What is Continuum of Care Reform?                            

Key Principles: Why the reform?

•All children deserve to live with committed, nurturing, and permanent families that prepare them for a successful transition into adulthood.
•Group care should be used in a limited manner, and only when a child’s needs are unable to be met in the community.
•The child and family’s experience and voice are important in assessment, placement, and service planning.
•Children should not have to change placements to get the services and supports they need. Behavioral and mental health services should be available in a home setting.
•Agencies serving children and youth need to collaborate effectively to surround the child and family with needed services, resources and supports rather than requiring children, youth and caregivers to navigate multiple services.

Key Changes: What will the reform do?

Stronger Initial Assessments: Child and family teams (including the child/youth, family, and formal and informal support networks) will ensure a child’s first placement is the best placement, and that services are tailored to the strengths and needs of a child are delivered in a family-based environment, informed by a comprehensive up-front assessment.

Restructuring of Group Care: Group homes will become “short-term residential treatment programs,” utilized primarily for intensive treatment interventions, rather than a foster care placement. Children and youth currently in group homes will be transitioned to family-based care, when appropriate.

Revision of Rates: Foster care rates will change to reflect a child’s needs, rather than his or her placement type.

Unified Classification and Training of all Caregivers: All caregivers, regardless of relative/non-relative status, will undergo a uniform assessment process called Resource Family Approval, and all will be required to receive equivalent training.

Expansion in FFA Scope: FFAs will provide a core set of services that are trauma-informed and culturally relevant, including specialty mental health services. FFAs will be required to receive accreditation by a national accrediting body, and collect and make publicly available state-mandated performance measures.