The1st meeting of the Subcommittee on Families and Children of the Interim Joint Committee on Health and Welfare was held on Wednesday, August 21, 2002, at 9:00 AM, in Room 113 of the Capitol Annex. Senator Katie Stine, Chair, called the meeting to order, and the secretary called the roll.
Guests: Bart Baldwin for the Children’s Alliance; and Sean Cutter for McBrayer, McGinnis, Leslie & Kirkland.
LRC Staff: DeeAnn Mansfield, and Cindy Smith.
The first agenda item was a presentation by Secretary Viola Miller of the Cabinet for Families and Children on the Council for Accreditation. Secretary Miller said the accreditation process has almost been completed and they expect certification by October. A region by region peer review process has been completed and over 1,000 Kentucky cases were reviewed. In October, there will be a major press conference when Kentucky receives their certification. Kentucky is the first state nationwide to be accredited voluntarily. Secretary Miller said she has asked that legislation be passed to require Kentucky to stay accredited.
Next, Secretary Miller discussed the upcoming Federal Children and Family Services Review. She said the purposes of the review are: (1) to ensure conformity with Federal child welfare requirements; (2) determine what is actually happening to the children and families in the welfare system; and (3) to assist the states in enhancing their capacity to help children and families achieve positive outcomes. The Child and Family Service Review requires a state to be in substantial conformity with seven outcomes concerning safety, permanency, and well-being. The review also mandates compliance with the following seven systemic factors: (1) statewide information system; (2) case review system; (3) quality assurance system; (4) staff training; (5)service array; (6) agency responsiveness to community; and (7) foster and adoptive parent licensing, recruitment and retention. The review is a two stage process that includes the statewide assessment and the onsite visit. Kentucky’s initial review will occur the first week in March, 2003.
Senator Stine asked what two additional counties will be participating in addition to Jefferson County. Secretary Miller said the Barren River Region and the Lincoln Trail Region volunteered to participate, and that the Cabinet will be sending reviewers into other counties to get ideas.
Next, Secretary Miller discussed the Elder Abuse Commission, which was created by Executive Order 2002-786 in July, 2002. The Elder Abuse Task Force became the Elder Abuse Commission to bring together all state government agencies. The Cabinet is going to ask the President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House to name two legislative members to the Commission.
Tim Jackson stressed the fact that law enforcement plays a critical role in going after the perpetrators. He also said that there is a 21 member council that advises the Commission.
Next, Kim Townley and Brenda Chandler discussed the HANDS program. This program is voluntary and provides intensive home visitation for first time parents until their children are two years of age. The program is designed to improve both health and social outcomes. It is projected in FY ‘03 that all 120 counties and approximately 10,820 families will be involved with the HANDS program. In FY ‘02, the 6,642 families involved had a total of 74,570 home visits. In FY ’03 173,120 home visits are planned. There have been many positive results of the HANDS program, including, (1) a lower number of premature infants; (2) a lower number of low birth weight infants; (3) a lower number of very low birth weight infants; (4) a lower number of substantiated physical abuse cases; and (5) a lower number of substantiated neglect cases. They noted that for every $1 spent on a HANDS Medicaid service, the Federal Government contributes 70 cents. In the future, the following outcomes are expected; (1) increased optimal child growth and development; (2) more children live in healthy/safe homes; and (3) more families learn how to make decisions and become sufficient.
Next, Dwala Griffin and Anita Black discussed the Jefferson County Health Department’s HANDS program. They said the program goals include (1) positive pregnancy outcomes; (2) optimal child growth and development; (3) health and safety of the home environment; and (4) family decision-making. The HANDS program includes: (1) home visitation services for families who are pregnant for the first time or who have newborn babies; (2) a basis on the healthy families model of services; (3) a focus on serving families with the greatest need for support; (4) the provision of services until the child reaches 2 years of age; and (5) a focus on broad-based family needs, rather than a single criterion. Also, the Jefferson County program is credentialed as a Health Families America site by Prevent Child Abuse America and the Council on Accreditation.
Representative Burch asked how many families are served. Ms. Griffin said there are 270 families in Jefferson County receiving services through the HANDS program.
Representative Burch also asked for information to be sent to the committee in regard to the First Steps Program in Jefferson County.
Ms. Griffin went on to say that the process involved with the HANDS program includes identification and screening, assessment, program enrollment, and home visitations by paraprofessionals and professionals. She indicated that in FY ‘02, 220 families are expected to be served, and in FY ‘03, 350 families are expected to be served.
Next, Eric Friedlander presented information on the Commission on Children with Special Health Care Needs. He said the mission of the Commission is to plan, develop, provide and evaluate the public statewide system of care for children with special health care and developmental needs. The Commission for Children is committed to helping children and families 0-21 years of age. Eligibility is based on diagnosis and family financial status. A current focus is to prepare youth to be healthy and ready to work so that they can transition out of the program.
Next, Mr. Friedlander commented on the merger of the First Steps Program with the Commission for children with special health care needs. He said that First Steps serves children from birth to three years of age. Eligibility is based on the degree of developmental delay. It is an educationally based program. The following administrative steps have been implemented (1) payment rates have changed based on a study; (2) record reviews have been intensified; (3) payment processing has been improved; (4) monitoring has increased; and (5) changes have been made in existing commission programs. He said that the next steps for the program include: (1) communicate work group progress; (2) evaluate recommendations; (3) implement changes; (4) evaluate implementation; and (5) begin phase 4 planning.
Representative Burch asked about the number of families served. Mr. Friedlander said 10,000 plus families have been served through First Steps, with 12,000-15,000 being served overall.
The meeting was adjourned at 11:35 a.m.