|The Department of Public Welfare (DPW) and the County Commissioners Association of Pennsylvania (CCAP) have issued an update on negotiationsconcerning the proposed Human Services Development Block Grant. Key points in the document follow.
- The block grant will combine appropriations and allocate them to counties proportionately, based on the current aggregate distributions. A phase-in period will be implemented. In the first year (2012/13) counties will be required to spend 50 percent of funding within the current categorical allocations. In the second year (2013/14) counties will be required to spend 25 percent of funding within the current categorical allocations. By 2014/15, counties will be granted full flexibility. Counties may continue funding in the current categorical line items if preferred. Counties interested in moving to full flexibility immediately may apply for a waiver to do so.
- Counties will be able to continue to operate existing joinder arrangements and can create new joinders if desired.
- Counties will pay the amount of match paid by the county in fiscal year 2009/10 until final fiscal year 2010/11 match information is available. DPW will make adjustments at the close of fiscal year 2012/13.
- Counties will be allowed to retain up to three percent of fiscal year 2011/12 carryover funds for reinvestment in human services and will be able to request a waiver to retain additional funds. Counties will need to submit a reinvestment plan.
- A new streamlined reporting document will be used that replaces current fiscal reporting associated with the categorical programs.
- DPW will require annual plans of how counties propose to use block grant dollars.
- Outcomes measures will be built into the block grant proposal to ensure needs are being met.
A number of county commissioners have reviewed provisions of the block grant and expressed strong concerns related to the impact on the safety net infrastructure. PCPA appreciates the thoughtful input of these commissioners and urges members to communicate with county commissioners as soon as possibleto convey the crucial importance of maintaining an intact safety net. A Talking Points document for visits to county commissioners is available. Contact information for commissioners can be found through the CCAP web site, which contains links to each county.
If services to Pennsylvanians in need of mental health, intellectual disability, autism, or addiction care are to remain accessible and effective, funding must be preserved and Pennsylvania’s safety net must be protected. To fight the devastation of Pennsylvania’s community services, members are urged to take action to visit county commissioners NOW. Further questions may be addressed to Anne Leisure (firstname.lastname@example.org).