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Department of Human Resources Announces Award Recommendations for $191 Million Residential Child Care Contracts

BALTIMORE, MD (April 25, 2013)—The Department of Human Resources today announced the results of a competitive contracting process that will reshape Maryland’s child welfare service delivery system through 2016. The award is a next step in the state’s “Place Matters” strategy that has successfully reduced the number of children in care to its lowest levels in at least 25 years.

“All of Maryland’s children deserve a safe and nurturing place to grow up,” said Department of Human Resources Secretary Ted Dallas. “These awards will help ensure that children in the Department’s care are served only by the best providers we have in the State.”

The awards follow an extensive request for proposals and competitive evaluation process that began in September 2012. The Department requested 794 beds across the state, a decrease of 41% from the current number of authorized beds. The decrease in the number of beds awarded is due to the success of the Department’s “Place Matters” initiative. Launched in 2007, Place Matters marked a turning point for the Department that reduced the number of children it placed in group homes by 67% percent — from approximately 1,890 to 620 in just five years. These reductions were a big part of the Department’s overall reduction of children in care during the same time period from approximately 10,330 to approximately 6,700 — a reduction of 35 percent.

For the first time in the Department’s history, these contract awards included an evaluation of performance-based measures for each provider to ensure the continued safety and well-being of children in care. The measures were developed with input from key stakeholders and providers to ensure children receive consistent, quality services when placed in a foster care home.

“The transition to performance based awards not only allows providers to understand the Department’s expectations for quality of care but also makes sure that the providers that perform better than their peers are the ones who will serve our kids,” said Secretary Dallas. “Both are critical components of improving the quality of service we provide to the children we serve.”

Contract evaluation included the development of a performance score for all providers that submitted a proposal based on several measures; youth safety, well-being and compliance with the Department’s licensing requirements. Providers who scored well against these standards were prioritized for award.

Residential child care beds in Maryland are allocated within six program types: developmentally disabled; diagnostic evaluation and treatment; group homes; high intensity group homes; medically fragile; and psychiatric residential. Awards were made to the highest ranked vendor after taking into consideration the number of beds requested, beds needed at the time of award, and the gender and age of the children to be placed.

Children currently placed with providers whose contracts were not renewed will be placed with new providers or families based on their needs. In these situations, the local department of social services will engage the families of affected children to assist with the transition and promote the child’s stability.

The new contracts will begin July 1, 2013. The total value of the contracts is $191,883,825 over the next three years.

A list of residential child care awards by program will be posted to the DHR Website at www.dhr.maryland.gov/news once the awards are finalized

 

Contact: Brian Schleter,     410-767-8944 (o)    443-253-4204 (c)

 

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Filed in: Child Welfare, DHS News

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