I want to update our partners and community leaders on an important change occurring at Kids Central.
During this fiscal year, Kids Central will collaborate with our CMAs to restructure case management services in Circuit 5 (Citrus, Hernando, Lake, Marion and Sumter Counties). To improve services and outcomes for children and families, we constantly examine the local system of care and identify opportunities to integrate innovative service approaches or nationally recognized best practices. Over the past few years, stakeholder feedback and performance monitoring have provided evidence that the “continuity of care” across the life of a case had to be addressed in order to increase efficiencies, enhance effectiveness, and improve outcomes.
Our selected course of action is not in response to poor performance by any of the subcontracted providers. Rather, it is designed to align service delivery with customer need, increase service efficiency, and improve outcomes. Our intent is to consolidate the provision of dependency and adoption case management services under a single CMA within three Circuit 5 geographic areas. As a result, the need to transfer cases from one CMA to another will be eliminated when adoption is identified as a child’s most appropriate permanency goal.
As a Community Based Care Lead Agency, Kids Central is required to comply with procurement, contract term and renewal requirements prescribed by Florida law. Just as Kids Central’s contract with the Department of Children and Families is subject to renewal and periodic, open, competitive procurement, Kids Central must engage in a similar process to select and maintain subcontracted case management providers.
While analyzing the opportunity to restructure case management services, three factors played a significant role in the proposed design:
1) Continuity of Care: Expediting case handoff, minimizing service disruption, advancing achievement of permanency goals, and increasing client and stakeholder satisfaction.
2) Geographic Alignment: Using natural community boundaries to promote stakeholder and community engagement and collaboration while facilitating service provision.
3) Caseload Balance: Create case equity across CMAs while improving system-wide performance and focusing continuous improvement efforts.
Today, dependency case management services in Circuit 5 are provided by two CMAs, each responsible for a defined geographic area, while adoption case management is provided by a single CMA responsible for the entire Circuit. Dependency case management services are provided by Children’s Home Society in Hernando, Lake, and Sumter Counties and by the Centers in Citrus and Marion Counties. Adoption case management, including the recruitment, training and approval of adoptive homes, is provided by Youth and Family Alternatives in all five counties.
Under the restructured service network, a single case management agency will be responsible for the provision of both dependency and adoption case management services in one of three geographic areas. The consolidation of dependency and adoption case management services will promote seamless service provision, improve permanency planning and streamline the adoption process. Service areas will fall along natural community boundaries: the Centers will continue to serve Marion County; CHS will continue to serve Lake and Sumter Counties; and a competitive procurement will be used to select a case management agency for Citrus and Hernando counties. Alignment of service provision by these boundaries will result in caseload balance across the subcontract case management agencies as each provider will be responsible for approximately 700 children at any given point.
As part of the redesign, responsibility for recruiting, training and approving adoptive homes will transition to Kids Central. Kids Central is currently responsible for recruiting, training, and licensing foster parents in Circuit 5, this integration will ensure all recruiting efforts are aligned with system need, consistent, cohesive, and effectively leveraged to maximize both efficiencies and outcomes.
In addition to improving continuity of care, the new model will improve concurrent permanency planning efforts while strengthening our approach to the diligent recruitment of foster and adoptive homes. The combined service model will permit stronger engagement of relatives and non-relatives as potential caregivers across the life of a child’s case while facilitating placement and permanency efforts for youth in foster care. Further, the resulting caseload balance will enhance Kids Central’s ability to monitor and improve system-wide performance without placing too much emphasis on one or two entities.
Transition to the new service structure will begin in August 2015 with the release of an Invitation to Negotiate (ITN) for the Citrus/Hernando case management contract. The ITN will be posted to Kids Central’s website and will delineate timelines pertaining to a period for questions, submission of a written response to the ITN, and the selection of a case management provider for the area. Kids Central anticipates transition activities will be completed, and the new service structure operational, by April 2016.