1 Family & Individual Counseling Centers of Galveston County Strategic Plan with Proposed Changes 2007 - 2010 Introduction Family Service Center of Galveston County has been a provider of services to Galveston since its founding in 1914. At that time, the agency provided physical aid, including cash assistance, food, clothing, and temporary shelter. The agency operated as an arm of local government and was the predecessor to later public welfare programs. With the advent of the New Deal during the 1930’s, the agency changed its focus to helping families with problems like divorce, delinquency, and violence. The services became professional and oriented to helping people alleviate the stressors of living in the 20 th century trough counseling and psycho-educational services. During a part of this era, the agency also worked to prevent child abuse and also worked with children and families involved in the Child Protective Service system using counseling, education, and homemaker services. Today, Family Service Center continues to provide counseling services to at-risk youth and families with at staff of 19 and a budget of over $1,000,000. Over the years, the agency has developed considerable expertise in working with troubled youth, and the youth/family focus is prominent in the agency. The current agency programs are (1) Individual and Family Counseling, (2) STAR – Services to At-Risk Youth, (3) the Oasis Program for juvenile sex offenders, (4) the Juvenile Justice Services for youth adjudicated as delinquent, and (5) the Leadership and Resiliency Program for youth living in the 77550 zip code. STAR services are delivered in Liberty and Chambers Counties as well as in Galveston County. The mission of Family Service Center is stated as follows: The Center strives to help people pursue healthy, independent, and fulfilling lives through the provision of counseling and education, in collaboration with other social agencies. 2 Strategic Analysis Environmental Scan The population of Galveston County is growing substantially, but not equally throughout the county. Galveston Island is losing some of its resident population as homes are purchased for vacation residences. This trend brings a growing number of wealthier absentee residents. At the same time, a housing boom on the mainland portions of Galveston County is drawing the Island middle-class, as the housing on the Island becomes increasingly expensive. A substantial population of very poor people, predominantly African American and Hispanic, are Island bound, where the schools are losing enrollment, property values rising, and jobs frequently low paying in tourist industries. Galveston Island is literally at the end of Interstate-45, and many persons come to the Island for services at the University of Texas Medical Branch, a state institution that historically provided care to indigent persons. This is less the case today, as the university struggles to overcome budget shortfalls and moves services to clinics on the mainland. UTMB is now a major competitor with private physicians and clinics. There are three primary documents that detail the problems and needs of Galveston County: the Galveston County Community Plan (2007), the Galveston Children’s Report Card (2007), and the Galveston Vulnerable Population Report Card (2005). The data in these documents show a clear pattern of social issues that are directly related to poverty, which is concentrated in the City of Galveston, where 21.5% of residents are in poverty. Mayor Lyda Thomas, following the hurricanes of 2005, declared that poverty was the next target for action and has challenged the Chamber of Commerce to respond. The State of Texas has begun a process of privatization of public services that is of concern to many. An early effort to outsource children’s health care insurance (CHIP) for the working poor, has been riddled with problems that has included erroneous life threatening insurance denials for some and confusing paperwork for all. The plan is to outsource all services that are now delivered through the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services, except for CPS investigations. This change is encouraging communities to develop interagency agreements so that integrated sets of services can be made available. In the absence of funding, there appears to be little concrete movement in this direction in Galveston County. Further reflecting the bifurcation between the Island and the mainland is the experience of two United Way organizations. The Mainland Communities United Way is likely to realize a record year for contributions as the oil industry continues to see huge profits. Located on the mainland are numerous refineries and Texas City is the 8th largest port in the United States. The Galveston Island 3 United Way, by contrast, has few undesignated dollars to distribute to agencies, and has decided to distribute most through a grant RFP process, called Community Initiatives. Advocates of this approach hope that new contributors will be inspired to donate to the Galveston United Way. Detractors believe that the CI process with modest funds encourages unhealthy competition and does not support cooperation. Major contributors on the Island are the American National Insurance Company and UTMB, a public university that pays no property taxes. Socio-culturally, there are differences among communities in Galveston County, not merely between the Island and the mainland. There are numerous small cities and towns with their own unique histories and differences which require the close attention of services planners. Prior to Hurricane Ike which hit Galveston on September 13, 2009, the population of the City of Galveston had decreased to slightly over 53,000, down from the 2000 census which showed a population of slightly more than 57,000. The city manager of Galveston currently estimates a population of around 40,000. League City is now the largest city in Galveston County. Due to political, cultural, economic, and historical differences, a single approach to many problems is difficult. SWOT Analysis of Family Service Center of Galveston County – (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats) Strengths of FSCG: A strong counseling staff with clinical education, credentials and experience; Knowledgeable and experienced administrative staff that has considerable credibility in the community; An involved and committed Board of Directors, representing major constituencies in the county – banking, foundations, political leaders, judges, universities, and health professions; The agency enjoys a positive image in the community, and is perceived of as being capable and well-managed; The agency enjoys substantial financial support from multiple diverse sources; Agency clients benefit from services as is demonstrated in outcome reports and satisfaction surveys; Staff have special advanced expertise in working with youth in a variety of ways from prevention, to individuals and family therapy; The agency is prominently located on the Island (Bank of America Building), in Texas City (near to the College of the Mainland), and in Mont Belvieu (immediately across from Barber Hill High School); The mental health counseling services of the agency are not duplicated elsewhere in the private or public sectors of Galveston County. 4 Weaknesses of FSCG: FSCG has low visibility in the community, and people are generally not aware of agency services and locations; The geographical distribution of offices improves accessibility, but also presents challenging administrative and supervisory problems including high costs for communications; Budget concerns continue to require the attention of leaders, and the search for new sources of revenue requires considerable attention; Staff members, both administrative and clinical are experiencing stress from growing demands, insufficient supports, and increasingly troubled clients; Agency technology has improved, but is far from an ideal in which digital records are kept, statistical reports are generated routinely from an integrated data base, and remote tele-psychiatry is possible; Client transportation issues prevent some individuals and families from receiving services particularly in more rural or isolated areas; While the agency is doing quite well in working with youth, few other adults and senior citizens are being served; While the agency works closely with other service providers, FSCG still remains on the fringe of the major public health, education, and mental health systems in the county; No psychiatric and psychological services are currently available at FSCG. Intake does not currently include a comprehensive assessment process. Opportunities for FSCG: Financial support from area foundations has been available to FSCG, if the needs are clear and the ideas are sound. While the nonprofit environment is competitive, FSCG has substantial credibility with funders. Area schools are struggling to provide services to their troubled youth as state funds are cut, enrollments change, and in-school programs lost. FSCG is well positioned to make major contributions to special services, notably mental health services, in schools throughout the three counties served by the agency. Recently, Head Start has asked FSCG to provide mental health services to their children and teachers. There are several areas in which partnerships might be possible: the schools, UTMB’s Department of Psychiatry and Community Outreach, the Gulf Coast Center, The Children’s Center, and with 5 other medical facilities and health programs, such as Mainland Medical Center. To the extent that Galveston is a vacation destination for people, there may be opportunities to develop enrichment programs for couples and families that generate a new revenue stream. While communities in Galveston County have their barriers, most small communities, lacking resources, are generally happy to open doors to services for their residents if approached sensitively, if citizens are involved, and if FSCG programs are responsive and adaptable. FSCG’s new Leadership & Resiliency Program, a SAMSHA model program, is now being delivered on-site in Ball High School. This program is an attractive model program to expand throughout various school districts. Given the direction of the State towards outsourcing, those who can pull together a package of comprehensive services that assure quality will be in strong positions for state grants. Presently, there is no crisis response center for mental health emergencies other than two thinly spread mental health deputies and, due to Hurricane Ike, UTMB’s emergency room is currently closed for all services except for very minor care; FSCG could move to fill the gap. Create a stronger intake and assessment process. Threats to Consider: Numerous small nonprofits compete for decreasing funds in a competitive environment in which agencies are not able to command sufficient resources to make a dent in major social problems. The United Way model on the Island is unlikely to produce the resources that are required, and the strategic direction of Galveston United Way is now being evaluated. Large Houston agencies that are well endowed may decide to enter the Galveston market, especially for outsourced child welfare services, with consequences that are uncertain. The target counties of FSCG are all vulnerable to major hurricanes, and one continually lives realizing that plans may have to change at most any time. Conclusions These considerations suggest that Galveston County is experiencing significant population change, and along with this comes major changes in funding. While there are many small nonprofit agencies, the challenge is to develop sufficient resources to address the problems that people face. Certainly, 6 many of these problems center around poverty and associated hopelessness, and responding will require the leadership of government along with their nonprofit partners. Mayor Thomas is to be applauded for her leadership. Action Plans for FSCG 1. Increase public visibility and awareness Many people in the community are unaware of FSCG and the nature of the services that are provided by the agency. Further, to be able to continue to serve low-income, uninsured persons, the agency must realize a balance between fee paying and reduced or free service clients. This is not a move away from serving low income families, but rather a need to find a better balance. The annual budget needs to include an amount designated for advertising and promotion to be used for newspaper ads, promotional materials, brochures, and signs; There needs to be an annual outreach and promotional plan that incorporates all programs; The website needs to be continuously updated to attract more viewers; A quarterly agency newsletter to the community should be undertaken; Agency representatives are currently involved and visible in the interagency arena, and this needs to be continued and even expanded; Specific outreach efforts with churches, schools, civic/service clubs, neighborhood associations, police, and judges should be planned and executed; Fundraising events should be planned with an eye towards public relations effects of those events, i.e. their goals should be both fundraising and promotion; Consideration should be given to obtaining the services of a public relations professional to insure a consistent approach that conveys the message of the agency. Priority should be given to implementing technological improvements soon. 2. Diversify the professional staff to include more men and those who speak Spanish fluently; and a counselor with expertise in issues related to women. The social work and counseling professions are comprised predominantly of women. A substantial portion of the youth served by the agency is male, and may benefit from having male counselors. Similarly, one bi-lingual counselor is not sufficient to respond to a growing Spanish speaking population. 7 Institute a plan for the recruitment of diverse staff members using outlets that are likely to produce desired results; Aim at the recruitment of at least 2 more bi-lingual, bi-cultural staff members, and at least two more males. 3. Increase space and relocate the mainland office to a more strategic location While FSCG must maintain services on the Island, the population growth is going to be on the mainland. The offices there are already crowded, and either an expansion or relocation is becoming urgent. Consider a move of the Texas City office to an area where the population is growing and can be more readily served; Assess the ways that FSCG can better serve persons in the Kemah, Baycliff, and San Leon communities; Explore the desirability and feasibility for a United Way multi-service center on the mainland. Give serious consideration to opening an office in the North County area. 4. Increase breadth of services to include the life cycle With an aging population, more families are going to be facing the challenges of households with three generations. FSCG needs to serve these families and the older populations with many psychosocial needs beyond health care – retirement, death of mates/friends, mutual support, transitional decision making, etc. Seek funding for a special initiative aimed at older persons possibly in cooperation with county residential health care centers and retirement communities or areas. Examine the cultural differences in the ways that people are supported in natural communities and family groups seeking ways to strengthen these supports where they fail. 5. Build a reserve fund to allow innovation Organizations often require resources for innovation prior to obtaining grant funds. Ideas need to be explored, staff exposed to new interventions, and sometimes consultants brought in from distant locations. Proposals and plans need to be drafted; business plans conducted. Since grant funds can only be used for current operations and often with no margin, FSCG does not have an ability to creatively look forward. Similarly, most service agencies are so occupied with service provision that they rarely engage in careful research and evaluation. 8 Consider a five to ten year plan for generating an endowment sufficient to generate $50,000 to $100,000 per year for innovations; Develop relationships with behavioral and mental health departments in area universities where research/evaluation partnerships might be possible; Develop a package of materials to market these ideas. 6. Partner with schools, churches, judges/courts, police, and local governments While FSCG currently works closely with many agencies and organizations, most are not formal, institutionalized arrangements. The goal is to build FSCG into the formal structures of the community as a vital and omnipresent resource. Develop a template contract which outlines the services available, the responsibilities of each party, the costs, and communication/reporting commitments; Develop a contractor packet that can be used to market FSCG services to various community markets; Develop a multi-method presentation to be delivered to possible contractors emphasizing how FSCG can help and how partnerships have advantages for the parties involved; Develop a preschool readiness program for at-risk populations in Galveston County. 7. Maintain quality in all services by achieving the highest standards While FSCG meets most accreditation standards, there remains work to be done to maintain them. Identify feasible ways to contract with a quality assurance coordinator with skills in systems analysis, evaluation, and comprehensive process and outcome analysis; Establish an on-going strategic planning process that regularly incorporates information from secondary analyses, consumers, staff, board, and the community at large; Obtain the hardware and software necessary to operate a comprehensive agency data base, financial management, billing, and client records system to insure continuous quality assurance. 8. Develop services in Liberty and Chambers Counties Presently, FSCG occupies an office in Mont Belvieu , where STAR counseling is offered. These services should be expanded to better reach people in Chambers and Liberty Counties, but also should be broadened to meet the 9 needs of individuals and families. A specific management, supervisory and development structure for Liberty and Chambers Counties may be needed. Look for funding opportunities to deliver individual and family counseling services through targeted fundraising efforts; Apply for funding from Baytown United Way; Explore funding options for services, to include services needed by persons throughout the lifecycle; Conduct a needs assessment to add to the County Plans currently being prepared for juvenile justice services. 9. Develop technology to improve communication within and among agency locations While FSCG has come far in developing intra-agency computer communications and storage technology, there remains a big gap between current capacity and future needs. Obtain an appropriate computer server and resources to securely maintain the server and a secure intranet; Explore the potential for use of tele-psychiatry for providing supervision and psychiatric services to remote offices; Determine the cost and system that can be used to sec urely create, scan, store, and retrieve client records and related information; Develop the wireless capacity of the present communication network so that the resources can be used where workers are located … in homes, schools, churches, etc.; Purchase site licenses for essential computer software; Identify the composite resources needed for computer technology over the coming ten years, and identify sources for funding of this technology and its maintenance. Process Considerations A strategic plan needs to be “owned” by major constituent groups, but notably the agency’s staff and Board of Directors. The content of the strategic plan has evolved from numerous meetings and discussions over time, and that process should continue. FSCG’s strategic plan should be continually under review with formal modifications approved by the Board at least semi-annually. WEB Drafted 10/16/2006; Revised 10/25/2006; Revised 11/1/2006; Revised 11/19/2006; Modified and approved 12/11/2006; Revised 8/6/2008; Revised pending approval 3/23/2009.