Commissioner Bryan Samuels, Administration of Children, Youth, and Families at the Department of Health and Human Services, met via webinar yesterday with dozens of CWLA members to discuss the waiver demonstration process. State child welfare agencies are now considering applying for these demonstration projects. For FY 2012 demonstrations, proposals are due July 9.
Samuels explained the priorities for the applications especially to produce positive well-being outcomes for children, youth and their families, enhance the social and emotional well-being of children and youth, and yield more than modest improvements in the lives of children and families. He highlighted the guiding principle of the waiver process that there is a growing body of evidence suggesting that there are promising and effective approaches to improve outcomes for children and families in which abuse and/or neglect has taken place or is likely to take place. However, such approaches are utilized too rarely by many child welfare agencies.
He emphasized that the goal of the waivers is to facilitate innovation and experimentation in child welfare programs through the demonstrations and to improve outcomes for children. ACYF is encouraging states to consider whether funding flexibility and improvements in the service strategies for children both at risk of foster care placement and those already placed outside the home could lead to better outcomes for children.