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Cuyahoga County HHSA committee awards more than $137 million in contracts at February meeting

Will Tarter
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February 21, 2022
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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):

  1. Applewood Centers, Inc. $1,200,000
  2. Beech Brook $900,000
  3. Bellefaire Jewish Children’s Bureau $178,230
  4. Catholic Charities Corporation $1,340,000
  5. The Cleveland Christian Home Incorporated $90,000
  6. Mental Health Services for Homeless Persons, Inc. dba Frontline Service $320,000
  7. National Youth Advocate Program, Inc. $90,000
  8. OhioGuidestone $301,770
  9. Ohio Mentor, Inc. $140,000
  10. Pressley Ridge $610,000
  11. Specialized Alternatives for Families and Youth of Ohio, Inc. $160,000Councilman 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:

  1. City of Bedford $108,084 for Adult Development, Congregate Meals and Transportation services.
  2. City of Bedford Heights $233,810 for Adult Page 2 of 32 Development, Congregate Meals and Transportation services
  3. City of Berea $226,036 for Adult Development, Delivered Meals and Transportation services.
  4. City of Euclid $152,810 for Adult Development, Congregate Meals, Holiday Meals and Transportation services.
  5. City of Lakewood $91,000 for Adult Development and Transportation services.
  6. City of Maple Heights $114,800 for Congregate Meals, Delivered Meals, Holiday Meals and Transportation services
  7. City of Olmsted Falls $59,990 for Adult Development services
  8. City of Solon $119,626 for Adult Development services
  9. City of Strongsville $220,950 for Adult Development and Transportation services
  10. Catholic Charities Corporation, Fatima Family Center $175,312.50 for Adult Development and Congregate Meals services.
  11. Catholic Charities Corporation on behalf of Hispanic Senior Center, $239,750 for Adult Development, Congregate Meals, Transportation and Outreach services.
  12. Catholic Charities Corporation on behalf of St. Martin de Porres Family Center, $178,640 for Adult Development and Transportation services
  13. Cleveland Clergy Alliance $300,000 for Outreach services
  14. Community Partnership on Aging, $140,000 for Adult Development and Transportation services
  15. The East End Neighborhood House Association, $345,788 for Adult Development, Congregate Meals, Delivered Meals, Holiday Meals and Transportation services
  16. Eliza Bryant Village, $156,000 for Adult Day and Transportation services
  17. The Harvard Community Services Center, $265,504 for Adult Development, Congregate Meals, Delivered Meals and Transportation services
  18. Linking Employment, Abilities and Potential (LEAP), $50,000 for Adult Development services.
  19. The Mandel Jewish Community Center of Cleveland $288,000 for Adult Development, Congregate Meals and Transportation services.
  20. Murtis Taylor Human Services System, $815,244 for Adult Development, Congregate Meals, Delivered Meals, Holiday Meals and Transportation services.
  21. Near West Side Multi-Service Corporation dba May Dugan Center, $50,000 for Adult Development services.
  22. Rose Centers for Aging Well, LLC, $957,686 for Adult Development, Congregate Meals, Delivered Meals and Transportation services
  23. The Salvation Army, $242,302 for Adult Development, Congregate Meals, Delivered Meals and Transportation services.
  24. Senior Citizen Resources, Inc. $493,042 for Adult Development, Congregate Meals, Delivered Meals, Holiday Meals and Transportation.
  25. Senior Transportation Connection, $400,000 for Transportation services.
  26. University Settlement, Inc. $295,978 for Adult Development, Congregate Meals, Delivered Meals, Holiday Meals and Transportation services.
  27. 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.

  1. Adelphoi Village, Inc. $2,447,192
  2. Applewood Centers, Inc. $2,765,118
  3. Beech Brook $4,285,624
  4. Bellefaire Jewish Children’s Bureau $6,264,838
  5. BHC Belmont Pines Hospital, Inc. $4,894,384
  6. BHC Fox Run Hospital, Inc. Fox Run: The Center for Children and Adolescents $1,275,886
  7. Boys to Men Transitional Home, Inc. $49,800
  8. Cadence Care Network $49,800
  9. Caring for Kids, Inc. $2,871,502
  10. Carrington Behavioral Health, LLC $251,990
  11. Catholic Charities Corporation $1,669,310
  12. Christian Children’s Home of Ohio, Inc. $668,322
  13. Cleveland Christian Home $3,844,592
  14. Cornell Abraxas Group, LLC $1,291,882
  15. Destiny Family Services $90,836
  16. Detroit Behavioral Institute, Inc. $1,376,484
  17. Eastway Corporation $205,178
  18. ENA, Inc. dba Necco Center $2,808,942
  19. Freedom Youth Program $494,020
  20. Gracehaven, Inc. $419,020
  21. Habilitation Centers, LLC dba Little Creek Behavioral Health $428,482
  22. Habilitation Centers, LLC dba Millcreek of Arkansas $2,509,940
  23. House of New Hope $5,408,324
  24. Keystone Richland Center LLC dba Foundations for Living $628,082
  25. Laurel Oaks Behavioral Health Center $264,938
  26. Life’s Right Direction, Inc. $410,156
  27. Lighthouse Youth Services, Inc. dba Lighthouse Youth & Family Services $91,632
  28. Lutheran Homes Society Family & Youth Services dba Genacross Family & Youth Services $1,766,918
  29. Lutheran Metropolitan Ministry dba S.T.A.R.T. (Support To At-Risk Teens) $1,824,288
  30. National Youth Advocate Program, Inc. $9,840,560
  31. Necco, LLC $49,800
  32. New Beginnings Residential Treatment Center, LLC $1,242,022
  33. New Directions, Inc. $98,106
  34. Northeast Ohio Adoption Services $358,562
  35. Oesterlen Services for Youth, Inc. $326,690
  36. Ohio Mentor, Inc. $12,658,346
  37. OhioGuidestone $11,607,478
  38. Pathway Caring for Children $2,101,976
  39. Piney Ridge Treatment Center, LLC $1,992
  40. Pressley Ridge $2,538,824
  41. Quality Care Residential Homes, Inc. $597,604
  42. Raven House $358,562
  43. Rite of Passage, Inc. $420,116
  44. Rolling Hills Hospital, Inc. $464,836
  45. RTC Acquisition Corporation $639,836
  46. Specialized Alternatives for Families and Youth of Ohio, Inc. $12,537,678
  47. The Bair Foundation $2,704,162
  48. The Twelve of Ohio, Inc $1,484,052
  49. The Village Network $2,622,618
  50. Young Star Academy, LLC. dba Mohican Young Star Academy $3,071,514
  51. Youth Intensive Services, Inc $412,348
  52. Youth Opportunity Investments, LLC $191,234
  53. Artis’s Tender Love & Care, Inc. $2,385,638
  54. Focus 2 Focus, Inc. $165,338
  55. In Focus of Cleveland, Inc. $2,131,458
  56. Jaystarr Homes 2, Inc. $581,370
  57. 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.

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