On June 10, the State Executive Council for Children’s Services (SEC) approved Notices of Intent to Develop Policy for two proposed revisions to SEC policies. These policies, dealing with family engagement and the multidisciplinary teams that may be convened by local CSA programs in lieu of the Family Assessment and Planning Team, respectively, reflect revisions and updates to existing policies. As part of the strategic plan adopted by the SEC in 2019, the Office of Children’s Services has convened a workgroup to review CSA policies to ensure that they are in alignment with initiatives in partner agencies (such as implementation of the Family First Prevention Services Act, which makes significant changes to the use of federal Title IV-E funding). VACo is participating in this workgroup, along with CSA coordinators, state agency representatives, and several representatives of the SEC. The family engagement and multidisciplinary teams policies are the first to be discussed by the workgroup.
Proposed revisions to SEC Policy 3.2 are intended to assist with implementation of the Family First Prevention Services Act by providing additional detail regarding the process by which multidisciplinary teams may be established by local CSA programs. The SEC’s notice describes the intent of the proposed revisions as “updat[ing] the policy to reflect the format and organization of current SEC policies” and “clarify[ing] the expectations for the alternative multidisciplinary teams.”
Proposed revisions to SEC Policy 3.3, Family Engagement, as discussed by the workgroup are intended to emphasize a broad concept of family. As the notice of intent describes the proposed revisions, the amendments to the policy will: “update the policy to reflect the format and organization of current SEC policies; update the policy to reflect current understanding of the definitions and meaning of “family”; provide [a] definitive Values Statement reflecting the beliefs in the CSA in family-centered practices and the System of Care; eliminate obsolete sections and requirements and replace them with current best practice with regard to engaging families in the CSA process; specify reasonable expectations for local CSA programs with regard to family engagement while retaining local flexibility and autonomy in the implementation of those expectations; [and] specify expectations for the Office of Children’s Services in providing resources to support local CSA programs in the successful implementation of the revised policy.”
These proposals are currently in the Notice Stage, where the SEC has indicated its intent to pursue a particular policy, and public comment is being solicited for 30 days, with the public comment period closing on July 16, 2021. The SEC is scheduled to decide whether to proceed to the Proposed Stage (where the proposed text of the policy would be made available for 60 days of public comment) at its meeting on September 9, 2021.
Public comment will be accepted through the Public Policy Comments Form on the CSA website through 5 p.m. on July 16, 2021.
VACo Contact: Katie Boyle