The Cuyahoga County Council Health, Human Services and Aging (HHSA) Committee met for the first time since December and discussed a number of contracts pertaining to health and human services issues including infant and maternal health, senior services, and foster care.
First Year Cleveland land multi-year agreement to address infant mortality
The first contract was a three-year contract for $1.5 million with Case Western Reserve University, which serves as the fiscal agent for the First Year Cleveland program. The contract will run from January 1, 2022, to December 31, 2024. Speaking on behalf of the county was Paul Porter, who serves in the Department of Health and Human Services Division of Contract Administration. He described how the contract typically is for an annual award of $500,000, but now the county is proposing a multi-year agreement, with the annual funding support to remain $500,000. Testifying alongside Porter was Sabrina Roberts, on behalf of the Division of Health Policy, as well as Katrice Cain, Interim Director of First Year Cleveland.
Cain testified, in response to a question from County Councilman Dale Miller, that according to data from the county board of health the 2020 overall infant mortality rate in Cuyahoga County was 7.65 and that the Black infant mortality rate was 14.80. Cain attributed the lower mortality rates to increased financial support through stimulus checks and decreased office stress due to the higher number of people working from home. The contract was approved unanimously under second reading suspension, meaning that the contract will now be forwarded to the full council for consideration at the next general body meeting.
Katrice Cain attributed the county’s lower mortality rates to increased financial support through stimulus checks and decreased office stress due to the higher number of people working from home.
At-Risk youth to gain wrap-around services from 11 organizations
The second contract considered was a $5.33 million contract from January 1, 2022 to December 31, 2023, a Master Contract for children and families in Cuyahoga County. The contract was presented by Porter, who presented on behalf of the Division of Child and Family Services (DCFS). In his presentation, Porter described how the providers for this contract would provide supportive services for at-risk families to prevent further intervention by DCFS. Those services include high-fidelity wrap-around services, family presentation, evidence-based programming, therapy, the nurturing parenting education program, supportive visitation, medical case management, and (new this year) the youth acceptance project, which assists parents with LGBTQIA+ youth.
The county issued the RFP and received 14 responses. Of those 14, the county issued awards to 11 of the respondents. They are (all amounts listed as “not to exceed” amounts):
- Applewood Centers, Inc. $1,200,000
- Beech Brook $900,000
- Bellefaire Jewish Children’s Bureau $178,230
- Catholic Charities Corporation $1,340,000
- The Cleveland Christian Home Incorporated $90,000
- Mental Health Services for Homeless Persons, Inc. dba Frontline Service $320,000
- National Youth Advocate Program, Inc. $90,000
- OhioGuidestone $301,770
- Ohio Mentor, Inc. $140,000
- Pressley Ridge $610,000
- Specialized Alternatives for Families and Youth of Ohio, Inc. $160,000
Councilman Marty Sweeney remarked about the impact of the pandemic on the overall funding and if county officials are budgeting for the fiscal impact of the pandemic, as some services have been underutilized and other services have been utilized more frequently. Specifically, he inquired about how the LGBTQ program was being financially supported.
Cyndy Weiskittel, Administrator for DCFS, supplied the answer to the question. Previously, support for LGBTQ youth was funded by a grant that was awarded to the county. Now, the youth acceptance program has been brought “in house.”
The contract was approved under second reading suspension.
Senior Services highlighting areas of need: Parma Heights and the Central Neighborhood
The next contract was a master contract of $7,138,350 for the Community Social Services Program (CSSP), which is administered through the Division of Senior and Adult Services (DSAS), from January 1, 2022 to December 31, 2023. Those providers are:
- City of Bedford $108,084 for Adult Development, Congregate Meals and Transportation services.
- City of Bedford Heights $233,810 for Adult Page 2 of 32 Development, Congregate Meals and Transportation services
- City of Berea $226,036 for Adult Development, Delivered Meals and Transportation services.
- City of Euclid $152,810 for Adult Development, Congregate Meals, Holiday Meals and Transportation services.
- City of Lakewood $91,000 for Adult Development and Transportation services.
- City of Maple Heights $114,800 for Congregate Meals, Delivered Meals, Holiday Meals and Transportation services
- City of Olmsted Falls $59,990 for Adult Development services
- City of Solon $119,626 for Adult Development services
- City of Strongsville $220,950 for Adult Development and Transportation services
- Catholic Charities Corporation, Fatima Family Center $175,312.50 for Adult Development and Congregate Meals services.
- Catholic Charities Corporation on behalf of Hispanic Senior Center, $239,750 for Adult Development, Congregate Meals, Transportation and Outreach services.
- Catholic Charities Corporation on behalf of St. Martin de Porres Family Center, $178,640 for Adult Development and Transportation services
- Cleveland Clergy Alliance $300,000 for Outreach services
- Community Partnership on Aging, $140,000 for Adult Development and Transportation services
- The East End Neighborhood House Association, $345,788 for Adult Development, Congregate Meals, Delivered Meals, Holiday Meals and Transportation services
- Eliza Bryant Village, $156,000 for Adult Day and Transportation services
- The Harvard Community Services Center, $265,504 for Adult Development, Congregate Meals, Delivered Meals and Transportation services
- Linking Employment, Abilities and Potential (LEAP), $50,000 for Adult Development services.
- The Mandel Jewish Community Center of Cleveland $288,000 for Adult Development, Congregate Meals and Transportation services.
- Murtis Taylor Human Services System, $815,244 for Adult Development, Congregate Meals, Delivered Meals, Holiday Meals and Transportation services.
- Near West Side Multi-Service Corporation dba May Dugan Center, $50,000 for Adult Development services.
- Rose Centers for Aging Well, LLC, $957,686 for Adult Development, Congregate Meals, Delivered Meals and Transportation services
- The Salvation Army, $242,302 for Adult Development, Congregate Meals, Delivered Meals and Transportation services.
- Senior Citizen Resources, Inc. $493,042 for Adult Development, Congregate Meals, Delivered Meals, Holiday Meals and Transportation.
- Senior Transportation Connection, $400,000 for Transportation services.
- University Settlement, Inc. $295,978 for Adult Development, Congregate Meals, Delivered Meals, Holiday Meals and Transportation services.
- West Side Community House, $417,997.50 for Adult Development, Congregate Meals, Holiday Meals and Transportation services.
Again, testifying on behalf of the county was Porter. This contract is a two-year contract, with an additional one-year option. CSSP is a longstanding program for DSAS. The pandemic has had a substantial impact on CSSP program vendors, but they adapted and were able to make changes in delivery of services to county residents, such as switching to home delivered meals instead of congregate meals.
The pandemic has had a substantial impact on Community Social Services Program vendors, but they adapted and were able to make changes in delivery of services to county residents.
Porter noted that even with the volume of awards being presented at the committee hearing, there are several areas that have a high amount of need, but there is a gap because there is no provider to serve those areas. Those areas are Parma Heights and the Central Neighborhood. The county is going to go back out to see if there are other vendors who may be able to respond to the needs of older adults in those areas. If there are vendors who respond, they will be added to this master contract.
Another critical point that Porter made was that some of the respondents included programming for increasing digital literacy. However, when the county was evaluating responses, there was not enough funding to fund the digital literacy programming requests. The county may re-examine the responses if more funding becomes available. DSAS is also including Senior Transportation Connection (STC), which focuses on senior transportation, as well as Linking Employment, Abilities and Potential (LEAP) which specifically supports adults with disabilities.
Councilman Miller asked about the “outreach” services. If “outreach” was for one specific organization or were there others who responded to that portion of the RFP. Porter said that “outreach” was included in the RFP and DSAS received several responses to that, not just the Cleveland Clergy Alliance. Other organizations providing community outreach include the Hispanic Senior Center and the Cleveland Clergy Alliance.
Chairwoman Conwell asked about Digital Literacy, would these agencies that were not included in this CSSP contract, be eligible for ARPA dollars. David Merriman said that is something that the administration is considering. The contract was approved under second reading suspension.
Support for children in out-of-home residential placement services and county custody
Finally, a contract was considered for out-of-home residential placement services for children in county custody, including foster care, group home placement, residential placement and hospitalization treatment. The contract was awarded to 57 agencies who were awarded dollars out of the 59 organizations that applied. A two-year contract, with an option for a third year in 2024, the contract amount is $123,000,000. Speaking on behalf of the Children and Family Services.
- Adelphoi Village, Inc. $2,447,192
- Applewood Centers, Inc. $2,765,118
- Beech Brook $4,285,624
- Bellefaire Jewish Children’s Bureau $6,264,838
- BHC Belmont Pines Hospital, Inc. $4,894,384
- BHC Fox Run Hospital, Inc. Fox Run: The Center for Children and Adolescents $1,275,886
- Boys to Men Transitional Home, Inc. $49,800
- Cadence Care Network $49,800
- Caring for Kids, Inc. $2,871,502
- Carrington Behavioral Health, LLC $251,990
- Catholic Charities Corporation $1,669,310
- Christian Children’s Home of Ohio, Inc. $668,322
- Cleveland Christian Home $3,844,592
- Cornell Abraxas Group, LLC $1,291,882
- Destiny Family Services $90,836
- Detroit Behavioral Institute, Inc. $1,376,484
- Eastway Corporation $205,178
- ENA, Inc. dba Necco Center $2,808,942
- Freedom Youth Program $494,020
- Gracehaven, Inc. $419,020
- Habilitation Centers, LLC dba Little Creek Behavioral Health $428,482
- Habilitation Centers, LLC dba Millcreek of Arkansas $2,509,940
- House of New Hope $5,408,324
- Keystone Richland Center LLC dba Foundations for Living $628,082
- Laurel Oaks Behavioral Health Center $264,938
- Life’s Right Direction, Inc. $410,156
- Lighthouse Youth Services, Inc. dba Lighthouse Youth & Family Services $91,632
- Lutheran Homes Society Family & Youth Services dba Genacross Family & Youth Services $1,766,918
- Lutheran Metropolitan Ministry dba S.T.A.R.T. (Support To At-Risk Teens) $1,824,288
- National Youth Advocate Program, Inc. $9,840,560
- Necco, LLC $49,800
- New Beginnings Residential Treatment Center, LLC $1,242,022
- New Directions, Inc. $98,106
- Northeast Ohio Adoption Services $358,562
- Oesterlen Services for Youth, Inc. $326,690
- Ohio Mentor, Inc. $12,658,346
- OhioGuidestone $11,607,478
- Pathway Caring for Children $2,101,976
- Piney Ridge Treatment Center, LLC $1,992
- Pressley Ridge $2,538,824
- Quality Care Residential Homes, Inc. $597,604
- Raven House $358,562
- Rite of Passage, Inc. $420,116
- Rolling Hills Hospital, Inc. $464,836
- RTC Acquisition Corporation $639,836
- Specialized Alternatives for Families and Youth of Ohio, Inc. $12,537,678
- The Bair Foundation $2,704,162
- The Twelve of Ohio, Inc $1,484,052
- The Village Network $2,622,618
- Young Star Academy, LLC. dba Mohican Young Star Academy $3,071,514
- Youth Intensive Services, Inc $412,348
- Youth Opportunity Investments, LLC $191,234
- Artis’s Tender Love & Care, Inc. $2,385,638
- Focus 2 Focus, Inc. $165,338
- In Focus of Cleveland, Inc. $2,131,458
- Jaystarr Homes 2, Inc. $581,370
- Open Arms Adoption, Inc. $49,800
The county currently has about 2,550 children in custody.
Porter was careful to note that,t in some cases, vendor costs went up because there were other counties such as Summit County or Franklin County, that were willing to pay more to send their children to a bed in Cuyahoga County. In order to maintain availability for Cuyahoga County children, the county executive authorized increases in spending in order to maintain a bed for Cuyahoga County’s children. The county had to negotiate with vendors to find a price that the county could afford, to maintain the bed availability. Those rates are locked in for two years.
When asked by Councilman Miller about how the rate increases affect the overall availability of funding, Porter and Merriman both said that while the rates have increased, the annual funding available amount of $65,000,000 per year has not. That means that there is a possibility that at the end of each year there may be an additional request for more funding.
Weiskittel then went to the podium to add that the county currently has about 2,550 children in custody. That number has decreased from years past. After the meeting, DCFS officials broke down that number to 1,516 in the county, and 50 kids of state. One-third of the children in county custody are in kinship care, which has been a priority of county council in years past. The contract was passed under second reading suspension.
The meeting concluded with a presentation from the Hitchcock Center for Women, Inc. The meeting was then adjourned.