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Children`s Residential Care Update June 2005

COMMUNITY CARE LICENSING CHILDREN'S RESIDENTIAL CARE UPDATE

This is our second Children's Residential Care Update for 2005. It also marks the twelfth year of our efforts to keep the residential care community informed about licensing programs and services. The Updates continue to be an important method for sharing information. We appreciate your support in sharing these Updates with members in your organization and others interested in children's issues.

REGULATION PACKAGES

The following regulation packages for children's residential care facilities are currently in process or completed. If you have questions about any of the proposed regulations, please contact our Policy Development Bureau at (916) 324-4312. For copies of the proposed regulations or for more information about hearing schedules, contact the Office of Regulation Development (ORD) at (916) 657-2586 or visit their website at www.dss.cahwnet.gov/ord/default.htm. Please note that depending on the version of software that you are currently using, it might be necessary to press your control key to activate the hyperlinks found throughout this document.

Records Removal and Reproduction Regulations: These regulations clarify and delineate California Department of Social Service's (Department) authority to inspect, audit, and copy client or facility records upon demand during normal business hours; and to remove them if necessary for copying. They also contain safeguards to prohibit the removal of health-related records (unless duplicate information is available); establish standards for the removal and return of records; and cut across facility categories. The public hearing was held on June 16, 2004, in Sacramento. No substantive changes were made to the regulations as a result of public comment. These regulations are now approved by the Office of Administrative Law (OAL) and became effective June 8, 2005.

Foster Youth Personal Rights Regulations: These proposed regulations implement Assembly Bill (AB) 458, Chapter 331, Statutes of 2003 and Senate Bill (SB) 1639, Chapter 668, Statutes of 2004, by granting children in foster care additional personal rights. AB 458 codifies specific anti-discrimination protections and allows foster children the right to have fair and equal access to all available services, placement, care, treatment and benefits; and to not be subjected to discrimination or harassment on the basis of specified protected rights. Additionally, SB 1639 allows foster children, who are 16 years of age or older, the right to have access to postsecondary educational, vocational and financial aid information. These regulations amend the Personal Rights in all Children's Residential Facility categories. The proposed regulations were sent to the ORD on October 15, 2004. The Public Hearing is scheduled for August 17, 2005.

Crisis Nursery Regulations: These proposed regulations will implement SB 855, Chapter 664, Statutes of 2004, by creating a new Community Care Licensing Division (CCLD) category called Crisis Nurseries. Crisis Nurseries are defined by statute as facilities providing short-term, 24-hour non-medical residential care and supervision for children under six years of age who are voluntarily placed for up to 30 days by their parents/guardians due to a family crisis or stressful situation. Also, these children may temporarily be placed by a county child welfare services agency for no more than 14 days. Some unique aspects of this category that are allowed by statute are that Crisis Nurseries:

  • can accept voluntary and, on a limited basis, county placed children.
  • may count fully trained volunteers in their staff-to-child ratio.
  • have a maximum licensed capacity of 14.
  • are required to provide a monthly report to the Department indicating total number of voluntarily placed children, the number of children placed by a child welfare services agency and length of stay for each child.
  • may provide day care services for children less than six years of age at the same site as the Crisis Nursery.

As required by statute, the Department has developed emergency regulations that establish minimum health and safety standards for children cared for by Crisis Nurseries. The intent of developing, adopting and implementing Crisis Nursery Program Regulations is to provide a safe and supportive environment for children as well as a non-threatening, non-punitive resource for parents who may be experiencing a family crisis or stressful situation. We anticipate sending the proposed regulations to ORD in July 2005.

Foster Family Agency Reference Check Procedures and Foster Youth Family Connections: These proposed regulations implement AB 2661, Chapter 643, Statutes of 2004, which requires the Department to establish procedures for foster family agencies to use when conducting reference checks on applicants before certification. Individuals who have been decertified for violations of licensing regulations or agency policies sometimes attempt to become certified by another agency or licensed by the state or a county as a foster parent. Existing regulations do not have requirements to check an applicant's certification history and confidentiality provisions have led to uncertainty about the legality and liability of requesting and releasing information about an individual's performance as a certified or licensed foster parent. These proposed regulations establish procedures for foster family agencies to use when conducting reference checks on applicants before certification. They also address confidentiality and liability issues related to these checks, and authorize the Department to assess civil penalties for failure to provide specified reports.

These proposed regulations also establish requirements that are more specific than those in existing regulations for facilities that care for foster children to ensure that the children maintain family connections as required by the Program Improvement Plan for the Children and Family Services Division Federal Audit Report released in January 2003. The proposed regulations were sent to the ORD in January 2005. The status conference was held on June 16, 2005. We anticipate the public hearing will occur in September 2005.

CHILDREN'S RESIDENTIAL CARE PROGRAM MANAGEMENT CHANGES

We are pleased to announce the following appointment in the Children's Residential Care Program:

Lucy Marroquin as a Manager in the Children's Residential Care Program Office. Prior to her appointment, Lucy was an Analyst in the Children's Residential Care Program Office. Lucy assumed her new position in March 2005.

NORTHERN CALIFORNIA FOSTER FAMILY AGENCY CONFERENCE:

CCLD and the California Alliance of Child and Family Services will once again be co-sponsoring the Northern California Foster Family Agency (FFA) Conference July 20-21, 2005. The theme of this year's conference is " Sharing the Road for the Future ". This conference will serve as an excellent opportunity for care providers and licensing staff to share information on FFA issues.

Pre-registration cost for the conference is $130.00. Late and on-site registration will be slightly higher. All proceeds from the conference will provide scholarships to foster care youth. Registration packets have already been sent out to providers in the Northern area. The conference will be held at the Crowne Plaza located at 11950 Dublin Canyon Road, Pleasanton, CA 94588. The phone number for the hotel is (925) 847-6000. For more information, please contact your local licensing office.

2005 SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA GROUP HOME CONFERENCE:

CCLD and the California Alliance of Child and Family Services will co-host the third annual Southern California Group Home Training Conference. The purpose of this year's conference is to provide workshops on legal, medical, psychiatric and regulatory issues pertaining to group homes. It will also present an opportunity for care providers and licensing staff to share general licensing information. This conference is open to licensed group home providers from Riverside, San Bernardino, Orange, Imperial, San Diego, Los Angeles, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara and Ventura counties.

The conference will take place October 13 - 14, 2005, at the Pechanga Hotel and Conference Center which is located at 45000 Pechanga Parkway, Temecula, CA 92592. The telephone number for the hotel is (951) 693-1819. All proceeds from registration fees and donations will be distributed to non-profit organizations that provide services to group home youth. Registration packets will be sent to care providers by August 1, 2005. For more information, please continue to check the CCLD home page at: http://ccld.ca.gov/or contact your local licensing office.

2005 COUNTY LICENSING ACADEMY

The CCLD Children's Residential Program Office is offering a three-day County Licensing Academy designed for all new county Foster Family Home (FFH) licensing analysts, supervisors and program managers. Enrollment in this academy is limited to county Foster Family Home and Family Child Care Home Licensing staff. The purpose of the academy is to provide an overview of Licensing rules, regulations, and policies; and to provide county staff the information required to ensure consistent and uniform statewide implementation of licensing requirements. The academy satisfies the annual 30 hours self-contained training module requirement in the FFH Memorandum of Understanding.

Registration priority will be given to counties nearest the training site. The remaining training academies will be held on the following dates, times and locations:

Fresno: July 12-14, 2005
Central California Center for Health and Human Services
1625 East Shaw Avenue, Suite 146, Fresno, CA 93710
Sign-up deadline is June 30, 2005 Santa Maria: July 19-21, 2005
Welfare to Work Center
1444 South Broadway
Santa Maria, CA 93905
Sign-up deadline is July 5, 2005 San Diego: September 13-15, 2005
San Diego County Health and Human Services
8965 Balboa Avenue, Conference Room, San Diego, CA 92123
Sign-up deadline is August 30, 2005 Sacramento: November 1-3, 2005
Sacramento County Health and Human Services - Foster Care Licensing
3701 Branch Center Road, Sacramento, CA 95826
Sign-up deadline is October 18, 2005

For more information, please contact County Liaison Maurie Ange at (510) 873-6409 or e-mail her at Maurie.Ange@dss.ca.gov.

DEPARTMENT OF LABOR FACT SHEET # 28 & NEW WEBSITE ADDRESS

The United States Department of Labor, Wage and Hour Division (WHD) is responsible for the administration of the Fair Labor Standards Act in the area of wages and compensation. Please note that the WHD has a new website address:www.dol.gov/whd/. In a joint effort with WHD, each of our updates features one in a series of fact sheets providing general information on various topics. This month's feature is Fact Sheet #28 entitled, "The Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993." You can review this fact sheet at the following website address: www.dol.gov/esa/regs/compliance/whd/printpage.asp?REF=whdfs28.htm(link removed). Additional information can be obtained from the Department of Labor by calling their toll-free information service number at (866) 889-5627.

THE WEST NILE VIRUS IN CALIFORNIA

In 2000, West Nile Virus (WNV) appeared for the first time in Pennsylvania in birds, mosquitoes and a horse. WNV is a virus mainly transmitted to people through the bite of an infected mosquito. Mosquitoes transmit the virus after becoming infected by feeding on the blood of birds containing the virus. Most people infected with the virus either have no symptoms or they have flu-like symptoms. However, a higher rate of serious complications can occur in the elderly and those with underlying diseases. For these populations, contracting the virus can lead to hospitalization and even death. It is important to know the symptoms of WNV and also how to minimize your riskand the risk to your clients and residents.

The health threats posed by the WNV continue to be as much of a concern this season as they were last year. Licensees are once again reminded to drain any standing water to prevent mosquitoes from breeding and to repair or install screens to prevent mosquitoes from coming indoors. The updated WNV guidelines for long-term care facilities prepared by the California Department of Health Services (DHS) are now available on the CCLD web site at www.ccld.ca.gov/res/pdf/WestNile2005.pdf. More WNV information can be found on the DHS web site at www.dhs.ca.gov.

RESIDENTIAL CARE STATISTICS

All of the statistics for licensed Children's Residential Care facilities are now available online. When you visit the CCLD home page at www.ccld.ca.gov, click on the link on the left side of the page that is titled, "Licensing Overview." Then click on the first bullet that says, "Number of State Licensed Facilities, by County." Scroll to the end of the document for the statewide totals. Further breakouts by category and location are also available. Please direct your requests to Sarah Fernandes, Central Operations Branch, at (916) 327-2406. Directories can also be obtained from your local licensing office.

SUMMARY

If you have questions about items included in this Update or suggestions for future topics, please contact Barbara Rooney, Acting Chief of the Technical Assistance and Policy Branch at (916) 324-4312. Also, please visit our website at www.ccld.ca.govto obtain copies of Updates, office locations, provider letters, regulations, or to learn more about licensing services.

Sincerely,

JO FREDERICK
Deputy Director
Community Care Licensing Division

Enclosures