City and County of San FranciscoJuvenile Probation Department

April 11, 2012

Full Commission - April 11, 2012



Regular Meeting Minutes
Wednesday, April 11, 2012
6 p.m.
John O’Connell High School
2355 Folsom Street, Room 210
San Francisco, CA 94110

Julian Chang, President
Dirk Beijen, Vice President
Katharine Albright
Joseph Arellano
Susan Jones
Sarah Ching Ting Wan
Rebecca Woodson

Meeting Minutes

1. Roll Call
• The Commission President called the meeting to order at 6:06 p.m. Commissioners Albright, Beijen, Chang, and Jones were present. Commissioner Woodson arrived at 6:21 p.m. Commissioner Arellano and Wan were excused.

2. Public comments.
• Liz Jackson-Simpson, Executive Director of the YGCIC, stated that in January, Chief Siffermann let all the tenants in the cottages on the JPD campus know that they had to vacate the premises. She said that Chief Siffermann has been very gracious in helping them convene with the school district that has identified space for their organization, however, the space is not adequate for all the program services that they have. They run a school, have a workforce program, do community services on Saturdays, have a scholarship program, and the district has graciously provided space solely for the school, but they have a host of other services. They serve around 400 youths per year and they wanted to alert the commission about the move. The non-profits onsite are struggling to find space that they have enjoyed for the past 30 years free of charge because of their partnership with the department and the courts. It will cost a lot of money if they have to move. They have been looking at private spaces and their youths need a safe environment. They need to be close to the department and courts, because it is easy for the judge to send kids to sign-up for school or workforce programs. If they have to send kids across town, it will be a hardship and devastating to their programs. She wanted to share their concerns, as well as have an opportunity to formally present these issues to the Full Commission at the next meeting. They understand the challenges with the space and thank Chief Siffermann for convening with the school district, but this will gravely affect the caliber and quality of the program.
COMM Jones asked how much time they have until they vacate their space and Ms. Jackson-Simpson stated they have until June 30th, but Chief Siffermann has given them additional time to do their summer and workforce programs. The other classrooms will not be ready until the beginning of school.
• Luis Bryce, Early Morning Studies Academy teacher, stated that he has been teaching for 30 years, but has worked with YGCIC for the past five years. He said that the bungalows are a great place to present, educate and nurture students. It is safe, out-of-the way, and offers a great environment to work and generate good results and outcomes. Students feel safe and are graduating. He feels that if kids can get to the school safely, they can get the job done, and move onto college.
• Tom LaRue, YGCIC Board President and President of the Board for Youth for Services since the mid 1980’s, said they just merged together to form Success Center San Francisco, a name chosen by the youth they serve. Since serving at YGCIC, he sees that it is a place that everyone feels comfortable; it is a convenient location for the kids; transportation is safe; and 65% of youth that have come through their agency now have their GED and are employed. It is uncertain if they will get space. They will now have to pay for space, as well as for custodians. They cannot clean the space due to union contracts. They have been so successful because they put around 80% of their total costs into helping kids. It will be difficult to maintain if they have to move to a place that is less convenient to get to and if it costs more money. Their current location is extremely convenient to access the courts.
• Vicki Reagan, Member of the Board of Directors with Success Center San Francisco, stated that apart from the great work the staff does and great student outcomes, she stressed the other considerations, specifically the amount of money raised and invested in the infrastructure of the cottages. They have staff, IT, a lab for the kids that was an investment on their part, a partnership with a SF law firm that donated money, furniture, an electronic board to display announcements and pictures of graduates. They were hoping to arrange for job trainings and this has been major investment. The investment by the law firm was contingent on their guaranteeing that they would remain in the space for two years. This happened about a year ago. If they move to another place, they have to start again. Their current location is beneficial because it is so close to juvenile hall, probation officers, and for the safety of kids. They have been working to make the buildings better. Before Liz Jackson-Simpson moved into her office, someone was “squatting” in the building. When the buildings go empty again, she thinks this is going to present a problem in the neighborhood.
• Valentina, a current student at the academy, said she likes the location of the school and feels safe.
• Janet Pagana, Executive Director for Youth Treatment Education Center for the past six years, was sworn in by the court to get students back into school, reduce truancy and help youths with their behavioral issues get vocational training. This location has been key for their organization because it is a safe location. They provide kids with a meal and get youths back on track with school. They assist youths applying for colleges and students have graduated from college. This has made a tremendous difference. A recent study done by an external evaluator found that felony arrests declined from 55% pre-program to 3% after being in program for sixth months. Crimes against persons, property and alcohol-drug-related arrests decreased from 32.4% to 3% after six months in the program. GPA and reading level increases were over 74% of the students. They have come up with a program that can really help students and most of their expenses go into programs. Because of their ability to be at this site, they put in a computer lab where students learn job search skills. Many do not have access to computers at home to apply for financial aid or college. They serve over 200 students per year and their students develop presentations about how they turned their lives around. Moving would cost their small organization more than they can afford. They painted the facility, with the aid of the students, which was a learning experience for them as well. The students can get something to eat and can improve their lives. She requested that the commission please consider helping their group stay in the cottages.
• Christian, student at the academy, stated that he feels safe at the school and that if they moved to an unsafe location, he feels that students would drop out of the program. He also felt that if the new location is far away, many students would show up late and not get their education. Their current location is a safe place, the teachers are very helpful, and students are trying to get an education.
• Erin Brown, Client Services Manager at YGCIC, is in charge of creating wrap-around plans for youths in detention. She goes into the community after students get their GED and helps them get into college. They also provide counseling, parenting classes, and college work. Ms. Brown feels that it is very symbolic that their organization is located on the JPD campus because they can collaborate with the courts, probation officers, District Attorney, Public Defender’s Office, and the other agencies located on the property, which has been an invaluable tool. Probation officers and attorneys come over and are referred to other agencies on campus. They too refer other agencies to their organization. They work extensively with the courts and have a really good reputation with them. Their graduation rate is 80% of all the county court schools. With all the SF school closures, students cannot get to another campus because they do not feel safe riding across town on a bus, which becomes a major impediment in their education. When they talked to the kids about the possible space change, they asked them what’s most important if they were to move. The students responded that they wanted to feel safe in their new location. Kids who were almost ready to graduate stated that they could not continue their education if their new site was located in an unsafe location. In their current space, youth can literally walk right from court to their facility, without delaying the process. Their organization makes sure that they have all their documents to get into school and gets them ready to graduate. She could not stress the importance of their space, location, and the students’ ability to feel safe. They do not have fights at their current location; they do not have youths waiting outside to “jump” students. The students have enjoyed that safety.
• Rory Taly, Administrative Assistant at YGCIC, said that as a child, he would have benefitted from this school. He said that a safe place is where good health is promoted and people that are healthy can change their lives for the better. They cannot stop the healing process and these kids are healing. These kids are situated in their current location and having to relocate them will prolong the healing process.
COMM Chang thanked the members of the public for speaking and stated that this topic is certainly something for the commission to consider regarding the capital needs of JPD and the current location.
• No further public comments.

3. Review and Approval of the Full Commission Meeting Minutes of March 14, 2012 (ACTION ITEM)
• Motion to approve the March 14, 2012 Full Commission Meeting Minutes by COMM Albright, second by COMM Beijen, and approved by the rest of the Commission.
• No public comments.

4. Presentation on Challenges on LGBT Youth in Today’s Society by Jodi Schwartz, Executive Director, LYRIC (DISCUSSION ONLY)
• Lavender Youth Recreation & Information Center (LYRIC) is a 24-year-old SF based community organization with a mission to build community and inspire positive social change with lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and questioning (LGBTQQ) youth (24 & younger) and their allies. There is not much data around LGBT youth and how they move through the system, which has been a challenge for their organization. The premise of LYRIC’s work is that they believe that all youth need four things to successfully reach to adulthood: they need to be mentally and physically healthy; have healthy family and social relationships; become economically self-sufficient, and; be able to contribute to their communities. All programs at LYRIC address those four areas.
• The LYRIC approach is at multiple levels. They start their work on a personal level; understanding the specific health issues; and issues LGBT youth face. A lot of time is spent on interpersonal relationships; ensure that their programming addresses how to move about in the community.
• LYRIC is a small, million dollar organization, with 10 staff members. They work with other CBO’s and institutions. They have worked with DPH, DCYF, Office of Economic and Workforce Development, SFUSD. They reach around 1500 young people through outreach and served 250 through direct services last year. Most of the current work is focused on children in middle school, because that is the point when youths start to think about their sexual orientation and gender identity.
• There are 450 self-identified transgender middle and high school students in SFUSD and 2700 identified as lesbian, gay, bisexual or questioning. If youths do not feel safe, they do not go to school. There is a high-level of truancy, which affects academic performance. LGBTQQ youth who are rejected by their families attempt suicide at a rate 8.4 times greater than that of their straight peers. 1/3 of SF’s homeless youth are identified at LGBTQQ. A new strategy needs to be implemented and their organization is looking internally at existing models to shift LYRIC’s approach. LYRIC’s holistic model for school transformation is: empowered students; supported and confident staff; and engaged families. Chief Siffermann asked if LYRIC anticipates the growth of parent engagement. Ms. Schwartz said that this is part of their strategic planning to include parents and spirituality in the discussions.
COMM Jones asked what the biggest barrier was to their success. Ms. Schwartz said that they have to find a holistic model; resources; a culture shift; leadership; and working a cross system. Ms. Schwartz said that Mayor Lee is working toward having his departments work toward a cross system, integrating data collection, which will be critical.
COMM Chang asked how youths find their organization. Ms. Schwartz said primarily through word of mouth. LYRIC does everything but housing. They do a lot of workforce development work and are adamant about paying youths wages.
• No public comments.

5. Presentation on JPD Wards and Delinquency Prevention Outreach Efforts by Julia Sabory, Coordinator, Juvenile Advisory Council (JAC) (DISCUSSION ONLY)
• Ms. Sabory said that due to a gap in communication among adults and youths, previous wards were brought in to speak with troubled youths in a peer-to-peer setting. Ms. Sabory hires young people, who have been through the system, to talk to youths coming into the system and the results have been very positive. JAC goes through a hiring process every six months. Probation officers refer past clients and participate in the hiring process. JAC is currently made up of three youths from Hunters Point; two youths from the Mission District; and 1 representative from the Fillmore District. Some have gone through the adult system, as well as the juvenile system.
• JAC members engage in three main activities: engage in dialogue within various departments, such as DPH and DCYF; the Youth Advisory Council, United Way and Obama Administration’s Convening around Disconnected Transitional Aged Youth; and mental health training to provide more tools to the youths.
• JAC meets twice a month, the second and fourth Friday of each month. JAC also meets the first Saturday of the month for the orientation program. Youths are court mandated to attend the orientation with their parent/guardian. The theme is that youths must advocate for themselves. JAC also presents at SFUSD to help youths reflect on their choices and be properly informed on consequences; and for youths to understand the impact they have on their families when they commit crimes. It is a preventative effort and is aimed at kids in general to inform them about the consequences of being involved in criminal behavior.
• Kim Butler, JAC member, discussed her experience in the system and giving back to it. She first came to juvenile hall at 15 years-old and was locked up 29 times. She has been in 10 different group homes and was sent to Colorado to an all girls group home. She always wanted to come back to juvenile hall to help youths and parents understand what is going on in the system. She does not tell them what to do, she only advises them. She feels empowered that she can now give back and help others by sharing her experience. Ms. Butler is now 29 years-old and attends City College.
COMM Chang asked if anything has changed from her observation. Ms. Butler stated that the percentage of youths offending has declined and she now thinks more of her future and success. Chief Siffermann added that JAC members are paid a small stipend, through grant funds.
• No further public comments.

6. Report to the Commission (DISCUSSION ONLY)

a. Chief’s Report:

b. Committee Reports

7. Future Agenda Items (ACTION ITEM)


• COMM Albright inquired about the update on long-term capital improvements related to the community, department and LCR.
COMM Beijen asked if Chief Siffermann could provide an update on Hidden Valley Ranch. Chief Siffermann said that would be included in long-term capital improvements report.
• No public comments.

8. Adjournment (ACTION ITEM)
• The meeting adjourned at 7:35 p.m.