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December 31, 2009

HEY’s biweekly e-newsletter contains links to articles, reports, and information of interest to the foster care community.


In This Issue

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Upcoming Events
HEY for the Holidays

Like many of you (we hope!), the staff of HEY are taking some well deserved time off during the holiday season. This is the last newsletter of 2009, and while slightly abridged, we always aim to provide you interesting and helpful information about foster care, transitional age youth aging out and aged out of foster care, and youth who move between foster care and other systems.

As we continue to improve the methods we get the information to you, we always like your feedback. Our website, heysf.org, strives to provide a wide range of information to anyone interested in supporting and learning about this population of young people. However, we can only be the best we can be with your input, so always let us know if you are looking for more information about a particular topic, issue or event. We exist in order to connect all types of systems, and act as an information hub.

Expect the first 2010 HEY E-newsletter on January 19th, but feel free to check our website before then for new and updated resources. Happy Holidays to all!

Familias Unidas Hiring Personal Services Coordinator

Familias Unidas is looking for a Personal Service Coordinator to serve adults, ages 26-59 living in West Contra Costa County, who are homeless, or at serious risk of homelessness, and have a severe mental illness. This is funded by the MHSA, formerly known as Proposition 63, and is intended to transform the public mental health system. This program is based on a consumer driven, culturally competent, wellness and recovery model.

Community Opportunities
Budget Bare Bones: Is This What Our Communities Deserve?

[from Chelsea Boilard, Coleman Budget Advocates 12/14/09]

Last Thursday, DCYF Director Maria Su gave a presentation at the Citizen’s Advisory Council meeting on the state of DCYF’s budget. She said that Mayor Newsom had asked departments to submit proposed mid-year cuts of 3.9% (amounting to $1 million for DCYF), and that while they found more than half of that amount in cost-savings that would not impact direct services, an additional $400,000 could come from family support services (still to be confirmed by the Mayor). Since the Mayor’s instructions said to bypass department commissions, proposed cuts from other departments are not yet public or available.

That’s only for this fiscal year, and experience with this administration should lead us to anticipate further mid-year cuts before June. Next fiscal year, the city is forecasting a $522 million deficit, and Mayor Newsom has instructed city departments to cut 30% of their general fund budgets (a year after his instructions to cut by 25%). For DCYF alone, that amounts to $11 million in reductions, including both General Fund and Children’s Fund reductions (and if property taxes continue to decline, that could increase). We have heard from multiple department heads that last year’s reductions already left city departments with bare bones and the $522 million question: What else can we cut?

But maybe that isn’t the right question.

How many years have struggling families, seniors, immigrants, homeless, people of color and low-income residents had the city budget balanced on their backs, at their expense? For how long has big business gotten incentives from City Hall while critical services for the working class of San Francisco– those who make the city’s economy run– are whittled away? When are our communities going to take a stand, and say, “Basta! Enough is enough!” and hold decision-makers (at the local and state levels) accountable to truly providing for all of the City’s residents?

We have a Mayor who refuses to engage in real conversation about progressive revenue, and tens of millions in property tax appeals, 80% of which are commercial properties. In a city which has prioritized the needs of downtown over its children and struggling families for years, there is no time like the present to take a stand. We are now hearing calls for hundreds and thousands of San Francisco residents to stand up, exhausted by years of being dismissed and discounted, but energized by the knowledge that they are not alone in their frustration and also not alone in their hope for a better city.

What to Watch this Week: A Home for the Holidays on CBS

[from About.com, 12/21/09

Another one of my Christmas traditions, besides watching Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer, Frosty the Snowman, and a Charlie Brown Christmas – I also look for A Home for the Holidays which will air on your CBS station this Wednesday, December 23, 2009 8:00 pm EST/PST 7:00 pm CST/MST

This is the 11th year for the special presented by the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption and Children’s Action Network, and sponsored by Wendy’s. This program requires one to keep tissues close by as it features families brought together through foster care adoption and tugs at your heart strings. So, if you’re like me – a big cry baby over such things – you will need the tissues. Celebrities such as Faith Hill, Shakira, Reba McEntire and Carrie Underwood will perform. Other celebrities, such as Nia Vardolos and Jenna Elfman will present stories of these foster to adopt families. Several of these celebrities have ties to adoption. In years past they have also featured children who are still waiting for a forever family.

Again, look for A Home for the Holidays on your CBS station on December 23, 2009 8:00 pm EST/PST 7:00 pm CST/MST

This newsletter is solely for informational purposes; the legislative information and articles do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the Honoring Emancipated Youth or United Way of the Bay Area.

If you would like to submit an announcement for a future HEY e-Newsletter, please email [email protected]

HEY Staff Recommended 'Trends to Watch'
Action Alert: AB 12 and California Kin-GAP

[From The John Burton Foundation and the FYA Weekly Bulletin 12/18/09]

As many of you know, the ability to expand support for youth in foster care to age 21 in California is linked to the federal government’s decision whether or not to partially fund the state’s Kinship Guardianship Assistance Program (Kin-GAP).
Congressman Pete Stark is circulating the two attached letters (HERE and HERE) to Members of Congress from California asking the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to change its policy guidance on this issue and allow California to receive federal support. If successful, this would allow an estimated 10,000 children and youth in California’s Kin-GAP program to receive federal support and save the State of California $60 million annually. By doing this, it would provide a potential source of funding to expand support for youth in foster care to age 21, as outlined in California Assembly Bill 12.
PLEASE reach out to your California member of Congress and ask them to sign on to the bipartisan letter. The first letter is to members of Congress from California asking them to sign on to the HHS letter. The second letter is to HHS. Feel free to send them these letters or ask them to contact either Congressman Stark or Calvert’s office to sign on.
If you do not know who your Member of Congress is, click HERE and enter your zip code in the upper left-hand corner of the page. Thank you for taking a moment to do this and thank you to the Child Welfare League of America for its advocacy on this issue.

San Francisco Budget Updates, Mid-December 2009

[from Debbi Lerman, San Francisco Human Services Network, 12/14/09]
The Mayor’s complete list of mid-year reductions is expected to be released this week. The Mayor’s Budget Office asked departments to submit their proposals to cut general fund by 3.9% on December 4, but those lists were not made public. However, the Public Health Department list came out today, and the Health Commission will hold a hearing at 4 pm on Tuesday, December 15.

I’ve received no information yet from the Human Services Agency. DCYF said that over half of the proposed mid-year cut consists of internal cost-savings and unspent contract funds that will not affect direct services, but about $400,000 would come from family support services (if the Mayor approves the plan). The Department on the Status of Women said they protected direct services. The Juvenile Probation mid-year cut proposal is posted, but contains only general information. Most of the cuts were to administrative and probation positions.

The Department of Public Health’s mid-year target was $13.2 million, but they were unable to achieve the full reduction. The Mayor approved a lower reduction of $7.4 million. These cuts will also reduce their FY 2010-11 budget by $9.2 million. The DPH budget website has both a summary and the write – ups on each specific cut. Most cuts would take effect in February or March.

The list includes several cuts to substance abuse services, including reducing city funding to backfill state cuts for drug MediCal and Prop 36. The city also plans to close two substance abuse residential facilities as of March 1, using the pending results of the Community Behavorial Health RFP to select the lowest-scoring facilities. The city would also provide only a partial backfill of state HIV prevention reductions, a cut that will eliminate or reduce a number of community-based programs. DPH also projects savings in unexpended contract funds, to be achieved by limiting contract modifications.

Other reductions include some changes in SFGH and LHH staffing (though with minimal layoffs), some programs that can be funded through non-general fund sources, and discontinuing the city’s backfill for the UC Regents Trauma Recovery Center.

Once the Board receives the Mayor’s mid-year cut list this week, they will have 45 days to review it and hold hearings. They may accept some cuts, or substitute equivalent cuts (which do not have to be in the same department). Because the DPH cuts are going to the Board for approval rather than the Health Commission, the Board will also have the required Beilensen hearing during the 45-day review period.

HEY Foster Care Library: New Reports and Resources
UCB-CWS/CMS UPDATES -- 12/22/2009

[from the University of California - Berkeley]

We have updated the analyses on our dynamic web site with data from the Quarter 2, 2009 extract from CWS/CMS. Please visit our website to examine updated analyses. Please note: Our Q209 CWS outcomes spreadsheets will be added soon. http://cssr.berkeley.edu/ucb_childwelfare/

New this quarter:
- 5F: New dynamic report
- Recurrence of Allegations after Exit: New dynamic report
- Rates Maps: New dynamic maps on county level
- C3.1: Children not exiting to permanency subdivided into those exiting and those still in care
- Placement Stability (Entry Cohort): Stability at 3 and 6 months after entry added
- C1.3, Allegations, Point-in-Time: New multi-report feature

New Report: Fostering Perspectives: Honoring and Maintaining Sibling Connections

[from NRCPFC Weekly 12/09/09]
The latest issue of Fostering Perspectives, sponsored by the NC Division of Social Services and the Family and Children’s Resource Program, discusses the importance of sibling connections for children and youth in care; how to strengthen these connections; and some ways agencies can support sibling placements. The Kid’s Page includes letters from children and youth about what their siblings mean to them.
http://www.fosteringperspectives.org/fpv14n1/v14n1.htm

Honoring Emancipated Youth
United Way of the Bay Area, 221 Main Street, Suite 300, San Francisco, CA 94105
(415) 808-4435 • Fax (415) 817-4615
Visit us at www.heysf.org