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Presentation on theme: "EEC PLACEMENT REGULATIONS REVISION December 2010."— Presentation transcript:


2 Residential and Placement Unit Organizational Chart Commissioner Sherri Killins Ed.D Northeast Region Licensor Michael Curran Kelly Buckley, Residential and Placement Supervisor Dave McGrath, Deputy Commissioner of Field Operations Western Region Licensors Christine Burnett David Micka Central Region Licensors Michael Ginetti Richard Mucci Tim Keane, Residential and Placement Supervisor Southeast Region Licensors Miguel Ortega Kathy Perry Metro Boston Region Licensors Kerry Murphy McCall Kara Adams

3 Residential and Placement Licensing The R&P Unit licenses programs that provide 24- hour care and services to the neediest and most at-risk children in the Commonwealth. Todays presentation will focus on Placement Licensing which encompasses: Public and Private Foster Care Services Public and Private Adoption Services Foster Care in the Commonwealth is administered by both DCF and private/contracted agencies Adoption in the Commonwealth is also administered by DCF and private agencies but is inherently more complex

4 Complexity of Adoption Adoption requires balancing the rights and needs of: adopted children, adult adoptees, prospective adoptive parents, adoptive parents, and all their families birthparents and their families We recognize all of the above have important interests and perspectives, which may at times differ. While the adopted childs best interests should be paramount, other peoples rights and needs must not be ignored.

5 Complexity (cont.) Adoption involves social, psychological, clinical and legal processes that affect all the parties and their families throughout their lifetimes. A careful and ethical approach to key aspects of the process minimizes the prospect for differing/conflicting interests. Birthparents needs have not been previously addressed thoroughly in our regulations, policies and practices.

6 Why Revise the Placement Regulations? While the Residential regulations were substantially revised in 2000, the Placement regulations have not been revised since 1998. During the 1998 revision, no significant changes were made to the regulations, as the primary goal was to combine Foster Care and Adoption regulations into one set.

7 Why Revise the Placement Regulations (cont.) Particularly for adoption, the current regulations are inadequate. The current regulations were written for the ideal situation where all members of the adoption triad were residing within Massachusetts. Today, accomplishing permanency is a more complicated process, requiring cooperation of child welfare agencies and judicial systems in two or more states. Many Massachusetts agencies work with out of state agencies and programs in foreign countries.

8 Why Revise the Placement Regulations (Cont.) International Adoption, although covered by the current regulations, was a very small % of adoptions when the regulations were written. The different sending countries all have their own rules and requirements which Massachusetts agencies must follow. Under the Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption, signed by the United States in 1994 and enacted in April 2008, all agencies who work in international adoptions must be Hague certified and follow all of its requirements.

9 Revision Process for Foster Care Regulations A sub-committee of foster care providers from across the state, as well as DCF staff, convened in early 2010 and have continued to meet. A forum for all foster care providers was conducted on October 20 th where proposed changes were shared and feedback was received. To date, proposed changes to foster care regulations have been minimal compared to adoption. EEC also conducted individual meetings with some of the larger foster care agencies and DCF staff to elicit comment and suggestions.

10 Revision Process for Adoption Regulations In September of 2009 EEC convened an internal group and commenced the revision of the placement regulations. The group of licensing staff, a professional development staff person and assistant general counsel met once or twice a month. On a quarterly basis the proposed changes were brought to the EEC Adoption Advisory Group for external comment and review. EEC staff have attended APAM (Adoption Professionals Association of Massachusetts) meetings to solicit what changes they would like to see in the regulations. In May 2010 a survey was sent out to all licensed adoption agencies seeking input around specific topics in the regulations and suggestions for additions. A provider forum was held on October 13 th in Worcester to solicit input.

11 Consultation and Research EEC has recently entered into a consulting agreement with the Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute to review the draft regulations and provide feedback. The Evan B. Donaldson adoption institute, founded in 1996, is a national not-for-profit organization devoted to improving adoption policy and practice. EEC has contracted with Hanover Research for data collection on the number of temporary and permanent out-of-home placements. This data will inform regulatory changes regarding adoptive parent preparation and post-adoption services.

12 Summary of Proposed Changes to Regulations Governing Foster Care and Adoption Placement Agencies

13 5.02: Definitions: The addition of multiple new or revised definitions are needed to aid in the interpretation of the regulations. Adoptee Adoption Agency Adoptive Parent Adoptive Parent Applicant Child Children with Special Needs Country of Origin/ Sending Country Expectant Parents Group Care Program Hague Convention on International Adoptions Home Study Internal Investigation Placement Agency Post Placement Supervision Teen Parent Program

14 5.03 Licensure: 5.03(2) Provisional License Previous requirements included the submission of up to 22 evidentiary, policy or procedural agency documents. The list has been expanded to include additional important documents. Copies of contracts with referral sources Evidence of revenue sources Organizational table Policy and procedure for internal investigations, resolving complaints and grievances, reporting allegations of child abuse and neglect Job descriptions and salary ranges Evidence of staff licenses and/or credentials A plan for involving stakeholders in the development of agency policy Procedures of format for home studies Copies of information routinely provided to stakeholders Forms used for intake evaluations, service plans, face sheets, placement agreements and contracts Agency plan for supervision of children in foster homes

15 5.03(3) Regular License Programs seeking license renewals are required to submit three supportive agency documents. In addition, in an attempt to assure that licenses are being issued by EEC for active use, regulations now state that EEC reserves the right to refuse to renew a license if the licensee has failed to provide placement services during the term of the previous license. 5.03(3)(a) A list of clients served within the most recent licensing period 5.03(3)(b) An annual evaluation for the most recent licensing period 5.03(3)(c) Copies of certifications or accreditations, if any 5.03(5) An applicant may be ineligible for licensure if the Department finds any of the following: (f)The applicant has failed to provide placement services.

16 5.04 Administration of the Placement Agency Statement of Purpose - This must now include a description of the means the agency will use to identify children for placement and to identify and/or recruit prospective adoptive and foster parents. Annual Self Evaluation The number of children, expectant parents, foster parents and adoptive parents served in the previous year. The number of adoptive parent applicants provided financial assistance. A description of the assistance provided. The number of complaints received. A description of the resolution of the complaints. The programs self assessment of progress towards stated goals and objectives. The programs recommendations for change in the subsequent year.

17 5.04 Continued Grievance Procedure 5.04(3)(g) Grievance procedures for the program must provide a provision that all complaints will be investigated. Decisions regarding the complaint must be written and sent to the complainant within 30 days. Internal investigations inclusive of the results/decisions of the investigation and/or appeal must be maintained. Records must be maintained in the file of the involved child, parent and/or family. Regulations have been added and expanded to assure that grievances are appropriately recorded and thoroughly investigated.

18 5.04 Continued Required Notifications Programs were previously required to notify EEC when there were substantial changes in the Program. Programs now must inform EEC of any changes in the licensees program or policy. 5.04(4) Changes in countries of origin or referral sources for placement of children. Changes in the number of staff, chief administrative person of the agency. Change in the Director of Social Services (or comparable position). Change in the membership of the advisory board. Quarterly reports of all 51As filed on behalf of a child against agency staff. Complaints or grievances against the adoption agency or its staff.

19 5.04 Continued The Program must take appropriate steps to assure that staff are qualified for the work they are doing and that staff receive adequate supervision to maintain necessary credentials. 5.04(5) Personnel Job descriptions must include staff qualifications. Staff must complete required orientation to the Program. Social workers must be assigned a supervisor and have regular individual supervision sessions sufficient to maintain licensure. Supervision must be documented.

20 5.04(7) Designated Financial Responsibilities New regulations more clearly specify what adoptive parents can and cannot be charged for and when: May not be charged for birth parent counseling May not be charged for expectant parent expenses before the beginning of the third trimester (must have a signed agreement prior to the third trimester) Must be given an estimate of all birthparent expenses including: Living expenses Support services Medical expenses Transportation costs Legal expenses Agency must document birthparent expenses and provide documentation to adoptive parents of expenses to be reimbursed 5.04 Continued

21 5.07(1) & (7) Service Planning Requirements A childs initial service plan shall include reference to any needed behavior management services and to life skills. and to life skills. Service plan reviews shall include references to any medical or dental services provided. Reconsideration of a childs legal status and consideration of adoption as an alternative to foster care may be completed by an agency having legal custody of the child.

22 5.09 Services to Birth Parents Required counseling to birth parents must now be provided by a person with an advanced degree in social work, psychology or related field. This person shall not be concurrently assigned responsibility for services to prospective adoptive parents. Additionally, regulations identify specific areas that must be part of the counseling process. Topic areas include: Planning for participation in the adoption process Counseling to cope with the termination of parental rights, grief, separation, loss, and related implications Discussion of possible relationships Education on search and reunion Planning for future needs and services

23 5.09(3) Information Prior to Surrender Important information is required to be provided before adoption surrender but cannot be provided prior to the third trimester of pregnancy and the completion of the intake and development of the required service plan. This information includes: Any description of the adoptive parent(s) The birthparents rights and procedures to update their case file The process which children and parents may use to locate one another The licensees policies on locating and making connections with birth relatives The licensees policies on birth parent issues related to adoption disruptions

24 5.10 Services to Foster and Adoptive Parents Regulations more clearly state that the licensee must have and provide copies when requested of their policies on the financial responsibilities of the foster or adoptive parents. Information available must include: The adoptive parent(s) responsibility for payment of birthparent expenses The agencys fee schedule The agencys policy for financial assistance to applicants Any interagency agreements as applicable Notice that the agencys current year budget is available upon request

25 5.10(2)(g) Orientation Adoptive parent information must now include the agencys criteria and procedures used to identify an adoptive family for a particular child. The proposed regulations will stipulate that the agency must provide parent preparation and education in the following areas Mental health issues associated with adoption Normative parenting issues in adoptive family life Developmental issues in adoption Talking with children about adoption Role of loss and grief in adoption Identity issues in adoption Role of the search process in adoption Support services in adoption

26 5.10(4) Physical Requirements for foster and adoptive homes The regulations include new additions to the physical requirements for foster and adoptive homes to be more reflective of state laws and more conscious of safety concerns. New safety requirements: Carbon monoxide detectors Any firearm must be registered and licensed in accordance with state law, trigger locked and in locked storage without ammunition Ammunition must be stored and locked separately Home must have a working phone for both incoming and outgoing calls available when children are present All pets must be appropriate for children, free from disease and parasites, licensed and vaccinated according to law

27 5.10(5)(e-i) Evaluation of Applicants New regulations state that Home Study Reports/Assessments must be reviewed and approved by the supervisor of the social worker completing the assessment and will be valid for one year from the date of completion (18 months for international adoptions per the Hague Convention). After that time period limited assessments may be conducted which must include updated information. Updated information/requirements must include the following: New BRC for all household members A visit to the adoptive parents home In-person interview with adoptive parents to determine any changes to note Current medical professional statement about the health of household members A review of all information from the original home study to verify and confirm accuracy A review of documents detailing changes in financial status Applicants must be provided with a copy of any re- assessment

28 5.10(13)On-going Training On going training for foster parents has been increased from 10 hours per year to 20 hours per year.

29 Post Adoption Services and Matching EEC is collaborating with the Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute to address these two important areas

30 Provider Panel and Feedback Trends in Adoption Services Current and future issues in Adoption Training Requirements in Foster Care Current and future issues in Foster Care


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