Wednesday, March 21, 2012

DHS to privatize community-based out-of-home placement services

Senate Bill 1398 requires on or before July 1, 2013, the Department of Human Services to privatize all types of community-based out-of-home placement, including traditional foster care, kinship care, emergency foster care, contract foster care, and therapeutic foster care.
The Department shall select and contract with private child placing agencies licensed by the Department to provide community-based out-of-home placement services.  In contracting with private agencies to perform these services, the Department shall expend funds in an amount equivalent to the percentage of the Department’s budget that is currently dedicated to those services as performed by the Department.
Child placing agencies selected by the Department shall recruit, train, and support foster care families.  In the performance of such duties, child placing agencies shall maintain the Bridge philosophy which seeks to view practice through the eyes of the child and ensure that children in care maintain connections to their kin, culture, and community while in out-of-home care.
The bill has passed the Senate with a 36 to 1 vote and is now in the House Appropriations and Budget Committee.
Potential advantages of managed care in child welfare include fiscal incentives that support permanency goals and discourage long-term foster care, while potential disadvantages include the lack of control over access, conditions, and interventions that are characteristic of other managed care systems. Read Privatization of foster care in Kansas: a cautionary tale for a small group study on the subject. has a number of studies on effects of privatization here.

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