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Senate Committee on Health and Human Services Testimony on SB 11, CPS Reform
On Thursday, February 2, 2017, the Senate Committee on Health and Human Services heard an update from the Department of Family and Protective Services on efforts to reform the child welfare system. After an update from Commissioner Hank Whitman, the committee considered SB 11, a large omnibus bill which would overhaul the state’s foster care and child protective services.
Legislative testimony largely focused on various aspects of privatization. For several years, the state has focused efforts on a pilot called “Foster Care Redesign” which attempts to keep kids closer to home by integrating services through a single contractor in designated geographic regions. Testimony centered on whether the goals of foster care redesign were achievable under current reimbursement rates from the state, which do not cover the full costs to the contractor.
Some legislators and advocates also expressed concern about transferring case management duties from state caseworkers to the private caseworkers employed by a child placement agency. The committee will be looking at ways to address the conflicts of interest that occur when a contract with a child placement agency is performance based, and the private caseworker employed by the placement agency becomes the primary expert on the individual child in family court. SB 11 was left pending in committee.
Video testimony highlights include: