2018 YOUTH BUREAU ANNUAL REPORT

Major Events and Accomplishments

* 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 are successfully adjusting to the requirements, with a realization that the process is causing internal procedural review and positive change.

* 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 2018, 10 panels were held with a total of 800 offenders in attendance.  This represents a 4.5% decrease from 2017.  In May 2011, Saratoga County began charging a $25.00 fee to attend the panel.  This has generated $20,250 in revenue for 2018.  Effective January 1, 2016 Wes Carr was appointed the STOP DWI Coordinator for Saratoga County.

*Capital Region Youth Justice Team

            The Saratoga County Youth Bureau meets regularly with the Capital Region Youth Justice Team.  This team was created to help the State and localities drive the important work of juvenile justice reform forward and move toward the Strategic Planning Action Committee (SPAC) vision of promoting youth success and ensuring public safety across New York State.

The Saratoga County Youth Bureau was invited to participate in the Aftercare and Re-entry Workgroup that was formed to have roundtable discussion and collaboration across counties, in regards to Youth as they enter the Juvenile Justice System.  The workgroup has been recognized for its work at the forefront of the Raise the Age Initiative.  The focus of this team has been to develop a system that will streamline the process for intake, use similar data collection tools, support a sharing of confidential information across all departments involved in case management; with a final outcome of creating and implementing an effective continuum of services based on best practices.  Sub groups have been making presentations on recommendations and best practices, all over the State.  One of the goals of this team has been to include Youth Bureaus, during the referral and treatment process, to assist in making an evidence-informed referral to individuals that will benefit from a relationship with a community support program or service that is close to their home.  The establishment of this relationship, between the individual and service/support programs, will assist them with aftercare and re-entry to the community, and will foster family and community engagement with positive outcomes.

*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.

*Advisory Youth Board Update

The Advisory Youth Board met four times in 2018.  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 2 new members to the Advisory Board from various municipalities;  each brings a new perspective to the group.

Guests from the community are invited to share program or training opportunities that they provide to local youth.  The Board invited Andy Gilpin, Associate Executive Director of CAPTAIN Community Human Services, to describe the merger that occurred between its agency and the Community Human Services in Glenville.  This combined agency will allow for an expansion of services that include youth to seniors, as well as, provide for a replication of programs that are already successful to be established in new communities.  Later in the year, Beth Coco and Sarah Trela of the SEFCU Institute for Financial Well-Being, presented to the Board on an array of financial education training opportunities that they offer to youth and youth workers.  It is hopeful that we can schedule a train the trainer, in addition to, offering youth programs throughout the County an opportunity to host sessions for youth in their programs during the summer.

*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, engaged youth at the Saratoga County Fair.  Our philosophy of promoting positive youth development was evident by the encouragement and enthusiasm that was offered to each youth participant.  Every child visiting our booth had the opportunity to play games and sign up for a free drawing.  This is the only booth for children where there is NO COST involved with the activities AND everyone leaves with a prize!

This year’s theme highlighted the community agencies and programs that are funded with OCFS grants through the Youth Bureau.  The youth received a scorecard with directions to engage in each of the stations to collect stickers.  The youth could draw a picture of what they like to do, use silly photo props to make someone smile, manipulate a maze or try their skills at ring toss.  Adults could place the youth’s name and phone number in a prize drawing and each child could choose a token prize.  Donations from Stewarts, WalMart and McDonalds were received by the Youth Bureau to facilitate this activity.  The tent was shared with other County departments, and the Saratoga Chamber of Commerce, which assists in raising our profile and offering a more comprehensive representation of County departments, programs and services.  Posters listing agencies that are funded through the Youth Bureau were present, as well as, many brochures that offer programs and information that families can resource.

*Planning

The development and submission of the Youth and Young Adult Component of the annual update to the Saratoga County Child and Family Services Plan.

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.

YDP Community Based Organizations:

Ballston Area Community Center – Program developed for youth between the ages of 4-19 years in the Ballston Spa Central School District and provides educational, social, and recreational activities in a positive and safe environment.  All of the programs are either free or at reduced costs.  Attendees come from diverse backgrounds and are often from low income families or complex living situations.  In addition, funding supports an onsite Skate Park; a safe environment to enjoy skateboarding and physical activity.  The Skate Park is available from June through October and is free to all participants.

 

Big Brothers & Big Sisters of the Capital Region – offers professionally supported mentoring relationships to children aged 6-14, who lack the active involvement of consistent, caring adults.  99% will come from low income, single parent homes or have an incarcerated parent.  Children are matched in one-to-one mentoring relationships with adult volunteers who commit to spending consistent time with them for at least a year.  Matches meet in the community or at site-based programs.

CAPTAIN Community Human Services- Outreach in the Park – provides after school educational support and enrichment for low income youth in grades k-12.  The center in the Turf Mobile Home Park, welcomes over 50 volunteers that offer homework help and tutoring to more than sixty youth, aged 5-16.  Additionally, the students plan a monthly meal and have developed a newspaper to publish with in the park.

CAPTAIN Community Human Services – CAPteensThe 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.

Catholic Charities of Saratoga, Warren, Washington Counties – Family Enrichment Services – a program that responds to a variety of adolescent, pre-adolescent and family problems through the process of counseling, parent involvement, and special group programming.  Goals include improving the social, emotional and behavioral development of children living in families that struggle with mental health due to poverty, abuse, incarceration and trauma.  Youth served will enjoy more positive family and community relationships.

Catholic Charities of Saratoga, Warren & Washington Counties – Mentoring Program – a program of adult mentors that are matched with a child from Saratoga County, that faces serious challenges, and who is in need of a caring, consistent, positive role model.  50% of the mentors are community volunteers, while the other 50% are Skidmore college students.  In addition to managing matches, the program offers social services to families of the youth.  This includes concrete needs, as well as, advocacy, counseling and parent education.

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.  In 2018, the Community Human Services agency that offered this in the Burnt Hills Ballston Lake community, merged with CAPTAIN Youth and Family Services, now known as CAPTAIN Community Human Services, allowing for an expansion and sharing of resources.

 Cooperative Extension – 4-H Youth Service Project – is designed to provide young people with unique hands-on educational experiences in the following areas:  science, engineering and technology, safety, natural resources, environmental science, horticulture, nutrition and exercise.  Curriculum is evidence based and corresponds to the NYS Learning Standards and Common Core.

Franklin Community Center, Inc. – Project LIFT – Project LIFT is a free after-school prevention program, for “at-risk” elementary students, that positively impacts both child and family.  The program is designed to raise social/emotional competence, improve decision-making skills, offer lessons on the prevention of tobacco, drugs, alcohol and bullying.  It also, boosts self esteem and helps strengthen the bond between child, family, school and community.  Supplemental supportive services are also available for siblings and families.

Franklin Community Center, Inc. – Project LIFT Volunteer Component – is for students aged 14-21 years old that choose to serve as positive role models for “at-risk” youth that face multiple personal and family issues.  LIFT Volunteers increase personal coping skills and strengthen their own social emotional competence.  They also, learn the lessons taught to participants as they engage with the youth and assist staff with program facilitation and curriculum implementation.

Schuylerville Youth Center – this year round drop-in center offers safe, supervised, social, recreational and educational activities where youth have the opportunity to learn about themselves, broaden their experiences, and receive appropriate attention and guidance.  Other activities include special events, trips of interest and employment referrals.

Mechanicville Area Community Services Center – offers enrichment and recreational programming to area youth.  Funds are used to run the Summer Adventure Program during the summer months from 9-3 Tuesday through Friday, Open Gym Recreational programming during the school year on Monday and Wednesday evenings, and also after school clubs Monday through Thursday.

Moreau Community Center- Kids Korner – offers before and after school care for the students in South Glens Falls Central School district.  This program offers a safe and happy environment for students to go while parents are at work.

Moreau Community Center- Camp Moreau – is for children ages 4-13 years old, that offers caregivers an early drop off, as well as, extended care after program hours.  The children have an opportunity to choose activities they want to participate in and are encouraged to improve physical skills by using the gym and outdoor facility options.

Prevention Council – provides a program called “Cool Out of School” which is a five to six week substance abuse and violence prevention program for children and young adolescents in community summer recreation sites in Saratoga County.  The program intends to increase social skills and self esteem, prevent early substance use, and decrease bullying and violence among participants.

Saratoga Center for the Family – Parent and Child Support Services – provides child abuse and neglect prevention programming, personal safety skills education for children, advocacy for child victims and families, individual and group treatment for child victims of abuse, support and parenting education for teen parents, recreation and referral services.  The Center provides a state of the art program responding to the victim of abuse/rape in a way that does not re-victimize the individual.

Saratoga Center for the Family – Support Treatment Groups for Children – serves clients residing in Saratoga County between the ages of 0-18 and their parents/caregivers.  The program targets youth who have experienced trauma which may include sexual/physical abuse, family violence or family conflict.  Participants with similar experiences are brought together in a safe and nurturing environment.  In addition to the programmatic needs, these children may require transportation, advocacy, case management, and intra-agency referral.

Southern Adirondack Library System (SALS) – Lively Library Learning – funds a cultural or recreational, family friendly, program in each of 11 public libraries in Saratoga County in support of the NY Statewide Summer Reading Program.  Summer reading programs encourage reading as a leisure time activity for children, helping them maintain their reading skills over the summer.

Stillwater Area Community Center – will offer programming to the community that will include sports camps. Youth will register and attend these programs where they will learn sports-related skill and learn to work as a team while being in an inclusive, non-judging environment led by our staff and/or volunteers.

EDUCATION & HEALTH SERVICES FOR CHILDREN WITH SPECIAL NEEDS

* Special Education and Early Intervention Services

The Youth Bureau continues 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.  These programs continue to grow and in 2018 the combined budgets are approximately $13.85 million.  There were 404 Early Intervention  children (0-3 year olds) and 1,303 Committee on Preschool Special Education (CPSE) children (3-5 year olds) seen during 2018.

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, although it appears now that the program is beginning to stabilize.  The number of children receiving EI services is as follows:

December 1, 2015 = 306                            December 1, 2016 = 337

December 1, 2017 = 362                            December 1, 2018 = 404

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 2018, 1,303 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.

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 $636,589.  Costs associated with this system for the same period are $218,000, leaving us net Medicaid revenue of $418,589.  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.

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.

CRIMINAL JUSTICE ADVISORY COUNCIL

The Youth Bureau serves as support staff for the Criminal Justice Advisory Council.  The Council is charged with the planning, implementation, oversight, and troubleshooting for both the Saratoga County Community Work Order Program and the Saratoga County Pre-Trial Services Program.  Most notably, the Youth Bureau plans, coordinates and staffs the Saratoga County Victims Impact Panels.  These panels consist of victims of DWI crashes or family members or friends of those killed by alcohol-impaired drivers.  Police officers, medical personnel and others who witness first hand the devastation that can be caused by DWI drivers can also participate.  Panel members tell their stories in a non-accusatory manner, neither blaming nor judging those in attendance.  The panelists simply tell how their lives and families have been affected by the crashes.

A moderator coordinates each panel presentation.  There is no interaction between victims and offenders during the program.  Following the presentation, each offender is asked to complete an anonymous evaluation.  The information from the evaluations is used to compile demographic data, identify which courts/municipalities are sentencing offenders, individuals previous offenses or attendances, as well as, how they feel the panel effected them. There is space for an attendee to write comments about the panel and the speakers.  The DWI panels are not a replacement to conventional sentencing but an added condition.  Hopefully, after attending a panel, offenders will become more aware of the tragic consequences of driving under the influence of alcohol.  In 2018, 10 panels were held with 800 offenders in attendance.

In 1998, the Crime Victims Task Force was incorporated into the Criminal Justice Advisory Council.  At each of the quarterly CJAC meetings, along with the aforementioned programs, crime victims’ rights and the other criminal justice issues are addressed.

OTHER GROUPS & COALITIONS IN WHICH THE YOUTH BUREAU PARTICIPATES

  • Adirondack Library Coalition
  • Association of New York State Youth Bureaus
  • Capital District Youth Bureau Association
  • Capital Region Youth Justice Team
  • Community Coalition for Family Wellness
  • Northeast County Early Intervention and Preschool Administrators Committee
  • NYSAC Standing Committee on Children with Special Needs
  • Results Based Accountability Scorecard
  • Safe Harbour Grantees
  • Safe Kids of the Capital Region Coalition
  • Saratoga County Community Services Board
  • Saratoga County Corporate Medicaid Compliance Committee
  • Saratoga County Emergency Action Workgroup
  • Saratoga County Partnership for Safe Children
  • Saratoga County Suicide Prevention Coalition
  • Sheriff’s Teen Safety Council
  • Southern Saratoga County Youth Empowerment Partnership, formerly known as, the Shenendehowa Community Coalition

PRIORITIES FOR 2019

*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.  This  plan,  also known as the Integrated County Plan replaces the Youth Bureau’s County Comprehensive  Plan  and  the  Department  of  Social  Services  Consolidated Services Plan.  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.

*As  a result  of  a  series  of  center  based  Preschool  Special  Education program audits  by  the  New  York  State  Comptroller,  it  is  more  apparent  than ever that there  is  a  great  deal  of  fraud, waste, mismanagement and abuse associated with this mandated program.  As a member of the  NYSAC  Standing  Committee on Children  with  Special  Needs, I  will  work  with  NYSAC  in  an effort to identify areas of concern and work to develop strategies to address them.

* Continue  to  work  with  County  School  Districts  to  develop  strategies to  control the costs of the Preschool Special Education Program.

*Continue  to  monitor  the  implementation  of  the  Early Intervention Program statewide fiscal agent.

*Implementation  of  the  new  Youth  Development  Program  funding  methodology.  As a result of  changes at the NYS Office  of  Children  &  Family  Services  in  2014,   our   traditional  funding  streams  (YDDP/SDPP)   were  replaced  by  a  single   Youth  Development  Program  (YDP)  fund  (RHYA  funding  was  not  be affected).  This has streamlined and simplified the reporting and claiming paperwork involved with the administration and oversight of this particular Youth Bureau function.

*Work with the Saratoga County District Attorney’s Office, Probation Department and others to implement the “Raise the Age” initiative.

*Annual County Report 2018

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