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DCYF RECEIVES FEDERAL AUTHORIZATION TO EXPAND IN-HOME AND COMMUNITY-BASED SERVICES FOR SYSTEM OF CARE
Department of Children, Youth and Families (DCYF) Director Janice DeFrances announced today that the federal government has approved DCYF's application for a five year Title IV-E Waiver under the Child and Family Services Improvement and Innovation Act. This waiver authority will allow DCYF to use federal reimbursement funding in a more flexible manner, designed to enhance the availability of evidence based community services and to further reduce the utilization of residential placements for children and youth in the Department's care. The amount of funding involved represents up to $13 million a year in reimbursement from the federal government which will support efforts to expand home and community-based services through the System of Care.
Historically, states received federal reimbursement for the costs associated with providing out of home care for children in foster homes, including group homes and other congregate care settings. With Rhode Island's focus on supporting children in their own homes, the numbers of children in out-of-home placements has steadily decreased in recent years. This has resulted in a decrease in the amount of federal reimbursement received by DCYF for providing support for children in out-of-home care. The Title IV E waiver will enable DCYF to maintain a sufficient flow of federal funds to Rhode Island to support the provision of critical services to children in their own homes and communities.
With this Waiver authority, the federal funds will no longer be contingent on children being in out-of-home placements. The waiver will stabilize DCYF's IV-E reimbursement at a predictable level and secure that federal reimbursement amount for five years. It will support the development of evidence based programs and services to ensure the necessary development or targeted evidence-based, home and community-based services.
Director DeFrances explained that the approval of the IVE Waiver will allow DCYF to:
• Increase permanency for youth in care and promote a successful transition to adulthood for older youth.
• Increase positive outcomes for infants, youth and families in their homes and communities including tribal communities, and improve the safety and well-being of infants, children and youth.
• Prevent child abuse and neglect and the re-entry into foster home.
The Department will now work on the necessary preparation for implementing the Waiver which requires a five year demonstration period for the state to continue its work with the System of Care, focusing on a further reduction of the use of residential programming and increased utilization of evidence-based models for in-home and community-based services to improve outcomes for children in the Department's care. The demonstration period under the Waiver is targeted to begin July 1, 2014.