“This Request for Response (RFR) is issued by the Massachusetts Department of Children and Families (DCF or the Department) to solicit responses from bidders interested in providing certain Placement and Support Services for DCF, specifically Foster Care Support Services. The service being procured under this RFR will provide specific foster home supports designed to strengthen the Department’s foster care network and enhance its ability to achieve timely permanency for children in its care.
The DCF is charged with protecting children from abuse and neglect and strengthening families. Three paths to achieving this mandate are Safely Preserving Families; Safely Reunifying Families; and Safely Creating New Families.
For most families that become involved with the Department, the services of a DCF social worker and possibly the addition of in-home supports is effective treatment to keeping the family together and to improving the family’s functioning. However, for more than 20% of the nearly 45,000 children involved with the Department, a more intensive intervention will be necessary including out-of-home placement.
As of the end of the 1st Quarter of FY2015 (9/30/14), there were approximately 5500 children in Departmental Foster Care, roughly 60% of the total number of children in out-of-home placement. Children in a Departmental foster home setting are the youngest among all placement types, with a median age of just over 5 years old. Time in placement for this population is slightly less than 9 months. It is the Department’s responsibility to ensure that each one of these placed children is in a loving, nurturing home that is free from abuse and neglect. To achieve this goal, the Department maintains safety standards for its caregivers and for their homes. In addition each foster parent must be licensed or approved. Maintaining a skilled, diverse and talented network of foster parents is critical to successfully meet the needs of the 5500 children in Departmental Foster Care. It is also critical that adequate supports be provided to the caregivers/foster parents as they open their homes and their lives to nurture the Commonwealth’s children.
A bidder responding to this RFR must be able to demonstrate a commitment to supporting the strengths and needs of children, youth and families. Its philosophy and culture must complement that of the Department’s – to strive to protect children from abuse and neglect and, in partnership with families and communities, ensure children are able to grow and thrive in a safe and nurturing environment with access to food, shelter, clothing, health care and education. To that end, DCF will make every reasonable effort to encourage and assist families to use all available resources to maintain the family unit. However, when a family cannot or does not provide the necessary amount of care and protection for its children, the Department will intervene to protect the rights of children and youth to sound health and physical and mental development; providing a safe, caring, stable family in which to mature.
To achieve this goal, services and supports provided or purchased by the Department must:
- be child/youth guided and family centered
- reflect the family’s voice
- be responsive to the family’s unique needs
- strengthen the family’s ability to live successfully in their local communities
- employ evidence informed practices
- be trauma informed and employ positive behavioral supports and interventions
- be committed to diversity and cultural competence
The only service model being procured in this RFR is Family Evaluation/Home Studies in Puerto Rico, formerly called Interstate Compact for the Placement of Children in Puerto Rico. The revised service model name aligns with EOHHS rate regulation 101 CMR 411.00: Rates for Certain Placement and Support Services.
Performance and contract specifications for this service model follow in Section 2 of this RFR.”
Excerpted from Request for Response – RFR Number: DCF FOSCARE17-1