Legislature(2017 - 2018)CAPITOL 106

04/05/2018 03:00 PM HEALTH & SOCIAL SERVICES

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Audio Topic
03:09:21 PM Start
03:10:03 PM Presentation: Safe, Strong, Supportive
04:44:30 PM Adjourn
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
+ Presentation: The Child Welfare System in AK by TELECONFERENCED
Casey Family Programs
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
                    ALASKA STATE LEGISLATURE                                                                                  
      HOUSE HEALTH AND SOCIAL SERVICES STANDING COMMITTEE                                                                     
                         April 5, 2018                                                                                          
                           3:09 p.m.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Representative Ivy Spohnholz, Chair                                                                                             
Representative Tiffany Zulkosky, Vice Chair                                                                                     
Representative Jennifer Johnston                                                                                                
Representative Colleen Sullivan-Leonard                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Representative Sam Kito                                                                                                         
Representative Geran Tarr                                                                                                       
Representative David Eastman                                                                                                    
Representative Matt Claman (alternate)                                                                                          
Representative Dan Saddler (alternate)                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
PRESENTATION: SAFE~ STRONG~ SUPPORTIVE                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
     - HEARD                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
PREVIOUS COMMITTEE ACTION                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
No previous action to record                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
WITNESS REGISTER                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
SUSAN ROBISON, Director                                                                                                         
State Relations and Public Policy                                                                                               
Casey Family Programs                                                                                                           
Seattle, WA                                                                                                                     
POSITION STATEMENT:  Presented a PowerPoint, titled "Safe,                                                                    
Strong, Supportive."                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
NIKKI LEPROHN, Director                                                                                                         
Data Advocacy                                                                                                                   
Casey Family Programs                                                                                                           
Seattle, WA                                                                                                                     
POSITION   STATEMENT:       Testified   during   the   PowerPoint                                                             
presentation.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
LYNN BIGGS                                                                                                                      
Strategic Consultant to Alaska                                                                                                  
Casey Family Programs                                                                                                           
Seattle, WA                                                                                                                     
POSITION   STATEMENT:       Testified   during   the   PowerPoint                                                             
presentation.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
ANITA FEINDAY, Managing Director                                                                                                
Indian Child Welfare Program                                                                                                    
Casey Family Programs                                                                                                           
Seattle, WA                                                                                                                     
POSITION   STATEMENT:       Testified   during   the   PowerPoint                                                             
presentation.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
THOMAS CODY, Director                                                                                                           
Indian Child Welfare Program                                                                                                    
Casey Family Programs                                                                                                           
Denver, CO                                                                                                                      
POSITION   STATEMENT:       Testified   during   the   PowerPoint                                                             
presentation.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
ACTION NARRATIVE                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
3:09:21 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR IVY SPOHNHOLZ  called the House Health  and Social Services                                                             
Standing   Committee    meeting   to    order   at    3:09   p.m.                                                               
Representatives  Spohnholz, Johnston,  and Zulkosky  were present                                                               
at the  call to  order.  Representative  Sullivan-Leonard arrived                                                               
as the meeting was in progress.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
^Presentation: Safe, Strong, Supportive                                                                                         
             Presentation: Safe, Strong, Supportive                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
3:10:03 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR SPOHNHOLZ announced  that the only order  of business would                                                               
be a presentation by the Casey Family Programs.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
3:10:29 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
SUSAN  ROBISON,  Director,  State Relations  and  Public  Policy,                                                               
Casey  Family Programs,  introduced a  PowerPoint, titled  "Safe,                                                               
Strong, Supportive."   She  directed attention  to slide  1, "Our                                                               
Mission" and paraphrased from the statement, which read:                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
     Casey   Family  Programs   is   the  nation's   largest                                                                    
     operating  foundation focused  on  safely reducing  the                                                                    
     need for  foster care and building  Communities of Hope                                                                    
     for children and families across  America.  Our mission                                                                    
     is to provide and improve    and ultimately prevent the                                                                    
     need for  foster care.                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MS. ROBISON  moved on to slide  2, "2020 Goals," and  stated that                                                               
the Casey  Family Programs had  very clear goals  which included:                                                               
Safely  reduce  the number  of  children  in  foster care  by  50                                                               
percent;     Reinvest  the  savings   from  a  reduced   use  and                                                               
unnecessary  use  of  foster care  into  building  stronger  more                                                               
supportive  communities   and  systems;    Improve   outcomes  in                                                               
education, employment,  mental health,  in support  of increasing                                                               
child, family,  and community well-being  focus.  She  added that                                                               
the Casey Family Programs had  agreements with all 50 states, the                                                               
District  of Columbia,  Puerto  Rico, and  16  tribes which  were                                                               
focused  at improving  child safety,  permanency and  well-being.                                                               
She noted that  there were also agreements with  the Public Child                                                               
Welfare  Agency  in each  jurisdiction,  as  well as  with  other                                                               
organizations   in  each   state,   including  courts,   advocacy                                                               
organizations, and community organizations.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
3:14:08 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MS.  ROBISON  directed  attention   to  a  handout  [Included  in                                                               
members' packets] discussing state  child welfare commissions and                                                               
task forces  created by  legislatures for  convening stakeholders                                                               
and  leaders from  many groups  and organizations  who might  not                                                               
otherwise  have  the  opportunity to  share  perspectives,  study                                                               
outcomes  for children  and families,  and develop  a plan.   She                                                               
shared the background of the  program, noting that it was created                                                               
by  Jim Casey,  the founder  of UPS  (United Parcel  Service), in                                                               
1966.  She  reported that Mr. Casey was very  committed to strong                                                               
families and  recognized that employees with  strong families did                                                               
better.   He was also  very focused  on outcomes and,  at company                                                               
meetings, he would  ask "how are the children."   She spoke about                                                               
slide 5,  "How are  the Children?  What the  data tells  us," and                                                               
reported that the program provided  information based on evidence                                                               
and data,  with a goal  to educate and  be a resource  for policy                                                               
makers in a non-partisan format.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
3:18:44 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
NIKKI LEPROHN,  Director, Data  Advocacy, Casey  Family Programs,                                                               
said that her focus was to  work with states and jurisdictions to                                                               
understand  the data  on child  welfare and  the children  in the                                                               
programs.   She  directed  attention  to slides  6  - 8,  "Safety                                                               
first...." and noted that safety  was paramount in importance and                                                               
their greatest concern.   She noted that in Alaska,  the rates of                                                               
child   abuse   and    neglect   reports,   investigations,   and                                                               
substantiated reports  were all above  the national rate.   In FY                                                               
16,  63.9  children  per  1000  were subject  to  a  child  abuse                                                               
investigation (screened  in report).   This number  had increased                                                               
57 percent  since 2010.   The rate  of investigations  for Alaska                                                               
Native and  American Indian  youth was 153  per 1000  compared to                                                               
White youth at 22.3 per 1000.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  SULLIVAN-LEONARD asked  about  children of  other                                                               
ethnic backgrounds.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
MS. LEPROHN  said that  although there was  also this  data, this                                                               
comparison was  for Alaska Native  and white children,  which had                                                               
the largest discrepancies.  She  said that the data was sometimes                                                               
grouped  into broader  categories and  that more  information was                                                               
available upon request.                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  SULLIVAN-LEONARD   mused  that  these   were  the                                                               
highest rates in Alaska.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
MS. LEPROHN  offered her belief  that the Alaska  Native children                                                               
were the highest numbers.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
3:22:50 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE JOHNSTON  asked for  a definition to  the screened                                                               
in report, and what qualified as a Native American Indian youth.                                                                
                                                                                                                                
MS. LEPROHN  explained that screened  in reports were  those that                                                               
were reviewed  to determine  the need  for an  investigation, and                                                               
she pointed  out that  this was  different in  every state.   She                                                               
explained  that the  requirements for  federal reporting  was set                                                               
for  certain categories,  although  the process  could differ  in                                                               
each  state.   She  explained  that  this race  ethnic  category,                                                               
American Indian,  Alaska Native, which the  Casey Family programs                                                               
did  not  define, was  in  both  the  census  and the  data  they                                                               
received.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
3:24:20 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR SPOHNHOLZ asked if this was self-identification.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
MS.   LEPROHN  said   that  it   could  be   self-identification,                                                               
identification   by   the   parents,   or  it   could   also   be                                                               
identification by the worker for the case management system.                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
3:25:18 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MS. LEPROHN  returned to slide 6  and noted that the  screened in                                                               
and  investigation rates  were higher  for Alaska,  with a  large                                                               
disparity between Alaska Native,  American Indian youth and white                                                               
youth.                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
3:25:51 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE ZULKOSKY asked about  the reasons that contributed                                                               
to the disparities.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
MS. LEPROHN replied that she did  not want to speculate, as there                                                               
could  be   many  reasons,  ranging  from   true  differences  to                                                               
reporting  differences  as some  populations  were  "more in  the                                                               
public  eye."    She  shared slide  7,  "Safety  first..."  which                                                               
reported that  the substantiation rate  was high compared  to the                                                               
national  average.   She reported  that substantiation  indicated                                                               
that there  had been a  finding of maltreatment, even  though the                                                               
definition and substantiation for  maltreatment could vary across                                                               
different states.   She  noted that  the substantiation  rate had                                                               
increased in Alaska.                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
3:27:52 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MS. LEPROHN directed attention to  slide 8, "Safety first..." and                                                               
defined  maltreatment  recurrence  as  the  percent  of  children                                                               
involved  in   a  substantiated  incident  of   maltreatment  who                                                               
experience a second substantiated incident  within 6 months.  She                                                               
pointed to the graphic which  indicated that the first occurrence                                                               
for many youth  was not the last occurrence, and  that 13 percent                                                               
of youth in  Alaska who experience maltreatment  were involved in                                                               
a  second  incident of  maltreatment  within  six months  of  the                                                               
first,  a rate  almost  double that  of the  national  rate of  5                                                               
percent.   She said that  Alaska Native youth  experienced repeat                                                               
maltreatment   at  about   17   percent,   whereas  white   youth                                                               
experienced this at about 8  percent.  She reported that, despite                                                               
this  high  level,  in  Alaska  this  rarely  resulted  in  child                                                               
fatalities.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  JOHNSTON   pointed  out  that   the  maltreatment                                                               
recurrence peaked  in 2014 and  was currently "dropping  a little                                                               
bit."                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
MS. LEPROHN  said that she  did not know  the details for  why it                                                               
was decreasing, adding that the  National Child Abuse and Neglect                                                               
data set was  a yearly release that would be  updated in the next                                                               
few months.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
3:30:58 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MS. LEPROHN introduced slide 9,  "At the front end..." and stated                                                               
that maltreatment often resulted in  a child's removal from their                                                               
family and placement in foster care.   Alaska has the 5th highest                                                               
foster  care entry  rate  of all  states, with  about  7 in  1000                                                               
children  entering care  in FY17.   She  noted that  the rate  of                                                               
Alaska Native youth  entry was 18.8 per  thousand children, while                                                               
White  youth entry  was  3.8 per  thousand  children into  foster                                                               
care.                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
3:31:51 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MS.  LEPROHN  addressed slide  10,  "Entries  into &  Exits  from                                                               
Foster  Care,"  which depicted  that  until  very recently,  more                                                               
Alaska  children  entered  care  than  exited,  which  led  to  a                                                               
constant increase in the overall number  of children in care.  In                                                               
the  most recent  period, 2017,  more children  exited care  than                                                               
entered.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  JOHNSTON  asked  if  this was  dependent  on  age                                                               
demographics.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
MS.  LEPROHN replied  that  the exit  graph  had always  included                                                               
children through age  24, as extended foster  care could continue                                                               
that long  in some states.   She said  that although it  would be                                                               
necessary  to  review  more  data in  detail,  a  change  usually                                                               
indicated there was a change in practice.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  JOHNSTON pointed  out  that there  were times  of                                                               
population growth to use for comparison.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR SPOHNHOLZ reported that there  had been significant changes                                                               
for  practice into  the commitment  to permanency  in the  foster                                                               
care system in Alaska.   She said that this growing understanding                                                               
was due in  part to advocacy by foster youth  that permanency was                                                               
a priority  over reunification and that  this was a cause  of the                                                               
change.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
3:35:00 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MS.  LEPROHN moved  on to  slide  11, "...while  in care..."  and                                                               
pointed out  that the  number of  children in  care had  begun to                                                               
decrease,  which was  part of  the  trend of  entries versus  the                                                               
exits.   She noted that  the (a) and  (b) periods were  points in                                                               
time at the end  of March and the end of  September of the fiscal                                                               
year.   She pointed out that  the rate in care,  per one thousand                                                               
children, was still high in Alaska.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
3:36:30 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MS.  LEPROHN  reported  that  the  use  of  congregate  care  for                                                               
children in  foster care was  much lower  in Alaska than  in many                                                               
other states, slide 12, "...while  in care," and that it included                                                               
group homes, institutions,  and residential treatment facilities,                                                               
anything  that was  not  a  family setting.    She reported  that                                                               
nationally  this was  about 20  percent, while  in Alaska  it was                                                               
only about  5 percent,  pointing out that  it was  more difficult                                                               
for children to  move to permanency from  congregate care because                                                               
they were not used  to living in a family home.   She pointed out                                                               
that the discrepancy for American  Indian and Alaska Native youth                                                               
to all other youth was not as high.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
3:37:55 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MS. LEPROHN shared slide 13,  "...Exiting to Permanency," and she                                                               
noted that  Alaska had  a low, but  improving rate  of permanency                                                               
within 12  months of  a child's  entering care.   She  added that                                                               
permanency in Alaska  for long stayers, children who  had been in                                                               
care  for  two years  or  longer,  has  been above  the  national                                                               
average and was improving.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
3:39:53 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MS.  LEPROHN  concluded  her segment  with  slide  14,  "...Child                                                               
safety with  permanent family," and explained  that re-entry into                                                               
care was  measured by  the total number  of children  who achieve                                                               
timely permanency within  12 months and re-enter  care within the                                                               
subsequent 12  months.  She  reported that Alaska had  the second                                                               
lowest re-entry rate, 3 percent, among all the states.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
3:41:02 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
LYNN  BIGGS,   Strategic  Consultant  to  Alaska,   Casey  Family                                                               
Programs,  shared  slide  15,  "Systems  Improvement  Work,"  and                                                               
stated that  the program was  joining with states to  improve the                                                               
outcomes for children.   She explained that there  was a 50-state                                                               
strategy which looked at data  and worked with the state partners                                                               
in efforts to improve the foster  care system.  She reported that                                                               
she  worked  with  the  Office of  Children's  Services  and  her                                                               
colleagues at  Indian Child Welfare.   She directed  attention to                                                               
slide 16,  "Long History of  Collaboration," and spoke  about the                                                               
work  ongoing for  the  past 18  years:   in  2000, Casey  Family                                                               
Programs began work in Alaska;  in 2005, Casey hosted a statewide                                                               
convening  on Disproportionality;  in 2008,  Knowing Who  You Are                                                               
curriculum  on racial  and cultural  identity was  introduced and                                                               
embedded throughout the state.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
3:44:41 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MS.  BIGGS   moved  on  to   slide  17,   "Collaborative  efforts                                                               
continue:"  She explained some  of these efforts, which included:                                                               
Facing Foster  Care in Alaska  (FFCA) supported  until non-profit                                                               
status was attained;  Permanency  Values & Family Finding Summit,                                                               
Permanency Roundtables  were held;   Data advocacy  helped refine                                                               
data indicators; and, Member of Court Improvement Project.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
3:48:26 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  SPOHNHOLZ  asked  how   guardianship  was  different  than                                                               
adoption for children.                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
MS. BIGGS explained that adoption  resulted in the termination of                                                               
parental rights,  whereas guardianship, generally, did  not.  She                                                               
said that a guardian could be  a relative or a foster parent, and                                                               
that the guardian  had the legal authority for  the same consents                                                               
as parents.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  SPOHNHOLZ  asked  how   functional  guardianship  was  for                                                               
pragmatic, day to day decisions.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
MS. BIGGS said  that guardianship was closer to  adoption than it                                                               
was  to foster  care  for  those rights,  and  that  most of  the                                                               
decisions could be made.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  JOHNSTON offered  that  it varied  from state  to                                                               
state.                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
MS. BIGGS offered her belief  that it was different among states.                                                               
She  referenced   a  recent   nationwide  sturdy   of  subsidized                                                               
guardianship.  She  opined that Alaska was not  as restrictive as                                                               
many states.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
3:51:43 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MS.  BIGGS shared  slide  18,  "Collaborative efforts  continue:"                                                               
and reported on  these:  Sponsored development  of Strategic Plan                                                               
to  transform child  welfare  which was  followed  by signing  of                                                               
Compact  in 2017;  Building Community  of  Hope Project;  Support                                                               
Safe Baby Court project in  Palmer; Sponsored Statewide convening                                                               
on Adverse Childhood  Experiences hosted by First  Lady Walker in                                                               
March of 2018.                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
3:56:06 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
ANITA FEINDAY,  Managing Director, Indian Child  Welfare Program,                                                               
Casey  Family Programs,  spoke about  the  "Indian Child  Welfare                                                               
Program,"  and referenced  the U.S.  Attorney General's  advisory                                                               
committee on  American Indian and Alaska  Native children exposed                                                               
to  violence in  2012  - 2013.    She said  that  this report  in                                                               
November 2014 focused on Alaska  and made several recommendations                                                               
in  Chapter  5,  which  included  compacting  for  child  welfare                                                               
services  through the  state,  and  self-governance compacts  for                                                               
health services.   She pointed out that compacts  had been signed                                                               
in the past year.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
3:59:35 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
THOMAS  CODY,  Director,  Indian  Child  Welfare  Program,  Casey                                                               
Family  Programs,  presented  slide  20,  "Indian  Child  Welfare                                                               
Program Goals" (ICWA), and reported that  a lot of their work was                                                               
technical assistance  to tribes on financing,  capacity building,                                                               
and  community  engagement.   He  stated  that these  goals  were                                                               
accomplished  through:     Providing  technical   assistance  and                                                               
training  regarding  ICWA,   child  welfare  financing,  capacity                                                               
development,   community    engagement,   and   intergovernmental                                                               
relationships;  Spreading best  practices  through  peer to  peer                                                               
sharing; Gathering  tribal leaders for dialogue  and trainings on                                                               
child welfare  related topics; Working with  partners to increase                                                               
tribal youth engagement;  Facilitating tribal-state collaboration                                                               
and relationships;  Influencing national efforts to  focus on and                                                               
achieve improved well-being of American  Indian and Alaska Native                                                               
children and families.  He  addressed slide 21, "CFP Indian Child                                                               
Welfare  Program  2018  Projects,"  and  spoke  about  the  tribe                                                               
specific  works,   the  tribal-state  work,   National  Projects,                                                               
Capacity  Development   &  Title  IV-E  Summits,   National  ICWA                                                               
Strategy,  Collaboration Agreements,  Philanthropic Engagement  &                                                               
Partnerships, and IPA/Executive Fellows.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
MR.  CODY addressed  slides 22  - 23,  "Child Welfare  Initiative                                                               
Agreements," a  map of  Alaska and  a map  of the  western United                                                               
States, with the participating tribal groups.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
4:05:36 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE SULLIVAN-LEONARD  asked if there was  any presence                                                               
in Oregon, Idaho, and California.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
MS.  FINEDAY said  that  the  logos were  for  tribes that  Casey                                                               
Family  Programs  had five-year  agreements.    She said  that  a                                                               
substantial amount of work was  in California, and there was some                                                               
work  in Idaho.   She  clarified that  the map  reflected the  16                                                               
tribes with five -year agreements.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
MR.  CODY listed  some  just completed  projects  with tribes  in                                                               
other states.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
4:07:23 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MS.  ROBISON  paraphrased from  slides  24  - 25,  "Family  First                                                               
Prevention Services Act," which read:                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
     The  Family First  Prevention Services  Act was  passed                                                                    
     and  signed into  law  (P.L. 115-123)  as  part of  the                                                                    
     Bipartisan   Budget   Act    on   February   9,   2018.                                                                    
     Culmination   of   years   of  discussion   among   key                                                                    
     Congressional  leaders  who  share  a  vision  and  are                                                                    
     passionate  about keeping  children  safely with  their                                                                    
     families.  Over 500 organizations supported this Act.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
     New option  for States and  Tribes to claim  Title IV-E                                                                    
     funds for prevention activities.   New policy to ensure                                                                    
     appropriate  placements for  children  in foster  care.                                                                    
     Reauthorization  of  numerous   child  welfare  funding                                                                    
     streams.  And much more?.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
4:09:04 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MS.  ROBISON continued  to discuss  the  Family First  Prevention                                                               
Services Act  and pointed out that  Alaska was in a  position for                                                               
new funding for prevention activities.   She said that Title IV-E                                                               
of the Social  Security Act now provided for  primary funding for                                                               
states  and tribes  to claim  federal  reimbursement for  certain                                                               
services  to prevent  the need  for foster  care.   She discussed                                                               
slides 26  - 27, "New  Funding for Prevention  Activities," which                                                               
included:    Allows  states  to  receive  open-ended  entitlement                                                               
(Title  IV-E)  funding  for evidence-based  prevention  services;                                                               
Children at imminent  risk of placement in foster  care and their                                                               
parents or  kinship caregivers, and pregnant  and parenting youth                                                               
in  foster care  are eligible;  No income  test for  eligibility;                                                               
Eligible prevention  services are mental health,  substance abuse                                                               
treatment, and  in-home parenting skills; Services  are allowable                                                               
for up to 12 months, with no limit  on how many times a child and                                                               
family can receive prevention services  if the child continues to                                                               
be at risk  of entry into foster care. Services  must be evidence                                                               
based  and  trauma  informed.    She  added  that:    Title  IV-E                                                               
reimbursement for eligible prevention  services begins on October                                                               
1,  2019; The  new Title  IV-E  prevention services,  as well  as                                                               
training  and  administrative  costs associated  with  developing                                                               
these  services,  has  no  income test;  New  federal  funds  for                                                               
prevention services are intended  to augment, not supplant, state                                                               
funding  for  prevention services;  MOE  will  be set  at  FY2014                                                               
spending for  these same prevention  services for  candidates for                                                               
foster care.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MS.  ROBISON  directed attention  to  slide  28, "New  Policy  to                                                               
Ensure  Appropriate  Placements  in   Foster  Care,"  and  added:                                                               
Provides $8 million in FY2018 for  grants to states and tribes to                                                               
support  the recruitment  and retention  of  high quality  foster                                                               
families.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
4:16:09 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  SULLIVAN-LEONARD asked  if the  $8 million  grant                                                               
required a State of Alaska match.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
MS. ROBISON  explained that  this was $8  million for  the entire                                                               
country,   which  would   be  targeted   to   those  states   and                                                               
jurisdictions with  lower utilization  of family foster  care and                                                               
higher utilization of congregate care.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
MS. ROBISON  returned to slides  28 -  29, "New Policy  to Ensure                                                               
Appropriate  Placements in  Foster Care,"  and explained:   Makes                                                               
changes  to  what  types  of   out-of-home  placements  would  be                                                               
eligible for  federal Title IV-E reimbursement  beginning October                                                               
1, 2019;  States have the  option to  delay this provision  for 2                                                               
years.  However, delays  in  implementation  of these  provisions                                                               
requires  a delay  in  prevention  provisions.   She  went on  to                                                               
explain the  requirements, which included:   Beginning October 1,                                                               
2019,  after 2  weeks in  care, Title  IV-E federal  support will                                                               
support the  following placements:  Foster  Family Home (defined)                                                               
  no more  than 6 children in foster care,  with some exceptions;                                                               
Facility   for   pregnant   and   parenting   youth;   Supervised                                                               
independent  living for  youth 18  years  and older;  Specialized                                                               
placements for  youth who are  victims of or at-risk  of becoming                                                               
victims  of sex  trafficking; Family-based  residential treatment                                                               
facility  for substance  abuse;  Qualified Residential  Treatment                                                               
Program  (QRTP)  (defined)      clinically  recognized  treatment                                                               
program; There  are no time limits  on how long a  child or youth                                                               
can be  placed in a  QRTP as long  as the placement  continues to                                                               
meet his/her  needs as determined  in assessment.   She explained                                                               
the  Qualified Residential  Treatment Program  (QRTP), slide  30,                                                               
as:   Has a trauma informed  treatment model and a  registered or                                                               
licensed  nursing  or  other   licensed  clinical  staff  onsite,                                                               
consistent with the QRTP's  treatment model; Facilitates outreach                                                               
and engagement  of the  child's family  in the  child's treatment                                                               
plan;   Provides  discharge planning  and family-based  aftercare                                                               
supports for at least 6 months; and Licensed and accredited.                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
4:20:15 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR SPOHNHOLZ asked about the  way the family based residential                                                               
treatment would pay for addiction treatment.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MS. ROBISON  explained that  Medicaid was often  used to  pay for                                                               
the  parent's  residential  treatment, while  the  children  were                                                               
often placed  in foster  care during the  treatment period.   She                                                               
noted that  evidence indicated that  this created  further trauma                                                               
for  the child.   She  stated that,  going forward,  it would  be                                                               
possible to  use the  Title IV-E treatment  for the  child's stay                                                               
with  the parent  in  the residential  treatment  facility.   She                                                               
added  that  Medicaid could  be  used  to  pay  for many  of  the                                                               
components.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR SPOHNHOLZ  declared that, in  addition to  reducing trauma,                                                               
it would improve outcomes for the parent in treatment.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
MS.  ROBISON shared  slide 31,  "New Funding  to Support  Keeping                                                               
Families Together During Substance Use Treatment," which read:                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
     Beginning  October  1,  2018, Title  IV-E  foster  care                                                                    
     maintenance payments can  be made on behalf  of a child                                                                    
     in foster  care who  is placed with  their parent  in a                                                                    
     licensed  residential  family-based treatment  facility                                                                    
     for up to  12 months; No income test  applies for these                                                                    
     services;   This  opportunity   exists  regardless   of                                                                    
     whether  a  state  chooses   to  operate  a  prevention                                                                    
     program through Title IV-E.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
MS. ROBISON  added that  this was  a federal  match, and  that as                                                               
Alaska's  match  rate  was  50 percent,  every  dollar  would  be                                                               
matched.   She noted that  states could claim  the administrative                                                               
costs  and  the   training  costs.    She   addressed  slide  32,                                                               
"Promoting Timely  Permanency for  Children Across  State Lines,"                                                               
and shared that this provides $5  million in new grants to states                                                               
to expand  the development of  the electronic system  to expedite                                                               
the  interstate  placement  across  state lines  of  children  in                                                               
foster care, guardianship or adoption;   Requires that states use                                                               
an electronic interstate case processing system by October 2027.                                                                
                                                                                                                                
MS.  ROBISON  discussed slide  33,  "Additional  select items  to                                                               
promote  safety,  permanency,  and well-being,"  which  included:                                                               
Provides Title IV-E support  for evidence-based kinship navigator                                                               
programs at 50  percent, beginning October 1,  2018; Requires HHS                                                               
to identify model foster parent  licensing standards; states have                                                               
to  then   identify  how  they   will  implement;   Requires  the                                                               
development  of  a statewide  plan  to  prevent child  abuse  and                                                               
neglect fatalities;  Requires inclusion  in the  state plan  of a                                                               
description  of  activities  to address  developmental  needs  of                                                               
young  children;  Eliminates  the time  limit  for  reunification                                                               
services  provided during  a child's  placement  in foster  care;                                                               
and,  Makes revisions  to the  Chafee program  to emphasize  more                                                               
successful transitions to adulthood.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
4:27:24 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  JOHNSTON   asked  whether   a  waiver   would  be                                                               
necessary.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
MS. ROBISON explained that for  approval of kinship families, the                                                               
state could  have a  case by case  waiver of  licensing standards                                                               
that  were not  related to  safety for  the licensing  of kinship                                                               
care  givers.   She noted  that there  was not  a uniform  system                                                               
across the country.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
4:28:24 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  ZULKOSKY  asked   about  the  family  residential                                                               
treatment funding models.   She acknowledged that  there were not                                                               
enough beds in either rural or urban Alaska.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MS.  ROBISON  said that  she  would  help with  any  information,                                                               
especially about programs in rural areas.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  ZULKOSKY expressed  an  interest for  integrating                                                               
models of care with family components.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
MS. ROBISON  said that  the opioid epidemic  had been  a critical                                                               
factor in  attempts to reduce the  number of kids in  foster care                                                               
over the last five years.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
4:31:21 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MS.  ROBISON  directed  attention  to  slide  34,  "Reauthorizing                                                               
Adoption Assistance  & Legal Guardianship Incentives,"  and spoke                                                               
about  reauthorization of  the  Adoption  and Legal  Guardianship                                                               
Incentive   Programs  through   FY2022.     She  said   that  the                                                               
legislation  delays  the  phase  in  and  the  expansion  of  the                                                               
Adoption Assistance delink for children  under age 2 (eligibility                                                               
tied to 1996 AFDC income test) through June 30, 2024.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
MS.  ROBISON moved  on  to slide  35,  "Continuing Child  Welfare                                                               
Funding," and  explained:  Reauthorizes  Title IV-B  programs and                                                               
services  until  FY2021;  Stephanie  Tubbs  Jones  Child  Welfare                                                               
Services  Program,  including   funding  for  monthly  caseworker                                                               
visits;  Promoting  Safe  and   Stable  Families  Program;  Court                                                               
Improvement Program; Regional Partnership  Grants to Increase the                                                               
Well-Being  of,  and  to Improve  the  Permanency  Outcomes  for,                                                               
Children Affected  by Heroin, Opioids, or  Other Substance Abuse;                                                               
and  Reauthorizes the  John H.  Chafee  Foster Care  Independence                                                               
Program until FY2021.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
MS.  ROBISON briefly  mentioned  an older  piece of  legislation,                                                               
slide  36  "Title  IV-E Guardianship  Assistance  Program  (GAP):                                                               
Authorized in 2008 by Federal  Legislation," which allows federal                                                               
Title IV-E  matching funds for  financial supports  for permanent                                                               
legal  kinship  guardians,  plus  associated  administrative  and                                                               
training costs.   She  spoke about  guardianship in  foster care:                                                               
Guardian  is a  relative as  defined by  the state;  Guardian has                                                               
been  child's  licensed foster  parent  for  at least  6  months;                                                               
Reunification  and adoption  have been  ruled out;  Child 14  and                                                               
older has  been consulted; and,  the Court has  awarded permanent                                                               
legal  guardianship  and ruled  it  to  be  in the  child's  best                                                               
interest.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
4:35:13 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR SPOHNHOLZ  asked if there  was any impact on  subsidies for                                                               
support of the child between guardianship and adoption.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
MS. ROBISON said that it would  not as the extension of the Title                                                               
IV-E  for  guardianship  made  federal  subsidies  available  for                                                               
guardians who were relatives, dependent  on the state definition.                                                               
She  explained that  the  guardian must  be  the licensed  foster                                                               
parent  for   at  least  six   months  to  receive   the  federal                                                               
reimbursement.                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR SPOHNHOLZ  shared an anecdotal  example for  the biological                                                               
siblings of her daughter who were not adopted.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
MS. ROBISON  expressed her agreement  that it was  very important                                                               
to  provide accurate  and complete  information for  the options.                                                               
She  pointed out  that federal  regulation  required that  states                                                               
make diligent efforts to find and  engage kin and she opined that                                                               
this needed to be an on-going outreach.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  SPOHNHOLZ   offered  her   belief  that   sometimes  field                                                               
professionals  forget  that  lay   people  don't  understand  the                                                               
details of the very complicated child welfare system.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
MS.  ROBISON added  that the  federal  regulations also  required                                                               
that older  children be consulted  about the decisions,  and that                                                               
their wishes be  considered.  She pointed  out that reunification                                                               
and  adoption  must  be  ruled  out  before  guardianship.    She                                                               
reminded  that it  was  a  possibility for  the  birth parent  to                                                               
petition the  court for custody  during guardianship.   She noted                                                               
that  often guardianship  petition  was filed  in probate  court,                                                               
rather  than  dependency courts,  which  could  be confusing  for                                                               
potential guardians.   She listed  some of the  reimbursements to                                                               
costs for kin  care givers and guardians.  She  declared that, as                                                               
the licensing requirements  were one of the  biggest barriers for                                                               
foster care,  the legislation allowed,  on a case by  case basis,                                                               
the  states  to waive  non-safety  licensing  requirements.   She                                                               
offered to help in any way possible.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
4:44:30 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
ADJOURNMENT                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
There being no  further business before the  committee, the House                                                               
Health  and  Social  Services   Standing  Committee  meeting  was                                                               
adjourned at 4:44 p.m.                                                                                                          

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
1446_CC Legacy Tree CFP presentation 4.5.2018.pdf HHSS 4/5/2018 3:00:00 PM
Casey Family Programs
Alaska Strategic Plan CFP presentation 4.5.2018.pdf HHSS 4/5/2018 3:00:00 PM
Casey Family Programs
Casey Booklet CFP presentation 4.5.2018.pdf HHSS 4/5/2018 3:00:00 PM
Casey Family Programs
Final Presentation to AK House HSS Comte -Casey Family Programs 4-5-18.pdf HHSS 4/5/2018 3:00:00 PM
Casey Family Programs
Guardianship Assistance Program overview-final CFP presentation 4.5.2018.pdf HHSS 4/5/2018 3:00:00 PM
Casey Family Programs
State Child Welfare Commissions and Task Forces CFP presentation 4.5.2018.pdf HHSS 4/5/2018 3:00:00 PM
Casey Family Programs
River of Culture CFP presentation 4.5.2018.pdf HHSS 4/5/2018 3:00:00 PM
Casey Family Programs
FFPSA short summary 021518 CFP presentation 4.5.2018.pdf HHSS 4/5/2018 3:00:00 PM
Casey Family Programs