Poverty & Safety Net
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MSY action plan sets a path forward

March 2, 2020
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Earlier this year, the Ohio Family and Children First (OFCF) Cabinet Council released the Multi-System Youth (MSY) Action Plan. The report was the culmination of three intense months of work by the MSY Action Plan committee, lead by OFCF Director Sarah LaTourette, to develop a path forward for MSY in Ohio. Community Solutions' staff was involved in the development of the Action Plan, along with numerous stakeholder groups and families with lived experience. Addressing the needs of MSY and their families was a major focus of last year’s state budget deliberations with significant funding dedicated to this issue in the final budget. Also included in the budget was a directive to develop a plan for the State of Ohio that would end the practice of voluntary custody relinquishment and achieve better coordination of cross-system services regardless of the county a child resides in. More information about MSY in the state budget is included in Community Solutions’ budget recaps.

 More information about MSY in the state budget is included in Community Solutions’ budget recaps.

Learn more about what happened during our MSY advocacy in this video

Action Plan recommendations[1]  

The Action Plan committee made recommendations in six areas (organized around the recommendations from the 2016 Joint Legislative Committee on Multi-System Youth).

 Ohio should clearly articulate a strategy on custody relinquishment.

Modernize Family and Children First Councils (Five recommendations)

  • Ohio should clearly articulate a strategy on custody relinquishment.
  • State and local Family and Children First Councils should execute biennial interagency agreements.
  • The Ohio Family and Children First Cabinet Council should serve as a best practices clearinghouse.
  • Develop a formalized annual reporting process.
  • Establish an ongoing working group to develop recommendations for modernizing Family and Children First Councils.  

Safety net state level funding (Four recommendations)

  • The state should maintain the state-level program for multi-system youth.
  • The state should consider providing local Family and Children First Councils with supplemental allocation to offset increases in administrative burden caused by the application process for the state-level program.
  • Blended (“pooled”) funding should be strengthened, at both the local and state levels.
  • Additional payment models for youth with mental, emotional and behavioral health diagnoses should be explored.
 Uniform metrics are needed to measure outcomes for multi-system youth.

Data collection and sharing (Four recommendations)

  • Uniform metrics are needed to measure outcomes for multi-system youth.
  • A uniform reporting process is needed.
  • The Ohio Department of Job and Family Services should modify its child protection data system to include a data field about custody relinquishment.
  • **An inventory of best practices for multi-system youth should be compiled to support local FCFCs.

Access to peer support and mentoring (Four recommendations)

  • Clear definitions and responsibilities of peer supporters and peer mentors are needed.
  • Funding for peer support specialists is needed.
  • Credentialing and training for peer support specialists should be culturally and linguistically competent.
  • Training and curriculum for youth peer support specialists should be developed.

Access to high fidelity wraparound services[2] (Four recommendations)

  • The state should develop a long-term strategic plan to bring High-Fidelity Wraparound to all communities.
  • The state and local communities must commit to funding High-Fidelity Wraparound to ensure proper, sustainable funding.
  • Training, technical assistance and capacity building services should be provided to local communities as they implement High-Fidelity Wraparound.
  • Peer support should be made available to any family who accesses High-Fidelity Wraparound.

Financial/legal conditions contributing to custody relinquishment (Six conditions identified)

  • Youth lack access to an entire continuum of care in every community.
  • Residential services for multi-system youth are expensive to provide, making them inaccessible to some families in need.
  • Pediatric behavioral health provider capacity is limited across the state.
  • Coverage of behavioral health care services remains a challenge for children with multisystem needs.
  • Few options are available to parents if they must relinquish custody of their child to access services.
  • Multi-system youth may not have always have access to a free and adequate public education. The action plan makes recommendations for changes at both the state and local levels to achieve better coordination of services and overall, more support, for children served by multiple systems. These recommendations all tie directly to the six focus areas from the Joint Legislative Committee. It is fitting that these recommendations span state and local governments and involve multiple state agencies given that families, children, providers and stakeholders have been navigating through all of this to access services.
 The state is already working on a key piece of the state budget bill that will lay the groundwork for how to address MSY going forward.

MSY technical assistance fund  

The state is already working on a key piece of the state budget bill that will lay the groundwork for how to address MSY going forward. House Bill 166 (the state budget bill) includes up to $68 million over the biennium to address needs of MSY. In October 2019, the state designated $8 million to be accessible to families across the state who were at risk of relinquishing custody of a child. Between October 8, 2019 and February 10, 2020, the state received 128 applications, of which 22 were for technical assistance only. This resulted in funding for 69 cases across 35 counties, totaling over $1.4 million.[3]

 Community Solutions will dig further into the action plan as steps are developed to implement the recommendations.

Looking Ahead  

Community Solutions, along with our partners in the MSY Coalition, will dig further into the action plan as steps are developed to implement the recommendations. Understanding how to best implement the action plan will certainly play a role heading into the next state budget.  

[1] Multi-System Youth Action Plan, January 2020. https://www.fcf.ohio.gov/MSY-TA-Funding-Requests.  

[2] According to Child and Family Focus, high fidelity wraparound is “a structured, team-based process that uses an evidence-based, nationally-recognized model that partners with families to use their voice and strengths to develop a family-driven plan that promotes self-advocacy.” https://www.childandfamilyfocus.org/services/high-fidelity-wraparound-hifi/  

[3] Multi-System Youth Updates, Marisa Weisel, Deputy Director of Strategic Initiatives, Ohio Department of Medicaid, February 20, 2020  

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