Archives for the month of: April, 2012

In April, Derek Reddin, Staff Services Analyst for El Dorado County Health & Human Services, attended our meeting to gather community input for CPS’s System Improvement Plan (SIP).

This is a summary of that input.

The feedback was clear.

South Lake Tahoe is experiencing crisis low numbers of foster parents.  We do not have enough foster parents in town.  As a result, children are being moved off of the hill and out of town.  These are children that have done nothing wrong. They lose their bedroom, their entire home, and their parents which is hugely traumatic. Then, if there are no local foster homes with enough space for them, they lose their friends, their teachers, and their entire social network.  This is devastating for these kids. CPS urgently needs to hire a recruiter for local foster parents so that we can at least keep part of these children’s worlds intact and keep the kids nearby for parental visitation as appropriate.

The other sentiment that was lifted up was that the high turnover at CPS is a challenge. When experienced social workers leave CPS and our community, all their experience leaves with them.  We need CPS fully staffed to be sustainable and to support our children and families.

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In March, the LTC featured a discussion on the Drug Free Community Grant.

This conversation was facilitated by Alissa Nourse, Executive Director of Tahoe Youth & Family Services.

Here is a summary of what we discussed:

The focus for the grant is ages 10+  (i.e.: middle school, teens and older.)  There is a little bit of money to plan and for training if we want to do this as a community.

This is a 5-year Federal grant for $125,000 per year for the community. The grant is for coalitions to reduce youth substance abuse. The main drugs that are usually targeted are alcohol, marijuana, tobacco, and prescription drugs.

It’s about communities, not individuals. This grant doesn’t support activities like mentoring programs and treatment. It is about environmental messages and the way an entire community sends messages about drug use. So we all agree to work together toward a common goal of building a safe, healthy, and drug free community.

To apply for the Drug Free Community Grant, we need a Coalition.  Coalitions are vehicles for community voice to reduce alcohol, tobacco and drug use and abuse. Coalitions must be established for one year (prior to applying for the grant, which is due in February 2013.)  We started meeting about this in January 2012 so we would qualify.  We must have 12 sectors represented with a CIA (“Coalition Involvement Agreement”) completed and signed from each member.

Coalitions can take many forms. There are as many different models for a coalition as there are communities.  Some of the groups in Washington, DC were just like us.  The DFC needs a nimble fiscal agent who can take federal grants. It must be a 501-c3.

The 12 sectors include: youth, parent, business, media, school, youth-serving organization, law enforcement, religious or fraternal organization, civic or volunteer group, healthcare professional, state/local or tribal government agency with expertise in the field of substance abuse, and another organization involved in reducing substance abuse.

This work would be an environmental approach to prevention that targets all youth in the community. The money should be aimed at influencing community conditions, systems, policies, culture.

7 strategies to affect community change:

provide information

enhance skills

provide support

enhance access/reduce barriers

change consequences (incentives/disincentives)

change physical design

modify/change policies

We are already doing a lot of these things in our community. New prevention activities that the Drug-Free Community Grant could fund might include: suicide prevention activities, collaborative opposition to marijuana dispensaries, taping decoys for alcohol outlets, a party house event, a red ribbon week, collaborative opposition to synthetic drug sales, and a prescription drug round up.

In order to move forward, our TO DO list is:

  • Ensure that we have 12 sectors represented in the Coalition
  • Youth engagement. Will youth want to participate in a meeting like ours here? Meeting time to accommodate youth?
  • Determine the time commitment for coalition members
  • Determine Fiscal agent/grant agent
  • Determine Chair/co-chairs of the coalition
  • Determine Action teams to get work done

Commitments:

  • Coalition volunteers have a clearly defined management role in all financial decisions related to the SFC Grant ($125K/year)
  • Conduct a community needs assessment
  • Send a representative to the July 2012 CADCA mid-year training
  • Attend trainings organized by El Dorado Hills Vision Coalition
  • Conduct town hall community meetings to discuss coalition building and needs assessment findings

The group discussed this grant and decided to move forward and to apply for it. We agreed to use the LTC meetings to report and communicate about it.  We thought we would hold the DFC meetings right before or after the LTC meetings.  We do want to maintain the LTC structure and want to keep it inclusive.