WSR 03-14-100



(Children's Administration)

[ Filed June 30, 2003, 3:41 p.m. ]

     Original Notice.

     Preproposal statement of inquiry was filed as WSR 03-03-056.

     Title of Rule: WAC 388-32-0025 Who may receive FRS services? and 388-32-0030 What FRS services does the department provide?

     Purpose: The Children's Administration's Division of Program and Policy is amending these rules for family reconciliation services (FRS), WAC 388-32-0025 and 388-32-0030. The purpose is to redefine the time frames for the delivery and completion of services within the FRS program's reduced budget allocation, and to allow for greater flexibility in the delivery of services.

     Statutory Authority for Adoption: Chapter 13.32A RCW, RCW 74.08.090.

     Statute Being Implemented: Chapter 13.32A RCW, RCW 74.13.031.

     Summary: The FRS program eligibility criteria and service parameters, as contained in WAC 388-32-0025 and 388-32-030 required revisions due to legislative budget reductions.

     Reasons Supporting Proposal: The Children's Administration was required by the state legislature in the 2002 supplemental budget (chapter 371, Laws of 2002) to reduce the FRS program by $1.68 million, effective July 1, 2002. This reduction resulted in a loss of staff FTEs, and in the funding for related contracted services. Altering the time frames for the delivery and completion of FRS services to a family would allow for greater flexibility in the delivery of services. Revised contracts as a result of the funding restraints became active January 1, 2003. The WAC governing this portion of the FRS program requires revision to maintain the program within its budgetary allotment. Implementation of this directive requires amendment of WAC 388-32-0025 and 388-32-0030.

     Name of Agency Personnel Responsible for Drafting, Implementation and Enforcement: Jim Mowrey, Children's Administration, DSHS-OB2, P.O. Box 45710, Olympia, WA 98504-5710, (360) 902-8007.

     Name of Proponent: Department of Social and Health Services, governmental.

     Rule is not necessitated by federal law, federal or state court decision.

     Explanation of Rule, its Purpose, and Anticipated Effects: WAC 388-32-0025 defines the eligibility criteria for the FRS. WAC 388-32-0030 provides an explanation of the services and the service parameters provided under the FRS program.

     Both rules underscore that the FRS program is a short-term, crisis counseling program, providing services to runaway youth, and youth in conflict with their families. The rules make it clear that the FRS program does not provide long-term counseling/therapy services to very dysfunctional, multisystem youth and their families.

     Proposal Changes the Following Existing Rules: (1) Clarifies the eligibility for FRS; (2) reduces the maximum number of service hours provided to families; (3) increases the maximum length of time to complete the allowable service hours; and (4) sets limits on the number of times a family may access FRS services.

     A small business economic impact statement has been prepared under chapter 19.85 RCW.

Small Business Economic Impact Statement

     SUMMARY OF PROPOSED RULES: The Department of Social and Health Services' Division of Program and Policy is proposing amendments to chapter 388-32 WAC, Child welfare services to prevent out-of-home placement and achieve family reconciliation.

     The purpose of these two sections of chapter 388-32 WAC, Child welfare services to prevent out-of-home placement and achieve family reconciliation, is to outline the rules for the FRS program administered by the Children's Administration.

     The agencies and individuals that are impacted by these rules include:

Small Business Name Small Business Name
YFA Connections Jennifer Smith
Baker Street Ministries Compassionate Ministries
Grayson & Associates Harmony Plus Counseling
Guerin & Associates CIELO Project
Northwest Youth Services Willipa Counseling
Youthnet Evergreen Counseling Services
Working Choices Karla Gates
Carmela Washington Legacy Counseling
Roland Tam Sing Healing Therapy
Maple Griffith Eric Currier
Good Samaritan Northwest Family Therapy Institute
Answers Rogers Counseling Center
Working Choices Psychological Consultants
Advantage Plus Counseling Valdez & Associates
FMAC Counseling Personal Parenting & Assessment
Healing Therapy

     The proposed amendments to WAC 388-32-0025 include:

Clarifying that the FRS program provide family reconciliation services to adolescents age thirteen through seventeen years of age and their families;
Clarifying the situations where it is inappropriate to provide FRS;
Eliminating the provision of FRS services for post-adoption cases, in instances where an agency is concurrently providing post-adoption services.

     The proposed amendments to WAC 388-32-0030 include:

Revising the time frame the assigned local DCFS FRS social worker has to contact the family requesting family reconciliation services;
Reducing the number of hours of counseling that FRS Phase II providers may deliver to families, as a result of the 2002 legislature imposing a $1.68 million reduction to the FRS programs, effective July 1, 2002.

     SMALL BUSINESS ECONOMIC IMPACT STATEMENT: Chapter 19.85 RCW, the Regulatory Fairness Act, requires that the economic impact of proposed regulations be analyzed in relation to small businesses. The statute defines small businesses as those for-profit businesses that employ fifty or fewer people and are independently owned. Nearly all the currently contracted FRS Phase II service providers meet the definition of a small business.

     Cost Impact on Small Businesses: None of our currently contracted FRS Phase II service providers will be financially impacted by these proposed regulations. That is, a new RFP was done in the fall of 2002 to solicit for new FRS Phase II service providers. New contracts were not issued in July 2002, for FY 2003 FRS Phase II services; rather, they were extended until December 31, 2002, at which time new contracts were issued to the successful bidders. These contracts, which became effective January 1, 2003, incorporated all the chapter 388-32 WAC proposed revisions. Permanent adoption of these rules will obviously have a neutral impact upon our contracted FRS Phase II service providers.

     Feedback from our service providers has been that the regulations, per their new contracts, have not caused them any negative economic impact; rather, it has aided their financial situation. Previously, their contracts required them to offer up to fifteen hours of crisis counseling to families, within a thirty-day period. The new contracts only require them to offer up to twelve hours of counseling, but spread over a forty-five-day period.

     A reduction in the allowable billable service hours theoretically could result in lost revenue for providers. However, providers report that the thirty-day time limit typically made it very difficult for them to utilize all fifteen allowable hours. Under the new rules, as reflected in their contracts effective since January 1, extending the time out to forty-five days has to date proven very beneficial to both the providers and the families they are engaging in Phase II counseling services.

     Involvement of Small Businesses: Subsequent to the 2002 legislature's $1.68 million reduction in funding for the FRS program, an FRS redesign committee was formed.

     The initial task of the committee was to conduct focus groups statewide, to gather input from the community on before embarking on the redesign. All contracted FRS Phase II service providers were sent invitations to attend the focus groups.

     Upon completion of the focus groups, including documentation of the information obtained from the groups, the redesign committee began a series of meetings to formally redesign the FRS program. The committee was comprised of CA FRS social workers and representatives from the pool of contracted FRS Phase II service providers.

     The contracted service providers therefore played a significant role in designing the new FRS service parameters which formed the basis for these proposed WAC revisions and the contracts effective January 1, 2003.

     EVALUATION OF PROBABLE COSTS AND PROBABLE BENEFITS: Since the proposed amendments do not "make significant amendments to a policy or regulatory program" (see RCW 34.05.328(5)(c)(iii)), the CA/Division of Program and Policy has determined that the proposed rules are not "significant" as defined by the legislature. Therefore, under RCW 34.05.328 (5)(b)(iv), this proposed chapter is exempt from needing a cost-benefit analysis. However, we believe the proposed rule changes provide significant benefits for the families we serve in the community. These benefits are outlined below.

     BENEFITS: Both the families we serve and our contracted FRS Phase II service providers will benefit if the proposed amendments are adopted. Previously, eligible families were able to receive up to fifteen hours of crisis counseling, but the counseling had to be completed within thirty days. However, our service providers often commented that typically they, and the families they were working with, were very hard pressed to utilize all fifteen hours in the prescribed thirty-day time frame. A data base of the average number of crisis counseling hours provided to families over a ten-year period shows that an average of 13.1 hours of counseling hours were used per family. Many service providers have long advised us that an extension of the thirty-day time frame would be far more beneficial than an extension of the counseling hours authorized.

     Service providers report that since January 1, 2003, when the extension of the time frame to forty-five days became effective, they have seen a very positive effect in the families they are working with. The extension out to forty-five days allows for a better cause and effect relationship; that is, there is more time for families to put into effect the strategies the counselor advises, experience the effect of those strategies, and have more time to "debrief" and discuss these strategies. The belief is that families will gain better skills, and be much less likely to have to access FRS services in the future.

     Additionally, the proposed revision in WAC 388-32-0025(2) is intended to clarify and strengthen the situations that are ineligible for FRS services. Given that the legislature reduced the FRS program's funding by $1.68 million, it is imperative that the allocated program funds be utilized in strict adherence to the program's intent, as defined by the legislature. Also, the elimination of eligibility for post-adoption cases already being served by an agency eliminates duplication of services. The legislature never intended open-end eligibility, but the WAC as currently written is somewhat ambiguous.

     CONCLUSION: The CA/Division of Program and Policy has given careful consideration to the impact of proposed rules in chapter 388-32 WAC, Child welfare services to prevent out-of-home placement and achieve family reconciliation on small businesses. The CA/Division of Program and Policy, with input from contracted service providers, has concluded that there are no economic impacts associated with compliance to the proposed WAC revisions.

     Please contact Jim Mowrey if you have any questions at (360) 902-8007.

     A copy of the statement may be obtained by writing to Jim Mowrey, Children's Administration, Division of Program and Policy, P.O. Box 45710, Olympia, WA 98504-5710, phone (360) 902-8007, fax (360) 902-7903.

     RCW 34.05.328 does not apply to this rule adoption. The proposed rules do not meet the definition of a significant legislative rule in RCW 34.05.328 (5)(c)(iii). A formal cost-benefit analysis is not required. However, the department has prepared an evaluation of probable benefits of the proposed rules which is incorporated with this notice.

     Hearing Location: Blake Office Park (behind Goodyear Courtesy Tire), 4500 10th Avenue S.E., Rose Room, Lacey, WA 98503, on August 5, 2003, at 10:00 a.m.

     Assistance for Persons with Disabilities: Contact Andy Fernando, DSHS Rules Coordinator, by August 1, 2003, phone (360) 664-6094, TTY (360) 664-6178, e-mail

     Submit Written Comments to: Identify WAC Numbers, DSHS Rules Coordinator, Rules and Policies Assistance Unit, mail to P.O. Box 45850, Olympia, WA 98504-5850, delivered to 4500 10th Avenue S.E., Lacey, WA, fax (360) 664-6185, e-mail, by 5:00 p.m., August 5, 2003.

     Date of Intended Adoption: Not earlier than August 6, 2003.

June 25, 2003

Brian H. Lindgren, Manager

Rules and Policies Assistance Unit

AMENDATORY SECTION(Amending WSR 01-08-047, filed 3/30/01, effective 4/30/01)

WAC 388-32-0025   Who may receive FRS services?   (1) CA provides FRS to ((runaways and families in conflict)) adolescents, thirteen through seventeen years of age, and their families, in instances where the adolescent has runaway and/or is in conflict with his/her family. These populations are defined as follows:

     "Families in conflict" means families in which personal or family situations present a serious and imminent threat to the health or stability of the child, which may include an at-risk youth, or family.

     "Runaways" means youths who are absent from home for a period of time without parental permission. Services are to actual runaways and not to threatened runaways, unless the threatened runaways meet the definition of families in conflict.

     (2) FRS is not provided for any of the following situations, unless the family is seeking an at-risk youth or a child-in-need-of-services (CHINS) family assessment:

     (a) The identified youth has not reached his/her thirteenth birthday, or the youth is eighteen years of age or older;

     (b) Chronic or long-term multi-problem situations requiring long-term interventions;

     (((b))) (c) Custody and marital disputes unless the dispute creates a conflict between the child and parent with physical custody;

     (((c))) (d) Families currently receiving counseling services related to the parent-child conflict/relationship from other agencies;

     (((d))) (e) Child abuse and neglect cases, unless those cases meet the definition of family in conflict((;

     (e))) ; or

     (f) Youth receiving foster care or group care services or follow up to those services((; and

     (f) Post-adoption cases still under supervision of an agency, except when those cases meet the definition of families in conflict)).

[Statutory Authority: RCW 74.13.031. 01-08-047, § 388-32-0025, filed 3/30/01, effective 4/30/01.]

AMENDATORY SECTION(Amending WSR 01-08-047, filed 3/30/01, effective 4/30/01)

WAC 388-32-0030   What FRS services does the department provide?   The assigned social worker provides services to develop skills and supports within families to resolve family conflicts, achieve a reconciliation between parent and child, and to avoid out-of-home placement. The services may include, but are not limited to, referral to services for suicide prevention, psychiatric or other medical care, or psychological, financial, legal, educational, or other social services, as appropriate to the needs of the child and family. Typically FRS is limited to a ninety-day period. Children's administration (CA) provides intake/assessment services (IAS).

     (1) The ((CA social worker provides intake/assessment services (IAS).)) children's administration's (CA) central intake provides intake services. Youth and/or their families who self-present at a local DCFS office requesting FRS services shall be provided assistance in contacting the appropriate children's administration's intake services to make a formal request for FRS services.

     (2) The FRS social worker must ((initiate these short-term counseling sessions within forty-eight hours of the family's request for services)) contact the family within twenty-four hours of their assignment to the case, to schedule an appointment to begin the phase I family interview process. These FRS phase I sessions are intended to defuse the immediate potential for violence, assess problems, and explore options leading to problem resolution.

     (((2))) (3) CA or its contractors may provide FRS phase II crisis counseling services for up to ((thirty days within a ninety-day period.

     (3))) six weeks.

     (4) Families eligible for ((thirty-day)) FRS phase II crisis counseling are those who, in the opinion of the family and the CA social worker, require more intensive services than those provided through ((IAS.

     (4))) phase I services.

     (5) Families must make a commitment to participate in the ((thirty-day)) FRS phase II crisis counseling service and must not concurrently be receiving similar ((family)) counseling services through other agencies or practitioners. At a minimum, there must be a parent and a child willing to participate.

     (((5) Thirty-day))

     (6) FRS phase II crisis counseling services may not exceed ((fifteen hours within thirty days)) twelve hours over six weeks. The assigned counselor helps the family develop skills and supports to resolve conflicts. The counselor may refer to resources including medical, legal, ongoing counseling and CPS for problem resolution.

     (a) ((The CA supervisor may extend thirty-day crisis counseling for an additional thirty days and up to fifteen additional hours of service, subject to availability of funds and the family's continued progress toward resolving conflicts)) FRS phase II crisis counseling may not be extended for either additional days or additional hours, except by an exception-to-policy waiver signed by the area administrator.

     (b) ((The thirty-day)) FRS phase II crisis counseling ((is)) services are available a maximum of twice in a lifetime for any one ((child within a)) family. The family must include a parent/guardian who has legal custody of the youth.

[Statutory Authority: RCW 74.13.031. 01-08-047, § 388-32-0030, filed 3/30/01, effective 4/30/01.]

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