By: Kichelle Coleman, Children’s Services Director
2017 is proving to be a pivotal year for the LSSNCA Children Services Program. As we are celebrating 100 years of Serving Boldly, LSSNCA’s foster care program is facing a huge shift in continuing care to abused and neglected children.
In late March, the Child and Family Services Agency (CFSA) released a Request for Proposal (RFP) that will take the child welfare system in a new direction with a ‘System Redesign’ for children in out of home care. The redesign includes the decrease of 7 foster care providers to one and includes the following key features;
- CFSA will provide all of the case management for children and their families, and placement services for youth placed in foster homes in the District
- CFSA will contract with a single provider for the same services for all District children placed in foster homes located in Maryland.
- CFSA will eliminate the “traditional/therapeutic” levels of care. All foster parents will receive the same rate regardless of the needs of the child placed in their’ care but will receive an array of services and supports designed for each individual child.
Currently there are approximately 936 youth in the District’s foster care system. Of that, 465 are placed and managed among 7 providers, including LSS/NCA, in Maryland foster homes. The remaining youth are placed in DC homes and managed by CFSA.
Proposal submissions were due May 12, 2017 and contracts are expected to be awarded in October of 2017. The redesign is expected to be in full effect by January, 2018. At that time, all youth residing in a DC foster home will be transitioned to CFSA’s public system and the approximate 465 youth in Maryland homes will transition to be under the care of one single private provider.
Brenda Donald, the Director of the CFSA states “the strategy is designed to improve quality and outcomes for our children and families”. LSS/NCA is in support of plans with the intent to yield better results for the children and families it serves. However, due to the magnitude of change and potential risks to the organization, LSS/NCA did not respond to the RFP as the primary provider for District children.
The program sees this as an opportunity to explore the changing needs of the DMV community and to strengthen and develop programming to meet those needs. We have made the decision to capitalize on our skills of training, developing and supporting foster parents as primary change agents for youth placed in their home. We have designed a support and retention model that we believe will help yield positive placement, well-being and permanency results for children and families under this redesign. LSS/NCA will offer to subcontract with the identified provider to offer these services. In addition, the program is pursuing the following opportunities;
- Grow current URM Program in DC
- Contract for Domestic and URM Foster Care in Virginia
- Contract for Domestic and URM Foster Care in Maryland
- Apply for grants and raise funds to sustain current programs
The organization has served as a foster care provider for DC since 1956 and we are confident that LSS/NCA Children Services will continue to serve children and families over the next 100 years.
Consider partnering with LSS/NCA Children Services to help support foster families as they work to support and nurture the foster children placed in their homes.