National Town Hall on Child Welfare

On Monday, the Administration for Children, Youth, and Families (ACYF) at the US Department of Health and Human Services hosted a National Town Hall on Child Welfare, along with colleagues from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). The Town Hall covered the recent Information Memorandum (IM), which details plans for state child welfare waiver demonstration projects for FY’s 2012-2014. ACYF Commissioner Bryan Samuels highlighted the waiver demonstration goals and priorities. Deputy Commissioner Clare Anderson explained the new psychotropic medication management requirements that have been developed based on the work that the Administration is doing with state and tribal entities to ensure proper medication management for children in the child welfare system. Jean Close, CMS, discussed the role of Medicaid in promoting the well-being of children and youth. Finally, David DeVoursney, highlighted some key SAMHSA initiatives aimed at improving the behavioral health system for children and youth.

Samuels kicked off the town hall by reiterating the goals and priorities for the waiver demonstrations, which include increasing permanency, improving outcomes for children and families, and preventing abuse and neglect and re-entry into care. He also discussed in detail, the importance of a trauma informed system of care as a means to promote well-being. In addition to outlining the new requirements for the oversight and management of psychotropic medication for children in care, Anderson also explored possible partnerships with early childhood and housing, to name a few, as a means to addressing the needs of and improving outcomes for children and families with child welfare involvement.

At the end of the town hall, participants had the opportunity to ask questions about the waivers and the interagency collaboration on behalf of ACYF, CMS, and SAMHSA with respect to addressing the various needs that children and families with child welfare involvement present.

As a reminder, CWLA will be hosting a webinar for its members on the waiver opportunities for private agencies with Commissioner Samuels on May 29th. For more information regarding this webinar including registration details please contact govaffairs@cwla.org.

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