Language included in the 2018 Appropriations Act directed the Office of Children’s Services (OCS) to contract for a study of the current rates paid for special education private day placements funded through CSA, to include a review of the adequacy of those rates and recommendations for implementing a rate-setting structure in the future. A report is due to the General Assembly in October. The consultant conducting the study, Public Consulting Group (PCG), held a series of stakeholder meetings last fall in preparation for presenting its interim report to the General Assembly in December 2018. OCS recently announced that PCG has completed data collection for the second phase of the study and is holding a series of public meetings prior to finalizing the report’s recommendations. Stakeholders, including local governments, are invited to attend. A list of meeting dates and times is available at this link.
Following is an update on several CSA-related activities of interest to local governments.
Special education study: The Joint Legislative Audit and Review Commission (JLARC) in December 2018 approved a study of the effectiveness of Virginia’s special education system, to include a review of the process by which appropriate services are determined for children with special needs, including CSA-funded services such as private day placements. VACo has encouraged JLARC, in undertaking the study, to consider ways in which local school divisions can be supported to meet students’ needs locally.
State Executive Council strategic plan: Virginia Code requires the State Executive Council (SEC) to develop a plan for the provision of comprehensive services to children and families in each biennium. The SEC is planning to hold a strategic planning session at its September 19 meeting, and SEC members will be soliciting ideas from their respective constituencies in advance of this meeting. Topics such as overarching trends and emerging issues in behavioral health are expected to be discussed, as well as recommendations from stakeholders about what is working well with CSA and what could improve the system. The SEC is scheduled to discuss preparations for the September retreat at its June 20 meeting.
Continuous Quality Improvement: In spring 2018, audit staff at OCS reported that a frequent finding in audits of local CSA programs was a lack of documentation of Community Policy and Management Teams (CPMTs) engaging in utilization review or data analysis regarding program outcomes as required by statute. The SEC directed the establishment of a workgroup to develop ways to assist localities in meeting this requirement; VACo Past President Mary Biggs, who serves on the SEC, participated in this workgroup with local CSA coordinators, a provider representative, and OCS staff. The group developed a convenient online dashboard to track key metrics, such as demographic and outcome data, as well as a template for CPMTs to use in documenting their review of the data. OCS staff have conducted several pilot training sessions on use of the dashboard and template; the dashboard, template, and training materials are available on OCS’s website.
VACo Contact: Katie Boyle