2.4 Emergency Assistance Services (EAS)
This chapter provides guidelines for accessing funds through the Emergency Assistance Services (EAS) program under Title IV-A of the Social Security Act.
Since 1968 Title IV-A has included a program of EAS specifically designed to assist families through an emergency or crisis. Recently, several states have expanded the range of services covered by their EAS program to include more eligibility determinations, investigatory and contractual service activities for families in which child abuse and neglect (CA/N) is a factor.
In the EAS program, families will be assumed to be in a potential emergency situation as a result of:
- A family being the subject of a child abuse and neglect report;
- A child who needs, or may need, an out-of-home placement; or
- A Family-Centered Services case being opened when a family emergency places a child at risk of child abuse and neglect.
In order for Children’s Division (CD) to determine whether clients are eligible to receive EAS, each family referred to CD because of a CA/N report, Family-Centered Services, or Alternative Care services, will undergo an EAS eligibility determination process. If determined eligible, the family and child may receive any purchased services that will address the emergency situation for a period not to exceed 365 days in any 12-month period.
Service Delivery Costs
After staff has determined that an emergency exists and the family/child is eligible, federal funds are available to pay for services provided to families and children to alleviate the emergency created by a CA/N situation, or the need for out-of-home placement. In order to meet the federal requirements for the service delivery element of EAS, CD must complete several well-defined tasks:
- Emergency Assistance Services Application Process – The regulations require that an application process be in place for EAS. In order to meet this requirement, the CS-EAS-1 (Emergency Assistance Services Form) has been developed. This one page form documents the client’s application for CD assistance in receiving EAS and documents the client’s eligibility for those services. The services which may be provided under EAS include all of our current purchased services such as CTS, child care, residential treatment, foster/relative care, emergency shelter, intensive in-home services, etc.
If the CS-EAS-1 application is being completed for an intact family (where the children are in the home), the parents or guardians will sign the CS-EAS-1 to request services. If the CS-EAS-1 is being completed for a child(ren) in out-of-home care, the Children’s Service Worker will complete the CS-EAS-1 on behalf of the child(ren) and the family.
In summary, the EAS application process will include having the family sign the CS-EAS-1 or the Children’s Service Worker signing the CS-EAS-1 on behalf of a child in out-of-home care. (Staff must check the FCS and AC Information screen in FACES to determine the most recent EAS eligibility period. If that date is within the last 12 months, the client is not eligible for EAS and no CS-EAS-1 should be completed on this client.)
- Eligibility Determination Process – Federal regulations require a document which establishes eligibility. In order to meet that requirement and in order to fully address the specific eligibility criteria for the EAS program, staff must complete Section II of the CS-EAS-1. In order for a family to be eligible for EAS, staff must document that:
- The application is filed by an adult member of the child’s family or by staff on behalf of a child in out-of-home care.
- An emergency exists and the emergency was not caused by an adult family member’s refusal (without good cause) of a job or training.
- The child has resided with one or both parents (or a specified relative, i.e., grandparent, an adoptive parent, a stepparent, a sibling, an aunt, an uncle, or a cousin) within the last six (6) months prior to this emergency.
- The family receives TANF, SSI, food stamps, MO HealthNet or does not have the resources immediately available to pay for services needed by the family.
Staff will complete the CS-EAS-1 when the decision has been made that an emergency exists and that purchased services will be delivered to the client. The form may be completed by the investigative/assessment worker, the Family-Centered Services worker, or the out-of-home care worker, and should be completed before purchased services are actually delivered.
The completion of Section II of the CS-EAS-1 by staff will establish the client’s eligibility for EAS, and will authorize the family and/or child to receive purchased services to relieve the crisis.
- Service Authorization Process – After staff has completed the EAS eligibility determination and has identified which purchased services are to be delivered to the child or family, the service authorization start date must be entered on the CS-EAS-1. This date should, in most situations, be prior to the completion of any SEAS forms which would approve the provision of an individual service. If the services continue to be needed after 365 days, the child/family can continue to receive the service, but federal reimbursements will only be available if a new EAS application is taken and approved. Any current contractual service may be delivered under the EAS program in that 365-day period and staff will use the current program specific authorization process now in place to authorize those services (i.e., AC Information, SEAS, etc.).
- Client Tracking Process – Federal regulations require that CD be able to document the EAS eligibility period. In order to meet that requirement, staff must enter EAS Information into the Family-Centered Services Information EAS screen in FACES (for intact families receiving EAS) and into the Alternative Care Information EAS screen (for children in out-of-home care). The EAS date can be entered into the Alternative Care Information EAS screen or Family-Centered Services EAS screen. FACES will automatically update each screen so that the correct EAS date is retained for the family in both systems. This date must be entered so that the Division of Finance and Administrative Services can make the federal EAS claims and in order to track the receipt of only one 365 day eligibility period each 12 months by a client. The procedure to be used is as follows:
- Families – When EAS are to be delivered to an intact family, staff will enter the service authorization start date from the CS-EAS-1 on the EAS screen in FACES. It is important to list all household members on the Family-Centered Services Information screen, including children in out-of-home care, in order to claim EAS for all members authorized for services. Entering the CS-EAS-1 service authorization start date in FACES will alert the Division of Finance and Administrative Services that this family is an EAS family.
- Child – When EAS are to be delivered to a child in out-of-home care, who is not physically living in the home of an active FCS case, the service authorization start date from the CS-EAS-1 must be entered in the Alternative Care Information EAS screen in FACES. The child can still be listed as a household member on the FCS Information screen.
- Intensive In-Home Services (IIS) Cases – When any purchased service is to be provided to a family that does not have an active FCS case, staff will open an FCS case, complete the EAS eligibility determination process (including the CS-EAS-1), establish a service authorization start date, open a Family-Centered Services case in FACES, and enter the service authorization start date on the EAS screen. This client tracking procedure will require that data about IIS families who are to receive purchased services as part of the EAS program be entered on the EAS screen in FACES.
- In cases where the family composition changes as a result of a child going into out-of-home care from a family already receiving EAS or a child in out-of-home care receiving EAS who returns home to his family who was not receiving EAS, the following procedure will apply. The changes in family composition alone will not disqualify the child/family for receipt of services. The A/C and FCS FACES system will automatically update with the current EAS authorization entered. Both parties (child and family) may receive EAS for a period of 365 days from the original service authorization start date. For example, if a child in out-of-home care had a CS-EAS-1 start date of February 1, 2019, and returns home, then the EAS start date for the family will also be February 1.
In cases where a child with an EAS date in Alternative Care is being added to a Family-Centered Services household with a different EAS date, the FCS system will not be updated with the EAS date in A/C, instead, an error report will be generated to the Children’s Division Payment Unit identifying a discrepancy in EAS dates. The Payment Unit will contact the Children’s Service Worker to resolve the discrepancy.
- Subsequent Service Determination Process – In those situations in which a family/child has received EAS services during an initial 12-month period and CD remains involved with the case beyond 12 months, it is possible for the family/child to become eligible for additional EAS in a subsequent 12 month period. A 12-month period is defined as 365 days from the EAS begin date established at the time the EAS eligibility determination is made.
In order to receive EAS after the initial period of eligibility, a new application must be submitted. If there is no new emergency, but the conditions of the original emergency still exist, this should also be expressed in the emergency statement. If purchased services, such as counseling, were initially authorized, they may also be re-authorized if needed without a new emergency. All requirements for receipt of EAS must exist, i.e., application must be filed by an adult member of the household, the child must have resided with a parent or specified relative within the past six (6) months, and a crisis or emergency situation must exist. The crisis must have occurred 12 months or later after the last EAS eligibility begin date, and another EAS determination must be made. In order for a family or child to be re-authorized for EAS services, the following conditions must exist:
- A CA/N report is made on the family after the initial 12-month EAS eligibility period;
- An emergency occurs more than 12 months after the last EAS begin date that required intervention by the Children’s Service Worker and which results in additional service needs; or
- The conditions of the original emergency still exist