COFCCA Legislative Advocacy Priorities for 2014
State Budget Issues:
New York’s not-for-profit family & child caring agencies are facing compounding fiscal challenges, imposed by five years of 0% growth in their rates, that jeopardize their ability to maintain quality programs that serve the most vulnerable children and families. As the State mandates new requirements such as the Justice Center, compliance with Executive Order #38, and participation in Medicaid Managed Care, agencies continue to struggle to meet the demands placed upon them. COFCCA Cares is a campaign to raise awareness and recommend common sense, rational solutions to stabilize not-for-profit agencies and help them prepare for the transition into managed care that will effectively implement a new business model. COFCCA Cares focuses on the following three budget priorities:
INVESTMENT IN QUALITY & ACCESS
Foster care agencies have had five years of 0% growth in their rates. Again this year the Governor’s budget defers the Human Services COLA. Approximately 90% of spending is in programs services, the bulk of which invests in the personnel that provide care to New York’s vulnerable children and families. COFCCA is committed to quality services to all families and children at risk.
Please support COFCCA agencies and their over 44,000 dedicated employees by joining our continued advocacy for rate relief due not only to the increased costs, but for the costs associated with new mandates.
INVESTMENT IN INFRASTRUCTURE & TECHNOLOGY
Stagnant rates and increased costs have resulted in agencies delaying investments in infrastructure and technology. While investments have been delayed, agencies are going to be required to make major investments into electronic health records and information technology over the next 24 months in order to participate in managed care. Children in foster care placed with voluntary foster care agencies will be transitioned into Medicaid Managed Care in 2016. Agencies are responsible for the health care of children and currently receive a cost-based per diem. DOH and OCFS anticipate agencies will become network providers of managed care plans and health homes. To be able to partner, agencies need infrastructure and the ability to share electronic information. The Governor’s budget recognizes this need and includes $5 million (and anticipates $15 million in 2015-16) in the health budget to support the transition of foster care into managed care.
Please support the proposed $5 million for the transition of foster care into Medicaid Managed Care. This funding is critical to provide a smooth transition and improve the health of foster care children.
INVESTMENT IN FAMILIES
Unfortunately the Governor’s budget does not include critical funding for post-adoption services which support adoptive parents and children. Funding for these services in years past have been added by the Legislature. While the support is much appreciated, it does not provide support for statewide services nor does it help many of the families that need it most. New York needs to invest in cost effective post-adoption services that will help adoptive families across NYS assist their children in navigating previous traumas that are specific to adoption, and support them in overcoming the developmental, health, emotional or behavioral issues resulting from these traumas. Adoption creates a permanent loving home for children who need families. Families formed through adoption are different than families formed biologically and face different challenges. An investment now to assist families will help the State avoid higher costs associated with residential placement or more intensive services in the future.
Please make an investment in families by adding $10 million in the 2014-15 budget for statewide post-adoption services
Please see our advocacy page for background information on these issues.
For more information about these priorities or other child welfare and juvenile justice issues, please contact James Purcell, CEO of the Council of Family and Child Caring Agencies(COFCCA). Jim’s email is JPurcell@cofcca.org at
(212) 929-2626 or (518)-453-1160; or Janet Silver at Hinman Straub, email@example.com