Executive Report Board of Directors

Executive Report
Board of Directors - March 2013
Staff Updates
We are pleased to have hired Art Taylor as the new Chief of Programs. Art comes to Larkin Street with
many years of experience in the non-profit and for-profit sectors. He has a good understanding of the
needs of young people, as well as solid management and leadership skills and experience. He will be
attending the Board meeting so that you can meet him if you have not yet had the opportunity.
Program Updates
Most of the housing programs (Avenues to Independence, G-House, Assisted Care, Hugo, Castro Youth
Housing Initiative, Routz, and Ellis Street) have been operating at or near full capacity for most of the
year. Focused work on developing life skills, engaging in education and employment programming, and
addressing mental health and substance use issues continues as our core work. Staff has also been
working on developing peer leadership within the programs by having youth work together to create
policies that impact their daily living. Some examples include updating the guest policy at one of the
resident programs, and creating a new bicycle storage policy.
We continue to have challenges receiving referrals from the Child Welfare System for LEASE, Holloway
House, and LOFT programs. LEASE and Holloway are transitional housing programs for former foster
youth ages 18 – 24 years old who are or have emancipated from the foster care system. The LOFT
serves youth 15 – 18 years old currently in the foster care system who need the specialized services
offered by the LOFT. The LOFT is licensed by the State of California as a Level 7 Group Home. The
revenue for all three programs is based on a fee-for-service model, thus underutilization results in funding
Referrals to LEASE and Holloway have been impacted by a new provider for the one of the programs that
works to prepare youth for exit out of the foster care system, and also by the slow implementation of
AB12. AB12 is State legislation that makes some significant changes to the Child Welfare System,
including allowing youth to voluntary extend their stay in the foster care system until the age of 21.
Referrals to the LOFT are impacted by a philosophical change in how services are provided to youth who
are dependents in the foster care system. There is a strong preference to maintain youth with families,
relative care-takers, or foster homes. The State wants to reduce the number of youth being placed in
group homes. While we fundamentally agree with this approach, there are many challenges to
implementation. However, the impact of this change at the State has resulted in far fewer referrals to the
LOFT, resulting in the program being significantly under capacity.
We are working diligently with the City to increase the number of referrals for LEASE and Holloway. We
have also been able to reduce expenses though cost reduction strategies. It is our intention to scale
back these programs to better match need with capacity. We have also asked the City to provide
additional funding to address the gap created by the lack of referrals. We are currently reviewing options
for the LOFT, including expanding opportunities for referrals from other programs that serve youth who
meet our target population, and/or determining alternate uses for the site.
Education and Employment Services
Hire Up staff has been focusing on further integrating the employment and education programs in keeping
aligned with the goals established in the strategic plan. A new weekly Hire Up Orientation, which began
in late January, was fully implemented during this month and contributed greatly to removing the barriers
between the education and employment staff. It provided a structured way for program integration to
occur, with the goal of improving client access to services and information. A number of Work Groups
were also created that provided the staff with opportunities to work with team members and management
from both employment and education on specific target subject areas. The Hire Up Management team
has also been working on developing our proposal for a fully integrated Hire UP division structure that
further aligns us with the strategic plan and prepares us for implementation.
Engagement Services
The Lark Inn continues to operate at or near capacity nightly. Staff has been focusing on developing
new groups and services to ensure that youth are developing the skills needed for successful transition
out of engagement services and into housing at Larkin Street or beyond.
Staff at the Drop In Center and Diamond Youth Shelter have also been retooling programming to align
with the stages of change and short term outcomes we are looking for youth to achieve while in
Engagement Services. More structured programming has been introduced, and specific service hours
have been established for overage and underage youth.
Staff at the Haight Street Referral Center was pleased to be able to offer a foot clinic, which has provided
over 15 youth with some much needed foot care and cleaning this month. Foot problems are common
among folks who are homeless, because of long hours standing and walking, worn-or no-shoes and
socks, and the fingers of fog that keep people that live outdoors, and their belongings, perpetually damp.
Employee Relations
There is currently an attempt by Local SEIU 1021 to organize our employees. We held a meeting with all
staff on March 20th to relay the organizations position on unionization. Charlie Dicke, Phil Estes, and
Laura Powell were present at the meeting on behalf of the Board.
Our position:
Larkin Street supports employee’s right to organize. We also believe that it is best for Larkin Street to
maintain a union-free work environment. We believe that flexibility and direct communication with our
employees allows us to create and maintain the best work environment for our staff, which is ultimately
best for our youth.
Larkin Street also believes strongly that transparency and access to information including opposing viewpoints allows for good process and decision making. If our employees wish to be represented by a
Union, we fully support an election where the Union and Larkin Street would be able to offer their
Efforts to Outcomes (ETO) Implementation
The ETO Implementation Group continues to meet on a weekly basis and is moving into the third phase
of implementation. We are in the final stage of Phase I – Residential Programs. Final system revisions
were just completed based on beta-testing by both the Implementation Group members and additional
staff across programs. Social Solutions will be providing ETO training to Residential Program staff the
first week of April. ETO will go live for Residential Programs on April 8th, and at that time, all data entry
for those programs will go into the new system.
Phase II - Engagement Programs include the drop-in centers, shelters, and HIV prevention. The complex
nature of Hire Up, due to program model enhancement and need for development of additional
assessment tools specific to education and employment, necessitated a move of the program from
Phase II into Phase III. The blueprint for Phase II has been completed and should be approved by the
end of March, which would allow for system configuration to begin in April. Once configuration is
complete, we will move into beta-testing for this component. Anticipated launch date for Phase II is
early May. Phase III will include Hire Up and the Arts Program. Information gathering has already been
partially completed, and the goal is to complete it by early April, with blueprinting and configuration to
The Implementation Group has been working on developing a communications and training strategy to
support the launch and utilization of ETO across the agency. Development of a Larkin Street ETO
Manual is near completion and is designed to integrate our internal program systems and policies with
usage of ETO. This manual will be made available to program staff during their initial training and will be
embedded into ETO for accessibility while in the system. Initial trainings for Phase I have been
scheduled, and additional support and recognition opportunities related to usage are being developed.
Myha Nguyen was promoted to Data Coordinator and will serve as the ETO Administrator, which will be
the main internal support personnel related to ETO.
Knowledge Leadership
Trendlines, a new brief report series focused on policy work being conducted at the local, state, and
national level, was launched. Trendlines will provide information on issues and trends in the field
related to youth homelessness, providing an overview and outlining implications for the youth that we
serve in our programs. The reports will serve as an advocacy tool, providing readers with an analysis of
critical policy initiatives and opportunities to take action on behalf of runaway and homeless youth.
Human Resources Report
HR has started building its new HRIS system, and our planned launch is currently scheduled for April 30.
It is our goal that staff will go through Open Enrollment on-line through the self-managed system this
We continue to have challenges with two of our manager positions: Research & Evaluation and Mental
Health & Training. There is a candidate being referenced for the R&E position and fingers are crossed.
Our last prime candidate accepted another position the weekend we made our offer. For the Mental
Health position, we are electing to contract with an individual to cover our contract obligations while a
deeper and more focused recruiting moves forward.
Turnover continues at the RC level, and HR has been working in a concerted manner with program
managers on several aspects of hiring, on-boarding, and retention in order to deepen the understanding
of the role this process plays in building satisfaction and commitment. Points covered include:
Deeper interview Process using Core Competencies
Written Program On-boarding process and checklist
Clear use of the Job Description in instruction, building awareness.
Phasing in the ‘data dump’ that new hires receive, in order to allow for digestion and limit
Not spinning them off too soon into solo shifts, supporting their comfort with the youth.
Finally, effective use of the 90-day Introductory Period when a new hire is not coming up to
Our Training program, a collaboration with Clinical, Licensed Housing required trainings, and Personnel
Development, has been created. At this writing, the Training Program will include 67 events for 2013.
The majority of these offerings focus on our Core Clinical training which every new hire will be required
to attend during their 90-day Introductory Period, and consists of 5, 2-3 hour clinical sessions for RCs
plus a 6th for CMs. We feel that these, in addition to the HR Orientation, the General two-day
orientation, and the enhanced on-boarding processes, will begin to encourage a greater level of RC
satisfaction and lessoning of stresses that may be a result of under-training. As with the General
Orientation, we will also be retro-training all current RCs.