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New Programs to Prevent Custody Relinquishment and Modernize Systems of Care for Multi-System Children and Youth

The Ohio Departments of Medicaid (ODM) and Job and Family Services (ODJFS) will issue $31 million in new funding in state fiscal year (SFY) 2020 to directly support children, youth and families served by multiple systems. These funds will also help modernize Ohio’s 88 county Family and Children First Councils (FCFCs), which coordinate care for children and youth served by multiple systems. In SFY 2020, this funding will support the following new efforts:

State Level Program for Multi-System Children/Youth Technical Assistance and Funding: $8 million

ODM and ODJFS have jointly developed a state-level program to provide technical assistance and financial assistance to children, youth and families with complex multi-system needs. The aim of this program is to prevent custody relinquishment of children and youth solely for the purpose of obtaining needed treatment, and to assist local entities with obtaining services that support children and youth who have been relinquished and are transitioning back to community and/or non-custody settings.

Beginning October 9, 2019, families, through their County FCFC, can apply for technical assistance and direct financial aid to cover costs associated with a child’s / youth’s care. Funding can be requested by local FCFCs for the following purposes:

  •  Care Coordination/Wraparound to prevent custody relinquishment or for a relinquished child/youth;
  •  In-home and/or community supports to prevent custody relinquishment;
  •  In-home and/or community supports for a relinquished child/youth transitioning back into a community setting; and/or
  •  Residential treatment and/or room and board for treatment to prevent custody relinquishment.

To be eligible to receive funding for a child/youth, each child must meet program criteria and the child’s/youth’s County FCFC must execute a grant agreement with ODM. All completed applications will be vetted by a multi-system team composed of child/youth serving state agencies, and funding will be authorized (or not authorized) by ODM. Authorized funding will be subject to the terms of ODM’s executed grant agreement with each County FCFC.

Families and other local entities (County Family and Children First Council, Public Children's Services Agency (PCSA), Board of Developmental Disabilities, Board of Mental Health and Addiction Services, and others,) are also encouraged to request state technical assistance to facilitate coordination of clinically appropriate services, supports, and resources for children / youth and their families. Technical assistance may include, but will not be limited to:

  •  Facilitation of outreach to and engagement of state and local partners;
  •  Facilitation of managed care and other insurance involvement;
  •  Requests for clinical review; and
  •  Assistance with coordination among interested parties.

Local entities that are considering placing a child or youth in another state to gain access to residential treatment are strongly encouraged to request technical assistance. Involving state technical assistance and resources is critical to ensuring all in-state-options are pursued and will be essential for successfully transitioning children and youth into and out of the state.

Both funding and technical assistance requests should be made using the Multi-System Youth Technical Assistance and Funding Application. A guidance document for this application is available to assist local entities with the program’s application and processes.

Local entities are encouraged to register for a webinar on October 15 from 1 PM – 2 PM to learn more about the technical assistance and funding application components and requirements, and to have an opportunity to ask questions of the state team. This webinar will be recorded and will be available for later viewing on the Ohio Family & Children First MSY TA & Funding Website.

All completed applications (including required documentation and attachments) and questions about the program should be sent to MSY@medicaid.ohio.gov.

Funding for Public Children’s Services Agencies: $20 million

Pursuant to section 307.110 of the Ohio Revised Code, ODJFS is allocating $20 million directly to county PCSAs in accordance with section 5101.14 of the revised code to support the costs of care for children in custody of the agency who are placed in residential treatment facilities, and to prevent the relinquishment of custody to a PCSA for the sole purpose of the child obtaining access to needed treatment. Of these funds, the PCSAs are to designate fifteen percent of the formula-based allocation to work locally in accordance with section 337.180 of the revised code, and the designated funding is to be used for establishing local resources and ensuring the multi-disciplinary coordination among local FCFC members needed to prevent custody relinquishment for the sole purpose of needed treatment. ODJFS will be adopting a rule to administer this funding; the rule is expected to become effective on January 1, 2020, with funding transfers and allocations to follow the same timeline.

Ohio Family and Children First Action Plan and FCFC Modernization Efforts: $3 million

Ohio Family and Children First is working with a broad group of stakeholders to develop an action plan to reduce custody relinquishment and better serve Ohio’s children with the most complex needs. The Multi-System Youth Action Plan Committee is evaluating the existing Family and Children First infrastructure, current practices across the state, and service needs for multi-system youth. Based on this evaluation and action plan, funds will be made available for both sustainability efforts and technical assistance.

Ongoing Stakeholder Feedback Requested for Improvement

In SFY 2020, these new programs will fund direct services to prevent and address custody relinquishment while ensuring FCFC modernization evaluation and sustainability planning can be conducted. In the coming months, ODM and ODJFS and Ohio Family and Children First will gather feedback on the programs outlined above through the Multi-System Youth Action Plan Committee. All stakeholders and interested parties are invited to send questions, comments, and suggestions to MSY@medicaid.ohio.gov.