Children & Youth,
Mission: We provide foster care, independent living, tutoring, and mentoring services to children and youth in maryland and the district of columbia.
Programs: Treatment foster care1. Martin pollak project's treatment foster care program continues to demonstrate adaptability and sustainability in service to the most challenging children in the foster care system. Maryland leads the country in lowering the numbers of foster children resulting in lower census averages for the reporting period. Total census at end of fiscal year-58, fiscal year admissions - 41, fiscal year discharges-452. Placement discharges reflect a very high level of service effectiveness with only 13% of those served going to a higher level of care upon discharge from mpp. 40% discharged to lower level of care 47% discharged to lateral level of care 13% discharged to higher level of care4. Safety outcomes were consistent with the highest standards in the field as 0 mpp foster parents were found to have substantiated or indicated maltreatment and 0 agency staff was the subject of an investigation for maltreatment. 5. Permanence outcomes were very strong given the reality that the average age of children entering foster care is raising to mid teens corresponding with greater difficulty of obtaining permanency. 1 adoptions by foster parents 3 custody and guardianship 9 reunifications with birth families 3 aged out successfully with plans to live with relatives6. Mpp did very well with maintenance of educational participation. Education is one of the greatest indicators of future success and foster children nationally lag significantly behind their peers not in fostercare. 45 school aged children enrolled in school 10 graduated high school 10 entered college7. Life skills services are fundamental to the success of foster children separated from the matrix of biological family modeling and support. Mpp is working consistently with both individuals and groups of foster teens 14 yrs+ to supportacquisition of critical life skills. Mpp has 35 youth between 14 and 20 years old. (9) nine youth received individual life skills programming focused on college entry including school application, fafsa, and life/career planning; (7) six youth received individual work in finding part-time employment and one youth is receiving support in aging out of foster care critical life skills groups for a total of 45 hours for the over14 years mpp foster youth. The numbers reflect greater disturbance behavioral and emotional among this group resulting in lowered ability to do group programing of this kind. 8. Mpp continues tfc to focus on placement stability as the path to permanency for current high intensity older youth with serious behavioral, psychiatric, educational and social disorders. 9 foster parents participated in this reporting period. The results are positive continuing to suggest that foster parents can stabilize the most difficult older youth supporting their long term success. Mpp is seeking research assistance in gathering data to support our practice and give additional information regarding the success factors. 9. Mpp tfc continued to integrate trauma informed practice into agency services. 52 hours of training in trauma treatment was provided to staff and 25 hours provided to foster parents. Trauma informed content is fully integrated into the recruitment and pre-service training of foster parents and student interns. The martin pollak project (mpp) treatment fostercare program has purposefully initiated the process of full integration and implementation of the trauma informed practice model. Mpp ceo initiated agency staff orientation and training employing the nctsn child welfare trauma training toolkit. Executive staff, program management, and program staff have all been included. Trauma facts, knowledge and awareness has been fully integrated into foster parent recruitment and training. Ongoing in-service staff training has made the shift from a primary focus on child maltreatment to assessment and treatment of trauma. Given the well documented shift in maryland to the presence of older children exhibiting more substantial emotional and behavioral disturbances in foster care trauma informed practice has been critical to effective and appropriate foster care service delivery in mpp programsmpp is directly involved in initiation and implementation of innovative collaborative service development capability in communities. This work is in concert with maryland title iv-e waiver child welfare policies and best practices specifying collaboration, family centered and community based service delivery. Since july 2014 the mpp ceo has served as the president of the board of the maryland association of resources for families and youth (marfy) and has been integral to the commitment to transformation of child welfare through the activities of the marfy systems redesign committee. This committee attracted the involvement of casey family programs foundation of seattle washington. Subsequently the baltimore collaborative including mpp and three other metro maryland child and family serving agencies were designated as a model demonstration project by the casey family programs foundation in their communities of hope national initiative. The baltimore collaborative with casey foundation technical and financial support is incubating innovative approaches to community activation aimed at bringing together city and state child welfare institutions, community people and professionals to develop effective sustainable services in response to data supported expressed community needs. Mpp treatment fostercare (tfc) and independent living (ilp) programs have attained fully compliant with performance based contracts (pbc). The mpp ilp program has been referred to as a model program by department of human resources office of licensing & monitoring auditor. Mpp is not funded for follow up monitoring of youth that graduate from our program at age 21 but informal after graduation contacts with youth have been gratifying. They come to the office to say hello and report they are stable and productive pursuing life plans developed in collaboration with program staff. Both mpp programs have remained in good standing posting positive outcomes on quarterly evaluation by dhr pbc contract monitors. The collaborative initiatives between mpp and other tfc agencies continue with a monthly network meeting between 6 agencies. During this reporting period network formation to apply for a federal grant, sharing of staff training resources, collaborative mobilization of community groups, professional and lay people, to support community ownership of a trauma lens to support restorative and healing activity in the baltimore metro region. A concrete result of this work has been the baltimore healing collaborative. This collaborative has monthly meeting and seeks ways to create collaborations that could employ the trauma lens to improve the quality of relationships, collaboration and unique community responses to poverty, homelessness and violence. Youth aging out of foster care are over represented in these troubling statistics. Current discussions are focused on formation of enhanced capacity alliances with the capability to provide a continuum of services short of outright mergers. This collaboration is critical as the number of children in foster care in maryland continues to drop precipitously. New and innovative approaches to stacking capacity to serve fewer but more disturbed children in the system achieving quality of service, results as well as necessary economies is the requirement for sustainability. Once again mpp collaborated with gallery church of patterson park a faith-based latino group, hopesprings baltimore and university of maryland department of virology to provide hiv education and screening day in the mpp building. Mpp is expanding its relationship with morgan state university msw social work program. Mpp had 6 student interns in the current reporting period.
independent living program, young adults initiative (yai) during this reporting period: july 2013 - june 2014- with a licensed capacity of (30) the program served a total of 44 youth: 20 male and 24 female. 39 were from baltimore city, 4 were from baltimore county and 1 was from anne arundel county. - the yai program had an average daily census of 25 during the reporting period. - 6 youth completed driver's education, and 8 youth obtained driver's licenses this year. - 100% of youth served attended an educational/vocational program, completed an educational/vocational program, or gained work experience during the reporting period. - 3 youth received servsafe certifications, which led to restaurant positions. 1 youth received a med tech certification. 1 youth was enrolled in massage therapy school, working on certification. - 8 youth successfully aged out from yai ilp this year at age 21. 3 youth transitioned into their own apartments, 3 youth transitioned into shared housing with a roommate, and 2 youth transitioned back with family members while completing school and saving for their own apartment. - all youth aging out receive hands on assistance in locating a stable, permanent, affordable living situation based upon their current earnings. - all youth have the opportunity to attend a driver's education class for free and have support from yai staff to get driving hours and complete the road test in a loaned vehicle. - during the reporting period the young adult's initiative independent living program was monitored four times by maryland department of human resources office and licensing and monitoring, receiving all positive reviews, with 0 corrective actions during our june 2014 visit. We also were up for a re-licensure review in june 2014, which was a positive review as well. - 3 youth received their high school diplomas. Yai staff worked very hard to support these youth with the schools to make sure youth met graduation requirements. - one of our youth who aged out in january 2014 came to yai shortly after he turned 18 and struggled to finish high school. He was very anxious and non-trusting. At the time of age-out, this young man received his diploma, was working full time, was working on getting his driver's license, and was able to secure an apartment that he shared with his long-term girlfriend. - another youth aged out, struggled with academics. She graduated high school and tried college, cna programs, and various other vocational programs. She was not able to obtain any certifications, but this youth maintained a job the entire length of her time in the yai program, with zero times of unemployment. She was working two jobs at some points, and aged out to her own apartment with a comfortable amount of savings. - during the fall 2013 and spring 2014, 28 youth received direct 1:1 services from yai independent living associates to: complete their financial aid (fafsa) applications, identify a major, register for college classes, receive the tuition waiver, sign up for etv (education training vouchers for youth in foster care) and make decisions that allowed them to afford their books and obtain needed computers. - our youth are working many jobs from human resources internships, to certified nursing assistants, to cashiers, to security guards, to various restaurant positions, to college work-study, to full time hospital and state career track positions. - supported youth regularly and individually take part in our once monthly planned activities (water taxi tours of the city, attending the maryland state fair, poetry contest, halloween costume & pumpkin carving contests, take a friend to dinner, movie gift cards for self & a friend/family member of choice, cooking/baking contests) while offering ongoing ymca memberships to each youth. - program continues to have a prioritized relationship with property owners and management of the complex where we lease 28 apartments of their total 150 units. This relationship has been instrumental in providing timely services and safe, stable living arrangements for the youth we serve. In addition, the community has come to accept our youth as reasonable, friendly tenants and neighbors. - program has resolved prior charges for youth entering our program with open court cases based on incidents in their family homes or prior placements. We attend court with these youth and support them to do the right thing, while ensuring we do everything we can to get the charges dropped (charges that would affect their ability to work and/or develop a career path). - program continues provide 5 hours of individualized weekly life-skills for each youth during their first 6 months in the program. Life skills are provided as needed, thereafter 100% youth compliance. - program continues to remain in compliance (100%) with ensuring each youth has a current annual physical, annual dental and annual vision on file. In addition, program and youth have successfully coordinated around additional and ongoing services needed by individuals to include: securing a breathing machine for one youth, ensuring youth attend all follow up appointments and one on one support during several dental surgeries (facilitating the referral, accompanying the youth, and ensuring proper aftercare and support in youth's apartment). Ensured that youth aging out of care are signed up for low-cost medical insurance, as needed. - program has maintained its policy of ensuring that all new hires are highly qualified to work with youth, have passed background checks/cps clearances, and have completed at least 4 years of college. - program has been pro-active in seeking out and encouraging staff to obtain ongoing training (at least 20 hours a year) in order to stay abreast of best practice in the field of child welfare, community service, and mental health. - the yai program continues to have strong community partnerships with vocational and educational services to include: maryland motor vehicle administration, pro-drive driving school, stein academy (medical tech training and certifications), baltimore city high schools, morgan state university, baltimore city and county community colleges, ged programs, novel credit recouping (credit repair) and griggs diploma programs and grant-based employment readiness programs to include: chesapeake, yo! Baltimore, and urban alliance. - because we continue to offer one bedroom supported apartments to youth ages 16-21, the young adult's initiative independent living program has been highly successfully in serving youth with alternative life styles, glbtq youth and youth whose mental health issues have in the past affected their ability to maintain a stable living environment. Each youth's unique needs, special dreams, heartfelt desires, personal struggles, and meaningful, life-supporting results are our everyday business. Mpp's independent living program is staffed by a vested and diverse non-hierarchal team of energetic, highly motivated, authoritative professionals who work individually with every youth in the program. We are old and young, male and female, social workers and multi-disciplinary. We are real. There is an authoritative rather than authoritarian stance. We are merely older, wiser, real people supporting the younger, eager youth in living very real, productive everyday lives. All staff have equal input and decisions are consensual, taking into consideration respect for the youth and minimization of ongoing risk and liability for youth, program, and community.
project northstar:project northstar (pn), a program of the martin pollak project, (mpp) operated in washington dc. Pn is a one-on-one tutoring and mentoring program for homeless and low-income children. The program is largely donation funded and is almost totally volunteer-staffed (with only two mpp full time staff employees). The programs mission is to facilitate educational achievement and social support for homeless, at-risk and foster children in grades k through 12, living in some of dcs underserved neighborhoods. Currently, the program does not serve foster children. However, it has collaborated with area shelters and schools to draw in homeless and at-risk children. The program is unique and effective as it engages families along with the children served and exemplifies the precepts of learning community to achieve long lasting results for children and adolescents. Students: - project northstar served 65 students in fy 2014, a 38% increase in registration compared to the previous year. This also marks the fifth year in a row the program saw more than a 20% increase in student population. - 100% of returning students graduated to the next grade level. - approximately 2/3 of students come from homes where english is the second language. - the average project northstar family of four makes $25,000 per year. Volunteers: - project northstar had 89 full time volunteers (attending every session), substitute volunteers (attending sessions when available) and interns throughout fy 2014. - a significant percent of volunteers who joined in fy 2014 came from existing volunteer referrals. - project northstar continually has a waiting list of volunteers and once a tutor begins, they typically spend the first 3-4 weeks of their time in the program as substitutes until they are paired with a new student. - project northstar volunteers come from a variety of backgrounds and professional fields including; legal work (20% of volunteers), medical professionals (7% of volunteers), federal employees (20% of volunteers), congressional staff (17% of volunteers), nonprofit employees (23 % of volunteers), college and high school instructors (8% of volunteers) other - including scientists, event planners and athletic instructors (5 % of volunteers). Tutoring program: - during fy14 project northstar continued to make math and reading a significant priority during tutoring sessions, and provided weekly targeted materials to enable student/tutor pairs to focus on each subject. - in june, 2014 project northstar prepared for our first ever summer camp. Participating students attended testing sessions to determine specific areas each student needed to focus on during the six week camp. - during fy 2014, tutors of students in grades 10 and 11 made sat preparation a priority during weekly sessions. Project northstar provided a number of test prep materials including practice tests, study books and flash cards. Northstar also held a separate practice test session for students to familiarize themselves with the testing format. Because of all of these efforts, participating northstar students raised their sat scores by an average of 100 points by the end of the year. - northstar students and volunteers spent approximately 5,000 tutoring hours together in fy 2014. Fundraising: - raised $40,000 or 65% of fy14 annual budget through grant money and individual donors. - in kind donations in fy14 included free rental space for our weekly tutoring programs, meals for both the summer party and holiday event, and a number of office and school supplies for tutoring sessions. Special events:- the project northstar holiday party was a huge success. More than 175 volunteers, students and family members joined together for a meal provided by bertuccis. A local lobbying firm also gave approximately $5,000 in gifts for students to open during the party.
regular or community foster care (rfc)the community foster care program is small and comprises of children that allows traditional foster care children who are siblings of treatment foster care children to remain in treatment homes while permanency is sought. Permanency of siblings relationships is the sole and totally justifiable reason to maintain the program. Children forced to be in foster care have lost their parents and everything familiar. These children gain uniquely valuable support to their adoptive functioning from the presence of siblings living in the same foster home.