DHS, DFCS Propose Changes to How State Licenses Child Welfare Providers

The state agencies that oversee the licensing and inspection of Georgia’s child welfare providers have proposed changes to how they review facilities each year.  As heard on the radio

As it stands, many child welfare providers go through similar reviews from different departments each year. For example, the Division of Family and Children Services and Department of Human Services each have their own agencies that inspect child welfare facilities that contract with the state at least once a year.

To avoid overlap in the future, DFCS and DHS say some annual inspections could be done every other year as long as facilities routinely meet state licensing standards.

DHS would still conduct mandated annual licensing surveys. However, contracting agencies like DFCS and the Department of Juvenile Justice would move to biannual inspections, and would refer to the annual DHS inspection to determine whether additional oversight of a facility is needed in off years. 

Both departments also suggest developing a calendar to better coordinate required inspections from different agencies overseeing various child welfare facilities.

Catrecia Stokes-Bryan of DFCS told a House study committee Monday the proposal should address complaints from some providers, who say up to four different agencies will make unannounced inspections in the span of two weeks.

“We’re trying to create that system that will all of us to kind of communicate in one location where we can see what’s happening – not the actual document of the results of the visits – but at least that there’s some level of communication around when someone’s going,” she said.

The two agencies also proposed creating a single incident report for incident that occur within a facility to eliminate the need for providers to submit multiple reports to different agencies, and better promoting opportunities for facility managers to review state surveyors.

The House Licensing and Inspection for Child Welfare Providers Study Committee, which is tasked with finding ways to cut some licensing red tape, met for the second time Monday morning.

Decatur Democratic State Rep. Mary-Margaret Oliver sits on that committee.

“We do not need to make multiple trips to the same facility if we’re looking at mostly the same issues, and that’s the work – the real technical work – that this committee can do,” she said.

The committee is scheduled to meet again in two weeks.