Child Wellbeing Update - July 13, 2020

Minnesota Association County Social Service Administrators
Child Wellbeing Update (CWB)
Bi-weekly update - 2nd and 4th Mondays

July 13th, 2020

Federal Guidance and Waivers Recap (6/27 - 7/10)
Federal Guidance:
Children’s Bureau Resource and Listing

CARES Act - State and Federal Guidance
Association of Minnesota Counties - Update June 25, 2020
Note: Additional information will be added to the AMC site in coming weeks

State Waivers and Bulletins:
Minnesota Waivers and Modifications:
This section includes waiver and modifications issued as a result of Covid-19.
A recent listing of Child Safety and Permanency Waivers is available here - as of June 29th, 2020.

Additionally, The Department has produced FAQ - Foster Care in the time of Covid resource, a resource to assist counties and providers in responding during a pandemic.

Minnesota Covid 19 Bulletins: 

This section includes bulletins related to modifications and waivers related to Covid-19.

 Non-Covid related Bulletins
This section includes non covid related bulletins and corrected guidance

 County Link
This section contains a broad array of information, specific to counties and tribes. 
State Updates:
In response to Covid-19, the workgroup composed of Child Wellbeing committee members and leadership within the Child Safety Permanency Team at DHS has pivoted to a Covid response team that meets 1x p/week.  This group discusses waiver needs, status and implications, funding concerns, CARES act, legislative efforts and identifies emerging issues. 
Notes from these meetings, including initiatives and waivers under consideration are housed here. If you aren’t able to access the file, have questions or thoughts, please reach out to Karen Sanness, Child Wellbeing Topic Lead at  KSanness@co.winona.mn.us, Brenda Mahoney, Child Wellbeing Topic Lead at Brenda.mahoney@co.stearns.mn.us or Angie Thies, MACSSA Fellow at athies@mncounties.org
The Highlights:
  • Opioid Response Fund - Change in Allocation
    • In response to a question during the latest Child Wellbeing and Child Saftey and Permanency meeting, DHS shared that the funding available through the opioid response fund allocation would be approximately …“ of the funding amounts previously shared.  This is due to a funding shortfall to the opioid response fund - which was established in 2019 through legislation and was amended in 2020.  The fund is primarily funded through pharmaceutical manufacturer fees.  Reference:  Minnesota StarTribune article - July 4th
    • The opioid response fund shortfall will impact both 2020 and 2021 grant cycles. MACSSA is working with DHS in the hopes of getting more information, clarifying information and guidance and exploring opportunities to stabilize the funding levels.
    • More information will be shared on Wednesday, July 15th - the call will be held during the first hour of the cwb/csp meeting from 2 - 3 p.m. and is open to all counties: 
      • Webex:  Meeting Number - 146 649 7067; Meeting Password: 6H8bkk5QxMP; Phone only: +1-415-655-0003,,1466497067## United States Toll 
  • Policy Changes re: 2020 Session:
    • DHS confirmed on July 8th that draft guidance was being produced to reflect changes to statute during the 2020 special session.  By statue, counties should receive guidance on both the prenatal alcohol screening  and facilitated calls between parents and children provisions by August 1, 2020.
    • DHS confirmed that efforts were underway to construct a workgroup that will focus on the 260d provisions that are impacted by the qualified residential treatment programs (QRTP) provisions that passed in the DHS policy bill and are directly tied to the implementation of Family First.  A meeting is expected to be announced by the end of July.
  • Parent/Child Visitation: Recognizing that facilitating parent/child visitation can be challenging in normal times, let alone during a pandemic response when physical distancing is recommended, in late June DHS enlisted the assistance of Collaborative Safety to conduct three Systems Learning Review (SLR) sessions.  Initial findings from the SLR process were shared with the Child Wellbeing committee on July 8th and will be shared with the broader membership on July 23rd during MACSSA’s monthly forum.  More information on fostering birth and parent relationships may be found here.

  •  Technology and Health and Safety Supports:
    • Health related supplies and technology - CARES Act IVB Funding
    • As part of the CARES act, funds were dedicated to the state to be utilized in child welfare.  The funds are IVB eligible, with the state seeking to use these funds to assist counties in funding technology and health related supples.  150K will be utilized to support counties technology related needs - once the funds are received, DHS will announce it and provide a process to apply via the county link website. 
    • Additionally, the state anticipates funding additional health and safety supports for county staff with the funding.  These supports will be distributed using the workforce survey, with the intention being to ship supplies directly out to county Directors.  Should funds allow, the proposal will also account for additional supplies to be shared with children and families during in person visits. More information will be shared in the coming weeks

  •  Family First Prevention and Services Act :
    • The planning work for the Family First Prevention and Services Act (FFPSA), led largely by the Department of Human Services continues.  DHS will conduct this work through a series of sub-workgroups in the areas of prevention and residential placement (QRTP) with the sub-workgroups reporting back through DHS, who will then review and make final decisions about what is included in the Minnesota prevention plan. 
    • Leaders in child wellbeing continue to meet and discuss the best path forward to ensure that our vision, as documented in the MACSSA white paper lives on through Family First and other initiatives.   This steering committee has recently accepted assistance from Casey Family Programs and the Center for the Study of Social Policy in consideration of our candidacy definition and the resulting prevention services array.  Of note, while counties are embarking on this work, the work requires collaboration and partnership with the department and stakeholders across the state.  As a key principle, counties will continue to seek opportunities to partner and collaborate with all partners in this work.  
Legislative Updates :
The Minnesota Legislature will convene for a second, special session on Monday, July 13th.  They held session and heard debate on an extension of Gov. Walz’s emergency peacetime orders. At the time of publication, the MN Senate had voted in favor of ending the emergency peacetime order, with the House not having held a floort vote. MACSSA’s priorities in this special session include an extension of the CV 03 waiver.  
Partner Updates and Resources:

The Child Wellbeing Update is an effort to share information with MACSSA members on a regular basis. It is provided to members and delegates on a biweekly basis and housed on the MACSSA website.  Please refer to official correspondence from the ACF or DHS for official guidance concerning the issues covered in this update.  If you have difficulty accessing links or thoughts/requests for items to include, please contact Angie at athies@mncounties.org

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