What is the CSA and how does it support youth and families?
The Children's Services Act (CSA) is a Virginia state law designed to coordinate care and provide funding to support eligible at-risk youth and their families. CSA is guided by state laws and policies and implemented at the local level. State and local funds are managed by local interagency teams who plan and oversee CSA services. Services are provided by various public and private agencies/programs. CSA is an integral part of Alexandria’s System of Care and is designed to be family-driven and to ensure that youth and their families have a strong voice in determining the services they need and receive.
Who administers the CSA?
CSA is administered locally by two teams: the Alexandria Community Policy and Management Team (ACPMT) who oversees the local CSA program by coordinating agencies’ efforts, managing the available funds, and establishing local CSA program policies; and the Family Assessment and Planning Team (FAPT) which is a multi-disciplinary group that helps assess the strengths and needs of individual youth and families and together, with those youth and their families, decides what services to recommend, prepares a plan, and monitors progress toward accomplishing goals. Both the ACPMT and FAPT are statutorily required to include parents and staff from the human service agencies of the community services boards, court service units, the department of social services, and the public schools. The ACPMT must also include a local health department representative and a Private Service Provider. Since every CSA program is locally designed other community members may also be asked to serve on either team.
How are youth referred to the CSA program?
Children and youth are referred to the local CSA program either by a case manager from one of the human service agencies or directly by the parent or family. CSA-funded services are available to a child or youth who meets at least one of the following criteria:
- Requires placement in a private day school for special education, as determined by their Individual Education Plan (IEP)
- Already in foster care or eligible for foster care services
- Requires services through a Child in Need of Services (CHINS) Parental Agreement
- Has significant emotional or behavioral problems and requires services not available from a single agency, require services from multiple agencies, or may be at risk of residential placement
The core values of the Alexandria CSA system of care include:
- Respecting the right of families to be leaders of their lives and make choices for themselves
- Recognizing and being empathetic to the very real challenges that families may be facing and thinking outside of the box to come up with feasible and perhaps even creative ways to assist families in working through those challenges
- Approaching service planning and delivery in a holistic manner so as to provide maximum opportunities for the child/youth and their family to acquire skills and knowledge to move forward on the path to being the best they can be
- Intentionally listening to what families say they need and asking questions, without judgment, to ensure understanding