SOCIAL SERVICES ADVISORY COUNCIL
DSS Churchman Corporate Center Office, New Castle, DE
Minutes of May 6, 2009
Council Members State Staff
Sr. Jeanne Cashman Charles Hayward, DCSE
James Villarreal Ted Mermigos, DCSE
Retha Fisher Barbara Hanson, DSS
Mable Cephas Ray Fitzgerald, DSS
The committee members called the meeting to order at 5:15 P.M. The minutes from the April meeting were accepted and seconded.
Chuck Hayward gave the report for DCSE. Chuck reported on DCSE’s data reliability audit. Chuck reported that they passed on all indicators and this represents the second time in a row that they have passed.
Chuck also reported on DCSE’s participation in the Fugitive Safe Surrender project which was held April 29th – May 2nd at the New Destiny Fellowship Church in Wilmington. The US Marshall Service and other state agencies and the courts were participants in the program. The program was designed to provide a safe environment for people with capiases or warrants to present themselves to resolve the issue. DCSE collected $225.00 cash and cleared up 88 Family court capiases as a result of their participation in the project. Two fugitives from DCSE’s Most Wanted program turned themselves in and were arrested.
Chuck reported on the effect of the state budget on DCSE. Chuck reported that the Department has requested that DCSE give back 10% of their contractual. Chuck also reported that employees may have to take a pay cut as well as paying more for health insurance and a 50% cut in life insurance for retirees.
Chuck reported that DCSE’s collections for April reduced slightly from collections in April of last year.
Chuck reviewed a chart reflecting DCSE’s unemployment insurance collections. The chart reflected that although the amount of money collected remains high, it appears to be leveling off in April.
Chuck also discussed DCSE’s extended hours coverage, customer service statistics and Child Support Lien Network Program.
Barbara gave the report for DSS. Barbara reported on DSS’ Food Benefit (aka SNAP Program) Error Rate. She reported that DSS’ payment error rate is .42%. It is the lowest rate in the region and the second lowest in the country. Barbara also reported that DSS’ negative error rate for the first two months our rate is 1.52% and DSS is currently ranked 9th nationally in this area.
Barbara also reported that Cynthia Manlove, DSS Chief Administrator for Programs and Policy, and DSS staff from Policy, Systems, and Fiscal met with staff from the Child Care Automation Resource Center on March 24th, 25th, and 26th. The Resource Center provides technical assistance to states through a contract with the Federal Child Care Bureau (CCB). The purpose of the visit was, in part, to provide Delaware with technical assistance to support efforts toward submitting high quality data. The Resource Center staff shared data viewer software that allows us to look at the data submitted and create ad hoc reports.
Barbara reported that DSS is eligible for Stimulus Funds in three of our programs:
SNAP: As of 4/1/09, clients experienced a 13.6% increase in the food benefits. Every state also will receive a share of SNAP administrative funds. The stimulus provides 100% federal funds for allowable SNAP administrative purposes.
TANF: On Friday, April 3, DSS received the first formal information from the Administration for Children and Families (ACF) on the TANF stimulus fund. There are three categories for TANF stimulus spending and they are all about increasing direct benefits to clients. The categories are basic assistance, short-term assistance, and subsidized employment. Delaware is eligible for a total of $16.1 million in the two year period, FFY 09 and 10 including any funds we may draw from the old emergency contingency fund.
Child Care: The briefing document also contained suggestions for spending the $4.5 million in Child Care (CC) funds. There are specific dollars designated for quality improvement and toddler/infant initiatives. DSS cannot substitute state dollars with these federal dollars. CC advocates and legislators have very definite ideas how to spend the CC. Like the TANF Stimulus funds, these are short term funds so we don’t want to put in place what we cannot sustain.
Barb reported that the new State accounting system has been delayed until July of 2010. DSS has to make significant changes to their Child Care Management Information System (CCMIS) so that it can interface with the new accounting system and pay child care providers. The programmer for CCMIS is challenged working with new accounting system. DSS plans to require all providers have direct deposit and will impose a designated end date. Currently only seventy-one providers out of 1100 do not have direct deposit. DSS also hopes to tag on to a debit card used by other Divisions for those providers that do not use a bank.
Barbara reported that on April 8, the Delaware Legislature’s Kids Caucus invited the Secretary to their meeting. The council is a staunch advocate for quality improvement in early care and advocate for a number of initiatives associated with quality as well as provider rate increases. Liane Sorenson who has long been a member of the Kids caucus will also introduce legislation. Her focus is to increase purchase of care provider rates which are currently between 57% and 74% of the 2007 market rates. In April, Elaine met with three AFSCME staff who are lobbying for legislation that will permit home child care and relative providers to form a union.
Barbara reported on DSS involvement in the Child Poverty Summit.
Barbara reported that for the month of February, DSS’ Employment and Training vendors placed 38 clients in full time jobs and 36 clients in part time jobs. For each vendor, the following is the average wage in February at placement:
Full Time Part time
Arbor $7.99 $7.33
Career Team $8.35 $9.43
Del Tech KC $8.90 $9.32
Del Tech SC $7.98 $7.85
Barbara reported on DSS’ Change Report Center (CRC) statistics for the CRC for the first quarter of 2009. There was a noticeable bump in volume for March due to the addition of Claymont, Churchman’s and DeLaWarr, but staff are handling the added responsibility very well. DSS hopes to expand to the rest of New Castle County by end of the fiscal year. We cannot expand downstate without filling some frozen positions.