The March 6 meeting of the Cuyahoga County Health, Human Services and Aging committee met to consider one contract related to family health, and another for homeless services.
Bob Math, from the Cuyahoga County Department of Health and Human Services spoke on behalf of the Division of Child and Family Services. He requested approval for a master contract that applies to 10 agencies who provide community-based health services for at-risk youth and their families. The contract was issued one year ago and the Budish administration is now requesting a one year renewal, which would expire in March 2020. The 10 organizations and the amount of money each would receive in the contract are:
- City of Lakewood $431,380
- Cuyahoga Metropolitan Housing Authority $370,000
- Catholic Charities Corporation $687,732
- East End Neighborhood House $430,009
- Murtis Taylor Human Services System $980,000
- The Centers for Families and Children $410,000
- University Settlement $365,000
- West Side Community House $435,000
- Parma City School District $435,815
- Harvard Community Services Center $425,000
These organizations provide services for children who are currently involved in the child welfare system, who are at-risk of being involved in the child welfare system, or who are aging out of foster care. The listed agencies provide case management and community outreach. They also serve as a family visitation site. More than $5 million in family health and homeless services contracts were reviewed by #CuyahogaCounty's HHSA Committee. What was their recommendation? Find out here Click To Tweet
As an aggregate, the 10 organizations receive 4,500 referrals annually.
As an aggregate, the 10 organizations receive 4,500 referrals annually. When combined, referrals from the Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS), walk-ins, and referrals from other agencies, the agencies serve about 800 clients per month.
The goal of these contracts is to reduce the number of children placed in foster care, as well as to expedite family reunification, Math said. The current contract was put out to bid in a Request for Proposals (RFP) in 2017. The first contracted concluded at the end of March 2019, and Math said that the administration recommends a one-year extension. The administration also built performance measures into the contract. The four measurable outcomes outlined are:
- An engagement goal: Families who are referred to each agency will have a complete assessment the moment they walk in the door. The service provider will develop a service plan to move forward.
- Ensure more self-sufficiency: For families with children who are aging out of the foster care system, what is the plan for the family to be able to meet basic needs? The service provider will have a 30, 60 and 90-day check in, after the initial assessment referenced above.
- A safe and stable environment: Questions are specifically asked and determined via the assessment tool. Results from the first assessment are measured and compared to the results from the same assessment at the end of the program, to measure improvement.
- Client satisfaction: The County will ensure each organization provides a satisfaction survey to client. So far, 85 percent of respondents say that they agree or strongly agree that they are satisfied with the level of service provided.
Unfortunately, Math said, the database the county currently uses to compile its performance metric data currently has “a number of glitches,” which need to be addressed.
Chairwoman Yvonne Conwell said that the collaborative organizations provide a valuable service to the community, as they keep individuals from coming back into the system, and foster family reunification.
There were a few questions from councilmembers. Chairwoman Yvonne Conwell said that the collaborative organizations provide a valuable service to the community, as they keep individuals from coming back into the system, and foster family reunification. If it were not for these agencies, said Conwell, DCFS would be doing everything else. That being said, she said she still felt strongly about the importance of oversight and metrics.
Councilman Dale Miller confirmed that this contract was for a one-year extension. He asked if there were any more extensions coming before another RFP is issued. Math replied that each master contract typically lasts for one year, with optional two, one-year extensions. This was the first of the two year-long extensions the county determined it needed.
This was the first of the two year-long extensions the county determined it needed.
Council committee members then heard from LaJean Ray from Fatima Family Services Center, Elaine Goldstein, from Harvard Community Services Center and Rachelle Milner from the Westside Community House. Each of the women testified in favor of the master contract and the important services the agencies offer to the community.
The contract was approved by the committee under second reading suspension, and referred to the full council.
The second contract is worth $538,471 and is for the Pick-up, Assessment, Services and Shelter (PASS) Rapid Rehousing Program for Single Adults, a collaboration between the Office of Homeless Services and the Salvation Army.
The second contract is worth $538,471 and is for the Pick-up, Assessment, Services and Shelter (PASS) Rapid Rehousing Program for Single Adults, a collaboration between the Office of Homeless Services and the Salvation Army. The contract runs from October 1,, 2018 to September 30 of this year. Shari Weir, of the Program Office for the Cuyahoga County Office of Homeless Services, said that the grant agreement was signed with HUD in October. Weir briefly went over the history of the program. She said this program’s funding comes from the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). Over the past 30 years, HUD funding been responsible for many projects and services in the county. Clients are served at the Harbor Light complex, in downtown Cleveland. The accommodations are single and double occupancy. They also serve as detox locations and are staffed with resources to prevent substance abuse and encourage recovery. Last year, according to Weir, the facility served 254 clients. The average length of stay is 133 days.
Last year, the facility served 254 clients.
There were not many questions from council. Miller asked why this contact request came before council now, even though it started back in October. Weir said that the Salvation Army had to approve it, and then sent it to the Office of Homeless Services in December, where “it’s been stuck ever since.”
Beau Hill, appearing on behalf of the Salvation Army, chimed in, saying that he also wished that the contract approval process moved faster.
The contact was moved out to the full council under second reading suspension.