Friday, February 9, 2018

2018 CR Budget Allows Child Welfare Whistleblowers To Report Privatized Fraud

If you steal, we are snitching.


This is historic because there are no civil rights in privatization nor can one execute FOIA, but now we can blow the whistle on fraud in child welfare.

There are a few areas of the Continuing Resolution 2018 for the Budget to extend governmental operations until March 23, 2018 I would like to highlight.

Social Impact Bonds: From its language, I believe that this is going to be a bait and switch for private funding of social programs and this is why:

$100 million is dedicated to the U.S. Treasury, and not Department of Health and Human Services.

U.S. Treasury has some really super duper special enforcement powers of financial accountability, like SIGTARP.

This means if these NGO "Pay For Success" privatized programs do not demonstrate success, they do not get a penny!

Why is this so funny to me?

Well, it is going to be virtually impossible for these NGOs to meet any of the benchmarks set as criteria for success because all one has to do is look out their front window or in their refridgerator to see if these PFS have met the federal benchmarks.

Now, allow us to move on the Families First Act.

I always had issues with it as it just established more and more layers of privatized contractual billing opportunities for fraud, but, considering there are now benchmarks and law enforcement oversight through the U.S. Treasury, I think we finally have a neotin form of oversight from the people.

Did you know the U.S. Treasury has a whistleblower program?

Well, now you do.

Office of the Inspector General
U.S. Treasury Office of Inspector General Whistleblower Fraud Program

You may use the following form to submit your complaint or you may phone, fax, or mail your complaint. Prior to submitting your complaint to the Treasury OIG Hotline, we recommend you review the information located on the main Treasury OIG Hotline page.

Per Treasury Employee Rules of Conduct, 31 C.F.R. §0.207, and Treasury Order 114-01, all Treasury employees and officials are under the affirmative duty to report to the Inspector General any complaints or information concerning the possible existence of any activity constituting a violation of law, rules or regulations relating to the Department. Please be aware that if you intentionally report false information to the Treasury OIG, in some instances, you may be subject to possible criminal or civil penalties. We may make disclosures of information you submit to other parties, including other Federal and State law enforcement agencies, as necessary to complete our investigation, or as required under Federal law. We may also refer your allegation to the appropriate law enforcement agency if we believe you have alleged a criminal or civil violation within their jurisdiction.

You are not required to complete all of the presented information fields. Completion of the fields that are strongly recommended are marked by a * red asterisk. If you wish to elect anonymity or confidentiality, select the appropriate options within Part I of the form and follow the corresponding instructions. Please keep in mind that your decision to elect anonymity may limit our ability to conduct a complete investigation, if one is warranted.

There are other public fraud reporting programs, but I shall save those for another time.

Quintessentially, the public will be conducting the oversight of these privatized child welfare programs through whistleblowers.

Image result for HA HA
"HA-HA!  You will lose your funding if you
sell and/or kill tiny humans."
Fatality Prevention Plans: The States can no longer cover up kids dying in foster care and adoption programs and must come up with a plan to properly report data to the feds, which in this instance, I shall assume, no, I am claiming oversight will be with the U.S. Treasury.

If they lie, the States get their federal grants snatched and face serious reprisal, and I do not limit the reprisals to be only through civil penalties.  These state administrators should be looking at federal criminal investigation referrals and criminal prosecutions.

This concept I am attributing to Senators Hatch-Wyden and their report findings of privatization in of child welfare, I shall leave below.

Michigan sold and killed Ricky Holland for profit, using federal taxpayer dollars, and nothing, nothing, absolutely nothing happened to the perpetrators, and none of "The Elected Ones" did a damn thing about it, which is why I am on a mission.

This is strictly personal.

DACA:  The is nothing but a cover for the international trafficking of tiny humans.  Period.

Home-based, Community-based Visitation Program:  We, the people can now snitch on the States and privatized programs is they violate our civil rights. (See U.S. Treasury Fraud Reporting Program). 

Stay tuned.  More to come and it will not be pretty, trust me.  I am the original source and I am going to be very, very busy for years to come.

One Month of Spending, Years of Child Welfare Reform

The continuing resolution (CR) signed by President Donald Trump this morning funds the government until March 23. But it changed the landscape of federal child welfare funding for the foreseeable future.

Here is Youth Services Insider’s breakdown of the many long-term implications for youth and family services in the spending bill.

Family First Act Is Law of the Land

H.R.1892 - Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018
A few years back, Sens. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) and Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) – the chair and ranking member on the Senate Finance Committee – merged their child welfare priorities into one bill. Hatch wanted to pressure states to cut down on the use of congregate care and group home placements; Wyden wanted to give child welfare systems more ability to fund services that prevented the use of foster care in more cases.

These were the seeds from which the Family First Prevention Services Act grew, a bill that now has significantly altered the child welfare financing landscape. The Title IV-E entitlement, currently reserved for foster care and adoption assistance expenses, can now be used for 12 months of services aimed at helping families without the use of foster care (well, sort of: many will surely require the assistance of relative caregivers).

The spending bill signed by President Trump includes funding through March 23, and provisions that permanently change the federal entitlement for foster care.

As opioids and meth continue to wreak havoc on American families, the act will enable child welfare systems to tap into IV-E to get addiction treatment for parents that they determine, with the right amount of support, are not a danger to their children. So too for parents suffering from mental illness or basic parenting deficits.

On the other end of the spectrum, proponents of Family First hope that its restrictions on federal funds for congregate care settings is enough to pressure states into relying more on foster homes. There is no current limit to how long IV-E can be used for such placements. Under the new law, states will have only two weeks of federal support guaranteed.

“I cried for about 10 minutes this morning,” said Amy Harfeld, national policy director for the Children’s Advocacy Institute, speaking in celebration of the bill. “There are not a lot of things that shock the hell out of me, but seeing this long fight culminate in victory did. It’s revolutionary. This presents a really exciting challenge to folks in our field to think about the way we do finance child welfare and where we should be making investments.”

“Challenge” is an appropriate word. On the front end, the Family First’s prospects to keep more families together is contingent on states’ willingness to put in their own funds for substance abuse, mental health and parenting services. And success will further be contingent on greater knowledge and proliferation of evidence-based interventions that work to help these parents.

On the back end, use of congregate care has declined over the years as states have come to rely more on relatives and some have built their roster of foster homes. But as The Chronicle of Social Change reported this fall, in more than half of the states, foster home recruitment and retention has not kept pace with the rise in youth placed in foster care.

The Family First Act injects into that situation fiscal pressure to keep youth out of congregate care, where the feds won’t help pay for it, and into foster homes, where the feds will. The Family First Act does include a slate of exceptions to the congregate care limits, chief among them a pass for settings that can be deemed “qualified resident treatment placements.”

Ten years ago, such restrictions on congregate care would have occurred as foster care numbers were ticking down across the country. Today, states will have to find more foster home capacity while some accommodate rapidly rising numbers of kids.

John Sciamanna, vice president of public policy for the Child Welfare League of America (CWLA), summed up the challenges nicely in an e-mail to Youth Services Insider:

Like all child welfare legislation, this is a work in progress. There is great potential to add in new post-reunification and adoption services as well as up-front intervention services. The challenge will be to make sure as many states as possible take the option to draw down the new IV-E services fund. 
In addition, we need to make sure that HHS [the Department of Health and Human Services] is flexible in the programs that can be funded. As part of this we also have to work to make sure that youth in particular are not pushed into another system (juvenile justice, for example) as oversight on institutional care is increased.
YSI will certainly dive deeper into the implications of and details in the Family First Act in the coming weeks.

Home Visiting’s Last-Minute Save

The Maternal, Infant and Early Childhood Home Visiting (MIECHV) program, which pairs professionals with new and expecting mothers to help prepare them for parenthood, faced a shortfall that likely would have prompted program eliminations and staff layoffs across the country.

On Tuesday, the House did not include reauthorization of MIECHV in its spending plans. That is sort of incredible when you consider that the House did include Family First, a new law with massive implications for a federal entitlement, and MIECHV has had bipartisan support for more than a decade.

By Wednesday, when the Senate introduced the CR that actually became law, MIECHV had received a five-year extension at its current rate of $400 million per year. Last year, advocates for the program might have been glum that the authorization wasn’t doubled or at least increased; today, they are surely relieved to just get out with a win.

“Today is a great day for children and families,” said Diedra Spires, CEO of the Dalton Daley Group, which helped coordinate the Home Visiting Coalition, in an e-mail to YSI.  “A five-year reauthorization of MIECHV is tremendous. We are also gladdened by the increased impact that the passage of multiple programs that serve and protect children and families will have over the next five years and beyond.”

The level extension of MIECHV sidesteps House Republicans’ desire to turn it into a match program, requiring equal fiscal participation by states by 2022. That plan had potential in theory to increase the overall investment in home visiting, but MIECHV proponents argued that the opposite would be the reality. Many states, they argued, would not be in a position to meet the federal allocations, leaving millions in MIECHV funds on the table.

Fatality Prevention Plans

Slipped into the original construct of the Family First Act is a provision from a separate law introduced in October by Hatch and Wyden following the Senate Finance Committee’s investigation of privatization in foster care.

Each state would be required under Title IV-B of the Social Security Act to conduct an annual review of child fatalities, collecting data on both the circumstances of the death and facts about the child’s history (siblings, presence of mental health or substance abuse issues, etc.).

The provision embeds the idea of a regular assessment of child fatalities envisioned in the recommendations last year by the Commission to Eliminate Child Abuse and Neglect Fatalities.

The language in the CR is a little looser than the October version, but requires two things from states on this issue: A description of the steps the state is taking to compile complete and accurate information on maltreatment-related deaths, and a description of steps that state is taking to implement a “plan to prevent the fatalities.”

$100 Million for Social Impact Projects

Pay for Success (PFS) projects, also known as social impact bonds, offer governments a sneak peak at the impact of evidence-based interventions and services before they (hopefully) commit to embedding them in policy. Private money is put up to fund the services with agreed-upon benchmarks for success; if the marks are met or exceeded, funders get their money back with potential bonuses. If the benchmarks are not met, the government doesn’t pay a dime.

The CR includes legislation providing $100 million to the Treasury Department to issue for PFS projects around the country. The department has a year to launch the competition for these funds, and another six months to select winners.

The legislation includes a laundry list of acceptable issues and populations for the projects to focus on. Among them:
  • Improving birth outcomes and early childhood health
  • Increasing the number of children living in two-parent households
  • Reducing the number of children living in foster care and returning to foster care
  • Increasing graduation rates
  • Increasing employment rates among youth and young adults
  • Reducing reliance among low-income families on the social safety net
The U.S. accounts for fewer than 20 percent of the 108 projects that have launched worldwide, but it accounts for about half of the total funding committed to PFS ventures, according to new numbers released by Social Finance.

Click here to read our recent interview with Tracy Palandjian, co-founder of Social Finance, on the state of the social impact financing

CHIP Extension Extended, Community Health Centers Get Boost

The Child Health Insurance Program (CHIP) was built as a protective wall to prevent health care costs from making families poor. It helps insure children whose parents make too much to qualify for Medicaid, but not enough money to afford the premiums for quality care for the whole family.
Like MIECHV, CHIP expired in September, and states were making noise about halting enrollment before last month’s CR extended the program for six years.

This deal added an additional four years, giving CHIP a full decade extension, which the Congressional Budget Office estimates will actually save the federal government $6 billion over the decade.

Community health centers serve about 27 million people a year in America, many of them low-income families. Federal funding expired in September, and is renewed in this bill with an increase from last year’s $3.6 billion. The centers will receive $3.8 billion this year, and $4 billion next year.


Noticeably absent from the spending agreement is a fix for Deferred Action on Childhood Arrivals (DACA), the program through which people who arrived illegally in America as young children can move toward lawful residency. DACA was rolled out by executive order under President Obama after Congress failed to pass the DREAM Act, a legislative attempt to help this population.
President Trump has set the DACA program to expire in early March, weeks before the next funding deadline for the government. He wants DACA tied to a broader immigration reform.

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