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Rowan County Receives Special Funding from Cardinal Innovations to Help Children Entering Foster Care

Cardinal Innovations Healthcare — March 18, 2021
Charlotte, NC, Mar. 18, 2021 – Rowan County is the first to receive supplemental funding to support children entering foster care under a special program offered by Cardinal Innovations Healthcare.
 
In November, Cardinal Innovations launched the new program aimed at supporting children in custody of social services departments in its 20-county region. The plan includes a $30 million investment to fund a monthly payment, referred to as sub-capitation, for every Medicaid-eligible foster child in foster care. Counties may use these Medicaid funds as they see fit for costs such as emergency placements, preliminary or transitional behavioral healthcare or social determinants of health such as housing, transportation or food insecurity. 

“This program is designed to bridge gaps at the most critical juncture – the moment a child enters the custody of Social Services,” said Trey Sutten, CEO of Cardinal Innovations. “By providing supplemental, flexible funding available to counties, we’re helping to address the acute needs of these children sooner and giving them a better chance for success.” The program is modeled after successful program in other states and creates a mechanism for counties to have immediate access to needed funds.
 
“Our recent work with Cardinal Innovations has been encouraging. The problems we face in this system were not created by single entities, so we cannot put the solutions at the feet of single entities. Thoughtful, committed partnerships are the assets we have as we tackle the issues of our day,” said Micah Ennis, director of the Department of Social Services (DSS) for Rowan County. “The vulnerable children and adults served by both Rowan County DSS and Cardinal Innovations are depending on us to keep pushing toward better outcomes, learning from strategies that work and do not work, and engaging in crucial conversations to hold one another accountable. The agreement we recently signed with Cardinal Innovations makes funds available that we can put to work toward positively impacting permanency outcomes for children in foster care.”
 
This funding agreement is part of a larger child welfare reform effort by Cardinal Innovations. Additional components include immediate access to a care coordinator, shorter authorization times and an expanded network of providers. The plan also has taken steps to improve overall service delivery such as reduced emergency department utilization and increased access to services and providers in the communities it serves.
 
Rowan DSS Director Ennis reflected on a recent outcome of the joint effort with Cardinal Innovations.  “A parent recently told me that the work our agencies did together to help her child restored for her a sense of ‘physical hope.’ Our community’s citizens are diverse and strong. We are resourceful and courageous. And we each have the need to lean on one another at places along life’s path.”
 
The investment also coincides with statewide planning for the fall 2021 implementation of Family First Services Prevention Act (FFPSA), Sutten said. “Research tells us that children and youth have better long-term outcomes if they are anchored to a family. Supporting local Departments of Social Services through these investments provides real resources to help sustain biological, kinship, and foster families. I appreciate the trust extended by Rowan County,” he said. “The path forward is grounded in us working hand in hand, jointly focused on improving the health, safety, and stability of our citizens.”   

About Cardinal Innovations Healthcare
Cardinal Innovations Healthcare is a specialized health plan and care coordinator for Medicaid recipients and the under- and uninsured in North Carolina with complex behavioral and special needs. Cardinal Innovations connects people with treatment and support for mental health, intellectual and developmental disabilities, and substance use disorders through a network of providers in their communities. The organization serves this important role in 20 counties. In 2020, Cardinal Innovations administered nearly $850 million for the care of 825,000 people in the region and invested more than $50 million to improve support systems and to respond to the pandemic. Cardinal Innovations also works with local governments to address public health concerns such as homelessness, suicide prevention, child welfare and domestic violence through education, engagement and outreach. https://www.cardinalinnovations.org

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