Child Wellbeing Update - June 15, 2020

Minnesota Association County Social Service Administrators
Child Wellbeing Update (CWB)

Bi-weekly update - 2nd and 4th Mondays 
June 15, 2020

Federal Guidance and Waivers Recap (5/23 - 6/12)
Federal Guidance:

Children’s Bureau Resource and Listing

State Waivers and Bulletins:
Minnesota Waivers and Modifications: 
This section includes waiver and modifications issued as a result of Covid-19.
Waiver 40 is the most recent addition as of May 23rd. 
A recent listing of Child Safety and Permanency Waivers is available here - as of May 26th, 2020.

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 The most recent corrected bulletin concerning the opioid allocation grant funding is available here

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:

  • Enhanced Background Studies Update 

    • Since the last update, MACSSA has learned that claiming for out-of-state placements has been turned on, approximately June 12th.  Unfortunately, each county will need to verify that the out of state placement was compliant with Adam Walsh background study requirements, and will need to have the (form ) completed and in the child’s case file file in the event of an audit.   A listing of out of state placements that have been utilized by Hennepin county may be found here.  Please note that each county is responsible for confirming the conformity of those out of state placement sites that were utilized in the past year. 

    • DHS is in the process of obtaining and processing Net 2.0 background study requests across the state, across all impacted areas.  They estimate that approximately 4k studies need to be processed, with approximately 203 (approximately) being child welfare related. 

    • For individuals that began a Net 2.0 background study prior to Covid and sites being unavailable, those individuals and their information will remain active in the system through June 30th.  If it is possible for that person to complete their study, that is recommended.  If not, that individual will need to reinitiate the Net 2.0 background study once the Net 2.0 process is reopened. 
    • Individuals that have completed a name and date of birth background study during the pandemic will need to be compliant with the Net 2.0 standards post pandemic in order for the site/facility to claim Title IVE.  Thus, the individual will need to initiate a new Net 2.0 background study - please seek guidance from DHS prior to issuing any communications internally or externally as the capacity to conduct studies with providers will be limited.  The back log of CANR requests will be prioritized, though it’s uncertain if classifications within the waiting list will be organized and prioritized. 
    • MACSSA recognizes that the process for claiming for Title IVE compliant placements has been anything, but clear and easy.  As of January, a group of comprised of Becky Secore, Brenda Mahoney, Karen Sanness, Joan Granger-Kopesky and Jodi Heurung have been meeting with individuals with responsibility for Title IVE, Background Studies and Child Safety and Permanency within DHS.  To date, these conversations have yielded a draft FAQ that predates Covid.  The FAQ is expected to be released in coming weeks after necessary updates have been made by DHS.  Again, we understand the process and financial impact is frustrating and challenging for counties.  We continue to explore opportunities to elevate the issue.  Notes from the latest meeting are available here

  • Interstate Placements: Recognizing a need for additional clarity and guidance, DHS is in the process of drafting an updated bulletin regarding documentation needed for interstate placements.  The bulletin will reference this form which may be used in the interim. 

  • Technology and Health and Safety Supports: As part of the CARES act funding, DHS is seeking approximately 150K to support counties and their technology needs.  DHS currently in the process of aligning the process to distribute those funds, using a process like that of the recent housing supports grant funding.  More information to come. 

  • Prevention Campaign: In an effort to support counties in preventing maltreatment reports, DHS in coordination with the MACSSA child wellbeing committee developed a prevention based campaign.  The campaign features a template letter with resources for counties to personalize and a listing of high-risk families with recently closed cases, provided by DHS.   The materials are intended to support any outreach (mail, phone, email) that counties are willing to provide to families.  The effort is entirely voluntary.

  • Parent/Child Visitation: Recognizing that facilitating parent/child visitation can be challenging in normal times, let alone during a pandemic response when social distancing is recommended and many county buildings/sites aren’t open to the public, DHS is enlisting assistance from the systems learning review process, or otherwise known as a collaborative safety style mapping exercise to identify challenges, barriers and opportunities.  Three sessions will be held with the intention being to include foster care providers (parents and facilities), counties and components of the judicial system in the process.  More information will be shared - in the meantime if you have any questions, please reach out to Angie. 

  • Make a Plan Minnesota: Recognizing a need to prepare for the likelihood that Covid-19 will impact families and result in many children needing “respite” caregivers, the Children’s Cabinet in conjunction with DHS, MDH, MHA and counties have begun constructing the Make a Plan Minnesota campaign.  

The key components of the campaign:

  • The campaign is an effort to prevent children who may need respite care while their adults are recovering from Covid-19 from entering the child welfare system.  

  • Minnesota families will be asked to “Make a Plan” and discuss within their family what may happen if the adults in the home are hospitalized or incapacited and unable to care for children.   

  • Stay Safe Minnesota - Impact on County Child Welfare operations: Across the state, we know that the county child welfare experience varies widely.  As counties consider opening their doors to the public, we’d like to be a resource to you.  If you have questions about what other states are doing, how they are conducting supervised visitations, utilizing county buildings and managing resources for necessary child welfare functions please let us know.  If you have a questions, concern, or would like to lift up your county experience, please contact Angie Thies at athies@mncounties.org.

  • Family First Prevention and Services Act :

    • Minnesota Legislature convened for a special session on Friday, June 12th, during which they heard and approved the DHS Policy bill HF 11 (formerly SF 3322).  On Monday, June 15th, the Minnesota Senate heard and unanimously approved the bill.  The DHS policy bill, which contains the Family First QRTP provisions, awaits the Governor’s signature, which is expected to occur the week of June 12th.  

    • The planning work for the Family First Prevention and Services Act (FFPSA), led largely by the Department of Human Services continues.  Earlier in May, DHS shared a plan to conduct the work through a series of sub-workgroups built out under the Prevention and QRTP areas.  These workgroups will report back through DHS, who will then review and make final decisions about what is included in the Minnesota prevention plan that will be submitted to the Children’s Bureau.   MACSSA has ractivated the appointment process in the hopes of ensuring all counties who would like to participate in the process have an opportunity to do so. To date three QRTP sub-workgroups have begun meeting:  Workgroup for Sex-Trafficked Youth, Pregnant and Parenting Teens and most recently the Juvenile Treatment Screening Team.

    • MACSSA 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.   We are hopeful that counties and other stakeholders may be engaged in the DHS led process to review the progress of the workgroups and help inform the process.  

    • Of note, the Pregnant and Parenting Teen and the Sex Trafficked workgroup have begun meeting - if you or a member of your team are participating, please let Angie know through email at athies@mncounties.org.  If you’d like more information on the work of the Sex Trafficked youth workgroup, please watch this video, produced by Sarah Ladd who is leading the effort. 

    • More information about the sub-groups and corresponding appointment requests will continue to be shared with members during weekly and monthly forums as well as through email.  Updated Family First information may also be found via the MACSSA website

Partner Updates and Resources:

  • Tableau Server Guide - a guide to access the Tableau server, a platform that analyzes SSIS information on a frequent (now weekly) basis including topical dashboards and user applicability for child protective service indicators.  

In consultation with the Child Safety Permanency Team and MACSSA’s Child Wellbeing Committee, adaptations to the Tableau server were made and went “live” on May 18th.  These adaptations will track data indicators during this time of pandemic, and are updated weekly during the pandemic.  The Tableau server is expected to be very helpful to you in providing budget and workforce recommendations.  Staff at DHS are available to assist and support your usage - including logging in and beginning to use Tableau. Please direct inquiries for assistance to this email - dhs.csp.research@state.mn.us 

Information on DHS’s Grants and RFP’s including the most recently announced Mental Health RFP, may be found here

Legislative Updates:
The House passedHF 11 on the first day of special session, June 12th with the Minnesota Senate taking up and approving the bill on Monday, June 15th.  The bill is the health and human services omnibus bill, which contains several key provisions, including a rewrite of the civil commitment chapter; reorganization of the Maltreatment of Minors Act; requirements for all children entering foster care to receive prenatal alcohol exposure screenings; and requirements for human service agencies to coordinate phone calls between a parents and foster parents. The bill also adds state requirements for qualified residential treatment facilities to align with federal requirements of the Family First Prevention Services Act.

A provision allowing for a 60-day extension of the human services waivers issued by the Department of Human Services was deleted from the omnibus bill before it passed the House. The 60-day period is a priority for counties as the additional time is needed to transition back to pre-COVID-19 practices.

The 60-day provision is included in separate legislation that will be considered by the House Health and Human Services Finance division today during a hearing on extending DHS waivers. The DHS waivers to state law were issued starting in March under the authority of two executive orders issued by Gov. Walz. The waivers include a range of modifications including the ability to provide services remotely and will expire at the end of the peacetime emergency.

The Child Wellbeing Update is an effort to share information with MACSSA members on a more regular basis. It will be provided to members and housed on the MACSSA website on a biweekly basis.  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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