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 services 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 are 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 foster care placement is intended to be short-term, while supports are provided to the biological family to strengthen that unit and allow the child to return home, or while a permanent life-long connection is identified and nurtured. Each of the four distinct service models being procured in this RFR uniquely supports a child’s journey in achieving the overarching permanency planning goal of providing children safe, caring, stable, lifetime families in which to mature. This may be by
- providing a safe home environment to support a placement in Puerto Rico;
- providing a safe home environment to support an international placement;
- working with adolescents who do not already have a lifelong family connection identified;
- providing a wide network of support services for foster and pre-adoptive parents
The service models included in this RFR are listed below. The list includes both the current program names with the revised service model names that align with EOHHS rate regulation 101 CMR 411.00: Rates for Certain Placement and Support Services.