Multi-System Youth Action Plan
Multi-system youth, or MSY, are children who require services from more than one child-serving system, including children services, developmental disabilities, mental health and addiction, and juvenile justice. Each of the systems above provide services to multi-system youth and their families, and for some youth, these individuals services meet their clinical needs. However, some youth may have such complex physical, emotional, and behavioral needs, that these individual systems are not meeting their needs. When that occurs, some families must make the unfathomable decision to relinquish custody of their child to children services in order to receive the care their child needs. This practice is called custody relinquishment.
On July 17, 2019, Governor Mike DeWine signed House Bill 166, which created the state’s two-year operating budget. House Bill 166 included $68 million in new funding to address the needs of Ohio’s multi-system youth, including:
- $50 million, over two years, to the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services to assist with children in the custody of a public children services agency (PCSA) that require services from multiple systems or to prevent children from entering the custody of a PCSA.
- $18 million, over two years, to the Ohio Department of Medicaid to create the Multi-System Youth and Innovation Support Fund, designed to prevent custody relinquishment by assisting youth and families with accessing needed services.
On October 8, 2019, the Departments of Job and Family Services and Medicaid announced the creation of an $8 million state-level program for multi-system children. Families that are facing custody relinquishment in order to access the physical and behavioral health care services that their child needs can apply for financial assistance for their child’s care. Rather than reimbursing counties, this new state-level program provides direct payment to the service provider, ensuring that families can quickly and efficiently access care for their child. In addition to financial assistance, a technical assistance team was created to provide counties with best practices to meet the needs of multi-system youth. Since its creation, the state-level program has received 79 applications for assistance and funded the care of 29 youth. The state has also provided technical assistance to 15 Ohio counties.
House Bill 166 also stated the intent of the General Assembly to end the practice of custody relinquishment to access services and tasked the Ohio Family and Children First Cabinet Council with developing an action plan to accomplish that end.
To assist in developing the Multi-System Youth Action Plan, Ohio Family and Children First Council, or FCFC, established a committee and six working groups to conduct research and develop recommendations for this final report. The multi-disciplinary committee and working groups met over the course of three months to develop the recommendations enclosed in this action plan. It is our sincere hope that the information contained within provides Ohio’s General Assembly and others a clear path forward to better address the needs of multi-system youth and their families.
View and download the full report in the attachment section of this web page.