The Cuyahoga County Health and Human Service and Aging Committee awarded nine contracts to organizations that do work related to youth and the foster care system at their March 21 meeting. Bob Math, who represented the Division of Children and Family Services (DCFS) testified in front of the committee. Twelve organizations responded to a Request for Proposals (RFP) issued in September 2017, nine contracts were awarded.
The services provided to families include case management, service coordination, supervised family visitations, as well as helping to enroll children in universal pre-kindergarten. In 2017, these organizations served more than 3,500 families.
The contracts will run from April 1, 2018 to March 31, 2019, with two, one-year extension options, predicated on agency performance and fund availability. Those organizations are:
- Catholic Charities Corporation $737,732
- Cuyahoga Metropolitan Housing Authority $375,000
- East End Neighborhood House $445,009
- City of Lakewood $431,380
- Murtis Taylor Human Services System $1 million
- Parma City School District $440,815
- The Centers for Families and Children $425,000
- University Settlement $380,000
- West Side Community House $450,000
These organizations offer community-based programming aimed at reaching youth involved in the foster care system, and those aging out of foster care, as well as serving families who are at-risk of entering the welfare system. The services provided to families include case management, service coordination, supervised family visitations, as well as helping to enroll children in universal pre-kindergarten. In 2017, these organizations served more than 3,500 families.Nine organizations awarded county contracts for community-based programming aimed at reaching youth involved in the foster care system, those aging out and families who are at-risk of entering the welfare system. Click To Tweet
Councilwoman Shontel Brown opened questioning by asking Math how many years the contracts have been in place with these providers. Math testified that the amount of time varies with each organization, but some have been in place for more than 20 years. The providers determined the number of families served, and how much money would be necessary to provide those services.
Councilman Dale Miller followed up by asking about the contract extension parameters, if the county wanted to extend the contract, would it extend to all providers or selected providers.
Math explained that the county does have the option to extend the contracts, and that the decision would largely depend on service demand. This demand for service is based on quarterly reports generated by the agencies. In response to a follow up question by Councilman Miller, Math stated that 3,500 families were served last year, with approximately 75 percent of those families being “DCFS cases” (meaning they were referred by DCFS), compared to 25 percent of families who were “walk-in,” meaning these were families in the neighborhood who walked into these organizations saying that they needed help. Jackie McCrae, Deputy Director for the Department of Children and Family Services, addressed the committee, adding that most families served by the agencies in this contract are not “foster families” per se, but foster families are included in the 75 percent DCFS referral figure. The 75 percent number also includes families that are at-risk of becoming foster care families, or are otherwise already involved in some other part of DCFS.
Councilwoman Nan Baker was curious about the number of children served by this contract, as opposed to measuring the number of families. McCrae noted that, according to these numbers, each family has on average 2.53 children who are served. McCrae went on to explain that these programs are in place to keep a family together, but if the child can’t be safely cared for in the home, then the county steps in and gets a court order to assume custody. The county continues to work with families with a goal of reunification.
According to Chairwoman Yvonne Conwell, the resolution would be tabled for one week for Council to review additional information before it passes it out of committee.