Call to Order and Roll Call
Thefirst meeting of the Subcommittee on Families and Children of the Interim Joint Committee on Health and Welfare was held on Wednesday, October 17, 2012, at 10:00 a.m., in Room 131 of the Capitol Annex. Representative Tom Burch, Co-Chair, called the meeting to order at 10:05 a.m., and the secretary called the roll.
Guests: Teresa James, Commissioner, and Jim Grace, Director, Division of Protection and Permanency, Department for Community Based Services, Cabinet for Health and Family Services; Michelle Sanborn, President, Children’s Alliance; Kraig E. Humbaugh, M.D., M.P.H., State Epidemiologist, Director, Division of Epidemiology and Health Planning, Department for Public Health, Cabinet for Health and Family Services; Kay Kennedy, Director, Division of District Support, Office of Administration and Support Services, Karen Erwin, and Cheri Meadows, Kentucky Department of Education; Sara Osborne, Legislative Liaison, and Tom Cannady, Staff Advisor, Justice and Public Safety Cabinet; Jim Cecil and Andrea Burnett, Kentucky Youth Advocates; and Jill Seyfred, Prevent Child Abuse Kentucky.
Kentucky Foster Care System and Strategic Planning Committee for Children in Placement Updates
Teresa James, Commissioner, Department for Community Based Services, Cabinet for Health and Services, shared data concerning Child Protective Services in 2012 and trends in out of home care among Kentucky’s children over the last seven months. Testimony also covered the costs to the state to provide foster care, long term goals for children in foster care, and types of placements. Michelle Sanborn with the Children’s Alliance discussed foster care from the perspective of private child caring agencies and talked about the revival and future direction of the Statewide Strategic Planning Committee for Children in Placement.
In response to a question by Representative Burch, Commissioner James stated that there are 42 DCBS children in out-of-state placements. Recently, there have been a significant number of reports filed with DCBS on children between the ages of six to eighteen years.
In response to questions by Senator Stine, Commissioner James stated that the cabinet keeps track of relative caregivers, but does not break it down by grandparents raising grandchildren. There are approximately 11,000 children involved in the Kinship Care program. If family support criteria are met for caregivers not receiving Kinship Care services, a caregiver is eligible to receive Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) services, medical card, and/or services in the community. Mr. Grace stated that DCBS does not define homeless and does not track homeless children unless a report of abuse or neglect has been filed with the department. The McKinney–Vento Homeless Assistance Act of 1987 is the primary piece of federal legislation dealing with the education of children and youth experiencing homelessness in United States public schools. In January 2002, it was reauthorized as Title X, Part C, of the No Child Left Behind Act.
In response to questions by Senator Givens, Mr. Grace stated that different rates are paid for DCBS foster homes, private foster homes, private residential facilities, and other settings. Commissioner James stated that the cabinet is looking at performance based contracts to make sure it receives the purchased services and, if not, how best to be able to ascertain the services for the children that are being served. The goal for the department is to use residential care when appropriate and then stepping children down appropriately to more family and homelike settings.
In response to questions by Representative Wuchner, Commissioner James stated that an abuse or neglect report on a homeless child would have to be filed with the cabinet for a child to be in the system. Mr. Grace stated that some situations go directly to the court and not the cabinet. When children are placed in the custody of the cabinet, normally the child receives Medicaid services, but there have been some incidences where the child is allowed to stay on a parent’s private insurance plan.
In response to concerns about services for Western Kentucky residents by Senator Pendleton and Representative Burch, Commissioner James stated that the department is looking out for the needs of the children in Western Kentucky. DCBS just received a federal grant for the Owensboro area for a START program targeted for substance abuse parents that has good outcomes in managing children at home safely, reunifying families quicker, and helping parents stop the substance abuse.
School Required Immunizations for Children
Dr. Kraig Humbaugh, M.D., M.P.H., State Epidemiologist, and Director of the Division of Epidemiology and Health Planning, Department for Public Health, Cabinet for Health and Family Services, and Kay Kennedy from the Kentucky Department of Education, discussed the current coverage requirements for children entering kindergarten and children entering the sixth grade. Testimony also highlighted the vaccine coverage rates for children in kindergarten and the sixth grade and discussed methods of securing an exemption to vaccination requirements. Compulsory school attendance and vaccination requirements were also discussed.
In response to questions by Senator Stine, Ms. Kennedy stated that it is not the intention to keep a child out of school due to an incomplete immunization record. The goal is to identify children prior to the enrollment to make sure there is up-to-date documentation provided by the parent or caregiver.
Senator Pendleton stated that the Family Resource and Youth Service Centers (FRYSCs) are an integral part of helping children and parents.
In response to a question by Representative Burch, Ms. Kennedy stated that there are 35,000 students statewide classified as homeless, and the McKinney-Vento definition is used to define homelessness by the Kentucky Department of Education.
In response to questions by Senator Givens, Dr. Humbaugh stated that currently implemented the lifespan Kentucky Immunization Registry that is available to all providers. State health departments and approximately 350 providers are currently using the registry. The goal is to ultimately allow schools to have access to the registry.
In response to a question by Representative Wuchner, Ms. Kennedy stated that data relative to a specific type of withdrawal of students relating to immunizations is not collected.
Executive Order 2012-585, relating to the Child Fatality and Near Fatality External Review Panel
Sara Osborne, Legislative Liaison, and Tom Cannady, Staff Advisor, Justice and Public Safety Cabinet, discussed the Child Fatality and Near Fatality External Review Panel and offered a status update from the perspective of the Justice and Public Safety Cabinet. Judge Roger Crittenden has been appointed the chair of the panel. The first meeting will be November 27, 2012 at the Kentucky State Police Academy.
In response to a question by Senator Stine, Ms. Osborne stated that Executive Order 2012-585 is a reorganization and not a creation of a completely new entity.
There being no further business, the meeting was adjourned at 11:25 a.m.