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Family Service Center of Galveston County_ Texas

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  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.
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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
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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.
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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
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              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,
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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.
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      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.
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      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
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   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.