Children and Families


Comprehensive Services Act

Support continued state responsibility for funding mandated CSA foster care and special education services on a sum-sufficient basis. (New Position.) Also, support legislation that would clarify when CSA policy changes are subject to the Administrative Process Act to ensure full review of the impacts and implications of the changes proposed. (Revises and reaffirms previous position.)

The Comprehensive Services Act is a 1993 Virginia law that provided for the pooling of eight specific funding streams used to purchase services for high-risk youth, and requires a local funding match. The purpose of CSA is to provide high quality, child centered, family focused, cost effective, community-based services to high-risk youth and their families. Children receiving certain special education and foster care services are the only groups considered mandated for service. Because there is "sum sufficient" language attached to these two categories of service, this means that for these youth, whatever the cost, funding must be provided by state and local government.

Many policy and procedural changes have been made to CSA since its inception, but unfortunately many of these changes were made in the form of guidelines rather than regulations. This approach eliminates the 60 day public comment period required under the Administrative Process Act (one recent proposed change allowed only eight working days for local governments to respond). Without a full vetting, detrimental changes could result; APA vetting requirements support careful review so that all impacts can be understood by both the State and affected communities.

Foster Care/Kinship Care

Support legislation and resources to encourage the increased use of kinship care, keeping children with their families. (Revises and reaffirms previous position.) Also support legislation that would allow youth in Foster Care to be adopted between the ages of 18-20 and extend the availability of subsidy for this population. (New Position.)

In 2008, Virginia embarked on a Children’s Services Transformation effort, to identify and develop ways to find and strengthen permanent families for older children in foster care, and for those who might be at risk of entering foster care. The Transformation, founded on the belief that everyone deserves and needs permanent family connections to be successful, is leading to significant revisions in Virginia’s services for children. Through kinship care (when a child lives with a relative), children remain connected to family and loved ones, providing better outcomes. However, without a formal statewide Kinship Care program, many relatives in Virginia are unable to care for children in their family due to financial hardship, resulting in foster care placements.

Additionally, once a youth turns 18, they can continue to receive services through foster care, but they are no longer eligible for an adoption subsidy.  This lack of financial support may impact families’ ability to adopt older youth.  By extending adoption subsidy to age 21, more Virginia youth may have the opportunity to find permanent homes.

Community Based Services and Early Intervention

Support increased capacity for intensive community services for children, and for the Infant Service/Early Intervention Program. (Revises and reaffirms previous position.)

Additional capacity in the Child and Family service system is necessary to address the needs of children and their families requiring intensive community services, helping to maintain children safely in their own homes and reducing the need for foster care or residential treatment as the first alternative. Additional capacity is also needed in the Infant Service/Early Intervention Program, in order to meet the 8 percent annual growth factor at minimum.


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