2021 YOUTH BUREAU ANNUAL REPORT
EDUCATION & HEALTH SERVICES FOR PRESCHOOL CHILDREN WITH IDENTIFIED DISABILITIES
* Special Education and Early Intervention Services
The Youth Bureau continued its responsibilities for the organization, coordination, and payment of Special Education and Early Intervention services and transportation services for preschool children, infants and toddlers with identified disabilities throughout Saratoga County. In 2021 the combined budgets were approximately $16,000,000. There were 420 Early Intervention (EI) children (0-3 years old) and 1,340 Committee on Preschool Special Education (CPSE) children (3-5 years old) seen during the 2020-2021 school year. With the world getting a grip on COVID 19, there were 490 EI children and 1,273 CPSE children being served by December of 2021. Although the CPSE number is down, the children being served in EI will be transitioning into that program. Furthermore, EI received 638 referrals in 2021 compared to only 497 in 2020. As we egress from the pandemic and parents gain the confidence that their children can attend preschool safely, I expect the number of children entering the program to rise dramatically. The Early Intervention Program (EIP) is a statewide program offering therapeutic and support services for children with special needs up to 3 years of age and their families. The Infant/Child Health Assessment Program/Child Find component identifies, locates, screens, and teaches at-risk children. Early Intervention services are provided at no cost to families. Costs, after insurance and Medicaid revenue, are reimbursed at a rate of 49% by the New York State Department of Health. Saratoga County is responsible for the remaining 51%. As of April 1, 2013 the NYSDOH, in an attempt to provide administrative relief to counties, assumed responsibility for the fiscal management of the EIP. As a result, counties no longer contract with providers of services (except for transportation). As part of the new regulatory implantation, Saratoga County is required to contribute the county and state share of program costs (less estimated Medicaid & third-party private insurance reimbursement) through an authorized escrow account. Counties are expected to receive reimbursement for their shares of program expenses on a quarterly basis. At present this should have no impact on net county expenses. Although Saratoga County no longer pays providers full program expenses (except transportation), we no longer receive Medicaid of third-party insurance reimbursement. The Youth Bureau works closely with the Public Health Nurses, County Auditor, and the Social Services Medicaid Unit in an effort to control costs and make this program as efficient as possible. The State of New York instituted the EIP in July of 1993. Since its inception the program has grown dramatically. The Youth Bureau works with fourteen CPSE (Committee on Preschool Special Education) chairpersons, in school districts with children living in Saratoga County. Section 4410 of the New York State Education Law covers qualified children if they become three years of age on or before December 1st of the calendar year. During the 2021 – 2022 school year, 1,273 children participated in this program. Children participate in center-based programs at approved preschools, as well as itinerant services including speech, occupational, and physical therapies. The Youth Bureau is responsible for coordinating these services with providers, school districts, transportation contracts, parents, and the State Education Department. The chart below shows the number of children that have received EI and CPSE services for the last 20 years. Although this number shows a decline, it is the direct result of the pandemic. Evaluations were unable to be scheduled, but that number is rebounding which in turn will send next year’s projection up as well. Saratoga County initially pays for 100% of the services, and then the State Education Department reimburses 59.5% of the costs to the county, leaving the county’s share as 40.5% of the expenses. The Youth Bureau processes all providers’ vouchers for services and prepares claims for reimbursement from State Education. Saratoga County is also charged 10% of the cost of special education services to school age children needing services during the summer. For preschool children who are Medicaid recipients, the county is able to bill for evaluations, speech, occupational and physical therapies, counseling and nursing services, and transportation to the services billed to Medicaid. Medicaid reimbursement for services is for the Federal share of funds only. From that payment, the State Education Department charges the county for 59.5% of the Federal Medicaid money received. Since instituting the McGuinness preschool software system in 2013, our gross Medicaid revenue is $3,317,047.21. Costs associated with this system for the same period are $308,250, leaving us net Medicaid revenue of $3,008,797.21. The McGuinness portal has allowed us to streamline our billing process by combining individual bills under umbrella vouchers. This has reduced our volume of paperwork tremendously. 2021 continued to be a challenging year for the preschool program. Preschool children with diagnosed disabilities, their parents, care givers and teachers have to be prepared to pivot to a virtual learning situation, in addition to managing their homes and employment status, while maintaining health and safety. The Youth Bureau began to engage with a new preschool transportation company in 2020. Transporting children while upholding sanitation protocol and social distancing guidelines has proven to be more costly per child. Due to rising costs associated with transportation expenses our 3-year contract rates have been renegotiated twice. Communication has become imperative as we maneuver our way through daily changes to education implementation, the means to get the children to school and keep them there safely. I am pleased to report that the transportation company has fewer parental complaints and less of a need for daily communication. They, like many employers, have been challenged by lack of staff availability; drivers and qualified substitutes, aides, etc. This is made more complex by affects of quarantine status and illness, both from the bus company staff and students. Everyone is stretched thin, but doing the best job they can do. We have heard state-wide that this problem is not local to Saratoga County. There are few options for alternatives to providing these mandated services.
YOUTH DEVELOPMENT PROGRAM
Youth Development Program (YDP) funding is available to Saratoga County through the NYS Office of Children and Family Services. All municipalities and/or community-based organizations requesting funding from the Office of Youth Development must submit applications through the county Youth Bureau and be approved by the Youth Bureau. All programs applying for YDP funding must meet the requirements of the county Youth Bureau and be in accordance with OCFS rules and regulations and specific program guidelines. Programs must meet the goals and objectives identified by the Youth Bureau as set forth in the Comprehensive Youth Services Planning Agreement adopted by the Youth Board and County Board of Supervisors and submitted to the Office of Children and Family Services. Under YDP, funding is available to municipalities or community-based organizations on a contractual basis through a municipality (county, city, town or village) or community based not-for-profit Corporation. Funding can be provided for the maintenance and operation of programs designed for positive broad based youth development. Programs are classified in two types: 1) Recreation or 2) Youth Service.
Recreation – Recreational programs are those opportunities maintained or operated by or under the direction of a municipality or community based not for profit corporation which have as their sole end the filling of leisure time for the purpose of athletic skill development, refreshment of strength and spirit, relaxation play or as a diversion from daily routines of life. Eligibility to municipalities is based on a per capita formula.
Youth Service – Youth service projects are any plan or organized activity, other than a youth bureau or recreation project, which has for its purpose the detection, prevention or treatment of delinquency of youth or other services directed toward youth development, and which is operated by or under the direction of a municipality or community based not-for-profit corporation. Youth service projects may be approved as experimental demonstration programs under such conditions that state aid may be reduced or terminated at the conclusion of a stated period to be specified by the Office of Children and Family Services. Examples of programs are: counseling, education, youth advocacy, employment, shelter, crisis intervention, and human sexuality. Eligibility to municipalities is based on a per capita formula. Funding to contract agencies is based upon the goals and objectives of the Youth Bureau and the recommendation of the Advisory Youth Board. Agencies must meet specific criteria and demonstrate their capability of administering OCFS grants. The agencies also need to show documentation of the need of the services proposed. Reimbursable expenses allowed under the YDP program include: administrative expenses, personal services, rental of land or buildings, purchase of equipment, supplies, transportation, utilities, and liability insurance. OCFS controls required application paperwork and deadlines. The Youth Bureau assists with distribution, collection and submission of the required OCFS documentation. This year, due to the global pandemic, our applicants had difficult decisions to make regarding the youth and family programs they intended to host. Several municipalities made the tough choice to rescind their application because they were unable to provide the opportunities. Many were able to put into place safety measures to continue to offer the services and supports, while some did their best to be creative and serve their communities in new and innovative ways.
YDP Community Based Organizations:
Ballston Area Community Center – unfortunately relinquished their funding allocation. Due to lack of staff to offers the program developed for youth between the ages of 5-19. They were unable to host the annual variety of educational, social, and recreational activities or programs that are either free or at reduced costs. Examples of the programs include: 1st Friday events, Teen Nights, Pre-Teen Nights, and Open Gym.
Ballston Area Recreation Commission – (BARC) runs sports and enrichment programs for youth in the towns and village encompassed by the Ballston Spa Central School District. BARC’s sports programs include: T-ball; instructional baseball; soccer (Spring and Fall); competitive swimming; recreational skating and skiing; basketball, tennis, track, gymnastics and karate. Enrichment activities include theatre, foreign language, robotics and various art programs.
Big Brothers & Big Sisters of the Capital Region – Through professionally supported mentoring relationships, they enroll, match and support Saratoga County youth ages 6-14; 99% come from low income, single-parent homes or have an incarcerated parent. Staff interviews children and families at home and recruits, interviews and screens mentors. Matches meet in the community or at site-based programs.
CAPTAIN Community Human Services- Outreach in the Park – provides an after school educational support and enrichment program for low-income youth residing in the Shenendehowa School District. The Outreach Center is located in a low-income manufactured home community in Southern Saratoga County. The program provides a positive, education-based center for students from kindergarten through grade 12.
CAPTAIN Community Human Services – CAPteens – The CAPteen Program is a youth-driven, youth development program aimed at involving local teens in community service, philanthropy, and helping those in need. High School students from Shenenedehowa District participate in a variety of volunteerism opportunities. They commit to a minimum of 30 hours of volunteer service per year. CAPteens develop leadership skills as they staff a Teen Hotline, lead community forums on current social issues, and volunteer for events and community programs on behalf of CAPTAIN.
CAPTAIN Community Human Services – Job Assist programs – The Job Assist programs are job matching services for teens and youth that live in the Ballston Spa Central School District, Burnt Hills Ballston Lake School District and Shenendehowa School District. CAPTAIN staff work to help youth ages 14-21 find employment opportunities, and provide job skills and soft skills training. Job Matching and Skills development is provided at the High School Guidance Office while training programs may be held anywhere in Saratoga County. Components of the program include resume writing, completing job applications, and successful interview techniques. Also, instruction on job/work etiquette, time management, job search skills, contacting potential employers and volunteer skills.
Catholic Charities of Saratoga, Warren, Washington Counties – Family Enrichment Services – a program that strives to improve the social, emotional and behavioral development of children living in families struggling with mental health due to poverty, abuse, incarceration and trauma. Individual and family counseling will be provided to support caretakers to provide youth with healthy environments. Youth served will be provided opportunities to express their feelings and challenges with the overall goal being more positive family and community relationships. When appropriate, staff will interface with other involved systems for more coordinated care.
Catholic Charities of Saratoga, Warren & Washington Counties – Mentoring Program – a program that recruits adult mentors and matches them with a child from Saratoga County who is in need of a caring, consistent, positive role model. In addition to managing matches, the program offers social services to the families of the youth. This includes concrete needs, as well as, advocacy, counseling and parent education.
Cornell Cooperative Extension – 4-H Youth Service Project – is designed to provide young people with unique hands-on educational experiences in the following areas: science, technology, engineering and math; safety; natural resources; environmental science; horticulture; nutrition and exercise. Curriculum is evidence based and corresponds to the NYS Common Core Learning Standards.
Franklin Community Center, Inc. – Project LIFT – is a free after-school prevention program, for children in grades 1-5 in the Saratoga Springs school district. Project LIFT improves children’s self-esteem, self-confidence, social skills, decision making skills, problem solving skills, communication skills and emotional competence. Project LIFT helps strengthen the relationship between child, family, school and community.
Franklin Community Center, Inc. – Project LIFT Volunteer Component – is for students aged 14-21 years old that choose to serve as positive role models while gaining heightened awareness of issues faced by “at-risk” youth. Volunteers assist staff with program activities and curriculum implementation, allowing volunteers to learn the lessons taught to participants. This allows volunteers to strengthen their own social and emotional competence and develop better coping skills for the future.
Schuylerville Youth Program – provides a safe, supervised, social, recreational, and educational activities where youth have opportunity to learn about themselves, broaden their experiences, and receive appropriate attention and guidance. Activities include special events, trips of interest and employment referrals. Although field trips were cancelled, the Youth Program continued to provide safe and engaging opportunities for youth and families in the community.
Mechanicville Area Community Services Center (MACSC) – The Summer Adventure Program offers a safe place to be Monday through Friday, for children ages 5-17 years old. The program promotes stress-relief, friendship and character building and provides youth an opportunity to express themselves freely. The goal is to fill the void for students who have no other outlet or opportunity to participate in summer activities as well as to increase physical activity in youth. Activities include field trips, arts and crafts, playing in the gym and going to playgrounds.
Moreau Community Center- Camp Moreau – Served 105 youth during the summer program of 2021. When school is not in session the Moreau Community Center offers a summer camp program to children between the ages of 4-13 years old. This program has an early drop off program from 7:30 to 9 AM, Camp programs and activities from 9AM-4PM, and an extended after care program from 4 – 5:30 PM. We also provided a teen Buddy program for children ages 13 to 15. The teens were helpers in one of the 5 classes. Although the number served is down from years past, it was unable to run in 2020 and had to be limited in order to run safely this summer. Many programmatic changes were put into place to maintain health and safety from Covid-19.
Moreau Community Center- Kids Korner – During the school year the Moreau Community Center holds a before and After school program (Kids Korner) at the Ballard, Harrison, Moreau and Tanglewood Elementary Schools. Teens up to age 13 are bussed to Harrison or Ballard from the Oliver Winch Middle School. The program starts at 7AM and runs until the beginning of the school day. The Afternoon program starts at the end of the day until 6PM. At Harrison the program begins at 2PM and Tanglewood, Moreau and Ballard begin at 3PM. Crafts, games, outdoor time and gym time are available for the children to enjoy until their parents arrive. They also provide a healthy snack.
Prevention Council – was unable to provide their “Cool Out of School” program in 2021. The children and youth of Saratoga County need effective community-based prevention services during summer break for the purpose of delaying first use of tobacco and alcohol, avoiding DWI situations, and decreasing youthful crimes against property. Cool out of School (COOS) is an adventure based 6-week program designed to push into town recreation programs. Trained student counselors teach goal setting, decision-making and team building skills through fun games and activities all proven to build the skills necessary for youth to resist alcohol, tobacco, other drugs and violence. This is the second year the program was unable to run. Although, COOS has been providing outstanding programming for nearly 2 decades, the agency relinquished their funding allocation to ensure safety of the youth staff and participants.
Saratoga Center for the Family – Parent and Child Support Services and Support Treatment Groups for Children – are two programs that serve clients residing in Saratoga County between the ages of 3-18 and their parents/ caregivers. They provide a wide range of mental health and psychoeducational services to children and families including individual and family counseling and group programs.
Southern Adirondack Library System (SALS) – Lively Library Learning – provides services to children through the 11 public libraries in Saratoga County. Lively Library Learning funds a cultural or recreational family friendly program in each library’s community, increasing awareness and participation of the Summer Reading Program. The summer program encourages kids to read for leisure while maintaining their reading skills over the summer and to participate in an informal learning environment. Technology allowed for the continuation of programming when public libraries were closed.
Stillwater Area Community Center – Teen Nights is a program for those youth ranging in age from 6th-12th grade. This program is scheduled once per month during the school year. Youth sign in and attend on a drop-in basis. During the time they are here, they interact with peers in an inclusive, non-judging environment led by our staff and/or volunteers.
RUNAWAY HOMELESS YOUTH ACT (RHYA) PROGRAM
CAPTAIN Youth Home CAPTAIN has operated a Youth Shelter in the Town of Malta since 1998. It is a ten-bed shelter for youth up to the age 17-year-olds in Saratoga County who are runaway, homeless or at-risk of becoming homeless. The shelter provides emergency housing, basic needs, food, and clothing. Services include case management, educational support, aftercare follow-up, mediation and counseling. The goal is to reunite youth with their family or facilitate alternate living arrangements. CAPTAIN Community Human Services has become a key player in the success of the Safe Harbour grant provided by the NYS Office of Children and Family Services. From the executive positions, street outreach staff, shelter staff, etc., CAPTAIN’s knowledge and experience with at-risk youth has become an invaluable resource in our effort to provide outreach and awareness, training and tools that assist with identifying, referring and helping victims of Commercially Sexually Exploited Youth (CSEY,) to stakeholders from the community. An expansion to the services that CAPTAIN’s Youth Home can provide went into effect January 1, 2018. Based on the local needs of youth served at this shelter, administrative decisions can be made to allow a youth in care to extend their length of stay. Many of the youth served in the program, as well as their families, need additional time at the shelter to work on repairing relationships, accessing community-based supports, and participating in mediation and/or counseling before a return home would be successful. In cases where active abuse, neglect, or maltreatment has occurred and an alternative plan must be developed, 30 days is often not enough time to arrange an appropriate or safe discharge plan. Additional time allowed for length of stay would permit the shelter, outside agencies, and the family an adequate amount of time to appropriately plan for permanent/supportive housing, post-discharge.
* Youth Recreation, Services, Opportunities & Supports
The Youth Bureau continues to work with municipalities and other youth serving agencies to provide quality programs and activities for the youth of Saratoga County. Our efforts aim to prevent and control delinquency and to further positive broad based youth development. A site visit to each program and facility has created a relationship in which the Youth Bureau is the focal point for communities to share resources and opportunities. With increased communication, and technology as a tool, we will foster collaborative working relationships between the communities we serve, for better youth programming. In 2016, the Office of Children and Family Services (OCFS) added performance measures to the application process. The performance measures require programs to annually report on how much, how well and who is better off for participating in a specific program. The process has engaged programs in better methods for tracking attendance, raising standards for quality employees and program development, as well as, accountability that program efforts and goals are being achieved. Although change can be difficult, the programs in Saratoga County uphold high standards and have successfully adjusted to the requirements; coming to the realization that the process has caused internal procedural review, leading to positive programmatic change. The pandemic has complicated the implementation of programming. Several long-term providers have been unable to offer their programs. Others, I am proud to report, have pivoted during the pandemic and creatively offered new or alternative programs to the youth! We continue to be positive, share ideas and opportunities, while we assist youth and families during very challenging times.
* Saratoga County DWI Victim Impact Panels
The Youth Bureau continues to provide support staff and coordination for the Saratoga County DWI Victim Impact Panels. In 2021, 12 panels were held with a total of 445 offenders in attendance. Due to Covid-19, panels were held with a maximum of 40 attendees to ensure social distance. In May 2011, Saratoga County began charging a $25.00 fee to attend the panel. This has generated $11,525 in revenue for 2021. Although, this represents an increase of 59% from 2020, the annual revenue is still 57% below the pre-pandemic 5-year average. Effective January 1, 2016 Wes Carr was appointed the STOP DWI Coordinator for Saratoga County.
*Saratoga County Suicide Prevention Coalition
Saratoga County Mental Health and the Suicide Prevention Center-NY have invited several county departments, including the Youth Bureau, along with community stakeholders to develop strategies to address suicide. Early accomplishments included a review of local, State and national suicide data; examination of other County Coalition efforts to prevent suicide; and completion of a Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats (SWOT) analysis and logic model of local conditions that will guide future Coalition efforts. Ultimately, goals will include reducing the number of suicides in Saratoga County, by raising awareness and reducing stigma, in order to identify and assist people affected by suicide. In 2019 we received a 3-year grant that will assist in continuing outreach and awareness efforts. One of the larger projects has been the production of a Public Service Announcement that will be broadcast via television and social media or used for educational purposes. The individuals that assisted in the creation of these video segments have been affected by suicide and target the demographic needs of Saratoga County with their messages.
*Advisory Youth Board Update
The Advisory Youth Board met 4 times via in person, virtual and conference call options in 2021. This Board is actively involved with the oversight of the various Youth Bureau activities and events. The Board works to assess and address the needs of the youth in Saratoga County and serves as an avenue by which members can exchange ideas and improve programming. This year we welcomed 4 new members to the Advisory Board from various municipalities; 2 of which were youth! Our Advisory Youth Board is kept abreast of the activities of the Youth Bureau. Continuous communication occurred; announcements of Community events, fundraisers, programs and educational opportunities are shared electronically. In addition, as issues arise, we have the ability to gather input and problem solve collectively. Our digital platform allowed us to complete business as needed. By continuing the use of the conference call in option, we will be able to have more participation by members that are challenged by physical distance or time constraints.
*Website development and Resource directory
Information and updates continue to enhance the resource directory that has been available to community members via the Youth Bureau website. It hosts links and contact information for a wide array of services. For example, there is access to emergency and hotline numbers, educational and employment resources, as well as, community links and County recreational offerings. In addition, the website has listings for upcoming DWI Panels, Training or Grant Opportunities, and Community News.
*Saratoga County Fair
The Youth Bureau staff, Advisory Youth Board members, along with representatives from many of our contracted agencies, typically engage youth at the Saratoga County Fair. This event was cancelled again in 2021 due to the pandemic. Families continue to identify services, opportunities and supports throughout our County per the Youth Bureau acting as a hub; receiving and sharing information with our associates and community network.
The development and submission of the Youth and Young Adult Component of the annual update to the Saratoga County Child and Family Services Plan.
OTHER GROUPS & COALITIONS IN WHICH THE YOUTH BUREAU PARTICIPATES
- Association of New York State Youth Bureaus
- Governor’s Youth Council – Youth Representative from Clifton Park
- Capital District Youth Bureau Association
- Community Coalition for Family Wellness
- Corinth Central School District Wellness Committee
- Northeast County Early Intervention and Preschool Administrators Committee
- NYSAC Standing Committee on Children with Special Needs
- Saratoga County Community Services Board
- Saratoga County Corporate Medicaid Compliance Committee
- Saratoga County Suicide Prevention Coalition
ADVISORY YOUTH BOARD
TOWN OF BALLSTON TOWN OF CHARLTON
TOWN OF CLIFTON PARK TOWN OF CORINTH
TOWN OF DAY __TOWN OF EDINBURG
TOWN OF GALWAY _ TOWN OF GREENFIELD
TOWN OF HADLEY TOWN OF HALFMOON
COLLEEN DE MARSH
TOWN OF MALTA CITY OF MECHANICVILLE
ALYSSA BENWAY KIM NOONAN
TOWN OF MILTON TOWN OF MOREAU
TOWN OF NORTHUMBERLAND TOWN OF PROVIDENCE
TOWN OF SARATOGA CITY OF SARATOGA SPRINGS
TOWN OF STILLWATER TOWN OF STILLWATER
BETH MAIORIELLO ETHAN TATE
TOWN OF STILLWATER TOWN OF WATERFORD
ANTHONY MILLER FRANK MCCLEMENT
TOWN OF WILTON COUNTY DEPARTMENT
PRIORITIES FOR 2022
*Successful transition of the merged Aging and Youth Departments. The new Saratoga County Department of Aging and Youth will allow provisions for a true continuum of care and programming. The Youth Development Coordinator will assist with developing, planning, coordinating and supplementing the activities of public, private, and religious agencies devoted to the welfare and protection of youth. There is great potential for intergenerational opportunities and collaboration between young and old. We look forward to maintaining what we have done, creating new and improved services to all youth, families and the aging community, while building new relationships that allow people of all ages to support and learn from one another.
* The preschool special education program and all components have merged with the Saratoga County Public Health Department. This should increase communication and decrease the transitional gaps between the Early Intervention program housed in Public Health and the CPSE program, which will in turn, better the service provided to families of youth diagnosed with special educational needs.
*Saratoga County Child & Family Services Plan – Beginning in 2007 the Youth Bureau in conjunction with the Department of Social Services and the Probation Department implemented a Saratoga County Child & Family Services Plan (CFSP). The CFSP is reviewed and updated on a five-year cycle. In 2019 this plan, became available in an electronic platform for entry, review and approval. The CFSP has been designed to address the entire continuum of services and will provide for a more seamless provision of services within that continuum.
* Work with municipal recreation programs and agencies in order to promote comprehensive Youth Development through the sharing of information, ideas and the offering of training seminars, speakers, etc. Implement an OCFS mandate to collect performance measurement data that will begin to prove prevention works.
*Work with the Saratoga County District Attorney’s Office, Probation Department and others to implement the “Raise the Age” initiative.
*Work with the Saratoga County Suicide Prevention Coalition to increase awareness and identify resources throughout the County to reduce stigma, identify those affected by suicide and assist them in getting support and treatment.
*The most valuable resource we have is our youth. We, therefore, will encourage, support, and believe in our youth by recognizing and promoting them through the recognition of their contributions in our communities. In so doing we will empower our youth to grow into healthy adults.
*Annual County Report 2021