What’s Next for Cardinal Innovations’ Child Program

Cardinal Innovations — November 08, 2021

What’s Next for Cardinal Innovations’ Child Program

With our consolidation with Vaya Health (Vaya), our Child Program will come to an end. However, we are incredibly proud of what the Child Program team has accomplished. We more than tripled our capacity to serve youth in crisis. We helped keep dozens of children from entering foster care. And we made getting families into services simpler and faster than ever before.

So, what will happen to families once we consolidate?

Of the 15 counties we now serve, six counties will switch to other managed care organizations (MCOs) on December 1. The remaining nine counties will transition to Vaya on January 1, 2022. However, this doesn’t mean DSS-involved families won’t continue to receive support.

Here’s what our members, providers, and community stakeholders can expect.


A Note to Families in the Realigning Counties

Each MCO works with the child welfare system differently. So, it’s best for families in these eight counties to contact their future MCO to learn about their child welfare initiatives. Members can visit our County Realignments page to get started.


Support for Families in Vaya-Bound Counties

We are working closely with Vaya to ensure that families get the support they need.

Does Vaya Post Child Welfare System Updates?

Vaya keeps their communities informed through regular “key messaging” documents. Every month, they provide each county with an individualized PDF. These updates cover a range of county-specific information, not just Vaya’s work with DSS.

That being said, the consolidation of our organizations will bring new opportunities! As our teams begin to collaborate, we’ll discover new ways to communicate our goals, progress, and member stories. Although we don’t yet know exactly what the future holds, we promise to keep everyone—members, providers, and stakeholders like DSS—in the loop.

Get Ready to See Some Familiar Faces

Several of our DSS liaisons will move to Vaya’s team by the year’s end. Although these individuals won’t be called “DSS liaisons,” they will still work with DSS through Vaya’s Embedded Care Management Program.

Like our liaisons, Vaya’s embedded care managers work directly with DSS staff by:
  • Helping social workers navigate the behavioral health system
  • Consulting on families’ cases
  • Setting up shared case meetings with DSS, Vaya care managers, and providers
  • Supporting communication between providers and DSS to address local concerns
  • Educating social workers on Vaya’s role in the community


An Exciting Look Ahead

Vaya’s team is already doing fantastic work to support families involved in the child welfare system. Here are just a few examples:
  • Fast Track Response Team: These dedicated care managers work to support kids in DSS custody who are waiting for therapeutic residential placement. On average, the team resolves initial placement needs within three days.
  • Quarterly Leadership Meetings: Vaya’s senior leadership meets with each county’s DSS leadership every three months. These meetings keep communication lines open and ensure that both teams stay up to date on services and system-level changes.
  • Child and Youth Resource Guide: This PDF provides information to support families involved in the child welfare system. It includes child service summaries and how to contact applicable providers. It also describes Vaya’s referral process and Utilization Management requirements. 
  • DSS Escalation Strategy Tool: If DSS agency staff have concerns about a member’s care, Vaya wants to know. This tool encourages DSS to follow Vaya’s process for resolving concerns and/or escalating them to the appropriate level. It also suggests strategies that can be used for specific scenarios.
Both Cardinal Innovations and Vaya want the same thing for our members—to help them live their best lives. We know that as our two teams come together, our child welfare communities will only grow stronger. So, despite the certain challenges ahead, we’re looking forward to this new chapter. And to all those we serve: We hope you are, too.

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