Autin (KXAN) — For the first time in decades, the state of Texas will overhaul how it funds foster care.
In the most recent parliament, lawmakers approved the funding needed to “modernize” how families and health care providers who care for children under the scheme are paid.
according to Department of Family Protection Servicesdespite advances in technology, data collection and other changes in the child welfare system, the way child support is calculated has remained “little changed” over the years.
Historically, the state paid foster families and care providers a set daily fee per child. The amount depends on one of his five service “levels” ranging from Basic to Intense Plus.
Katie Ols, CEO of the Alliance of Child and Family Services, said that while a child’s needs can change over time, the current level system does not allow children He explained that the funding needed to care for a child is not always flexible.
For example, she explained: “A child may be really stable and do very well in one setting, but they may have to move because that setting only offers contracts and rewards for providing this kind of care.”
She continued, “Really, what we have to do is build a system that adapts around the child and works with and obeys the child.”
What will change?
A consulting group entrusted by the government in 2020 announced the results of the reportThey found that the current system does not realistically reflect the time and cost of staffing and providing care, nor does it reward providers for helping children improve.
The DFPS will present its research findings to lawmakers during the 87th Congress in 2021, and Congress has directed states to develop a new fee methodology, which was approved and funded at the 88th Congress this spring.
Under the new system, states will purchase various service packages and reimburse families and health care providers for the actual services provided by the packages.
“Children may not need to be disturbed or moved just because they are doing well. “I don’t want to lose it,” she said. “We’re really focused on children now. What are their individual needs? And how do we build a service package that can meet those needs?”
she explained Over 20 different service packages Already defined and designed “based on real data and the needs of real kids”.
Jesse Bucher, senior vice president and chief operating officer of Depertin Children’s Center, said health care providers were happy to see the effort “crossed the finish line” after years. .
“Children in foster care today are experiencing more severe and more complex trauma, so the way that trauma manifests is more severe and more complex,” he said. He added that it was time for a change.
It is expected that it will take several years for the full rate modernization to be implemented. The level structure remains intact during the transition.
“It’s not going to be an overnight switch. This is a very groundbreaking change, so it will take time to implement,” said Bucher.
Olus agreed, saying the deployment was not “perfect.” But the effort has met with little backlash in the Capitol, and she believes the cooperation of state agencies, health care providers, families, advocates and lawmakers is a good sign.
“We are all committed to the ultimate goal of serving children and families in our communities and spending resources appropriately to help them navigate their way out of this system.”
https://www.kxan.com/investigations/monumental-change-texas-to-overhaul-how-it-pays-for-foster-care/ ‘Significant Change’: Texas Overhauls Foster Support Payments