Improving Children, Youth & Families Services

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Governor Patrick    FY 2013 Budget Recommendation:
    Issues in Brief

    Deval L. Patrick, Governor
    Timothy P. Murray, Lt. Governor


Massachusetts serves thousands of children and their families every year through Children, Youth and Family (CYF) Services.  These services focus on some of the most vulnerable populations in the state – those who come to state agencies in need of support and services as a result of abandonment, child abuse or neglect, delinquency, mental illness, poverty, substance abuse, disability and other special needs. 

The Commonwealth’s current approach to serving children and youth reflects individual agency missions to optimize services, programs and funding streams.  This has created silos that make it difficult to comprehensively address children’s needs because services are tied to specific eligibility criteria for a particular program or entitlement.  Silos create gaps in services – agencies are compelled to fit a child to a program rather than create a plan that focuses on the whole child and family and their needs.  Families have trouble identifying these programs and understanding how to enter them when they can’t “diagnose” their children’s problems and identify specific needs. 

The Commonwealth needs to improve families’ access to services, their overall experience and how agencies work together to understand and address each family’s needs in a holistic fashion.  Today, a child or family served by two or more agencies has multiple service plans that may be duplicative or even conflict, making it difficult for families to navigate the system.

To achieve better access to the services that children need, to better serve families and to improve outcomes for children and families, a system of care must be developed that is comprehensive, better integrated and coordinated across government and with programs delivered in communities.

Title: The Future of Services for Children, Youth & Families - Description: This chart describes the vision of the Children, Youth & Families Initiative. Specifically, the main themes of this vision are the family experience, family voice and choice, access and coordination, accountability and reduce administrative complexity.

Key Opportunities for Improving for CYF Services

Over the last year, the Patrick-Murray Administration invited feedback and participation from a wide range of interested stakeholders including parents, youth, legislators, providers, advocates, union representatives and others.  The Executive Office of Health and Human Services (EOHHS) convened a CYF Advisory Committee, composed of a diverse group of stakeholders, to develop and prioritize recommendations on how to improve services and service delivery for children and their families.  The recommendations include:

The Advisory Committee will remain active in developing a detailed, multi-year roadmap to improve the CYF service system.  The Advisory Committee, representing a diverse body of stakeholders, will play a major role in finalizing implementation strategies and monitoring implementation.

Immediate Action Steps for Moving Forward

These reforms will require years of continued effort, investment and commitment across state government and among stakeholders.  To ensure successful implementation of the recommendations, the FY 2013 budget invests $2.9 M in new funding and leverages $4.5 M in existing funds to begin implementation of the CYF Advisory Committee recommendations.  This will strengthen interagency coordination and collaboration within EOHHS and between EOHHS and the Executive Office of Education (EOE).  Immediate efforts include:

The FY 2013 budget highlights the Patrick-Murray Administration’s commitment to implementing the CYF Advisory Committee recommendations and strengthening interagency coordination and collaboration.  The FY 2013 budget requires EOHHS to review existing authority and to develop systems to share data among its agencies to the extent permissible under federal law, and mandates that within 90 days of passage of the budget EOHHS and EOE convene an advisory council to develop recommendations for regulations to allow appropriate data sharing between state and local education authorities about students served by EOHHS agencies.

Prepared by the Executive Office for Administration and Finance ·
For more information email: (617) 727-2040