Pomona's Administration Team - Regional Administrator Jonathan Byers (center)
Our key five goals for the children and families we serve are to
- 1) Improve permanence,
- 2) Improve safety,
- 3) Reduce reliance on out-of-home care,
- 4) Organizational Excellence, and
- 5) Child and Family Well Being.
At the core of the various strategies to achieve these goals is a philosophy of inclusion and transparency. With the full adoption of the Annie E. Casey’s Family to Family initiative the Pomona office involves birth parents, resource families, and our community partners to ensure collaboration in the critical decisions that affect the lives of the children and families we serve. We invite you to learn about us, and join us in our efforts to preserve families and keep children safe.
Here are some of our more prominent initiatives and programs:
BREAKTHROUGH SERIES PARTICIPATION
- Eliminating Racial Disproportionality & Disparity
For several years, under the leadership of Maryam Fatemi, Deputy Director, and with the assistance of the Annie E. Casey Foundation (AECF), the Pomona Office has been addressing racial disproportionality and disparity. Through the review and analysis of data, it became evident that the issue of racial disproportionality & disparity needed to be addressed in this area as it relates to African American families. As a result of Pomona’s collaboration with the Annie E. Casey Foundation, our staff and community partners received the support and technical assistance needed to pursue the goals of increased safety, improved timelines to permanence and reduced reliance on out-of-home care along with an in-depth examination and training of its racial disproportionality and disparity rates. A DCFS staff and community partners formed an ERDD Action Team made up of interested staff, community partners and youth that meet monthly to address race-related matters and to examine and implement ways to support African American families. The Pomona Action Group on ERDD meets at 2:00 p.m. the second Wednesday of each month at the Pomona DCFS office. The co-chairs of the Action Group are Diquitha Aubrey Supervising Children's Social Worker(909) 868-4451, firstname.lastname@example.org and ARA, Iola Fountain 909-868-4411.
What is Racial Disproportionality & Disparity?
In this context, the term “disproportionality” refers to the over representation of a
particular race or cultural group within a system, meaning that this group populates that system at a higher rate than their percentage in the general population.
“Disparity” refers to the comparison of one group (e.g., regarding disproportionality, services, and outcomes) to another group.
Pomona Action Group on ERDD
This group is tasked with developing action items and small tests of change to impact practice related to ERDD. The following is a list of their most promising action items and small tests of change:
- The Pomona Mythbuster Newsletter - Highlights a specific action, unit activity, or staff’s work on ERDD and notifies staff and community partners of upcoming Action Group meetings.
- Developing Practice Focus Training - Members are working with the centralized training section to develop ERDD training that specifically applies to social work practice. This training will be rolled out during the summer of 2009 as a trial to the members of the Action Workgroup.
- Engaging Staff & Community Partners - Organizing various trainings on ERDD to keep staff updated and engaged in ERDD work.
4. Case Conference for African-American Families - Once per month, staff present cases to administration and community service providers for consultation and connection to valuable resources.
- Advocacy for families at the TDMs - Ensure there is a representative from the team to advocate for African-American families during the TDMs by ensuring there is representation from a cultural broker, and/or a member of the Pomona Action Team.
- Youth Involvement & Establishment of Youth Support Groups - Groups started to convene in April 2009. The plan is to increase involvement of youth to help us identify policy-related issues that negatively affect them.
- Presenting our Work on ERDD to Community Based Agencies – In extended workgroups we hope to solicit from the community ideas and participation. Presentations are being arranged at various community agency forums and faith based organizations in the local area. If you’re interested in having us conduct a presentation please contact us at 626-258-1815.
- Family Preservation
As a whole, DCFS contracts with approximately 41 contractors to provide a multitude of services such as parenting classes /instruction, in-home demonstrative services, counseling, auxiliary funds, and any services geared toward maintaining child(ren) in their own homes or in assisting the family toward a safe reunification. In Pomona there are five lead contracted agencies that provide family preservation services including: Pomona Valley Youth Employment Services, Assistance League of Southern California, Pomona Unified School District, Santa Anita Family Services and Pacific Clinics. The Contact person for the Family Preservation Services in the DCFS Pomona Office is SCSW Gail Irvis 909-868-4538.
- Family to Family
Family to Family is a Child Welfare Reform movement sponsored by the Annie E. Casey Foundation and adopted by the Pomona office in 2004. The Family to Family initiative focuses on gaining the support and collaboration of community partners to become involved at key points in the decision-making processes. The Family to Family Initiative including the strategy workgroups, of Team-Decision Making (TDM), Recruitment, Development and Support of Resource Families (RDS), Building Community Partnerships (BCP) and Self Evaluation (SE) were introduced and integrated into day-to-day practice in the Pomona office between 2004 and 2005. As a result, the Pomona office formed a community council that meets monthly to address general child welfare issues in Pomona. The Pomona office has since become a Family to Family Anchor site committed to incorporating the Family to Family four core strategies in every day social work practice. It is through the sharing of data in the self evaluation group that the community has become interested and remained focused on the issue of racial disproportionality and disparity.
Pomona’s prominent Community Partners include:
- Unity Church of Pomona
- Pacific Clinics
- Pomona Valley Youth Employment Services
- Sta. Anita Family Services
- American Recovery
- House of Ruth
- David & Margaret
- Pomona Unified School District
- Tri-Valley Foster Parents Association
Pomona staff and interested community members meet at 9:30am every fourth Wednesday of each month at Unity Church of Pomona located at 524 E. Pasadena St. Pomona CA 91767. The Family to Family liaison for the Pomona office is Nancy Urquilla, 909-868-4528.
- Family-Finders Program
A clerical staff is assigned to help front end units in conducting extensive searches to locate missing parents, relatives (as potential caregivers) with an emphasis on locating fathers.
- Kinship Support Groups
Kinship support groups are held at the Pomona and El Monte offices, these are support groups formed by local caregivers with the assistance of DCFS. They are designed to provide relative caregivers with extra support, education and connection to community resources. Relative caregivers come together once per month to connect with one another, discuss issues related to the care they are providing and receive guidance and support from DCFS and their local community. A one hour instruction is provided by an instruction from the local community college. Topics include: "How to handle conflicts", "How to take care of yourself, the caretaker", "Family Time" etc. Regional Center, and other community services providers visit these groups to explain their services.
For more information regarding Kinship Support Groups in Pomona, please contact Axa Cazzaly, ARA 909-868-4558. In the El Monte office, 626-258-1815.
- Multidisciplinary Assessment Team (MAT)
A process that ensures an immediate and comprehensive assessment of children entering Out-of Home-Placement. This process also ensures that appropriate services are immediately provided to the child to ensure his/her progress, and stability while in out-of-home care.
MAT Coordinator in Pomona :
Rosa D. Agredano, CSAI
Bureau of the Medical Director
Pomona MAT/SLS Coordinator
100 West 2nd Street
Pomona, CA. 91766
- Parents In Partnership (PIP)
- Permanency Partners Program (P-3)
An effort to assist social workers in finding legally permanent homes and/or adult connections for youth ages 12-18 who are placed in long-term foster care. Retired social workers have been hired and trained to become “permanency specialists” and assists in this effort. The P-3 staff focus is on ensuring that children do not leave foster care without a life-long connection to a committed adult. P3 staff interview children, and conduct detailed searches of DCFS case files to find relatives and/or other significant people in the child’s life. They also facilitate engagement with the child to create permanency or make life-long connections.
- Point of Engagement
The Point of Engagement service delivery model was implemented in 2005 to ensure rapid service delivery and objectivity at critical points in a case. It includes:
- Team Decision Making (TDM) involving birth families, relatives, relevant service providers, advocates, and family-identified supports to participate in placement-related decisions. TDMs are mandated for all detentions.
- Alternative Response Service ensures that other appropriate services are in place for families when circumstances do not warrant opening a child protective services case.
- Structured Decision Making (SDM) is a safety and risk assessment tool that is used to assist social workers in objective assessment of the safety and risk level of children referred for child abuse and neglect assessments.
- Concurrent Planning Re-design is an initiative to address the goal of returning a child who has entered foster care into a safe and stable home environment with a particular focus on reunification, kinship and adoptions.
- Permanency Partners Program (P3) in which a specially trained retired Children’s Social Worker or Supervising Children’s Social Worker will work to assist the current social worker in developing connections for older youth. The Permanency Partner reads the entire case to identify adults who may become a meaningful connection to the youth. The Permanency Partner also ascertains services that will assist in achieving legal permanency.
- Prevention Initiative Demonstration Project
A lead contracted local community agency, Prototypes provides direct child abuse prevention services to families in Service Planning Area (SPA) III with a focus on families in the zip code of 91766, a Pomona service area of high child abuse referrals. In Service Bureau III this initiative has expanded to include Cultural Brokers and Parent Advocates who provide extra support for families during the Team Decision Making process.
- Specialized Foster Care Mental Health Services
A co-located Department of Mental Health staff assists in coordinating, and connecting children, youth and families to appropriate levels of mental health services. This program works in partnership with DCFS and local Mental Health Service Providers.
- Systems of Care (SOC)
The Children System of Care (SOC) is a collaborative effort between the Departments of Mental Health, Children and Family Services, Department of Probation, school districts, parents and communities to reduce the higher levels of care for high risk children and youth. SOC is strength based and family focused.
- Team Decision Making (TDM)
This is a Family to Family strategy to prevent important decisions related to the potential placement of children to be made by the DCFS agency alone. This meeting is a sharing of information about the family as it relates to the protection of their children and the functionality of the family unit. The meetings may involve birth parents, relatives, foster care providers, community advocates, service providers, and family-identified supports who convene to participate in placement-related decisions. TDMs are mandated for all potential detentions of children from the home. These meetings are arranged at the convenience of the family and DCFS staff.
- Title IV-E Waiver Capped Allocation Demonstration Project (CADP)
The Title IV-E Waiver Capped Allocation Demonstration Project (CADP) provides DCFS and the Probation Department with flexibility in the way it utilizes Title IV-E funding. The implementation of the CADP has been a driving force in L.A.’s efforts on ERDD by supporting prevention programs, reducing the reliance on out-of-home care and promoting permanence with a focus on youth in group home care.
- Wrap Around
Wraparound is a multi-agency initiative, between DMH and DCFS staff. The Wraparound approach is a family-centered, strength-based, needs-driven planning and service delivery process. It calls for a partnership between the family and the agency professionals to “wrap” needed services around the family, and ensure family voice, choice and ownership. Wraparound children and family teams benefit children by working therapeutically with the family to ensure permanency and stability.
- Youth Engagement Efforts:
The engagement of youth is of much importance to the Pomona office’s continued efforts to improve services. A youth representative has been hired to conduct youth engagement efforts focusing primarily on youth placed in group homes. The youth representative reaches out to youth and coordinates a monthly meeting providing them with a forum to voice their concerns about the care they are provided, and about the resources and services that they need while in care. This is also a an enjoyable opportunity for youth to learn about available community resources such as employment, college and vocational resources, college financial aid, independent living skills (ILP), transitional housing and possible permanency options. The group meets at GoodWill Industries in Pomona, for further information contact youth representative Miranda Sheffield at the message number 909-868-4528.
- Youth Permanency Unit
The Pomona Office partnered with two other LA County offices to establish Youth Permanency Units. In 2007, almost half of Pomona’s youth placed in group homes were African-American. The Pomona Office welcomed this specialized service as a means to achieve better outcomes for African-American youth residing in group homes and for any youth without a significant adult figure in their lives. The Permanency unit consists of one Supervising Children’s Social Worker and six Children’s Social Workers who focus on serving high-need youth that reside in group home care without a permanent plan. The Children Social Workers (CSW) in these units have a maximum caseload of 15 high-need youth. They also serve the siblings of said youth, allowing for a maximum of 24 children per caseload.
The Youth Permanency Unit focuses on the permanency needs of older youth who have had psychiatric hospitalizations, chronic or heavy drug abuse, have none or limited family connections and a history of running away and multiple replacements. This unit assists youth to create life-long connections with adults who can become a permanent and future resource for them. For more information on this program please contact ARA David White or SCSW Veronica Norwood 909-868-4351.
Breakthrough Series on Safety & Risk April 2008 (H)
- In April 2008, the Pomona Office began its involvement in a Breakthrough Series on Risk and Safety. Increased learning in this topic allowed Pomona staff and community partners to identify misinterpretations of these in every-day practice and child abuse assessments. The team has come up with ways to assist DCFS staff to clearly understand these definitions and the implications of their misuse. The definitions of safety and risk are posted throughout the office as follows:
- Safety: Deciding if a child is in danger of being hurt or neglected right now.
- Risk: Looking at the possibility that a child may be hurt or neglected in the future.
Breakthrough Series on Eliminating Racial Disproportionality & Disparity (ERDD) - July 2008
- The Pomona and Metro North Offices submitted an application to participate in the California Disproportionality Project, a statewide collaboration of Casey Family Programs, the Annie E. Casey Foundation, and the California Department of Social Services to support the work of California counties and the state in eliminating racial disproportionality and disparity in the child welfare system. Both offices were formally accepted to this Breakthrough Series Collaborative (BSC) and have begun their work since September 5, 2008. The team involves the two Regional Administrators, Assistant Regional Administrators, and day-to-day managers from the Pomona and Metro North Offices respectively. A Children’s Social Worker, a Supervising Children’s Social Worker, a birth-parent partner, a youth representative, a community partner and a Hearing Officer from Dependency Court also comprise this team. They are all assisting each office in developing and carrying out action items and small tests of change to reduce the racial disproportionality and disparity within the areas served by each of those offices.
For more information on becoming one of DCFS/Pomona community Partners, to receive our newsletter on ERDD, participate in one of our meetings, or to have a link to your organization or group placed on our website, please contact Nancy Urquilla, 626-258-1815.