Important note: The following recommendation was approved by the Board of Supervisors on April 28, 2015:

To:             Honorable Board of Supervisors

From:         John L. Maltbie, County Manager

Subject:     Agreement with Live in Peace for truancy prevention, educational supportive services and case management

Recommendation:

A)                  Adopt a Resolution authorizing an agreement with Live in Peace in an amount not to exceed $800,000 to provide educational supportive services and case management to youth who are on probation, truant and at-risk of being truant in East Palo Alto and East Menlo Park for the term May 1, 2015 through June 30, 2016

 
B)                 Adopt a Resolution authorizing an Appropriation Transfer Request recognizing $230,000 in Unanticipated Revenue in Byrne JAG grant funding ($180,000) and Measure A Sales Tax ($50,000) and making the corresponding appropriations in Services and Supplies to cover the costs of the Live in Peace agreement and a Deputy Probation Officer assigned to this effort
 

Background:

On February 12, 2015, the Board of State and Community Corrections (BSCC) approved $885,000 in Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Grant (Byrne JAG) funding to San Mateo County for the implementation of a truancy prevention program in the City of East Palo Alto and the Belle Haven neighborhood of Menlo Park. Statistics show that the high school graduation rate for these areas stands at only 55 percent—a number much lower than any other part of the County—and that low graduation rates result in greater involvement with the criminal justice system.

On February 12, 2015, the Board of State and Community Corrections (BSCC) approved $885,000 in Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Grant (Byrne JAG) funding to San Mateo County for the implementation of a truancy prevention program in the City of East Palo Alto and the Belle Haven neighborhood of Menlo Park. Statistics show that the high school graduation rate for these areas stands at only 55 percent—a number much lower than any other part of the County—and that low graduation rates result in greater involvement with the criminal justice system.

Live in Peace (LIP), an East Palo Alto educational service non-profit, exists to advance a culture of non-violence, healing and power. LIP helps youth to navigate educational and other barriers to a more peaceful and positive future. Their core programs include Music Academy, Street Code Academy, and College Initiative.

Discussion:

Students With Amazing Goals, or SWAG, is a comprehensive community-based multi- disciplinary program aimed at reducing juvenile truancy, delinquency and gang violence by improving school attendance, increasing high school graduation rates, and creating pathways of success for at-risk middle and high school youth in East Palo Alto and East Menlo Park. The new program, to be run by LIP and overseen by the County  Manager’s Office (CMO), will be located at 763 Green Street in East Palo Alto, a site formerly used as an alternative high school and owned by the Sequoia Union High School District. The “One Stop” multi-disciplinary SWAG program will provide 80 at-risk youth and those on probation with intensive case management and other educational and social supportive services to help them complete the educational credits needed to graduate, be on their way to graduation and improve school attendance. In addition, youth will develop Life Plans to chart the course of future educational and/or employment goals.

The program will be implemented in three phases with the goal of targeting the most at-risk youth, or those most likely to not graduate from high school within five years. The first cohort, scheduled to begin in May 2015, will be 5th year seniors lacking the educational credits needed to graduate by December 2015. The second cohort, beginning September 2015, will be comprised of 10th graders identified as at-risk of not graduating within four years. The third and final cohort will be made up of at-risk middle school youth (grades 7, 8 and 9) and will begin January 2016. Enrollment priority in all cohorts will be given to youth on probation and the chronically truant.

The SWAG program strategy (Attachment #1) relies on a robust referral network including the Sequoia Union High School District, Ravenswood City School District, the Probation Department, the Courts, local non-profits and community-based  organizations, and local law enforcement. Once enrolled in the program, youth will undergo an assessment to determine individualized needs. A Multi-Disciplinary Team (MDT) comprised of specialized staff from Probation, Human Services, Behavioral Health and SWAG case managers will review every participant’s assessment and other information to develop an individual program plan. In addition, all youth will be assigned a dedicated case manager whose job will be to provide continuous support, encouragement and guidance throughout the program experience.

Learning environments will include high school credit recovery, tutoring, mentoring, violence prevention, life skills, vocational training, and legal assistance. Imbedded in all aspects of SWAG is the philosophy that in order to achieve success, the program must offer a series of “carrots” to participants. Expecting at-risk students to simply show up for SWAG programming without offering meaningful incentives is simply unrealistic. Thus, field trips, overnight retreats, college tours, athletics, family night activities, employment opportunities, and coding will be major components of the SWAG curriculum. The Human Services Agency will provide family and parenting supportive services and Behavioral Health and Recovery Services will provide trauma and AOD services through a Memorandum of Understanding with Live in Peace.

The MDT will continuously evaluate youth participant progress and work with case managers and other SWAG staff to adjust program services and dosage as needed. Upon completion or withdrawal from the program, youth will undergo a post-assessment and will work with case managers to develop a life plan.

Advising CMO and LIP staff throughout the implementation of the program will be a local Steering Committee comprised of representatives from the Probation Department, the Sheriff’s Office, the Private Defender program, the cities of Menlo Park and East Palo Alto, the office of Supervisor Warren Slocum, the Sequoia Union High School District and the Ravenswood City School District. The Steering Committee will meet on a quarterly basis to monitor program progress and serve as a sounding board to those involved in the day-to-day delivery of services.

All components of the program will be meticulously tracked by LIP staff through the use of Social Solutions Efforts to Outcomes (ETO) internet-based data collection software and regular program and fiscal progress reports will be filed with the BSCC. As part of the grant requirements, a Local Evaluation Plan will be also be developed detailing how the County plans to assess overall plan effectiveness and individual components. Quarterly progress reports will be submitted to the BSCC and a Final Local Evaluation  is due in March 2018.

Byrne JAG funding will be provided to the County for a 34-month cycle beginning March 1, 2015 and ending on December 31, 2017, contingent on the County submitting subsequent applications and demonstrating progress against its program implementation goals and strategies. The CMO will serve as the lead County agency and program fiscal agent to the BSCC. Deputy County Manager Michael Callagy and Legislative Director, Connie Juarez-Diroll will direct the program (Attachment #2).

It is in the best interest of the County to waive the Request for Proposal (RFP) process because Live in Peace is a sole source provider. County Counsel has reviewed the Resolution as to form and LIP meets Insurance Certification requirements.

Approval of this Resolution contributes to the Shared Vision 2025 of a Prosperous Community by providing the County’s most at-risk youth with the intervention and supportive services they need to improve school attendance rates, graduate from high school and promote their success in life.

Performance Measures:

Measure

FY 2014-15 Projected

FY 2015-16 Projected

Percent of 5th year seniors that graduate high school

 

 

Percent f 10th graders with improved school attendance

 

 

Percent of 10th graders on track to graduate in 4 years

 

 

Percent of 9th graders with improved school attendance

 

 

Percent of 9th graders on track to graduate in 4 years

 

 


FISCAL IMPACT:

The term of the agreement with Live in Peace is May 1, 2015 through June 30, 2016. The total obligation is $800,000 in Byrne JAG funding (Attachment #3). The ATR for the current fiscal year appropriates unanticipated revenue of $180,000 in Byrne JAG grant funding and $50,000 in Measure A Sales Tax to cover contract expenditures and a Deputy Probation Officer in the Probation Department assigned to this effort.

Important note: This is a copy of the official report -- item 14 on the Board's agenda.