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​Complex Case Planning for Children & Youth Under Age 21: Steering Team Recommendations

The Department of Human Services (DHS) Steering Team kicked off in December 2019 to look at statewide challenges and solutions after national and statewide research and data collection were completed to ensure a comprehensive and quality service array is available to children and youth with complex mental and behavioral health needs and their families in Pennsylvania. This research and data analysis formed the basis for eight recommendations:

​Recommendation 1

Build a coordinated service array, to include evidence-based and promising practices, that meet the needs of children and youth with complex behavioral health needs in the community.
    • Proactively identify those in need of services through data analytics and screening, using statewide methodology and Medical Assistance claims data. 
    • Inventory the current service array to map what is available and where for this population. 
    • Enhance prevention efforts through the provision of effective services in the home and community.   
​Recommendation 2

Recruit and retain foster homes able to care for children and youth with complex behavioral health needs.
    • Develop a comprehensive strategy for recruiting, training, supporting, and retaining foster and adoptive families.
    • Provide supportive services to foster and adoptive families for stabilization.
    • Review per diems to ensure they are set at appropriate levels.
Recommendation 3

Enhance services, individualized treatment, and trauma-informed care for children and youth in residential treatment facilities with complex behavioral health needs.
    • Define a level of care that provides clinical treatment for physical and/or behavioral health challenges in addition to increased supervision.
    • Develop criteria and credentials related to trauma treatment to be applied to child residential treatment facilities.
    • Establish performance standards for monitoring outcomes of residential treatment facilities. 
​Recommendation 4
​Develop psychiatric residential treatment facility regulations in coordination with the rewrite of Chapter 3800 regulations.
Recommendation 5
​Evaluate feasible options for a statewide process for provision of intensive, flexible services for adjudicated children and youth with complex behavioral health needs.
​Recommendation 6
Ensure secure and non-secure treatment options and specialized care capacity in the Youth Development Center/Youth Forestry Camp (YDC/YFC) system. 
Recommendation 7
​Review and enhance DHS’s complex case review process and bulletin, to include a formal structure and department lead to oversee care coordination efforts and track data and outcomes.
​Recommendation 8
​Coordinate with and educate county agencies, commissioners, dependency and delinquency judges, and managed care organizations on complex behavioral health needs, trauma, individualized treatment needs, and alternative services.