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Juvenile Probation Department
MINUTES OF DECEMBER 13, 2001 PROGRAM COMMITTEE MEETING
held at Youth Guidance Center Conference Room Woodside Ave San Francisco, Ca 94127
The minutes of this meeting set forth all actions taken by the Commission on the matters stated, but not necessarily the chronological sequence in which the matters were taken up
1. (ACTION) Roll Call
The meeting was called to order by the Chair at 4:12 pm. Comm. Dupre was present at the gavel. Comm. Richard was excused. CPO Williams was present for the Dept. Jim Fithian (SFUSD), Marynella Woods and Jean Amabole (Public Defender), DCPO Tucker joined in later.
2. (ACTION) Approval of October 23, 2001 meeting minutes.
The minutes were approved as written.
There was none.
3. (DISCUSSION) Log Cabin Ranch Advisory Committee; composition, protocols, goals and objectives.
Comm. Dupré asked if the Committee had already been established. Comm. Arámburo said her understanding was that the protocols were to be developed, between the City Attorney’s office and the Chief. She was advised that the Chief would have to call the City Attorney to initiate the protocols. She asked the Chief if he had called the City Attorney for this purpose. Answer: No. He said that his understanding was that he would sit with the Program Comm., Johnny Miller and the City Attorney to establish the protocol. He thought this would be the outcome of the next Program Comm mtg.
Comm. Arámburo repeated that the City Attorney advised her that the Chief needed to request the meeting with her to establish the protocols. The Commissioner was expecting that there would be a suggested framework and protocols to discuss at this meeting.
Comm. Dupré asked it there was already a Chair established for the Committee. His understanding (from the last Commission meeting) was that at this meeting the protocols would be ironed out, with a mission for the committee. Membership for this would also be discussed today.
Comm. Arámburo agreed and that was why she asked the City Attorney to work with the Chief to come up with some initial guidelines. The Chief said that he thought the protocols would come out of this meeting. He has taken no action to establish any protocols because he didn’t think he could do it until he talked to the Program Committee. He said he is willing to draft protocols for the Committee’s consideration, if it wants. He said that was not the direction given to the Dept. There was no direction, sanction, or authority given the Dept to do that. He said he was clear that he would have that discussion today.
He reviewed what his concerns were (from the Oct. 24 mtg). He requested the Strategic Plan be used as the starting point for the discussion. That there be a clear mandate for the Committee, direction and instruction for participation, timeline and prospective results. He said that the availability of an advisory committee that’s properly constituted and directed can have some very beneficial effects in terms of clearing up perceptions, misperceptions, and enhancing the programs at LCR.
Comm. Arámburo: what clear mandate does the Chief want.
Chief Williams: what the Committee’s role is. The same things he just mentioned.
Jean Amabale stated that the only thing done to date has been a survey, interview of various people at Cabin, to come up with a snapshot of what’s going on right now. The people doing this are people with extensive experience in the Dept/field and the only agenda they have is to improve LCR. As such, they are open to any input from anyone interested in the same thing.
She suggested having all those people concerned with this issue, convene an unofficial meeting at the Ranch to have an extensive discussion about what needs to be done. She said that there are both good and bad things happening at the Ranch. But there are a lot of rumors running about regarding the Ranch.
Jean Amabale: process is important but there is a point where processing becomes counter productive. There needs to be action now, since there is a hiatus in leadership at the Ranch.
Comm. Arámburo said that she wants the Program Committee to direct the Chief to sit down with the City Attorney, and Don Sanders, and develop a guideline from which this body can discuss and adapt protocols to be followed. It was clearly understood, and the Chief said he was willing to do this.
J. Fithian said that he was sincerely interested in trying to make LCR a great place, that his objective this year was to try and bring the whole program together (school, etc.), but that he was surprised that this meeting didn’t seem as "friendly" as he had thought it would be. And that others from LCRS did not volunteer for this committee.
Chief Williams said that there were many things that needed clarification as to the role of the committee vs. the actions of individuals in the short and long term, in bringing changes to LCRS.
As an example he said he was taken aback by a letter from M. Woods asking the Committee be a part of selecting the new LCRS Director. He said he wasn’t clear whether that would be an appropriate role for the Committee at all.
Comm. Arámburo said that there are many people, resources who are ready to work with the Dept in improving LCRS, but are now waiting for the "approved" ways to do that (the protocols). She indicated that she did not believe anyone should be taken aback from groups requesting to
assist in the recruitment and selection of a new Director for LCRS. She reiterated that the Chief and the City Attorney draft up the protocols, including whether they think it appropriate if such a committee were involved in the hiring of the new LCRS Director. And to have this at the next Program Committee in January
Marynella Woods reviewed what they did to come up with the report they wrote.
All students and some staff were talked to. The report summarizes what they found, and these were in many ways the same things reflected in the Strategic Plan. She said there was a deep demoralization among staff and youth. It was disturbing that every youth felt that staff brought personal problems from the outside, and took it out on the youth. There continues to be a concern for the discipline/merit program (wanting home passes), mental health counseling. They want separation of students according to skills level so the education is more appropriate.
Comm. Arámburo commended her for the report and said it was consistent with many of her own discussions with people at and regarding LCRS. She said that they had requested that the JPD utilize one exceptional counselor ( i.e., Tracy Haines was mentioned by many kids) to do in depth counseling with the kids during established office hours.
The Commissioner also asked about the YCD program and its operation during school hours. Is their program the equivalent and eligible as the educational requirement mandated under W&I code?
The Chief said that in meetings in August and Sept with the Job Corps Center, YCD, Johnny Miller, Jim Fithian, his understanding was that the youth participating in YCD would get school credit for that, and the school district committed to that. So he assumed that this would meet any test they would have to meet in terms of educational sanctions and does not work against them in terms of them earning educational credits while they were at LCRS.
Comm. Arámburo asked what credits they receive for YCD. Fithian said that with non-certified teachers the students get 8 additional credits (extra credits considered study skills). They are not getting credits for 30 days program in YCD. They are losing credits for the special Ed they do not receive with YCD.
The Chief said that they just had a meeting this last Friday regarding the school program. He described the plan for Job Corps training. When the youth were enrolled at LCRS, they would be enrolled as non-residential students in Job Corps. They would do an initial 30-day program with YCD before being started at the Job Corps program.
Comm. Arámburo asked to make sure this meets legal muster. Fithian said that initially the MOU concerned about 6 students (LCRS seniors), but now it affects everyone there.
J. Amabale asked how this concept is now going to affect those at the Ranch now. The Chief said that of the 15 students there on Friday, 5 would have normally "graduated" from the Ranch and enrolled in Job Corps. Arrangements for 5 additional students were made to allow them to be non-residential enrollees. The rest would just continue with the YCD program.
Question: how would this work. As part of Aftercare? Answer: Yes. Question: if they failed Job Corps would this be a violation of aftercare? Answer: no. for non-residential students, when they
leave, they just leave. It wouldn’t necessarily be a violation of their aftercare. For the residential students, if they are not successful, they just complete the regular LCRS program and then go to
YCD, no violation, no sanction.
Comm. Arámburo stated that she was concerned that neither the Program Committee nor the Commission was advised as to the steps taken already to change the nature of the LCRS school/vocational programs, to see if this is the direction of choice for those bearing responsibility for the operation of LCRS. It is a real issue whether the students are receiving actual school
credits for the YCD program in view of the opinions expressed by the students themselves in August that they wanted a strong school program and better education. Her own observations were that the YCD program was more a morale booster/self esteem type program which did
not concentrate on or require real academic thinking. And there are many questions regarding the effectiveness of the YCD program. What has their track record been? Success rate? How many youth have been placed in jobs? And how reasonable is this concept of taking LCRS youth to Job Corps before they have completed the program at LCRS?
The Job Corps recruiter has advised that they typically fail with the types of students we have at LCRS, which is why they set up requirements which include no pending criminal cases, mental health problems, or issues of substance abuse in the regular Job Corps. Typically, the program
works best for mature youths without these drug or mental health problems.
And in regards to the logistics of getting the students to Job Corps, is a counselor going to stay on site there as security during the entire program day? Answer: yes. Question: are there any union issues involved? Answer: no. How about working hours? Answer: it would be just 8 hrs in the course of a regular workday. The assigned counselor would leave LCRS in the morning, stay on TI during the day and return to LCRS in the evening. If there are any issues, the Dept will have to negotiate so as to not violate any union agreements. There will be no OT given to this.
In responses to an unfinished question by Jean Amabole, the Chief repeated that there are 10 LCRS students now being considered for enrollment in Job Corps and by Jan. 7 he hopes to know the status of that. Soon thereafter, they will begin to get the remaining 5 into the program.
Jean further asked, these initial ones are those about to finish the LCRS term? Answer: yes. Question: about the ones that aren’t, are they going to go back and forth everyday while they are still at the Ranch? Answer: yes. For how long? For as long as they are at the Ranch.
If this is the case, it was asked, why send kids to LCRS then, why not just send them to the Job Corps? The Chief said that it was worked out with the Job Corps, that because the kids would be getting additional care and screening for these youth. It would allow the Dept to attach the kids to some specific training and exposure while they are at LCRS, that the Dept can’t offer. It also helps Job Corps get their non residential student enrollment up (which is required by their federal contract). This is why they are giving special consideration to our kids. Normally they wouldn’t accept kids with certain charges.
J. Amabale commented that it made no sense to commit a youth to LCRS for 9 months and have to drive them back and forth everyday for that entire time.
The Chief repeated that the Job Corps was only giving this special consideration because the kids would be residential at LCRS and be better able to integrate into their program.
J. Amabale said it makes more sense if this is done toward the end of the Ranch commitment. She asked what would be in it for the school district to support a whole cadre of staff at LCRS for just 2 students. The Chief said he had a meeting with school district staff this morning, (the Principal of the school district schools), and although she had some concerns, they were able to respond to those, and she is not at this point in a tizzy about what’s going to happen.
Comm. Arámburo said there are many policy issues involved. The question of what types of students go to LCRS, what are their needs (academic, emotional, mental health), and are we meeting those needs.
The Chief said that in discussions with the Controller regarding this, and next year’s fiscal situation, LCRS has not emerged as an issue.
Comm. Arámburo commented that if the Judge sees fit to commit a youth to LCRS, then so be it. If they consider LCRS as the appropriate placement, based on a hearing and probation reports, then maybe the Dept might want to consider Job Corps for non residential aftercare. Or an accelerated GED program as an entrance requirement to Job Corps, might make many of the students more eager to participate in the academic program because it could serve as an early release incentive.
The Job Corps program struggles with its academic portion also as the youth are more receptive to the hands on nature of the training. Job Corps does not have special ed. teachers so what would happen to IEP students?
The Chief said that there are two discussions on the table. One, what to do with the 15 students at LCRS now. And two, what should be the partnership be between the Dept/YCD/and Job Corps. He asked if the Committee wanted the Dept to discontinue efforts to move the current students into the Job Corps Center, YCD, and just return to the school program?
Comm. Arámburo said that she would actually recommend that until the programs are carefully reviewed and approved by the Court.
He repeated, "so we can just stop any connection we have now with YCD or Job Corps?"
Comm. Arámburo said she was very clear in the memo she sent to him, asking for the YCD program to work with the students in the afternoons and weekends. It is a valuable program, but should not be considered as a substitute for an academic or GED program.
Comm. Dupré reviewed that the Chief said that in meetings with the school district and Treasure Island, there was no problem. Correct?
J. Fithian said yes, he supported it. Comm. Dupré asked if Linda Miles had a problem with it? The Commissioner further stated that his understanding was that Comm. Arámburo wanted the Chief to get a City Attorney’s opinion as to the "threshold". He agreed.
Comm. Arámburo asked how many students in the YCD program have their GEDs. And why is it a problem to have YCD work with the students after school hours. The Chief said he doesn’t know that it is a problem and he expected that that discussion would have taken place between the school district and YCD.
Comm. Arámburo asked Donald Sanders about the YCD program and if it did train the youth in construction skills (do they actually do any construction projects on site?). Sanders couldn’t answer. He said because he’s new, he wanted the opportunity to learn more about YCD. He said that this point he doesn’t have enough knowledge to make any decisions.
Comm. Dupré moved to have the Chief get an opinion from the City Attorney regarding the legality of having LCRS youth participate in the Job Corps program as planned.
J. Fithian commented: if the MOU is held to, then you only deal with those ’seniors’ who will go to YCD and then Job Corps, with a few others treated on a case by case basis. If you could get the YCD program to work with the kids after the regular SFUSD program, this would be great because then the students could not only earn the extra credit from YCD, but their normal credits through the school. The concern would be for those in the Job Corps program that would be away
from the Ranch all day and miss the entire school credit available. Initially this would have only affected those seniors, but since Nov. 11, it now impacts everyone.
Fithian reported that of those going to Job Corps (in this first group) only one has his GED. Comm. Arámburo said that the Job Corps does have a charter school and students can earn a high school diploma.
She said that issue of working with Job Corps is a policy issue as it can change the character of the Ranch program, possibly shortening itto maybe an 8-month program, graduating to Job Corps residential as an aftercare program, without having to do the transportation.
Comm. Arámburo asked about the woodshop and why it couldn’t be used by YCD. Is there a liability issue? Fithian said that he knows for the school to operate it, they need a teacher with a certification to do woodshop.
Jack Jacqua expressed a disappointment that the meeting wasn’t as well attended as he would have wanted it. He was further miffed that there are many people, himself included, with years of experience at LCRS, who are never consulted for advice. He knows first hand of the demoralization of everyone at LCRS. He said that the youth deserve better than what they’re getting. He said the kids might like the YCD program, but they aren’t doing anything. He said he had no other agenda but to make LCRS better, but he doesn’t know why it hasn’t gotten better.
Comm. Arámburo said that it’s five years into an administration that claims it cares about LCRS, and now LCRS is at its lowest point ever. She said it was the Commission’s inability to meet with the administration. They have tried to get cooperation between the school district and the Dept and all that is said is there is miscommunication.
The stakeholders (Judges, Commission, community, parents, youths) aren’t being taken into consideration. We’re developing MOUs with YCD and Job Corps, but we do not know what their success rate is with ouryouths. We also do not develop any comprehensive plans with the key stakeholders regarding youth at LCRS, the academic program, the
Vocational programs, and after care plan. From this Commissioner’s perspective, that is the primary problem. The JPD fails to provide details and analysis as to specific programs for one to be able to reasonably and comfortably understand
why we should place certain youths and LCRS and what the program will do for them.
The Commission has no idea what the intention of the administration is for LCRS. She has stated repeatedly her own belief that things need to be improved (and so have the courts), but they are left in the dark with regards to the MOUs with Job Corps and YCD and the school district. It isn’t that Commissioners don’t believe in LCRS, or aren’t concerned, or that they believe this is the way to go (and maybe there are some who think so), but she for one is stunned at the direction things are taking. We now have fewer than 15 youths at LCRS and only two involved in the academic program. What should parents and the courts be told?
The Chief reiterated what he understood to be his charge: confer with the City Attorney to develop protocols for the advisory committee to be submitted at the next Program Committee meeting. To consult with the City Attorney regarding the legality of YCD’s program at LCRS. (whether the current arrangement is consistent with court orders and meets the academic requirements mandated by W&I code (including special education).
The other one was the re scheduling of YCD program around the SFUSD program. He referred this to Donald Sanders and Jim Fithian to work out.
J. Amabole suggested that a representative go with the Chief when he asks about the educational requirements. The Chief said that he will run a copy of his written request by the schools. He will refer to the Dept’s assigned City Attorney.
J. Fithian said that basically Special Ed. is working now at the Ranch. Maybe they could use an extra hour.
Comm. Arámburo wanted to have some background information on the YCD programs: how much has been contracted with over the past two years? What have the results been in terms of employment, recidivism, etc.? Also, what are the costs involved in the Job Corps arrangement. The Chief said that they are not spending anything right now, and they will not be spending anything when the arrangements are finalized.
Comm. Dupré asked if YCD could come and answer questions. As well as Job Corps at the January meeting. The Chief suggested inviting the directors of both programs to come.
M. Woods asked about the current 15 students, will they be going to the YCD program or the school. It was commented that the students have already been given the expectation they will all go to Job Corps, and are "pumped up" about it. This "first" session is already to go. The Chief said that the next "session" won’t start until they figure out how to do it.
Fithian: if YCD is an afterschool program, then there is no conflict. For those other students who are off site, well, all the students were pretty much told they were going to Job Corps.
The CPO said they met with the student council to see what their priorities were, and no one said to him that they were being made to go to Job Corps.
One of the perceptions of the youth was that going would essentially be extending their commitment time. The CPO explained that if they were enrolled in Job Corps while they were still in LCR, it wouldn’t extend their term there.
Comm. Arámburo revisited the scheduled plan: 3 mos. initially at LCR, then 1 mos. in the YCD program, and then referred to Job Corps until they completed the program (which is a 6-8 month minimum).
Ron Espinoza commented that regarding Job Corps, or any program, the students at LCR need to be assessed before they are promised any program, to make sure they are eligible (and appropriate), so that they aren’t given false hopes or false starts where changes have to be made mid stream.
Comm. Dupré commented that he hoped this process has moved from the "unfriendly stage" to the "friendly stage" and that the welfare of the young men remain in the forefront of the agenda. He also hoped that the numbers of referrals there increases.
Comm. Arámburo commented that she had received a call from M. Woods and referred her to Johnny Miller to discuss the survey with the youths. She had assumed that Johnny had informed the Chief. What bothers her at this point is the feeling that process is being utilized to impede progress, efforts, and development of goals. The process that was followed was appropriate: via the Chair of the Program Committee, and through the Director of LCRC.
The Commissioner said that process should never be utilized to stop progress or impede public input. She cautioned the Dept and the Commission to not be so procedurally difficult or unfriendly.
J. Amabole suggested that the Committee work with the Chief and City Attorney to come up with the protocols.
M. Woods also expressed concern for the low census at the Ranch. The courts are still hesitant to refer due to the situation at the Ranch. Tucker said that there is an acting director at LCRS, trying to get things to a point where there is a rhyme or reason. The kids there suffered a loss with Johnny Miller leaving. This is a transition time for LCRS. She suggested that we give support to the new acting director to help facilitate him pull the programs together and get that information out on where we’re going and how we’re going to do that. This is a new era. The untimeliness of the committee going down there only exuberated the feeling of people that everything was falling apart.
Don is talking to every program director there to find out what their program is, and how it relates to the mission and function of LCRS. She asked again to give Don, the new Director, the opportunity to bring forth what his plans are.
Comm. Arámburo said she welcomed the chance to see what Sanders had in mind and asked that he give a report to the Committee in Jan.
There was none.
4. Public Comment on any matter within the subject matter jurisdiction of the Juvenile Probation Commission
5. (DISCUSSION) Announcements, requests for future agenda items
It was reviewed that the YCD and Job Corps representatives come to the next Program Committee meeting to give reports on their respective programs.
6. (ACTION) Adjournment
There being no further business, the meeting was adjourned at 6:03 pm.
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