CHILDREN'S SERVICES ACT (CSA)
Senate Bill 850, passed by the 2015 General Assembly and signed by Governor McAuliffe, changes the name of the Comprehensive Services Act for At-Risk Youth and Families to the Children’s Services Act and the Office of Comprehensive Services to the Office of Children’s Services. The name of the State Executive Council is renamed as the State Executive Council for Children’s Services. These changes took effect on July 1, 2015. The acronyms of CSA, OCS and the SEC remain intact.
Passage of the Comprehensive Services Act by the Virginia General Assembly in 1992 altered the funding systems for services to at-risk and troubled youth and their families. In July of 1998, Franklin County created the Office of the Comprehensive Services Act (C.S.A. Office) to oversee the County's C.S.A. Program. The intention of the C.S.A. Program is to implement a collaborative system of services and funding that is child-centered, family-focused, and community-based when addressing the strengths and needs of troubled and at-risk youth and their families.
The Franklin County C.S.A. Program consists of two multi-disciplinary teams: Family Assessment and Planning Team (F.A.P.T) and the Community Policy and Management Team (C.P.M.T). Both teams have representatives from the following member agencies: Franklin County Schools, Juvenile and Domestics Court Services Unit, S.T.E.P. Inc., Piedmont Community Services, Franklin County Department of Social Services and Franklin County Administration. Both teams have a parent representative. The C.P.M.T. has three additional representatives: a Franklin County Board of Supervisors member, the Franklin County Health Department, and a Citizen Representative.
The F.A.P.T formulates service plans with recommended services for at-risk and/or troubled youth and their families. The C.S.A. Program Director then presents the service plans formulated by the F.A.P.T. to the C.P.M.T. for approval of service funding requests.
A referral to the F.A.P.T. can be made by any of the member agencies: Franklin County Schools, Juvenile and Domestics Court Services Unit, S.T.E.P. Inc., Piedmont Community Services, and Franklin County Department of Social Services. At-risk and troubled youth and their families must be open to case management by the referring member agency prior to the referral.
A PARENT'S GUIDE TO C.S.A.
What is the Children's Services Act for At-Risk Youth and Families?
It is a Virginia law designed to help troubled youths and their families. State and local agencies, parents and private service providers work together to plan and provide services. In each community, local teams decide how to do this.
The Community Policy and Management Team: (C.P.M.T.) coordinates agency efforts, manages the available funds, and sees that eligible youths and their families get help.
The Family Assessment and Planning Team: (F.A.P.T.) looks at the strengths and needs of the individual youth and families, decides what services to provide, and prepares a service plan with input from families. Both teams include parents, staff from community services boards, courts service units, the departments of health and social services, the public schools and private providers. In some localities, these teams go by different names and may also include other members.
WHO IS ELIGIBLE FOR SERVICES?
Services under C.S.A. may be available to a child who meets at least one of the following descriptions:
- has serious emotional of behavioral problems or
- may need residential care or resources beyond normal agency services, or
- needs special education through a private school program, or
- receives foster care services, or
- receives services to prevent foster care placements, or
- is under supervision of the juvenile and domestic relations court, or domestic relations court, or
- is a ward of the Department of Juvenile Justice
Eligibility is determined by various laws (in education, juvenile justice and social services) and by your Community Policy and Management Team. Also, there must be funds available in your community.
HOW CAN I FIND OUT IF MY CHILD IS ELIGIBLE?
Contact your local Children's Services Act Coordinator, Greg R. Winge, (540) 438-7209 or Greg Winge
HOW DOES C.S.A WORK?
A Family Assessment and Planning Team meeting is scheduled to with the F.A.P.T. and members of the family:
- the child and family take an active part of the F.A.P.T. meeting to discuss their needs
- a service plan is developed
- the family signs the service plan if they agree with the plan
- services begin as soon as possible
- if the family disagrees with the plan, they may ask for a review with the local CPMT
- emergency services may begin immediately
- parents may be required to make co-payments for non-foster care services
- parents may be required to make child support payments for foster care services
- parents are not required to make co-pay payments for special education services
WHAT ARE MY RIGHTS?
Most importantly, you have the right to understand the local C.S.A. process:
- you have the right to receive information on the local C.S.A. process and timelines for receiving referrals
- you have the right to be notified before your child is assessed for offered services
- you have a right to understand the information that you receive and delivered in your native language, if possible
- you have the right to consent and agree in writing before beginning any services, except when ordered by the court
- you have the right to read records, challenge information, give permission for release of records and be provided a written copy of the records unless ordered otherwise by the court
- you have the right to assistance from someone assigned to you as the Case Manager from the F.A.P.T. as well as a member of your family, friend, advocate or support person
- you have the right to review the assessment and service plan
- you have the right to disagree with the assessment and service plan and place your concerns in writing to the F.A.P.T. and/or C.P.M.T.
- you have the right to participate and be present for the entire F.A.P.T. meeting and discuss your child’s and family’s situation and well as participate in decisions that apply to you and your family
WHAT ABOUT CHILDREN AND YOUTH ELIGIBLE FOR SPECIAL EDUCATION?
If your child is eligible for special education, all the rights and protections of special education continue to be available to you and your child:
- you have the right to notice before a child’s educational service begins or changes
- you have the right to consent before certain evaluations or placements
- you have a right to an independent educational evaluation if you disagree with the school’s evaluation
- you have the right to participate in the preparation of your child’s Individual Education Plan (IEP)
- you have the right to inspect and review your child’s education records
- you have the right to file a complaint or request a due process hearing
If you think that your child may be eligible for special education, contact the principal of your child’s school. The principal will guide you through the process to determine your child’s needs.
WHAT ABOUT CHILDREN AND YOUTH RECEIVING FOSTER CARE?
If your child is in foster care you can ask the foster care social worker for help. Unless the court has taken away your parental rights, you have a right to be involved in making decisions about your child.
- you have the right to have contact with your child, including telephone calls, visits and or letters, unless the court has determined you cannot have contact
- you have the right to receive services or help that will allow the child to be returned to you
- you have the right to be informed by the agency about how your child is doing
- you have the right to be consulted when there are important decisions to be made about your child
- you have the right to participate in service planning for your child
- you have a right to be informed and invited to all court hearings and reviews concerning your child
- you have a right to legal representation at court hearings that involve your child
- you and your child have a right to confidentiality
For more information about foster care services, contact your local Department of Social Services, (540) 483-6850.
WHERE CAN I GO FOR HELP?
The Children's Services Act process can seem overwhelming. Help is available at every step of the C.S.A. process. Please contact the Franklin County Children's Services Act office at (540) 483-7209, Greg R. Winge, C.S.A Program Director, or at Greg Winge