This memo informs counties of the need for separate reporting of the maintenance and administrative portions of the payments made to private child placing agencies.
As you are aware the Department of Health and Family Services initiated the Income Augmentation Project in December 1996 to enhance the States capability to increase revenues from Federal programs. Since the inception of the project over 12,000 out-of-home care child cases have been reviewed by MAXIMUS, the states current Income Augmentation contractor, resulting in a significant amount of increased federal receipts. A total of $13.5 million of the increased receipts were distributed to the counties for calendar years 1998 and 1999 under the IV-E Incentive Fund passed by the legislature in July 1997 with a third distribution scheduled in calendar 2000.
In addition to the case reviews, MAXIMUS held five statewide training sessions in December 1997 on the revised Title IV-E Eligibility Determination Policy followed by several regional training sessions targeted for new staff. As a supplement to the training MAXIMUS provided technical assistance to individual counties on an as needed basis and answered numerous inquiries regarding individual client cases through the IV-E Hotline. The need for ongoing case reviews and the continued ongoing training need has pointed out the great difficulty that exists in trying to maintain an efficient eligibility determination process which includes over 200 staff statewide.
Therefore, as the current Income Augmentation contract enters its final six months, the Department is seeking a solution to this issue. The Department is preparing to issue a new RFP this summer to continue the project. In planning the next phase of the project the Department is attempting to identify ways to ensure the increased revenues continue into the future. In developing the RFP the Department needs input from the counties to determine the interest of counties in regard to the state establishing and operating a centralized eligibility determination unit at no cost to counties as a possible solution to the current complex determination process.
Establishment of such a unit would help assure consistent IV-E determinations by utilizing full-time specialized staff and implementing a quality assurance program. Under a centralized eligibility determination process the only function given up by the county is the act of making the determination decision. The county would still be responsible for collecting and submitting the required eligibility information and performing any necessary follow up when additional information is needed.
The initial design of this unit would require county staff to fax a referral form and the temporary physical custody order. The referral form would provide information about the removal of the child and financial information on the parents and the child. The unit would access computer systems and, if necessary, collect missing data from social worker staff, and in limited cases, from the parents. The unit would make the IV-E determination and notify the county of the result.
A survey is attached for your county to respond to the concept of a centralized eligibility unit. We hope that you will not only answer the yes/no questions but also provide both positive and negative comments in the narrative section. The Department will utilize the results of this survey in developing the upcoming RFP. Please return this survey to Mr. William Fiss by June 18, 1999.
Thank you very much for your assistance in the completion of this survey.