What is the Children's Services Act for At Risk Youth and Families (CSA)?
It is a 1993 Virginia Law that provided for the pooling of eight specific funding streams used to purchase services for high-risk youth. These funds are returned to localities with a required state/local match and are managed by local interagency teams. The purpose of the act is to provide high quality, child centered, family focused, cost effective, community based-services to high risk youth and their families.
How did it get started?
In 1989, the General Assembly became concerned because the cost of providing residential treatment to high risk youth was increasing at approximately 22% each year. Because of this, a study of children in residential care was conducted. Fourteen thousand records from four different state agencies were examined. Subsequent analysis showed that services were provided to only 4,993 individual children. In addition, 9 out of 10 of these children returned to their home communities where necessary changes in the child's community environment had not been made. The progress achieved in the residential facility was often lost.
At the point, it was decided that high quality, less restrictive, community based-services would be provided to these children if the funds were managed at the local level. There is a local case match required to access the state CSA funds.
Which Funding Streams were placed in the Funds Pool?
Department of Social Services
State and Local Foster Care
Foster Care Purchased Services
Department of Juvenile Services
286 Special Placements
239 Special Placements
Department of Education
Department of Mental Health, Mental Retardation and Substance Abuse Services
Purchased Beds for Adolescents
Who Manages the Money at the Local Level?
Each locality is required to have at least two different interagency teams. They are the Community Policy and Management Team (CPMT) and Family Assessment and Planning Team (FAPT).
Who Participates on the Local Teams?
The Community Policy and Management Team (CPMT) is made up of at least one elected or appointed official or his designee and the agency heads or their designee from the local Department of Social Services, School System, Community Services Board (mental health), Court Services Unit (juvenile justice), local Health Department, a parent and, where appropriate, a private provider. This team has administrative and fiscal responsibility for the local funds pool, for developing local policies and procedures and appointment members of the Family Assessment and Planning Team.
The Family Assessment and Planning Team (FAPT) is comprised of the supervisory level staff from the same agencies as the CPMT as well as the parent and private providers. These teams work with the families to develop the Individual Family Services Plan (IFSP). If the services needed are beyond what is available in the participating agencies and there are no other family or community resources available, the team may choose to purchase them with local CSA pool funds.
Which Children may be Served by the Teams?
In general, the children who would have been served by one of the funding streams placed in the pool are targeted for services through the CSA. The children who would have been served by the education funds and/or the foster care funds placed in the pool are considered "mandated" for service. This is because there is "sum sufficient' language attached to them in the Federal law and/or the Code of Virginia. These special education and foster care children are the only populations state and local governments are required to appropriate sufficient funds to serve.
Are these the only Children who may be Served?
No! If funds are available, localities may choose to serve other children with emotional or behavioral problems, especially those with multi agency involvement. Parents will be required to contribute financially toward the cost of CSA-funded services.
In the County of Stafford, "non-mandated" funds are available for identified children. These funds are limited and the County of Stafford is not required to appropriate sufficient funds to serve this population.
How do Children and Families access the Teams?
Each locality develops its own policies and procedures governing how families access the teams. Some localities allow parents to self-refer, some allow any local agency to bring a case and many require that one of the agencies who serve on the team be the point of contact for the family.
Stafford County allows the Department of Social Services, Stafford County Public Schools, the Rappahannock Area Community Services Board, the Court Services Unit to make referrals for potential funding. Stafford County will accept a parental referral but requires one of the mandated agencies to case manage and be the point of contact between the FAPT and the family. For more information, please contact the CSA office staff at (540) 658-4622 or (540) 658-4619.