Colorado Revised Statutes Title 19. Children's Code § 19-1-116. Funding--alternatives to placement out of the home--services to prevent continued involvement in child welfare system

(1) The state department of human services shall reimburse allowable expenses to county departments of human or social services for foster care.  The state department's budget request for foster care must be based upon the actual aggregate expenditure of federal, state, and local funds of all counties during the preceding twenty-four months on foster care.  Special purpose funds, not to exceed five percent of the total appropriation for foster care, must be retained by the state department of human services for purposes of meeting emergencies and contingencies in individual counties.  The amount thus reimbursed to each county must represent the total expenditure by an individual county for foster care and for alternative services provided in conformance with the plan prepared and approved pursuant to subsections (2)(b) and (4) of this section.

(1.5) No later than July 1, 1994, each county in the state shall assure access to alternatives to out-of-home placements for families with children and youth who are at imminent risk of out-of-home placements.  Beginning September 1, 2011, a county may also provide access for families to alternative services to prevent continued involvement with the county department child welfare system.  Beginning September 1, 2018, a county may also provide access to alternative services for former foster care youth, as defined in section 26-5-101 , who are no longer in the custody of the department but need limited assistance from the county.  Two or more counties may jointly provide or purchase alternative services to families in the respective counties.  Such services shall either be provided for under the plan adopted by placement alternative commissions in accordance with subsection (2)(b) of this section or purchased by the county if such county does not have a placement alternative commission for the county.  If a county purchases alternative services, the county shall ensure that the services purchased meet the goals of placement alternative commission plans, as described in subsection (2)(b)(I) of this section.

(2)(a) The county commissioners in each county may appoint a placement alternatives commission consisting, where possible, of a physician or a licensed health professional, an attorney, representatives of a local law enforcement agency, representatives recommended by the court and probation department, representatives from the county department of human or social services, a local mental health clinic, and the county, district, or municipal public health agency, a representative of a local school district specializing in special education, a representative of a local community centered board, representatives of a local residential child care facility and a private nonprofit agency providing nonresidential services for children and families, a representative specializing in occupational training or employment programs, a foster parent, and one or more representatives of the lay community.  At least fifty percent of the commission members must represent the private sector.  The county commissioners of two or more counties may jointly establish a district placement alternatives commission.  A placement alternatives commission may be consolidated with other local advisory boards pursuant to section 24-1.7-103 .

(b)(I) On or before July 1, 1994, the commission, if established, shall annually prepare a plan for the provision of services.  The primary goals under the plan shall be to prevent imminent placement of children out of the home and to reunite children who have been placed out of the home with their families.  If a county provides services to children who, without intervention, risk continued involvement with the child welfare system, the county shall include in the plan the goals to be achieved by providing said services.  The plan shall be prepared using all available sources of information in the community, including public hearings.  The plan shall specify the nature of the expenditures to be made and shall identify the services which are intended to prevent or minimize placement out of the home and to what extent.  The plan shall contain, whenever practicable, a vocational component to provide assistance to older children concerning a transition into the work force upon completion of school.  Upon approval of the plan by the county commissioners, the counties shall submit the plan to the department of human services.

(II) On and after July 1, 1994, the commissions shall prepare multi-year plans for services which contain the same goals as described in subparagraph (I) of this paragraph (b), and the period for the plans shall be determined in state board rules.  The multi-year plans may be amended annually for budgetary or programmatic changes that are necessary to enhance service delivery or as otherwise deemed necessary to accomplish the goals of the plan, which reasons shall be set forth in state board rules.  Counties shall submit the multi-year plans for approval by the state board.

(c) The commission shall review, on an ongoing basis, the effectiveness of programs within its jurisdiction which are designed to prevent or reduce placement and shall report its findings to the county commissioners annually.

(e) Upon approval by the state board of human services of the plan submitted pursuant to paragraph (b) of this subsection (2), the department of human services shall reimburse county departments, as described in section 26-1-122, C.R.S ., for eighty percent of the expenditures made in conformance with the plan.

(4)(a) The departments of human services and education and the judicial department shall jointly develop guidelines for the content and submission of plans as described in paragraph (b) of subsection (2) of this section.  Said guidelines shall include but not be limited to the information that is gathered by the commission, the goals to be addressed by the plan, the form of the budget for expenditures that are to be made under the plan, the services that are to be provided which are intended to prevent or minimize placement out of the home and to reunite children with their families and to what extent, and the method by which the plan may be amended during the year to meet the changing local conditions;  except that amendments to the plan on and after July 1, 1994, shall be in accordance with subparagraph (II) of paragraph (b) of subsection (2) of this section.  On and after July 1, 1993, any amendments to the guidelines shall be developed by the department of human services.  Said guidelines shall then be submitted to the state board of human services, which shall promulgate rules for the submission of plans.

(b) In addition to the duties described in paragraph (a) of this subsection (4), the state board of human services is hereby authorized to develop through the adoption of rules categories of programs and services that promote the primary goals of the plan established in accordance with paragraph (b) of subsection (2) of this section.  Any plan established on and after July 1, 1994, shall provide for the availability and provision of services or programs within such categories.  Any plan established before July 1, 1994, shall be amended on or before that date to provide for the availability and provision of services or programs within such categories.  The department of human services shall monitor the implementation of the plans as approved by the state board.

(5) Children currently residing in institutions whose condition would permit them to be discharged to less restrictive settings shall be so transferred at the earliest possible date.  Moneys appropriated and available to the department of human services shall be allocated on a priority basis by the department to county departments for the purposes of providing care to children who are discharged from the institution in which they reside if such children then receive care that is less intensive, closer to the residence of the parents or family, or in a less restrictive setting.

(6) It is the intent of the general assembly that state money appropriated for placements out of the home must not be used by county boards of human or social services for the development of new county-run programs or for the expansion of existing staff or programs, if such development or expansion duplicates services already provided in the community, including, but not limited to, day care programs, independent living programs, home-based care, transitional care, alternative school programs, counseling programs, street academies, tutorial programs, and in-home treatment and counseling programs.

(7)(a) Any county is hereby authorized to establish a program under which a multidisciplinary, noncategorical program fund for the county shall be created and moneys from such fund shall be used to provide child welfare services to at-risk children and their families.  Except as otherwise provided by federal law, the moneys in the county's fund contributed by state agencies shall be exempt from restrictive, categorical rules otherwise governing the use of such funds, including the “M” notation in the state's annual appropriations act which describes the general and federal fund contributions for federally supported programs.

(b) Such services shall include, but are not limited to, assessment, intervention, treatment, supervision, and shelter when and if appropriate.

(c)(I) The fund for each county must consist of contributions, made by any state, county, or local agency, of federal, state, or local funds appropriated to or contributed by such agencies for child welfare services for at-risk children and their families.  Appropriated funds include, but are not limited to, those appropriated to county departments of human or social services, the state department of human services, the department of public health and environment, the department of education, the department of public safety, the judicial department, and the job training partnership office in the governor's office.  Each state agency's contribution to a county's fund must be contingent upon and equal to contributions from the participating county and any other local agency that participates and seeks money from the fund.  Nothing in this subsection (7) allows the allocation of general fund money to any other participating county in the same manner that such money is allocated to Mesa county in accordance with section 2 of House Bill 93-1171, as enacted during the first regular session of the fifty-ninth general assembly.

(II) The fund for each county may also consist of contributions from the fund of any other participating county.

(d) The county board of human or social services for a county shall convene a meeting of the local and state agencies that provide child welfare services to at-risk children and their families, that will participate in the program, and that seek money from the county's fund.  The meeting is for the purpose of developing and adopting a memorandum of understanding between such agencies and the county's board of human or social services concerning the amount of contributions to the fund described in subsection (7)(c) of this section and the allocation and use of money allocated from the fund.  The memorandum of understanding must provide for the designation of a governing entity to oversee the administration of the fund and a fiscal agent, a three-year plan, provisions for evaluating the programmatic and fiscal impact and overall effectiveness of the program, and a process for submitting the results of the evaluation to the general assembly and state officials on an annual basis.

(e) The state agencies affected by the implementation of the three-year plan described in subsection (7)(d) of this section shall review and approve the plan.  The state agencies shall act on the plan within ninety days after the plan is submitted to the state agencies.  It is the intent of the general assembly that the plan be implemented and that the state agencies cooperate in the plan's development and implementation.  Prior to the implementation of the program, a copy of the approved plan must be submitted to the joint budget committee of the general assembly.  Prior to the expiration of the three-year plan, the county board of human or social services shall follow the procedures described in subsection (7)(d) of this section for readoption of or revisions to the three-year plan.


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