New U.S. Waiver To Give DCS More Flexibility To Help Children

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

The Tennessee Department of Children’s Services has been selected to participate in a groundbreaking demonstration project that promises to keep more kids safely in their homes, rather than having them come into foster care.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has chosen Tennessee, along with six other states, to take part in a waiver program that will give DCS added flexibility in using federal Title IV-E foster care dollars to serve children and families.

“The waiver represents a real opportunity for Tennessee as we continue to work to keep our kids safe, make them healthy and get them back on track,” said DCS Commissioner Jim Henry. “It also demonstrates that DCS is committed to finding innovative, effective solutions to help keep families together.”

Normally, federal Title IV-E funds can only be used for select activities, including out-of-home care for foster children.  Typically, these funds cannot be used to support in-home services to families at risk for child removal.  

The waiver will allow Tennessee to use Title IV-E funds for in-home services in an effort to keep children safely in their homes. The waiver does not provide new money to the state.  Rather, it lets the state use its federal dollars in ways that were not previously allowed, providing flexible funding of innovative child welfare programs.

The department anticipates it will begin full implementation of the five-year waiver in October 2014. By the end of the waiver, current projections show that Tennessee will have had available approximately $245 million in federal IV-E funds to spend for children and families.

Any savings associated with the success of the waiver demonstration project can then be reinvested into more high-quality services for children and families.

Services to these lower-risk families will include supports and services, such as assistance with food or utilities. It will also include in-home family services and intensive family preservation services.

Tennessee currently has approximately 7,300 children in foster care.

In addition to Tennessee, the other states selected this year for the demonstration project are Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nebraska, New York, Rhode Island, plus the District of Columbia. Last year, nine states received IV-E demonstration waivers: Arkansas, Colorado, Illinois, Massachusetts, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Utah, Washington and Wisconsin.

 


Debra Chew: Spiritual Well-Being And Surviving Breast Cancer

I don’t look good in pink – but October is pink-out month - and it is everywhere for National Breast Cancer Awareness Month.  The U.S. and world awareness of this important issue for women’s health is particularly important to me, for I am the daughter of a breast cancer survivor.  This year, as so many lined up at the World’s Fair Park for the Race for the Cure, I was ... (click for more)

Chattanooga-Based Company On The Frontline Of Ebola Response

The transport of patients who have contracted the Ebola virus from West Africa to sites in America including Emory University, the University of Nebraska, and the National Institutes of Health has involved rigorous containment protocols and infectious disease decontamination measures directed and implemented by SafetyPlus, LLC, a single source company specializing in solutions in ... (click for more)

Man Shot At Apartments On Tunnel Boulevard Wednesday Afternoon, Then 2 Juveniles Shot At Rec Center On Oakwood Drive With Suspects In Custody

Chattanooga police officers responded to the apartment buildings at 404 Tunnel Blvd. Wednesday at 1:21 p.m., where residents say they heard multiple shots fired.  Witnesses said they saw multiple suspects fleeing the scene on foot behind the complex.  The male victim was taken to a local hospital for life threatening gunshot wounds.  Later Wednesday, ... (click for more)

Several Arrested Outside Erlanger Hospital When Crowd Gathers After Woodlawn Shooting

Several people were arrested Monday night outside Erlanger Hospital after a crowd gathered and clashed with police. The crowd included family and friends of 20-year-old Apprentice Berry, who was shot multiple times and killed earlier Monday night at the Woodlawn Apartments on Wilson Street. Erlanger officials said the group gathered at the emergency room, but were later moved ... (click for more)

Chattanooga Has Lost Its Most Popular Citizen - Luther Masingill - And Response

Chattanooga has lost its most popular citizen – Luther Masingill. Although we are saddened we cherish the memories.  All of us have a Luther story.  Mine is the first time I met Luther.  This was before TV and all of Chattanooga listened to Luther on the radio.  I was 12-years-old.  Some of my buddies and I had gone to the State Theater in downtown ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: The Policeman’s Prayer

Every year, when the Law Enforcement Foundation of Greater Chattanooga holds its annual luncheon, it is one of the most heartening displays of what America really believes, down deep inside. The most prominent and influential leaders in the community – well over 1,000 -- gather to pay tribute and pledge their support to our heroes in blue who are unfaltering in their devotion, service ... (click for more)