The act makes several changes to the current child welfare system, including:
- Ensuring that out-of-home placements in the division of youth services align with the requirements of the federal "Family First Prevention Services Act of 2018" to qualify for Title IV-E reimbursement for such placements;
- Ensuring appropriate capacity for out-of-home placements in Colorado;
- Authorizing a county to negotiate rates above the base anchor rates established by the department of human services (department) with licensed out-of-home placement providers serving children in higher acuity cases;
- Requiring the department to contract with a vendor to update the existing actuarial analysis to include division of youth services out-of-home placement providers and new out-of-home placement provider options under federal law, and to update and fully implement the existing rate methodology with the updated provider rates by September 30, 2021;
- Commencing with the 2022-23 fiscal year, requiring the department to contract with an independent vendor every 3 years to conduct a new actuarial analysis of all provider rates for licensed out-of-home placement providers, including the division of youth services providers, to update the rate-setting methodology to reflect the new actuarial analysis and to implement any adjusted provider rates by July 1, 2024, and by July 1 of each fiscal year immediately following the fiscal year in which a new actuarial analysis results in adjusted rates; and
- Requiring the use of a portion of the federal "Family First Transition and Support Act of 2019" funding to be used to support the transition of current providers to a placement option that meets the needs of the child or youth and maximizes federal Title IV-E and medicaid reimbursements.
The act requires the department to convene a working group of geographically and demographically diverse partners and stakeholders to provide feedback and recommendations regarding the collection of fees for the residential care of children or youth in out-of-home placement who are not adjudicated dependent or neglected, ensuring compliance with federal law, including but not limited to Title IV of the federal "Social Security Act". On or before March 31, 2022, the department shall submit a report of the recommendations of the working group to select committees of the general assembly.
The act appropriates $250,000 to the department from the general fund for use by the child welfare division for provider rate actuarial services.
(Note: This summary applies to this bill as enacted.)