The C.A.S.E. mission of ensuring the well-being of children who are adopted or in foster care and their families is advanced by our commitment to working to influence legislation that impacts the foster care and adoption communities. Our location in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area affords us the opportunity to advocate with Congress on important issues including federal funding for expansion of adoption-competent post-adoption services and supports and other important policy issues as outlined below.
Senate Caucus on Foster Youth: Congressional Briefing
Forever Families: How to prevent adoption dissolution and disruption
November 27, 2018. During National Adoption Month, there are celebrations across the country of newly created “forever families.” Unfortunately, between 10 and 25 percent of adoptions are disrupted before being legally finalized, and between 1 and 5 percent of adoptions are dissolved at some point after being finalized. The risk of an adoption disrupting or dissolving increases for older children, children adopted from foster care, and children with special needs. C.A.S.E. had the honor of being asked to present at a congressional briefing on November 27, 2018 hosted by the Senate Caucus on Foster Youth, chaired by Senator Chuck Grassley (IA) and Senator Debbie Stabenow (MI) – Forever Families: How to prevent adoption dissolution and disruption with the focus on how training, education, and support for adoptive families can improve outcomes and help more families stay together.
Sharon Vandivere, Senior Research Analyst with Child Trends presented data on adoption disruption and dissolution. Rita Soronen, President and CEO of the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption presented on the Wendy’s Wonderful Kids child-focused recruitment program. Dawn Wilson, Director of the National Adoption Competency Mental Health Training Initiative represented C.A.S.E. and spoke on the need for adoption competent mental health services and the role of NTI and TAC trainings in assuring a foundational level of adoption competency among professionals. Samela Macon, Senior Director of Domestic Foster Care and Adoption with Buckner International in Texas presented on the need for post-adoption supports and improved screening and training of foster and adoptive parents.
A New Direction for the Innovation Center within Centers for Medicare and Medicaid
November 10, 2017. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) recently sought input on a new direction for the Innovation Center, specifically exploring potential models focused on behavioral health, including focus areas such as opioids, substance use disorder, and improving mental healthcare provider participation in Medicaid, and CHIP through models that enhance care integration.
The Center for Adoption Support and Education provided comments focusing on the need for increased access among children in foster care, and children adopted from foster care, to adoption- competent mental health services, which are currently under-funded and therefore unavailable to many families. There are great opportunities for Medicaid to better serve these children and families by fostering the participation of adoption-competent mental health providers in Medicaid and CHIP programs. Supporting access to adoption-competent mental health would improve rates of adoption, decrease the dissolution of adoptions, decrease psychotropic drug use in foster care, reduce residential treatment needs for children in the foster care system and mitigate interactions with the juvenile justice system, thereby reducing the overall financial cost and burden of our current foster care system that often neglects their mental health needs. It also provides a unique opportunity for collaboration between the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to collaborate with the Administration for Children and Families (ACF) to ensure that these families benefit from the investments being made in building a mental health workforce that is adoption-competent. Click here to view our letter: Letter To Centers For Medicare Medicaid Services 111017
Pediatric Alternative Payment Model Concepts
March 27, 2017. C.A.S.E. provided comments to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). The agency is exploring the development of a new pediatric health care payment and service delivery model and issued a Request for Information (RFI) to obtain input on the design of a draft model concept focused on improving the health of children and youth covered by Medicaid and CHIP through state-driven integration of health care and health-related social services with shared accountability and cost savings. We communicated that the Innovation Center, also known as CMMI, has the authority to begin the work of promoting innovative solutions in Medicaid that will improve the well-being of children in foster care and adopted from foster care by addressing barriers to adoption competent mental health services. C.A.S.E. has already begun the process of developing the adoption competent workforce needed to test effectiveness through its Training for Adoption Competency (TAC), through its direct services in Maryland, Virginia, and Washington, DC, and through its existing partnership with ACF on the National Adoption Competency Mental Health Training Initiative. View our comment letter here: CASE CMMI Comments March 2017.
Family First Prevention Services Act of 2016
August 30, 2016. The Bipartisan Family First Prevention Act led by Senators Hatch and Wyden was passed by the house in June of 2016, and the Senate will be voting on this act shortly. This bill would help to ensure much-needed mental health services for children most at risk of entering or re-entering foster care. C.A.S.E. sent a letter in support of this bill to Senators Hatch and Wyden; view the support letter here: CASE Family First Support letter August 2016 C.A.S.E. CEO, Debbie Riley also submitted an Op Ed letter to the hill: view the published opinion letter here.
Reduce Psychotropic Drug Use in the Foster Care Population
October 30, 2014. C.A.S.E. sent a letter to the Administration for Children and Families (ACF) and to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), providing guidance on the development of their joint collaboration to reduce psychotropic drug use in the foster care population and to improve child wellbeing. C.A.S.E. proposed that applicants for ACF-funded activities to demonstrate the existing capacity or the commitment to build an adoptioncompetent workforce that will deliver the evidence-based interventions and allow “training for adoption competency for professionals delivering evidence-based interventions” to the list of ACF’s funded activities, among others. View the letter: Policy Oct 30 2014 CASE Follow UP ACF CMS letter
Disparities in Treatment
August 18, 2014. C.A.S.E. submitted comments to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) on its Strategic Plan, Leading Change 2.0: Advancing the Behavioral Health of the Nation 2015-2018. In our comments, we requested that children who are adopted and in foster care be recognized as a vulnerable population that experiences unique disparities in treatment due to workforce shortages of adoption-competent mental health professionals. View our comments: Policy Aug 18 2014 CASE SAMHSA Comments.
National Adoption Competency Mental Health Training Initiative
June 25, 2014. Eleven Senators sent a letter to the Administration for Children and Families (ACF) supporting efforts to develop a National Adoption Competency Mental Health Training Initiative, and advising the ACF of the unique competencies of C.A.S.E. in the field of adoption competency. C.A.S.E. is pleased to have been awarded the contract to collaborate with the ACF to develop this initiative, including new training curriculums for child welfare staff and clinicians. View the letter from the Senators: Policy June 25 2014 ACF CASE
Improve Mental Health Services
September 16, 2013. C.A.S.E. provided comments to the Senate Finance Committee in response to their request for suggestions on how to improve mental health services. Our recommendations focused on 1) the need for a trained, highly qualified, mental health workforce to the nation’s young people with foster care experiences, and 2) foster and adoptive families’ needs to both identify and affordably access mental health professionals that are trained to meet their unique needs. View C.A.S.E. comments: Policy Sept 16 2013 CASE Finance Letter
Use of Title IV-E Training Funds
February 27, 2013. C.A.S.E. CEO, Debbie Riley, provided written testimony to the House Ways and Means Committee for its hearing on Increasing Adoptions from Foster Care and the Adoption Incentives Program. C.A.S.E. advocated for the Administration for Children and Families (ACF) to provide clear guidance to states on the allowable use of Title IV-E training funds, including training to private agency staff that serve children who are in foster care. Second, C.A.S.E. urged Congress to prioritize resources for post-adoption services, with a specific focus on addressing the clinical needs of children adopted from the foster care system and their adoptive families. Third, C.A.S.E. encouraged ACF to support the Training for Adoption Competency curriculum through its existing programs. CASE Testimony Debbie Riley 2013.