Diversion Meeting Minutes – 1/31/11
In attendance: Jane Banks, Center for Human Development, Alvina Brevard, DHCD, Marcia Crutchfield, HAPHousing, Luz DeJesus, New England Farm Workers Council, Peter Gagliardi, HAPHousing, David Geld, Square One, Steve Huntley, Valley Opportunity Council, Jane Lindfors, DTA domestic violence, Yesie Mateo, DCF, Betty Miller, New England Farm Workers Council, Steve Plummer, Jim Reis, HAPHousing, Pamela Schwartz, network coordinator, Jodi Smith, YWCA, Luz Vega, WomanShelter
Alvina updated on EA reform: no change in EA eligibility; the nature of the services will change: shelter provided immediately to DV victims, disaster victims, young parents under the age of 21. Other people considered “home based” – services will consist of mediation, short-term rental assistance and self-sufficiency services. Core principles for regional triage teams include: assessment of eligible families and match appropriate services to families. DCF, DTA, DV specialists will continue to provide expertise to triage team service.
Alvina offered current assessment of triage effort in Liberty Street office: NEFWC doing their best with a seasoned worker but one staff person is not enough. Need consistent and more staffing. Diversion team (as dictated by DHCD model) could work if a minimum of 2 people working together at all times. In March, DHCD will have a bilingual worker. DHCD posting for 3 additional positions, 2 case workers and 1 supervisor (replacing Martha Ceplikas). Will be based across W. Mass, largely between Springfield and Holyoke (an average of 300 client visits/month at Liberty; 86 in Holyoke).
Alvina would like to see us move to DHCD triage model, which has provider staff assess families first to determine referral process (EA or diversion). Right now, due to limited provider staffing, that is not possible and DHCD regional coordinator is seeing families first and making initial assessment.
Next steps: assess providers’ capacity to provide more staffing of DHCD office. Committee attendees each weighed in as follows:
NEFWC: will continue to provide diversion staff, will strive for even greater consistency; provides stabilization
CHD: can participate in diversion staffing and stabilization
HAP: can participate in diversion staffing and stabilization
SPCA: uncertain about diversion staffing (will check back); will do financial literacy; definitely referral source
VOC: referral source. Would consider using fuel assistance staff in slow season to support diversion. More to discuss/consider.WomanShelter – referral source
YWCA – referral source
Square One – referral source
For referral agencies: will provide summaries of programs/services and contact names/numbers
Jane Lindfors: need to explore developing services for DV families in shelters now that more targeted population.
Next meeting (to focus exclusively on diversion staffing at DHCD office – all are welcome):
Monday, 2/14, 10 am, CHD, 51 Capital Drive, West Springfield