Georgia Association of Homes and Services for Children   

Kenny A Policy Implications 

If other states are any guide, the Kenny A vs. Perdue Proposed Settlement will have profound policy implications for Georgia, if approved “as is” by the Federal Judge.  Several other states have gone through settlements as the result of lawsuits brought by Children’s Rights, Inc. of New York.  Lawsuits by Children’s Rights have been brought in New Mexico, Kansas, Washington D.C., New Jersey and New York City.  The results have been mixed and some lessons have been learned over the years by Children’s Rights about what to ask for in the suits.   

The implications for Georgia seem to indicate the following: 

Performance Outcomes – Lawsuits in other states were heavy on process but did little to change the wellbeing of children.  Georgia’s agreement focuses the outcomes on performance measures.  These measures will filter down to private providers who provide services to children.  Performance Based Contracting is spoken to in the agreement.  Providers will be asked to provide data to the State every six months.   

Community Based Care – The settlement requires that children be served within 50 miles of their homes with certain exceptions.  A diversity of services throughout Georgia will be needed.  90% of the children to be placed within 50 miles of their homes is the requirement to meet on this standard.  Areas of the state with high density of services may soon find more competition for children because of this requirement.  

Family Focused Care - This settlement moves children toward family based care.  Family based care is defined very narrowly to only include foster care and family placement.  “Family-like” group homes and congregate care does not qualify as “family care” in the definition of the agreement.  Children will be in care for shorter periods of time, with incentives to move children to the permanency of relative placement, reunification and adoption.  Children under 12 are restricted from placement in-group homes, with some narrow exceptions.   

Policy Makers Narrowed – The decision makers child welfare will be narrowed to two persons who have been agreed upon by the plaintiff and defendant.  The Governor’s Office, Legislators, Office of Planning and Budget, and the Department will less individual power to make specific recommendations than before the agreement.  The “Accountability Agents” will have more collective power than any separate entity of government.   

Shorter Lengths of Stay – Fewer children will be in care for longer than 15 months under this agreement.  “Growing up in foster care” will be rare.  Resources to push children into permanency will increase the longer a child is in care.   

Fewer Moves – The goal is to have less than 5% of foster children experience more than two moves.  Emergency care is discouraged, whether emergency shelters or emergency foster homes, and no child shall be in an emergency placement for more than 30 days.   

Level of Care Threatened – The continuance of Level of Care System of Placement is not assured.   

Linked are our member comments in regard to the Kenny A. Agreement.  Every provider should read the Kenny A.  Agreement.  We are asking for member feedback so that we can respond to the Courts. 


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Updated by Normer Adams on 09/26/14 09:47 AM -0400                                  .