Virginia Regulatory Town Hall
Department of Social Services
State Board of Social Services
Minimum Standards for Licensed Private Child-Placing Agencies [22 VAC 40 ‑ 131]
Action Adopt new standards for licensed private child-placing agencies.
Stage Proposed
Comment Period Ended on 4/1/2011
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2/16/11  2:10 pm
Commenter: Bob Snodgrass, People Places, Inc.

General Feedback on CPA Standards
General Feedback on CPA Standards  (Contact:  Bob Snodgrass, People Places, Inc.)
Comments are in bold and underlined beneath the appropriate outline topic.
Part I
  1. Adoptive home
  2. Adoptive parent
  3. Adoptive placement
  4. Adult
  5. Annual
    Thanks for the extra month.  Will help with Medicaid coverage.
  6. Applicant
  7. Background checks
  8. Behavior support
  9. Birth parent
  10. Caretaker
    OK as long as interpretation of IV. means only those adults "having the responsibility of providing care ...".  Otherwise might have situation where granddad with advanced Alzheimer's is considered a caretaker
  11. Career and technical education
    Not sure how this term is used in the Standards.  Doesn't appear again.
  12. Case Management
  13. Casework
  14. Casework staff
  15. Child
  16. Child-placing activities
    This seems an unusually broad definition considering the itemizations.  We could have a situation where a child is in family counseling around the general topic of adoption and that counselor should have a CPA license.  Or an Intensive In-home provider is doing work including casework with a child in regular foster care and should have a CPA license.  Suggest that the very first sentence of the definition is sufficient here because it limits the definition to those involved in child placing not the broader realm of child services.
  17. Child-placing agency
  18. Child's family
  19. Commissioner
  20. Complaint
  21. Corporal punishment
  22. Department
  23. Dual approval process
  24. Emergency placement
  25. Employee, staff or staff person
  26. Foster care placement
    Don't we need to include one more condition here similar to (i) but not involving the local board but instead another non-DSS agency rep on the FAPT?
  27. Foster care services
    See omission above in #26.
  28. Foster home
  29. Foster parent
  30. Independent living arrangement
  31. Independent living services
  32. In-service training
  33. Intercountry placement
  34. Interstate compact on the placement of children
  35. Licensee
  36. Licensing representative
  37. Local board
  38. Local department
  39. Mental abuse
  40. Mutual selection
  41. Parent
  42. Parental placement
  43. Permanent entrustment agreement
  44. Permanent foster care placement
  45. Physical abuse
  46. Physical neglect
  47. Physical restraint
  48. Placing agency
  49. Pre-service training
  50. Provider
  51. Records
  52. Resource parent
  53. Seclusion
  54. Serious incident reports
  55. Service plan
  56. Sexual abuse
  57. Short-term foster care
  58. Special needs
  59. State Board
  60. Treatment
  61. Treatment foster care
  62. Treatment foster parent
  63. Treatment team
  64. Youth
Scope and Applicability
Part II
Organization and Administration
  1. Sponsorship
  2. Licensee
  3. Office Settings and Conditions
  4. Posting of the License
  5. Conflict of Interest
  6. Licensed capacity and Maximum Caseload Numbers
  7. Policy and Procedures
  8. Program Evaluation and Improvement
    Very nice addition to standards!
  9. Received Date for Materials
Part III
  1. Access to Written Personnel Policies
  2. Job Descriptions
  3. Staff
    • Executive Director
    • Program Director
    • Child-placing Supervisor
    • Case Worker
    • Case Worker Trainee
    • Students or Interns receiving Professional Training
      H.1. Requirement to be supervised by an MSW.  This is the only mention of this specific degree requirement in the new standards.  Is this intentional?  Is a Child Placing Supervisor not sufficient if the college/university is OK with that qualification (particularly given the new experience requirements)?
    • Volunteers
    • Consultants
  4. Staff Development
    D.E. uses expression "a child-placing agency-managed" file to describe where training documentation is to be kept.  We assume this expression means the Personnel Record for the employee as that is what is prescribed in the Personnel Records section below.
  5. Personnel Records
Part IV
Program Statement and Description
B.2. prohibiting discrimination based on ....., 'sexual orientation' and cannot deny the opportunity to become a foster or adoptive parent.  That's about as clear as you can get regarding state endorsement of approving gay & lesbian individuals or couples as foster and adoptive parents.  Are we reading that correctly?  At least this will put an end to any ambiguity around the issue.
Part V
Provider Homes
  1. Home Study Requirements
    "verifications of provider couple's marriages and divorces" ... This is the standard which we took in the past to mean that if the provider is a couple and they cannot verify they are married, then we cannot use them.  We assume that this interpretation is now incorrect considering the new anti-discrimination clause referred to above.
  2. Home Environment
    S. "Applicant shall document that household pets etc"  The devil will surely be in the Guidance on this one.
  3. Initial Approval or Disapproval of Home
    H.  "Following approval ... shall provide orientation etc."  The usual practice in TFC is to do orientation and pre-service training before or during the actual home study process since training serves also as an opportunity for mutual selection.
  4. Provider training and Development
  5. Training and Development for Providers of Short-term foster care
  6. Monitoring and Re-evaluation of Provider Homes
    K.1&2 "Document each visit and contact with provider etc."  Assume this standard relates only to visits and contacts with families who have no placements and during process of evaluating.  Visits and contacts made on behalf of placed children are documented and kept in the child's record.
  7. Capacity of Provider Home
Part VI

Children's Services
  1. Intake, Acceptance and Placement
    D. "Prior to provision of IL services ... if 18 ...shall enter into a contractual agreement ..."   If this new requirement does not apply to individuals receiving only routine IL skills training which all TFC programs are encouraged to deliver to all youth, then the statement should read "Prior to provision of IL placement services ..."
  2. Social History
  3. Interstate Placements
  4. Foster Home Agreements
    The current Foster Home Agreement which now includes the new Code of Ethics is 5 pages long.  Over 20 additional items have been added here and it likely that this new agreement might reach 10 pages or more.  This does not seem reasonable especially for certain placements such as weekend respites.  Items such as permissions (for out-of-state travel & fundraising) are most always not relevant for these short placements.  We currently keep such agreements in the child's record and inform foster parents as needed.  Often agreements such as these have to be 'agreed upon' for each instance of out-of-state travel etc., so DSS may be reluctant to sign away such permissions to a foster parent on a non-specific basis.
  5. Medical, Dental, and Psychiatric Examinations and Care
    Thanks for the 60 days.  That will be a big help.
    K.2.  run-on sentence.
    The section on medical requirements for providers seems out-of-place here in the Children's Services section.
  6. School Enrollment
  7. Clothing and Spending Money for Children
  8. Reports and Policies to protect Children
  9. Visitation and Continuing Contact with Children
    F.  "More than half of contacts made with child shall be in placement setting" ... Reword to say that more than 6 of these contacts shall be in placement setting.  Otherwise, if I see the child in the office 10 times in a month, I need to do 6 home visits that month.  We're sure the intent here is that more than half the minimum required face-to-face contacts shall be in the placement setting.  Otherwise it would surely discourage seeing the child in places other than the placement setting in order to keep the number of home visits required to a reasonable number.

    G.1. "... 7 days between ... contacts".  While we understand and agree with the intent here, this will be very difficult to monitor and pose real practical problems from time to time.  Maybe we could have two months/year exception to the rule to make it more doable.
  10. Service Plans
    B.2. "Within 45 days ... an individualized service plan and an individualized comprehensive treatment plan."  The use of the conjunction 'and' implies two plans.  Would be a little less confusing to state 'an individualized service plan or individualized service and treatment plan' to distinguish the Service Plan from the Service/Treatment Plan.

    C.  "in .. case of short-term foster care placement ... shall develop and implement plan within 72 hours."  Is this intended to apply to programs offering respite care to bio families from the community?  If so, then the requirement to have a full-blown service plan written in 72 hours will greatly discourage agencies from developing or continuing this service.  The purpose of these programs is to offer families temporary respite and relief, not to treat their child which would be difficult in so short a period of time.  It takes our staff at least one full day to write the initial comprehensive service plan.
  11. Quarterly Progress Summaries
  12. Discharge from care
  13. Case Record Requirements ... mixes all three sets of records (client, provider & birth family)
    N.1-10 Child's file: Items 1 thru 10 are a little confusing as organized here.  For instance it is not clear which items address required content for the face sheet (1 only or 1 thru 5)

    P. "... file on each adoptive family"  In typical foster to adopt situations, it has always been confusing as to whether one or two files for the provider are required.  Only one seems needed.

    Q. "Narrative Case notes ..." Would seem better to put this section under the Child's file section.

    R.  Would seem better to put these final rules above in the general rules section for all records/files.
  14. Behavior Support & Crisis Intervention
Part VII
Article I
Permanent Foster Care
  1. Applicability
  2. Children placed in Permanent Foster Care
    This section appears to apply only to custodial agencies.  TFC and other non-custodial foster care programs facilitate placements in Permanent Foster Homes which they have approved, but do no legal or other work (Agreements etc.) related specifically to the permanency issue.  Might be a good idea to clarify this fact here and in the adoption section below.
Article 2
Short-Term Foster Care
  1. Applicability
  2. Children Placed in Short-term Foster Care
Article 3
Independent Living Arrangements
  1. Applicability
  2. Youth placed in Independent Living Arrangements
Article 4
Treatment Foster Care
  1. Applicability
  2. Children Placed in Treatment Foster Care
Article 5
  1. Applicability
  2. Fees for Adoption Applications and Services
  3. Adoption Counseling and Services for Birth Parents
  4. Involuntary Termination of Parental Rights
  5. Provisions for Adopting Children with Special Needs
    A. Assume here that the custodial agency has the responsibility to register child with the Adoption Resource Exchange.  Should be clarified.

    B.  Most TFC agencies that do adoption do foster to adopt.  Parents are approved as TFC/foster parents first but willing or can be talked into adopting the placed child if the fit is right.  Their primary interest is not first in adoption and therefore it would seem to be inappropriate to register them with the Exchange.  There are a few parents whose interest is primarily in adoption and it would be totally appropriate to register them on the Exchange.  Can this be clarified here?
  6. Selecting an Adoptive Home
  7. Adoption Placement Agreement
  8. Placements requiring Legal Risk Agreement
  9. Adoptive Placement of Children over one year of age;  additional provisions
  10. Parental Placement Adoption Services
  11. Parent-recommended Homes for Adoptive Placements
  12. Post-placement responsibility for Adoptive Home Placements
  13. Intercountry Placement Adoptions
  14. Interlocutory Orders of Adoption
  15. Subsequent Adoptive Placements
CommentID: 15097