- Budget Message
- Issues in Brief
- Closing the Achievement Gap
- Investing in Job Creation
- Positive Youth Development & Youth Violence Prevention
- Addressing Health Care Costs
- Reforms to Local Housing Authorities
- Initiatives to End Homelessness
- Investing in Community Colleges
- Criminal Justice Reforms
- Support for Our Veterans
- Improving Children, Youth & Families Services
- Investing in Our Communities
- Government Accountability & Transparency
- Social Innovation Financing
- Innovation & Technology
- Modernizing the Bottle Bill
- Health Promotion & Wellness Investments
- Quasi-Public Entity Reforms
- Improved Facilities Management
- Fiscal & Management Reforms
- Budget Recommendations
- Local Aid to Cities and Towns
- Capital Budget and Debt
Improving Children, Youth & Families Services
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FY 2013 Budget Recommendation:
Issues in Brief
Deval L. Patrick, Governor
Timothy P. Murray, Lt. Governor
Massachusetts serves thousands of children and their families every year through Children, Youth and Family (CYF) Services. These services focus on some of the most vulnerable populations in the state – those who come to state agencies in need of support and services as a result of abandonment, child abuse or neglect, delinquency, mental illness, poverty, substance abuse, disability and other special needs.
The Commonwealth’s current approach to serving children and youth reflects individual agency missions to optimize services, programs and funding streams. This has created silos that make it difficult to comprehensively address children’s needs because services are tied to specific eligibility criteria for a particular program or entitlement. Silos create gaps in services – agencies are compelled to fit a child to a program rather than create a plan that focuses on the whole child and family and their needs. Families have trouble identifying these programs and understanding how to enter them when they can’t “diagnose” their children’s problems and identify specific needs.
The Commonwealth needs to improve families’ access to services, their overall experience and how agencies work together to understand and address each family’s needs in a holistic fashion. Today, a child or family served by two or more agencies has multiple service plans that may be duplicative or even conflict, making it difficult for families to navigate the system.
To achieve better access to the services that children need, to better serve families and to improve outcomes for children and families, a system of care must be developed that is comprehensive, better integrated and coordinated across government and with programs delivered in communities.
Key Opportunities for Improving for CYF Services
Over the last year, the Patrick-Murray Administration invited feedback and participation from a wide range of interested stakeholders including parents, youth, legislators, providers, advocates, union representatives and others. The Executive Office of Health and Human Services (EOHHS) convened a CYF Advisory Committee, composed of a diverse group of stakeholders, to develop and prioritize recommendations on how to improve services and service delivery for children and their families. The recommendations include:
- Develop system-wide vision, language, planning, processes and governance;
- Improve access to information and resources and simplify families’ interactions with the system;
- Enhance the eligibility process;
- Coordinate services and plans across CYF programs;
- Strengthen coordination across the education system and CYF services;
- Optimize joint local, state and federal funding;
- Ensure workforce competency; and
- Define CYF performance outcomes and reporting.
The Advisory Committee will remain active in developing a detailed, multi-year roadmap to improve the CYF service system. The Advisory Committee, representing a diverse body of stakeholders, will play a major role in finalizing implementation strategies and monitoring implementation.
Immediate Action Steps for Moving Forward
These reforms will require years of continued effort, investment and commitment across state government and among stakeholders. To ensure successful implementation of the recommendations, the FY 2013 budget invests $2.9 M in new funding and leverages $4.5 M in existing funds to begin implementation of the CYF Advisory Committee recommendations. This will strengthen interagency coordination and collaboration within EOHHS and between EOHHS and the Executive Office of Education (EOE). Immediate efforts include:
- Enhancing Information and Resource (I&R) telephone and web based systems for families accessing support or services offered by the Commonwealth to create one phone number and web address for families seeking services;
- Enhancing existing resource centers and developing Family Access Centers to ensure families have one front door to state services;
- Implementing interagency data-sharing procedures;
- Coordinating services among CYF-serving agencies within EOHHS; and
- Establishing regulations to expand coordination and communication between EOHHS and EOE, including information-sharing procedures.
The FY 2013 budget highlights the Patrick-Murray Administration’s commitment to implementing the CYF Advisory Committee recommendations and strengthening interagency coordination and collaboration. The FY 2013 budget requires EOHHS to review existing authority and to develop systems to share data among its agencies to the extent permissible under federal law, and mandates that within 90 days of passage of the budget EOHHS and EOE convene an advisory council to develop recommendations for regulations to allow appropriate data sharing between state and local education authorities about students served by EOHHS agencies.
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