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General Questions

Why Community-Based Care (CBC)?

Answer: It was the intent of the legislature that the department contract with a community based nonprofit and/or local governmental entities that have the ability to provide child welfare services. The services provided by these entities must include direct case management to ensure child safety, permanency, and well-being, in accordance with state and federal child welfare goals. SB 11 is available on line and staff can go to the Texas Legislature website at: http://www.capitol.state.tx.us/BillLookup/History.aspx?LegSess=85R&Bill=SB11.

When will the CBC model roll-out in Region 3b, Region 2 and Bexar County?

Answer: SB 11 identifies parameters that the law goes into effect, but it has flexibility for CPS and the contractor to have time after this to develop a model for transition, hiring, etc.

Region 3b:  DFPS is currently negotiating the Region 3b contract with OCOK to include kinship, case management and reunification services.  OCOK has been very specific that they would need time to ensure the funding fits the model and what is needed, etc.  The anticipated roll-out of Stage II in Region 3b is Spring/early Summer 2018.

Region 2: A new Request for Application (RFA) for Region 2 was released on October 18, 2017.  The anticipated contract award is April 2018, with roll-out of Stage I in September 2018. Transition from Stage I to Stage II is based on Contractor and DFPS readiness; however Stage I is anticipated to last approximately 12 months.

Bexar County: DFPS announced Bexar County (only Bexar County, not all of Region 8) as the next catchment area on September 18, 2017.  DFPS plans to release a RFA for Bexar County by end of November 2017. The anticipated contract award is May 2018, with roll-out of Stage I in October 2018. Transition from Stage I to Stage II is based on Contractor and DFPS readiness; however Stage I is anticipated to last approximately 12 months. 
As soon as more details about the funding and contractual requirements are known, more detailed information can be provided.

Rumor: Everyone will lose their jobs on September 1, 2017. - FALSE!
Will Region 3b CPS positions just go away and everyone be laid off?

Answer: No – In Stage I of Community Based Care (CBC) roll-out, some placement and CVS program positions will change.

In Stage II, new, but fewer positions will be created that will still be under CPS, but the majority of what we define as CVS program positions will be allocated to an SSCC. 

Region 3b SSCC, OCOK, has developed a model that will require lower caseloads and, in turn, require more staff. Their hope is that CPS staff who want to continue to provide direct services to children and families will want to join their team and work the CBC model together.  OCOK has openly shared strong support for CVS program staff and the work they do, and they do not want to lose the training, experience, community insight, commitment, etc. that already exists in our dedicated teams.

What is Preferential Hiring?

Answer: SB 11, Section 18, adds requirements for a Single Source Continuum Contractor (SSCC), including a requirement that “the contractor give preference for employment to employees of the department (A) whose position at the department is impacted by the implementation of community-based care; and (B) who are considered by the department to be in good standing.” Tex. Fam. Code §264.155(7).

How much lead time will be given when CPS positions are ending?

Answer: Whether an area is moving into Stage I or II of Community Based Care (CBC), State Office and your Regional Directors are committed to letting you know which specific CPS positions will be affected as soon as they know. What we do know for sure is it will not be a short notice event – i.e. you won’t show up and be told you have a week to pack up, etc. We don’t know what it will be, but we are confident that leadership has respect for how this transition is going to impact you and your need to make thoughtful decisions.

Will I have to interview or will my job just transfer?

Answer: In CBC Stage II, SSCC’s will interview new staff with the goal to develop a modified process for current CPS staff in order to expedite the hiring process. The Region 3b SSCC, OCOK, knows that current CPS staff will come with established work experience, so they want to develop a more specific and timely hiring process for any currently employed CPS staff who want to join their team.

What will happen to my stipend and the IV-E Stipend Program?

Answer: During Stage I CBC, the IV-E Stipend Program is not affected. At this time, State Office staff are researching information on how the IV-E Stipend Program will be impacted by Stage II CBC. More information will be provided in the coming weeks.

Can I stay at CPS if I am close to retirement and do not want to leave?

Answer: Yes, you are able to seek other vacant positions within the agency. Because Region 3b will be moving into Stage II CBC sooner than other areas, all Region 3b CPS employees are encouraged to use this time to make purposeful, well informed decisions. If you love your current job, then those same face-to-face, social work, family engagement pieces will all be available to staff at OCOK. Based on suggestions and questions by CPS staff, OCOK is exploring how to handle units that desire to transition to OCOK together and keep their caseloads, etc. It is too early to share details about the transition, but there is open discussion about how that might work, etc.

Who is taking Temporary Managing Conservatorship of the children?

Answer: Whether an area is in Stage I or II of CBC, CPS Investigations and FBSS will continue to work with families and remove children when necessary as they do now, so DFPS will continue to be the Temporary Managing Conservator of children. In Stage I CBC, the SSCC is responsible for the provision of paid foster care placement and services. In Stage II CBC, the SSCC will be responsible for all placement and conservatorship duties, including case management and permanency. The SSCC will be an agent of DFPS and in turn assume those responsibilities and compliance with the legal process. It is anticipated that the attorneys who represent DFPS will represent the SSCC in court.

What if things are getting missed or not done during the transition?

Answer: Much like we learned in Foster Care Redesign, change is challenging. We found things that worked, things that didn’t work, etc. We continued as a team and we worked together to strengthen the model. With Community Based Care, SSCC’s will develop readiness plans that are approved by CPS prior to the roll-out of Stage I and II of the new model.

In Stage I, CPS will remain the lead over case management, legal and most conservatorship duties, and the SSCC will take the lead over paid foster care placement and services.

In Stage II, CPS will shift its collaboration with the SSCC to a role of quality assurance, contract oversight and technical assistance to ensure safety and services to children and their families.

We saw great benefit under Foster Care Redesign with incorporating staff and community feedback into protocol development, which will continue through the transition to the new model.

Region 3b SSCC, OCOK, wants to continue its partnership with CPS in this new model specifically as we have already shown we are stronger together and have more opportunities as a collaboration.

What can a DFPS employee say to a provider if asked questions about Community Based Care?

Answer: DFPS employees should decline to provide any answer regarding an open procurement other than to refer the questioner to publicly available resources that have already been vetted by Legal (ie – the DFPS Website) or to the procurement officer in charge of the solicitation.

Region 3b-Specific Questions

Will the Region 3b SSCC, OCOK, hire staff who have disagreed with them in the past?

Answer: ACH/OCOK is very open about wanting as many hardworking, dedicated staff as are willing to come join their team. The model is based on a shared vision, and like any system, is strengthened when all voices are shared and people are willing to challenge the status quo, etc. Respectful professionals have disagreements and this can increase, not limit, options for success.

Rumor: OCOK has a kept a list of staff they would not hire. – FALSE! There is no list and no list is being started.

What type of salaries/benefits/retirement packages/holiday schedules, etc. will be offered by Region 3b SSCC, OCOK?

Answer: Region 3b SSCC, OCOK, cannot speak to the specifics of these at this time. They are in the process of finding out the details of the state’s salary and benefits model and comparing this to their own; however, when more details are known related to funding, more information can be shared with staff.

How are we going to sustain workloads when people start quitting?

Answer: We don’t want staff to quit. We want staff to think about their “why?” If you love social work and you do this job because it is your passion, then know that the work itself is not going away. OCOK is going to lead the work, but the work still has to be done; who better to do the work than individuals who have already demonstrated their passion by doing the work today.