontaxcredit.org. Please also spread the word with your friends and family who would want to join in the fight to protect the adoption tax credit.

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“Old Woman in the Shoe” just won’t leave Oklahoma!!!

Posted by lboyd544 on February 13, 2014

Yes, that “Old Woman”, who had so many children!  and didn’t know what to do!

Sadly and with alarm, Oklahoma Department of Human Services Child Welfare Division shared last week that 11.8% of the children in Oklahoma under age 18 are in state custody! Not juvenile justice…although that would be tragic also. But in child welfare for abuse or neglect!  (mostly neglect!)

Alarming, I’d say so!

Tragic, yep! Especially when some in the State Legislature are talking tax cuts (benefitting the ‘fittest’) vs. investment in vulnerable families whose children are without adequate food, shelter, health care, and solid educational opportunities.

Hopeless, no! Not if we, the citizens of Oklahoma demand that our elected officials follow a different set of fiscal priorities….maybe not if we share our time, our smiles, our extra ‘whatever’ with struggling families in our neighborhoods, schools, and churches….and not if we open our homes as foster placements and bridge-supporters to children and families who are in state custody. 

These children and families need us! to help…not to judge.

State child welfare needs us. Try as they might, infants as well as other youth still end up in shelter care!

And if you are a Christian, as I am, our ‘orders’ are extremely clear about what our actions on this should be.

Too much wailing? Tired of this plea? I am with you! So… please, HELP!

 

 

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New home? New parents? Foster and adopted youth have a right to mental health counseling!

Posted by lboyd544 on December 23, 2013

North Carolina state policy aims to make it easier for adopted children to get mental health treatment. But children in every state have the same right. 

Finally, a state has responded to a need that afflicts adoptive families in all states!

Ask any child welfare advocate/professional whether in the public or private sector and you will hear of struggle after struggle by adopted parents to gain access to needed mental health services for children whom they adopted from state care.

The need for mental health services for children who have experienced traumatic events is of no surprise any more thanks to advances in research, clinical practice, and policy. Clearly, many adopted youth experienced trauma prior to entering the state system, while in the state system, or after adoption, which if not adequately addressed, continue to interfere with their current functioning, well-being, and ability to form and maintain relationships.

We do not know how many adopted youth are struggling with unresolved trauma. But we do hear frequently about adoptive families who feel forced to relinquish a child in order for that child to be able to access needed mental and behavioral health services.  These situations are the most desperate; however, there are many other instances in which adoptive families struggle to find the behavioral health providers and services they need.  Just ask any professional in the fields of foster care or adoption.

The North Carolina Medicaid office, at the urging of advocates and providers, has created a new policy that makes it easier for adoptive parents to get mental health services for their children.  North Carolina has made it clear that wherever an adoptive family lives within the state, that family’s residence should be used for access to Medicaid treatment and provider payment of services.

For North Carolina families, this is important in two specific ways: 1- it restates that children who were on Medicaid at the time of their adoption continue to qualify for Medicaid services and reimbursement after adoption, and 2- for a state with a strong county administered services system, wherever that family lives is not relevant to being eligible for services.

All states should look to this example and adapt relevant practices for their adoptive families. Public agencies and private providers need to be reminded that federal law provides clear options for adopted youth. If the family chooses to seek services through their own insurance coverage, they may. However, federal law also states that the state Medicaid office “must allow an individual who would be eligible under more than one category to have his eligibility determined for the category he selects.”  This means that adoptive parents are entitled to seek mental and behavioral health services for their child through Medicaid if that is their desire.

No child should be relinquished because of denied access to services or inability of parents to pay providers.

Sadly, many public child welfare agencies and certainly adoptive families do not know of the right of these families to access services if their child was eligible for Medicaid at the time of adoption. (Keep in mind that all foster youth are categorically eligible for Medicaid once in state care.)

As leaders in the child welfare and children’s advocacy communities, we may need educate and remind other public and private systems within the states where we live and work of this protection. Better yet, let’s not wait until the next incident arises whether in the press or through a phone call. There is nothing to prevent us from contacting public child welfare agencies and Medicaid administrators to be sure they are aware of the federal protection….and the example of North Carolina in providing clarity for the families in that state. 

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