The County of Orange (County) Social Services Agency (SSA) is soliciting responses to this Statement of Qualifications (SOQ) from qualified non-profit licensed Foster Family Agencies (FFA), hereinafter referred to as “Offeror(s)” to provide Psychosocial Assessments for the Resource Family Approval (RFA) program. Qualified FFAs must be early implementers of the RFA Program who may be able to draw funds from the Private Adoption Agency Reimbursement Program (PAARP). Offeror(s) must currently serve foster families in Orange County, and be able to demonstrate that they are early implementers of the RFA Program, and have the required experience and capacity to conduct the RFA Psychosocial Assessments. Offeror(s) meeting the minimum qualifications will be considered for the contract award. Further, if an FFA becomes eligible anytime during the contract period after January 1, 2017, the early implementer requirement may be waived, and the FFA can submit a response package.
SSA’s Children and Family Services (CFS) Division is responsible for placing a child in the least restrictive, most family-like setting if the Juvenile Court determines that a child cannot safely remain with his or her own family. Relative/guardian care is the primary placement considered and if relatives are not available, the next best option is a Non-relative Extended Family Member (NREFM). If relatives and NREFMs are not available, SSA may place the child in a county licensed foster family home or a home provided by an FFA.
FFA certified homes are provided by non-profit agencies licensed by the Community Care Licensing (CCL) Division of the State Department of Social Services to develop and supervise specialized foster homes for the placement of children who require a higher level of care due to emotional or behavioral problems. An FFA may also be a licensed private adoption agency and be able to draw funds from the California Department of Social Services (CDSS) PAARP program. Through PAARP, the adoption agency may be reimbursed for costs incurred completing the RFA Psychosocial Assessments of children who meet the eligibility requirements of the Adoption Assistance Program (AAP).
SSA is responsible for completing the RFA approval process for family-based foster care homes. During the RFA process, relative caretakers, foster parents, NREFMs and adoptive parents must meet certain health and safety requirements before they can care for foster children or adopt children out of foster care. Historically, the process has been a two-step process, one to become a foster parent and then a more in-depth process, with duplication, to become an adoptive parent. This two-step process has been expedited through the passage of Assembly Bill (AB) 340 passed in 2007 creating the framework for the RFA Program under California Family Code Section 8712 and Welfare & Institutions Codes Sections 16519.5.
The RFA Program is a unified, equitable, family-friendly and child-centered resource family assessment and approval process. After an individual/family completes the RFA assessment and approval process, a resource family is considered eligible to provide foster care for related and unrelated children in out-of-home placement and is approved for adoption or legal guardianship, without any additional approval or licensure requirements. The RFA process includes the completion of an application form and a comprehensive assessment that consists of a home environment assessment, reference and background checks, Psychosocial Assessment and training.
SSA has contracted with FFA services since 1988 to assist in recruiting and certifying foster family homes in addition to SSA’s own recruiting and licensing efforts which has allowed SSA to provide safe and stable home settings for foster youth with access to enhanced treatment services. As of August 2016, SSA had 286 foster youth (approximately 12.5% of all children in out of home care) placed in 166 foster homes certified by contracted FFAs. During the period of January 1, 2017 through December 31, 2018, SSA anticipates approximately five (5) Psychosocial Assessment referrals per month per Offeror for this contract.
It is the County’s intent to award one (1) or more fixed fee-for-service contracts through this SOQ process. In awarding a contract, the County guarantees neither a specified sum of money nor a specified minimum number of referrals.