St. Lawrence County legislators approve Department of Social Services measures
BY JEFF CHUDZINSKI
North Country This Week
St. Lawrence County Legislators approved a number of measures in support of the Department of Social Services during a full board meeting on Oct. 3.
Legislators also unanimously approved a contract with Danielle Bronk, PhD, for neurological evaluations.According to the resolution, the Department of Social Services is required to provide neurological evaluations to children and adults receiving court-ordered services.
Legislators say service providers that have the experience and capacity to provide such evaluations for children and families are very limited, with many incurring wait lists of six to nine months long in many cases.
Bronk, who is an independent neuropsychologist, has “the experience and capacity to provide neurological evaluations to children and families,” according to the resolution.
The contract is effective as of Sept. 1, 2022 and rungs through Dec. 31, 2022.
Payments for services are set at $1,040 per developmental/diagnostic evaluation, $1,440 per psychological/psychoeducational evaluation, $2,080 per neurodevelopmental evaluation, $2,560 per neuropsychological evaluation, $120 per hour for school or classroom observation and $320 per hour for court testimony/appearance or court reports, the resolution states.
Legislators authorized a contract for qualified individual assessment services, following significant changes to Title IV-E of the Social Security Act in 2018, according to the resolution.
Officials say the federal Family First Prevention Services Act (FFPSA) was enacted on Feb. 9, 2018 “with the intent of prioritizing family-based foster care over residential care.”
Under FFPSA, Qualified Residential Treatment Program is a new designation of placement created by the FFPSA and is a program “that has a trauma-informed treatment model that is designed to address needs, including clinical needs, as appropriate, of children with serious emotional or behavioral disorders or disturbances,” the resolution states.
According to the resolution, the Department of Social Services is required, pursuant to the FFPSA, to obtain an individual assessment of a child in a QRTP to ensure appropriate placement, with the assessment requiring completion within 30 days by a qualified individual.
Each assessment utilizes a federally funded functional assessment tool, with the standards of timing, process, assessment content and assessor qualifications being set forth by the federal and state governments, officials say.
Legislators also signed off on a contract with Naviant, Inc. for a software subscription and other services as part of an add on project that “will replace the current web based version and will allow for the creation of workflows and paperless workflows which will make it a more efficient version,” according to the resolution.
The project was budgeted for in 2022 for an amount not to exceed $8,424, legislators say.