Category Archives: Social.Services

S.L. County launching 2 programs serving at-risk homeless, repeat offenders

Source: McKenzie Romero, Deseret News, December 19, 2016

After two years of preparation, Salt Lake County is ready to launch two data-driven and results-based programs addressing persistent homelessness and treatment for men at risk of repeated trips to jail. Calling the plan a “new frontier” for delivering essential services while safeguarding taxpayer interests, Salt Lake County Mayor Ben McAdams said $11.5 million will go toward two projects kicking off early next year with the goal of eventually serving an estimated 550 people. The launch comes just days after Salt Lake City Mayor Jackie Biskupski announced the locations of four new homeless shelters to be established around the city, and the eventual closure of the Road Home facility, operated by one of the two nonprofit organizations partnering in the county program. … In January, the Road Home will begin work on its Homes Not Jail project, which will provide a place to live for those who have been homeless for 90 to 364 days in hopes of keeping them from becoming homeless for much longer. The program is expected to serve 315 people. … Later in 2017, First Steps House will receive funds for its “REACH” initiative, which aims to provide comprehensive intervention, support and treatment for an estimated 225 men who have been incarcerated and are becoming repeat offenders. The acronym REACH stands for recovery, engagement, assessment, career and housing. …. Support for the “pay for success” programs has come from the Gail and Larry H. Miller Foundation, the Ray & Tye Noorda Foundation, the George S. and Dolores Doré Eccles Foundation, Living Cities, Synchrony Bank, Zions Bank, Northern Trust, QBE Insurance Group Limited, Ally Bank and the Reinvestment Fund. …


Salt Lake County budget up for public hearings, with focus on ‘Pay for Success’
Source: Mike Gorrell, Salt Lake Tribune, December 4, 2016

Two public hearings are on the Salt Lake County Council’s agenda Tuesday. The first, at 4 p.m., will seek public comment on Mayor Ben McAdams’ proposal to invest $3.75 million in two “Pay for Success” programs, one aiming to reduce homelessness, the other to lower jail recidivism. … The council wants to apply $500,000 to extending substance abuse and mental-health treatment services from April to July for people entered into programs through the recent Operation Diversion roundups in downtown Salt Lake City. That joint county-city effort is aimed at curbing illegal drug trafficking by arresting dealers and diverting addicts into treatment. Another $250,000 would be dedicated, in the council plan, to an initiative to combat opioid abuse. The county district attorney’s office helped kick off the effort earlier this fall, providing funding to equip Unified Police Department officers with anti-overdose kits. The Pay for Success plan is a key piece of both McAdams’ budget, which does not require a tax increase, and his multiyear plan to address criminal-justice reform by attacking its root causes. … Both programs are designed to achieve specific success rates based on a variety of criteria. If the programs reach those benchmarks, the county will repay the investors with interest. If they don’t succeed, the county has no repayment obligations. Nelson told the council that four senior lenders would invest up to $6.5 million:

• Northern Trust Bank in Chicago.
• Ally Bank in Midvale.
• Reinvestment Fund, a Philadelphia-based “catalyst for change in low-income communities.”
• QBE Insurance from Australia.

Another $2 million in subordinate loans have been pledged by the Sorenson Global Impact Investing Center at the University of Utah and New York City-based Living Cities, a collaboration of foundations and financial institutions dedicated to low-income urban residents.

Who Sets Nonprofit Compensation Levels? A Question of Equity and Justice

Source: Allison Sesso, NonProfit Quarterly, October 18, 2016

Last month marked an important moment for the nonprofit human services workforce. Members of the District Council 1707 (DC 1707) labor union and a membership organization of childcare providers, Day Care Council of New York (DCCNY), negotiated a four-year contract for 2,700 daycare workers in New York City serving 10,500 children. … While this contract will apply only to those daycare workers represented by the DC 1707 union in New York City, it raises important questions about the human services workforce as a whole—a workforce that provides critical services on behalf of government and that is comprised predominantly of people of color and women. Who should determine the wages of the human services workforce? How should compensation be set? The answers to these questions have significant implications for economic development and equity. … Currently, the City has approximately 4,000 contracts with roughly 1,200 nonprofit organizations, and there are more than 100,000 human services workers in the City. Many of these organizations receive 80 to 90 percent of their funding from the government, and unlike other industries, nonprofits cannot increase prices or pull from a profit margin to fund wage and benefit increases. When the government constricts nonprofit funding, it constricts nonprofit worker compensation, as nonprofits simply cannot afford to pay a living wage or provide decent health insurance coverage or retirement plans for their employees. … The DC 1707 agreement reminds us that government drives compensation levels at nonprofit human service agencies. When government funds nonprofit contracts adequately, they promote equity by boosting compensation and benefits for this predominately female and highly diverse workforce. Governments across the country should pay attention to the developments taking place in New York City and consider taking similar actions to improve compensation levels for this valuable and under-resourced workforce. …

Connecticut Substance Abuse/Child Welfare Project: State Will Pay for Success, But Hasn’t Defined It

Source: John Kelly, Chronicle for Social Change, October 13, 2016

Connecticut has announced it is underway with a pay-for-success venture that will reward private funders if they are successful in using a substance abuse treatment model to curb re-referrals to, and out-of-home placements made by, child protective services. One wrinkle: It’s not clear yet what the definition of “successful” will be. It’s not looking good for the Family First Preservation Services Act, which would have opened up federal IV-E entitlement funds for several services aimed at preventing the need for foster care in certain maltreatment cases. … The agency announced a pay-for-success (PFS) project through which 500 families will receive family-based recovery (FBR), a model of substance abuse treatment developed at Yale University that provides in-home, attachment-based parent-child therapy and substance abuse treatment. Each family is assigned two clinicians and a family support specialist. … And here is where it gets somewhat murky. Pressed by Youth Services Insider for details on what level of achievement would actually trigger repayment by the state – either in full or in part – representatives from DCF and its intermediary partner, Social Finance, did not provide specifics to Youth Services Insider. So we know that re-referrals and out-of-home placements will be the significant standards by which success will be measured, and the method for gauging success on those counts will be a randomized control study. But stakeholders on the project have not disclosed is how much better than the control group this project needs to be in order to get paid back by Connecticut. It suggests that either the exact benchmarks for success haven’t been worked out, or for some reason the partners do not want to release those benchmarks yet. …


State launches Pay for Success substance abuse program for parents
Source: Karen Florin, The Day, September 28, 2016

Five hundred families with substance abuse problems will be receiving treatment in their homes over the next 4.5 years, and the state of Connecticut will be paying the $11.2 million price tag for the first-of-its-kind program only if it works. Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, Department of Children and Families Commissioner Joette Katz and Rafael López, the commissioner of the U.S. Administration of Children, Youth and Families, gathered at the Community Health Center on Main Street Wednesday with clinicians, families and lenders to launch the Family Based Recovery program. The state has partnered with the Harvard Kennedy School Government Performance Lab and with Social Finance, a London-based nonprofit company, to launch the program. … he program will serve 11 communities in Connecticut, including Norwich and Willimantic, and will be managed at community health centers operated by United Child & Family Services, Community Mental Health Affiliates and Community Health Resources. “Finding innovative ways to support promising programs that tackle chronic social issues is a continuous endeavor,” Malloy said. “Pay for Success is the right tool at the right time.” Substance abuse is involved in at least half of the cases DCF investigates — 18,118 out of 36,131 in 2013 — and the agency has been striving, under Katz’s administration, to keep children in their homes while helping their parents. … Some of the lenders were in the audience, including Hervé P. Duteil, regional coordinator for corporate social responsibility in North America for BNP Paribas, a Paris-based bank and financial services company. Duteil said that by the end of June 2016, BNP Paribas had 840 million Euros of commitments in support of microfinance and social businesses. He said it is fair that the supporters of the program would be repaid based on performance, and that the money could then be recycled and used for another project. Duteil said that the Family Based Recovery Program, which has been two years in the works, sounded even better than it had on paper after he listened to the experiences of the mothers who have received help. …

Maryland’s Move to Pull Children From Group Homes Came Too Late for Teenager Who Died

Source: Heather Vogell, ProPublica, October 13, 2016

Once again, government actions against a controversial for-profit company’s chain of group homes for the disabled may have come too late to protect a child. ProPublica has learned that Maryland had begun pulling about 30 children out of homes owned and managed by AdvoServ in August, but hadn’t yet relocated a teenage girl when she died a month later after being manually restrained by staff. … Maryland, which plans to terminate its contract with AdvoServ at the end of this month, isn’t the only state to have increased its scrutiny of the company since the ProPublica series. In March, Delaware placed the company on probation, a spokeswoman for the state’s Department of Services for Children, Youth and Their Families said. In June, Florida officials said they had begun moving clients out of the company’s facility in the state, and stationed an investigator there. Through a spokesman, the company declined to comment on the decisions by Maryland and Delaware regulators. AdvoServ’s shortcomings add to the growing concerns about for-profit companies taking over delivery of human services, from prisons to hospice care, that were traditionally provided by government or non-profit agencies. … Officials elsewhere have repeatedly backed off from sanctioning the company, which is aided by well-connected lobbyists that include prominent former state legislators. In 2012, for example, Florida reneged on plans to bar an AdvoServ home, where both adults and a child had allegedly been punched and kicked, from accepting new clients for a year. … The girl was not the first teenager to die at an AdvoServ home. In 1997, a 14-year-old autistic boy with epilepsy was found dead in his bed with low levels of anti-seizure medicine in his blood. In 2013, a 14-year-old autistic girl died at the company’s Florida home after a night in which she was restrained — at times fastened to a bed and chair — while she vomited repeatedly. …


Teenage Girl Dies After Incident at For-profit Group Home
Source: Heather Vogell, ProPublica, September 20, 2016

A teenage girl died last week after an incident at a group home in Delaware run by a for-profit company, AdvoServ, whose long record of problematic treatment ProPublica chronicled last year. Attorney Chris Gowen, who has a lawsuit against AdvoServ concerning a different teen, said he has learned workers were manually restraining the girl when she became unresponsive. He and his clients have spoken to current and former workers about the incident. … Delaware state police and regulators also haven’t said what happened to the 15-year-old from Maryland. The state medical examiner’s office is conducting an autopsy, but a spokeswoman said the results will not be made public. Maryland is one of several states that send difficult cases to AdvoServ because they cannot find beds and schooling closer to home. The company, which is owned by a private equity firm, is based in Delaware and reported last year that it cared for roughly 700 children and adults in that state, Florida, and New Jersey, and was expanding into Virginia. …

… The girl is not the first child to die under questionable circumstances at AdvoServ’s homes and schools. In 2013, Paige Lunsford, 14 and autistic, died at the company’s Florida complex after a night in which she was restrained – at times latched to a bed and chair – while she vomited repeatedly. And in 1997, 14-year-old Jon Henley, who was autistic and had epilepsy, was found dead in his bed one morning after an apparent seizure. An autopsy revealed low levels of anti-seizure medication in his blood. Regulators in multiple states have fielded decades of complaints of abuse, neglect and inadequate medical care at AdvoServ facilities. … A former worker for AdvoServ in Delaware, who asked that his name not be used, said he left three years ago in part because he felt staff did not receive enough training in deescalating conflicts or restraining clients. The company had been trying out new restraint procedures that were supposed to make restraints less forceful by involving more staff members. But, he said, with too few staff often available to carry out the restraints as planned, “It just becomes unsafe.” …

… The company is one of the few group home operators that still use restraint devices to confine clients who become aggressive. As ProPublica has reported, AdvoServ staff used such mechanical restraints on clients at its 200-bed campus northwest of Orlando roughly 28,000 times. Florida officials said in June that they were moving clients out of AdvoServ’s complex and stationing an investigator there to provide extra oversight during the transition, which they expected to take months.

San Francisco proves that city-startup collaboration can work

Source: Laura Marinaro, ReadWrite, September 27, 2016

It’s tough for startups – with shorter capital runways and track records – to work with the long sales cycles, aging systems and bureaucratic requirements of cities. And governments often find themselves frustrated, working with legacy systems that need the support of new technology to keep up with the increases in urbanization and use of services. But these startups have amazing solutions for cities, and in San Francisco, the Mayor’s Office of Civic Innovation implemented their new Startup in Residence (STIR) Program. It aims to mentor startups through the process of working with government and helps simplify paperwork. Binti, one of their graduate startups, created a mobile-friendly web app for new foster care parents working with San Francisco’s Human Services Agency (HSA). The Binti/HSA team built a new public website,, and developed software that makes it easier for potential foster parents to complete their application process online. The HSA said this tool could save city social workers up to 20-40% of their time, so they can do more outreach and less paperwork. … Working on such a critical government-delivered need — “It’s always better when kids are placed with a supportive and caring family,” said Rhorer — may seem daunting to some startups, but this is where STIR helps. … In addition to the savings of time and money to San Francisco’s HSA, the wider world of dealing with cities has opened up for Binti with this STIR effort. “HSA has recommended us to other counties in California, so we can start scaling our impact and expanding our business,” said Curcuru. …

Pay for Success sounds straightforward, but getting it right may take a while

Source: Margaret J. Krauss, NewsWorks, October 6 2016

… Pay for Success contracts are a fairly new idea. The first U.S. program launched in New York in 2012. They’re also known as social impact bonds.  Whatever you call them, a Pay for Success contract is essentially a loan from the private sector to government in service of the public good. Pennsylvania identified five areas of focus: early childhood care and education; education, workforce preparedness, and employment; public safety; health and human services; and long-term living and home- and community-based services. … Theoretically, though, everyone wins: service providers have long-term commitments from funders to do good work; funders get to invest their money in programs they believe in; the government saves money and serves people in need; and people in need get tangible, effective help. And all of the decisionmaking relies on evidence.  While it’s good to reward effective work, particularly since budgets are limited and lots of people need help, proving that societal change translates into financial savings every time can be tricky. In an article for the Stanford Social Innovation Review, V. Kasturi Rangan and Lisa A. Chase write that Pay for Success could be detrimental to the very populations that governments, funders, and service providers are trying to help. … It will be a while until Pennsylvania can gauge the success of Pay for Success. But the state, as well as the Harvard Kennedy School, the Corporation for National and Community Service Social Innovation Fund and the Pritzker Children’s Initiative, has invested a lot of time in trying to get this first round right: design and development for the two programs has been ongoing since January 2016. …

Dozens show up for public forum on privatization of Hocking Valley Industries

Source: Beth Lanning, Logan Daily News, September 23, 2016

Concerns were voiced during a forum Wednesday concerning the privatization of Hocking Valley Industries (HVI). Hocking County Board of Developmental Disabilities (HCBDD) and HVI are now considered one entity but they’re transitioning into two separate entities because of federal mandates. The transition is scheduled to take place July 1, 2017. … The meeting provided very little comfort for those who have their jobs on the line including support professionals and drivers. Sean Dahl, Field Representative for the Ohio Association of Public School Employees (OAPSE) State Office, as well as the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), was in attendance to support the workers. “They are not guaranteeing our jobs. We’re still working on it but they are not guaranteed those positions,” said Dahl. “Right now we have 18 people and 16 people are being laid off as of July 2017. … Couch said 46 percent of the DD Board’s operating expenses supports HVI. He went on to say it is considered the DD Board’s share of match for people using Medicaid waivers to fund their day services. The levies will continue. … The U.S. Department of Justice has been looking at ADA issues in other states, and according to Couch, the restrictions that Ohio is putting on people with disabilities could be considered civil rights issues. The US Department of Justice looks at sheltered workshops such as HVI as an institutional type setting. They want to see people with developmental disabilities more integrated into their communities. HVI was preparing for the change well before the transition date. …

Long Beach explores new funding tool to alleviate homeless problem

Source: Courtney Tompkins, Press-Telegram, September 16, 2016

An emerging tool may help Long Beach solve pressing social issues such as homelessness. City Council members Suzie Price, Daryl Supernaw and Roberto Uranga asked city staff this week to explore the possibility of using “social impact bonds,” which involve private or philanthropic groups lending money to accomplish a specific social objective. The government would repay the funds if and when the objective is met, but if goals are not achieved, the government is off the hook for the bill. … It isn’t clear specifically how Long Beach plans to use the funds, but the focus would be efforts on homelessness, an issue that residents from downtown to Belmont Shore and East Long Beach have expressed concerns about. The city housed 1,738 people in shelters from Jan.  1 through August, and officials say Long Beach has received about $8.9 million this year in funding — most of it from the federal government — to combat homelessness. While the city offers a number of social programs, Price said new ideas need to be considered. … The City Council is expecting a report back from staff on the financing tool in the next 60 days, Price said. …

MA Pay for Success Worth Watching

Source: Deborah De Santis, Huffington Post, August 17, 2016

Much remains to be seen, but it’s worth noting an important milestone achieved by a PFS initiative in Massachusetts that aims to reduce chronic individual homelessness through the creation of supportive housing. The PFS partnership there has successfully placed over 250 individuals in stable, supportive housing, exceeding the minimum goal set for its first year and paving the way for cost savings in emergency rooms and inpatient care. This PFS initiative is being implemented by the Massachusetts Alliance for Supportive Housing (MASH) for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and it is providing supportive housing to long-term homeless individuals who would otherwise rely on costly crisis-care resources, enabling them instead to focus on their often complex health issues more effectively than would be the case if they are on the streets or in shelters. MASH is a partnership of the Massachusetts Housing & Shelter Alliance, United Way of Massachusetts Bay and Merrimack Valley, and CSH. …


Patrick announces $3.5 million to reduce chronic homelessness
Source: Katie Johnston, Boston Globe, December 8, 2014

Governor Deval Patrick launched a new effort Monday to reduce the state’s chronically homeless population funded by $3.5 million from private investors, the state’s second “pay for success” program.

State Seeks ‘Social Bonds’ To Aid Homeless
Source: Associated Press, December 6, 2014

State officials hope to leverage private-sector funding to help reduce the number of chronically homeless people in Massachusetts. Gov. Deval Patrick plans to unveil the initiative on Monday. Known as Social Impact Bonds or Pay for Success contracts, they rely on upfront funding from private capital investments and charitable donations. Investors are repaid only if an outside evaluator determines the program has achieved a goal that benefits society and saves taxpayer dollars.

How Maine quietly handed off financial oversight of a $23 million program for infants

Source: Erin Rhoda, Bangor Daily News, August 11, 2016

The LePage administration has made a point of putting more contracts out to bid. In an April email, Department of Health and Human Services spokeswoman Samantha Edwards said DHHS has sought to increase competition by issuing 100 to 125 requests for proposals this year compared with an average of 30 to 35 per year when the administration took office. … That’s one reason people in child advocacy and protection fields started asking questions in late winter when they learned a nonprofit was taking over administrative and financial duties of a statewide home visiting program called Maine Families without a competitive bidding process. The program operates on more than $9 million per year in federal and state funds and aims to help parents when it matters most for their infant’s long-term development. Dozens of interviews and documents show what led to a no-bid contract funded entirely with public dollars: a closed decision-making process, the state’s questionable justification to avoid competitive bidding, and limited communication about the transfer of a multimillion-dollar state program to the nonprofit sector. The circumstances raise questions about transparency and accountability. … The change in responsibility wasn’t widely communicated. The trust’s own director, Jan Clarkin, said she did not precisely know how the state awarded her organization the contract, which provided $3.46 million for administration, training, data collection and clinical consultation, and $19.42 million as funds to be passed through to the local home visiting agencies, over 2½ years starting April 1. … At $9.15 million per year, the award represented a 558 percent increase in the trust’s annual revenue, which was $1.39 million in 2013, the year of its most recently available tax filing. …