Publications

Publications | March 24, 2017

Data Brief: Understanding the Foster Parent Training Experience

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Eleven Allegheny County foster care provider agencies formed a training cooperative in order to improve the number and quality of training opportunities for foster parents. After increasing the number and variety of trainings, the cooperative requested feedback to inform quality and access improvements.  DHS staff conducted telephone surveys with foster parents and identified a number ...

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Publications | February 21, 2017

Conferencing and Teaming in Allegheny County: Participant Experience Update

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Conferencing and Teaming is the Allegheny County Department of Human Services’ practice model designed to engage child welfare participants, and their natural supports, in a process of family strengthening through client-driven goal setting and achievement.  An analysis of participant experiences with Conferencing and Teaming was conducted in order to assess their satisfaction with the process ...

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Publications | January 6, 2017

Joint Position Statement on Medication-Assisted Treatment for Opioid Use Disorders in Allegheny County

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Allegheny County, like much of Western Pennsylvania, is in the midst of an opioid overdose epidemic and it is vitally important that County residents have access to the best and most effective treatment to support their recovery from opioid use disorders. Medication-assisted treatment, or MAT, combines medication and counseling/behavioral therapy and, when clinically appropriate, is ...

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Publications | December 16, 2016

Homeless Services and Supports Coordination: A Qualitative Program Evaluation

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Implemented at the end of 2013 and designed to provide service coordination and supports for families accessing Allegheny County’s four emergency homeless shelters, the Homeless Services and Supports Coordination program (HSSC) served about 300 families with children in its first year.  This evaluation was designed to elicit information about participants’ experiences with HSSC services as ...

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Publications | December 15, 2016

The Director’s Action Line at Twenty Years: Trends, Client Satisfaction and Recommendations

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Receiving more than 3,000 calls annually, the Allegheny County Department of Human Services (DHS) Director’s Action Line (DAL) is an effective mechanism through which clients and other community members can resolve issues and get information about DHS services. It is also an important feedback tool for DHS, providing information about client experiences and perceptions of ...

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Publications | December 6, 2016

Allegheny County 2016 Point-in-Time Count of People Experiencing Homelessness

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Once a year, during the last 10 days of January, a Point-in-Time (PIT) count is conducted to identify individuals and families who are unhoused or living in housing programs operated through Allegheny County’s Continuum of Care for people experiencing homelessness. This data brief and related visualization provide information about these individuals and families and their ...

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Publications | November 9, 2016

An Evaluation of the Family Support Center Network

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An evaluation of 25 Allegheny County Family Support Centers looked at the operation and impact of individual Centers as well as the network as a whole, in five specific areas: family empowerment; connection to social services, early child development and school readiness; maternal and child health; and child abuse and neglect. This report describes the ...

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Publications | October 24, 2016

Use of Force in the City of Pittsburgh, 2010 through 2015

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The Pittsburgh Bureau of Police tracks each incident in which an officer uses force with a subject; these Subject Resistance Reports were analyzed to identify trends and areas in which further evaluation or action is warranted.  The analysis shows that use of force in the City of Pittsburgh is rare, occurring in less than one ...

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Publications | September 30, 2016

Violence in the City of Pittsburgh: Report Series

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This series of reports presents data about homicides, shots fired, shootings and aggravated assaults with a firearm in the City of Pittsburgh. Demographic information about homicide victims and offenders, the location of homicides and calls for shots fired, and detail about when violence occurred are also provided. Explore the links below to view violence data for a ...

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Publications | August 9, 2016

Opiate-Related Overdose Deaths in Allegheny County: Report, Maps and Dataset

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Allegheny County is in the midst of an opiate overdose epidemic. The ability of County government and engaged stakeholders to implement evidence-based strategies to address this problem is limited by the fact that much about the victims and potential risk factors is unknown. The publications, maps and dataset below are provided in an effort to inform ...

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Publications | July 28, 2016

Allegheny County Jail Collaborative: 2016 – 2019 Strategic Plan

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The Jail Collaborative identified four primary recidivism reduction strategies as its focus for this three-year period: 1) ensure high quality, evidence-based programs for people at a higher risk of re-offending; 2) make transition to the community effective for each person leaving the jail; 3) reduce barriers for formerly incarcerated people and 4) develop a comprehensive ...

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Publications | June 16, 2016

Allegheny County Child Fatality and Near Fatality Reviews

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This series of reports describes findings and outcomes from Child Fatality/Near-Fatality reviews. Information about the incidents, including demographics and perpetrators’ social and human service involvement, is available in these reports as well as case practice and system reforms enacted to reduce the likelihood of future child abuse-related incidents. 2009-2010 2011 2012 2013 2014-2015...

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Publications | May 1, 2016

Risk Classification in the Allegheny County Jail

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A new and improved security risk classification system was recently implemented in the Allegheny County Jail. Each inmate is assessed through the use of a validated tool and assigned a score – ranging from minimum to maximum risk – that is used to make housing and programming decisions. The new system is a result of ...

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Publications | March 1, 2016

2015 Allegheny County DHS Local Government Case Competition

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Fifty-three students representing 14 programs from five universities participated in the ninth annual Local Government Case Competition, focusing on transportation challenges for Allegheny County residents. Supported through the Human Services Integration Fund, the annual competition engages students to find creative solutions to real-life social problems The first-place team proposed a mobile app to help coordinate ...

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Publications | February 1, 2016

Suicide in Allegheny County, 2002 through 2014

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With more than 2100 suicides occurring from 2002 through 2014, and with an average annual rate of 13 suicides per 100,000 residents, Allegheny County’s suicide rate is higher than the national average. Suicide disproportionately affects white men, and 35- through 54-year-olds have the highest suicide rate in the County. Firearms and asphyxiation are the most ...

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Publications | January 31, 2016

Of and For the Community: How Community Engagement and Communication Helped to Shape the Allegheny County Department of Human Services

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Creating an integrated Department of Human Services in 1997 was a herculean task. It involved combining four formerly-separate departments, geographically dispersed and structured in very different ways. Administratively, technologically, fiscally and culturally, each had functioned autonomously for decades.  A strategic set of engagement and communication efforts were key to the community buy-in and support that ...

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Publications | January 1, 2016

Allegheny County Point-in-Time Homelessness Data

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Point-in-Time counts of sheltered and unsheltered homeless individuals and families are conducted annually in order to measure homelessness and track progress on a local and national level; the data briefs below provide local data for past years’ counts. Point-in-Time Data, 2010-2014 Point-in-Time Data, 2015...

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Publications | January 1, 2016

Allegheny County YOUth Count 2015

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This data brief summarizes the results of the YOUth Count survey, Allegheny County’s first point-in-time count focused specifically on the number and needs of homeless and/or unstably-housed youth ages 18 through 24 years. Click here to read the full report. Data analysis/writers: Hilary Scherer and Abigail Horn...

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Publications | January 1, 2016

Conferencing and Teaming – Participants’ Perspectives and Satisfaction

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More than 200 families were interviewed about their experience with Conferencing and Teaming meetings.  Although most responded positively to the meeting process, only about two-thirds reported that the meeting resulted in meaningful outcomes for their family. Increasing family involvement in identifying realistic outcomes may improve the experience and relevance of Conferencing and Teaming meetings. Click ...

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Publications | January 1, 2016

Child Welfare Leadership Fellows: Using Data to Improve the Lives of Children and Families

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Twenty-seven child welfare professionals participated in the first year of the Leadership Fellows program, learning how to use data to 1) identify issues that negatively impact children and families in the child welfare system and 2) make recommendations to address those issues. The fellows focused on teenage girls in out-of-home placement and recommended strategies to ...

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Publications | December 1, 2015

Community Need Index: Reports and Datasets

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Suburban Poverty: Assessing Community Need Outside the Central City – 2014 Update The Community Need Index, a matrix for analyzing and illustrating relative need in Allegheny County communities outside the City of Pittsburgh, was developed by the Allegheny County Department of Human Services and introduced in 2014 in Suburban Poverty: Assessing Community Need Outside the ...

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Publications | December 1, 2015

Families For Teens: Foster Care Recruitment and Support in Allegheny County

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When removing a child from home is necessary, a stable foster home is the preferred placement option; unfortunately, adolescents and teenagers are much less likely to find such a home and often end up in group homes or other congregate settings.  The Families for Teens initiative, funded by the Administration for Children and Families of ...

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Publications | December 1, 2015

Involuntary Commitment Petitions in Allegheny County

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An involuntary commitment is an application for emergency evaluation and treatment for a person who is considered to be a danger to self or others due to symptoms of a mental illness. In Allegheny County, petitions for involuntary commitment are managed and authorized by the Department of Human Services (DHS), through its Mental Health Information, ...

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Publications | November 1, 2015

The Impact of Child Welfare System Involvement on School Stability – An Evaluation of Pittsburgh Public School Students

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Child welfare out-of-home placements are stressful events, compounded by the fact they may result in a youth changing schools. Research shows mid-year school changes to be disruptive both academically and socially. This report examines child welfare imposed mobility, identifying system challenges as well as the positive factors that have led to an overall decrease in ...

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Publications | October 1, 2015

Aggravated Assault in the City of Pittsburgh

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From January 2005 through July 2015: Aggravated assault rates generally declined in the City of Pittsburgh, but at a slower pace than in comparable cities. Aggravated assault was most prevalent in areas historically beset by violent crime, including the East End, the North Side and the South Side Hilltop neighborhoods. Victims of aggravated assault were ...

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Publications | October 1, 2015

Theft in the City of Pittsburgh

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From January 2005 through July 2015: Pittsburgh’s theft rate declined and remained among the lowest in the Pittsburgh Today comparison group. Theft was most prevalent in Pittsburgh’s East End and South Side Hilltop neighborhoods. The clearance rate of theft varied depending on the category of theft or item taken. Click here to view the full ...

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Publications | October 1, 2015

Robbery in the City of Pittsburgh

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From January 2005 through July 2015: Robbery rates declined, remaining among the lowest in the Pittsburgh Today comparison group. Robbery was most prevalent in neighborhoods historically beset by violent crime, including Homewood, Garfield and the North Side. Victims of robbery were disproportionately young and male, with high rates of victimization among African Americans. Robbery clearance ...

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Publications | October 1, 2015

Rape in the City of Pittsburgh

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From January 2005 through 2015: Rape rates fluctuated, but were generally lower by 2015 than they were in 2005. Rape was most prevalent in neighborhoods historically beset by violent crime, including the North Side, Homewood and the Hill District. Victims of rape were disproportionately young, African American and female. Rape clearance rates were higher than ...

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Publications | October 1, 2015

Motor Vehicle Theft in the City of Pittsburgh

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From January 2005 through July 2015: Pittsburgh’s motor vehicle theft rate declined sharply and remained the lowest among comparable mid-sized cities. Motor vehicle theft was most prevalent in Pittsburgh’s East End, North Shore and South Side. Victims of motor vehicle theft were older than average crime victims and disproportionately African American and male. Motor vehicle ...

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Publications | October 1, 2015

Drug Violations in the City of Pittsburgh

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From January 2005 through July 2015: Drug violation rates decreased in the City of Pittsburgh, accompanied by reductions in adult and juvenile arrests. As drug violations declined, marijuana made up a larger share of all drug offenses as compared to drugs in the opioid/cocaine category. The highest drug violation rates were reported near Downtown Pittsburgh, ...

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Publications | October 1, 2015

Burglary in the City of Pittsburgh

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From January 2005 through July 2015: Burglary rates in Pittsburgh were lower than in most comparable cities. Burglary was most prevalent in Pittsburgh’s East End, North Side and South Side Hilltop neighborhoods. Victims of burglary were disproportionately African American and tended to be older than victims of other Part 1 crimes. Burglary clearance rates were ...

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Publications | October 1, 2015

Arson in the City of Pittsburgh

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From January 2005 through July 2015: Arson rates increased in the City of Pittsburgh, contrary to trends observed in comparable cities. Arson was most prevalent in the Homewood, North Side and South Side Hilltop neighborhoods of Pittsburgh. Arson clearance rates were highest during the first months of the year and for arsons involving an occupied ...

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Publications | August 1, 2015

Families Involved in the Allegheny County Homelessness System

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In 2014, the Allegheny County Department of Human Services (DHS) conducted a review of its homelessness services system as a first step in planning for and promoting effective strategies for reducing homelessness. This report provides information about the population of families experiencing a housing crisis in Allegheny County from 2009 through 2013, with a particular ...

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Publications | August 1, 2015

Report Series: Improving Educational and Well-Being Outcomes: School-DHS Data Sharing in Allegheny County

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Integrating school data with the Department of Human Services Data Warehouse allows unprecedented collaboration between human services and school social workers. This group of reports and data briefs relate to data-sharing agreements between DHS and local school districts. They describe the ways in which shared information has informed strategies designed to improve school outcomes for ...

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Publications | August 1, 2015

Individuals Involved in the Allegheny County Homelessness System

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This report describes individuals who experienced a housing crisis in Allegheny County from 2009 through 2013, with a particular focus on the 2009 entry cohort. Click here to read the full report.  Click here to read a related report about families involved in Allegheny County’s homelessness system.  Analysis and content: Ryan Burger, Abigail Horn, Brian Bell ...

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Publications | June 1, 2015

Allegheny County Child Welfare Home Removal Costs, 2012 Cohort

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The cost of out-of-home placements vary greatly, depending upon length, type of placement and level of care required.  Type of placement was a significant factor in cost variation; group home placements, at approximately four times the cost of kinship care, were the most expensive.  Cost increased with the child’s age at entry, although this may ...

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Publications | April 1, 2015

Parents Raising Safe Kids: An Assessment of the Impact of the ACT Against Violence Program Curriculum

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The Parents Raising Safe Kids curriculum was developed by the American Psychological Association and implemented nationally in an effort to teach positive parenting skills to parents and caregivers. Offered locally at 17 program sites throughout the County, the curriculum was found to improve parenting skills; media literacy; knowledge of child development; and parental attitude and ...

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Publications | April 1, 2015

From Postponements to Efficiency: Expedited Case Disposition in Allegheny County Criminal Court

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Unwieldy case backlogs and delays inspired a number of changes in how the Allegheny County Criminal Court processes cases.  By expediting plea offers, completing discovery and providing evidence at formal arraignments, and prioritizing clearing of old cases, the Court has realized a significant decrease in the number of active criminal cases. Other benefits of these ...

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Publications | April 1, 2015

Sharing Data to Support Homeless Students in Allegheny County

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Schools districts and human service systems define homelessness differently (as mandated by their respective regulatory and funding entities), resulting in many youth who are known to only one system. While being homeless is a disruptive experience that often hurts educational achievement, homeless youth are afforded additional supports to counteract these impacts. This report examines the ...

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Publications | February 1, 2015

2014 Allegheny County DHS Local Government Case Competition

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The 2014 Local Government Case Competition engaged graduate students from local universities in identifying solutions to housing instability for individuals/families involved in the human services system. This report provides information about the competition, its history, and the key ideas generated by the participants. Click here to read the full report.  Prepared by: Marina Duane and ...

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Publications | January 1, 2015

Homeless in Allegheny County: The Client Experience

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DHS conducted a review of Allegheny County’s services for homeless individuals and families, as part of a strategic plan to improve the quality, accessibility and comprehensiveness of the system; this report focuses on the client perspective of the system and includes a description of current system change activities as well as recommendations for further action. ...

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Publications | October 29, 2014

Evaluation of the Allegheny County Jail Collaborative Reentry Programs

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Prepared by: Urban Institute Click to read the full report....

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Publications | October 4, 2014

School-Based Probation in Allegheny County: Examining the Costs and Benefits

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Intensive supervision programs like school-based probation are increasingly viewed as a way to generate savings to society, by preventing or reducing the likelihood of crime, as well as to improve outcomes for the juvenile offenders through an emphasis on education and employment opportunities. Allegheny County examined a number of outcomes for Pittsburgh Public School students ...

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Publications | October 1, 2014

Introducing Performance-Based Contracting: A Comparison of Implementation Models

Linking provider payments to performance measures is gaining popularity as a way to improve outcomes, efficiency and innovations.  Three performance-based contracting models have been implemented in Allegheny County, targeting: 1) the Senior Center network; 2) child welfare providers; and 3) DHS-funded providers of the Allegheny County Jail Collaborative.  Each focuses on service-related outcomes and offers ...

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Publications | October 1, 2014

The Costs and Benefits of Day Reporting Centers: A New Model of Adult Probation in Allegheny County

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The Allegheny County Department of Human Services (DHS) worked with Adult Probation to conduct a cost–benefit analysis of Day Reporting Centers (DRC) for offenders who have re-entered the community. The analysis examined three groups of offenders (low-risk, medium-risk and high-risk) participating in employment search and community services at the DRCs from March 2011 through January ...

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Publications | October 1, 2014

Calculating Unit Costs in Allegheny County: A Resource for Justice System Decision-Making and Policy Analysis

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Programs within the criminal justice system can be valued using the costs they save to the system, to the victims and to society; examining programs in this way – in conjunction with outcome information – can assist in resource allocation decisions. With technical assistance from the Vera Institute of Justice, a system-wide cost database was ...

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Publications | October 1, 2014

Addressing School Absenteeism

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An increased focus on school attendance has led to the implementation of a number of strategies designed to reduce absenteeism and its related impact on academic outcomes. The implications of chronic absenteeism are particularly relevant for students involved in human services, who account for a disproportionate number of chronically absent students. This brief addresses the ...

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Publications | September 1, 2014

Changing Trends: An Analysis of the Allegheny County Jail Population

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From 2000 to 2012, Allegheny County Jail bookings decreased by approximately one-third. Arrests are the principal contributor to the number of bookings over time, but the number of arrests that result in a booking decreased over time due to changes in judicial procedure regarding arrests for Driving under the Influence (DUI) and use of a ...

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Publications | August 1, 2014

Permanency Roundtables: Challenging Barriers to Permanency for Children in Out-of-Home Care

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Permanency Roundtables are an important component of Allegheny County’s strategy to improve permanency outcomes for children in child welfare out-of-home placements. Roundtables engage practitioners, caseworkers, providers and permanency experts in an intense two-hour brainstorming session in which barriers to permanency are identified along with strategies to address those barriers. The creativity of the collaborative process ...

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Publications | August 1, 2014

Inua Ubuntu: An Assessment of Implementation, Program Process and Child Welfare Involvement

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Inua Ubuntu, designed to provide culturally-based intervention with a goal of reducing the rate of out-of-home placement for African American males, was implemented by the Allegheny County Department of Human Services in 2010.  The program is based on an African-centric concept of family and community, and is driven by the theory that services are most ...

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Publications | July 31, 2014

Common Assessment Tools: Implementation and Implications for Service Integration

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An initial assessment is often a client’s first service experience, and, as such, it plays a major role in the perception, comfort and outcomes of the service. Simultaneously, the assessment can set the tone for the eventual outcomes of the  This report describes the process of adapting and/or developing common assessments for use in Allegheny ...

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Publications | July 1, 2014

Never Let a Good Crisis Go to Waste: Building a Better Home-Delivered Meals System

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When its largest provider of Home -Delivered Meals (HDM) suddenly decided to discontinue its service, the Area Agency on Aging (AAA) had just weeks to ensure that 800 frail and disabled adults would continue to get the meals they depended upon. Partnering with six providers, AAA seized the opportunity to reshape the HDM program. By ...

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Publications | July 1, 2014

Pretrial Decision-Making: How a Model Pretrial Services Program Changed Allegheny County’s Criminal Justice System

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The Allegheny County Pretrial Services Department works behind the scenes to provide information and make recommendations to judges who have to make rapid and critical decisions at Motions Court almost every day of the week. Created in 2007 by combining the bail agency and three other programs that work with defendants prior to trial, Pretrial ...

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Publications | June 1, 2014

Reducing Street Violence in Allegheny County: Research & Recommendations

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This report was prepared in response to concerns about high levels of street violence, particularly in certain areas of the county, and to support the joint efforts of the Allegheny County Criminal Justice Advisory Board and the Allegheny County Executive’s Public Health Commission on Preventing Violence and Promoting Community Health.  It is the result of ...

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Publications | May 1, 2014

I’ll Never Get Used to It: Young People Living on the Street

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Designed to inform local leaders, this report places the issue of homeless youth within a national context and provides information about local need, services and strategies to prevent and address homelessness among Allegheny County’s young adults. Click here to read the full report....

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Publications | March 1, 2014

Behavioral Health Services in The Allegheny County Jail

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The high percentage of inmates with mental health and/or substance use issues presents significant challenges to the correctional system. Untreated behavioral health issues contribute to higher rates of recidivism as well as a myriad of other barriers to successful community re-entry. To begin to address these challenges, the Allegheny County Jail Collaborative convened a workgroup ...

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Publications | March 1, 2014

Truancy Prevention Programs in Allegheny County

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DHS analyzed data and conducted interviews about the services provided and outcomes achieved by two Allegheny County truancy prevention programs. This report details those activities and provides information about ways in which truancy prevention and intervention efforts could be improved. Click to read the data brief. ...

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Publications | March 1, 2014

ACHIEVE After-School Program

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The ACHIEVE after-school program evolved from DHS’s data-sharing agreement with the Pittsburgh Public Schools and was designed as an intervention for under-performing middle school students who were also involved in human services. ACHIEVE ran for two years and had inconsistent results. Overall, it did not result in improved school performance for the participating students.  This ...

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Publications | February 12, 2014

2013 Allegheny County DHS Local Government Case Competition: Building a Human Services Workforce for the 21st Century

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The 7th annual Local Government Case Competition engaged graduate students in addressing the challenges of staffing a human services system that is increasingly data driven, integrated and community based. Click to read the full report.  Local Government Case Competition: Allegheny County (PA) Department of Human Services 2013 from Allegheny County DHS on Vimeo....

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Publications | January 1, 2014

Day Reporting Centers: The New Face of Probation in Allegheny County

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Community-based Day Reporting Centers have changed the way that offenders on probation are managed in Allegheny County. Centers focus on rehabilitation, offering a one-stop shop of services designed to support successful community re-entry. After being categorized according to their likelihood of re-offending, offenders are either assigned to an administrative caseload (low-risk offenders) or provided a ...

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Publications | December 1, 2013

Immigrants and Refugees in Allegheny County: Scan and Needs Assessment

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This assessment provides information on local immigrant and refugee populations in order to identify current and emerging service needs, gaps and barriers. It includes a set of recommendations for improving their access to services. Click here to read the full report....

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Publications | November 21, 2013

Managing with Less: Implementation of the Allegheny County Human Services Block Grant

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Fiscal Year 2012/2013 saw the implementation of the Human Services Block Grant in Allegheny County, which combined a 10 percent decrease in funding from the Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare (now the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services) with greater flexibility in how those funds could be spent. The local planning process included community involvement and ...

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Publications | November 1, 2013

Data Brief: Batterer Intervention Programs in Allegheny County

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Ensuring the safety of victims of domestic violence requires a change in the behavior of those who commit the crime (batterers).  Unfortunately, existing batterer intervention programs are ineffective, at best, and not based upon empirical evidence. In partnership with the Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas, the Allegheny County Jail and the District Attorney’s office, ...

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Publications | November 1, 2013

The Bridge to Home: The Allegheny County Jail Collaborative’s Family Support Initiative

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This report and accompanying video describe the Allegheny County Jail’s Family Support Program, implemented in 2009 as a key strategy of the Allegheny County Jail Collaborative’s Reentry Program Click to read the full report. ...

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Publications | October 15, 2013

Allegheny County Jail Collaborative Annual Report 2012-13

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Click to read the full report. ...

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Publications | October 1, 2013

Retooling with Rigor: Upgrading the Area Agency on Aging’s Options Care Management Program

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In 2011, the Allegheny County Area Agency on Aging, part of the county’s Department of Human Services, embarked on an effort to improve the quality of its Options Care Management program. The Options Care Management program provides support to more than 5,000 non-Medicaid-eligible individuals, age 60 and older, so that they may continue living in ...

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Publications | October 1, 2013

Stories of Transition: Men and Women in the Jail Collaborative’s Reentry Program

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These narratives describe the experiences of individuals who participated in the Allegheny County Jail Reentry Program. Stories of Transition – Part I Stories of Transition – Part II ...

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Publications | October 1, 2013

Data Brief: Fathers in Child Welfare Cases

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An analysis was conducted on fathers’ involvement in child welfare cases from 2010 through 2012. Biological fathers were identified in 81 percent of cases (as compared to 94 percent of mothers). The data provided in this brief address the factors that may influence this involvement; it also includes a discussion of practice measures being implemented ...

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Publications | October 1, 2013

Psychotropic Medication Use by Allegheny County Youth in Out-of-Home-Placement

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Focus groups with youth and caregivers identified a number of concerns about the way in which psychotropic medications were prescribed to youth in a child welfare out-of-home placement. A quantitative analysis by Community Care Behavioral Health indicated that youth in child welfare placement and on medical assistance were about two and a half times more ...

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Publications | October 1, 2013

Homicide in Allegheny County, 1997 through 2012

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This brief and research report provide an analysis of homicides in Allegheny County, including involvement of victims in the human services and criminal justice systems, in order to understand the factors that contribute to community violence and how it disproportionately affects certain populations. Click to read the data brief.  Click to read the full report. ...

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Publications | October 1, 2013

Human Services Involvement of Home-Schooled and Cyber Charter School-Enrolled Students in Pittsburgh Public Schools

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At the end of the 2011-2012 school year, about three percent of Pittsburgh Public School students were enrolled in a cyber charter school and less than one percent of Pittsburgh Public School students were being home-schooled. An analysis showed that these students had very little human service involvement, as described in this data brief. Click ...

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Publications | August 29, 2013

Transition Age Youth with Complex Needs Entering Adulthood

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United Way of Allegheny County This report analyzes the numbers and needs of young adults with significant medical, intellectual, communication and/or behavioral challenges Click to read the full report....

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Publications | August 1, 2013

Brief Wraparound Residential Model and In-Community Stabilization Process: Description, Implementation and Future Plans

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The Brief Wraparound Residential model emphasizes working with youth on what they need to be successful following their stay in residential care; that is, at home, in school and in the community. It involves immediate engagement with the youth and family and is designed to support reunification and successful re-entry into the home and community. ...

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Publications | August 1, 2013

Improving Educational Outcomes for Child Welfare-Involved Youth: Allegheny County’s Implementation of the Child Welfare Education Screen

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In response to federal, state and local priorities, DHS implemented the Pennsylvania General and Special Education/Disability Accommodation Screen (Education Screen) in partnership with provider agencies and local school districts.  The Education Screen was designed to increase collaborative efforts between DHS and school districts, with a focus on improved educational outcomes for students. Implementation included appointment ...

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Publications | July 1, 2013

Assessing Allegheny County’s System of Care Initiative

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Allegheny County’s System of Care Initiative consisted of three federal grants designed to improve the functioning of system-involved children and youth with serious emotional disturbances, and their families.  The three initiatives, which also sought to improve system integration and family empowerment, ran from 1998 through 2011.  The evaluation described in this report looked at placement ...

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Publications | April 21, 2013

2012 Allegheny County DHS Local Government Case Competition: Addressing Suburban Poverty and Those Affected by It

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The sixth annual Local Government Case Competition focused on the issue of suburban poverty. This report summarizes the winning presentations as well as the key ideas generated during the competition. Click to read the full report.  ...

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Publications | February 23, 2013

Human Services: Sustained and Coordinated Efforts Could Facilitate Data-Sharing While Protecting Privacy

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U.S. Government Accountability Office The U.S. Government Accountability Office examined four innovative data sharing practices (including DHS’s) to determine (1) how selected states or localities have shared data across programs to improve the administration of human services, (2) challenges state and local human services agencies face in balancing privacy protections with greater data sharing, and ...

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Publications | January 31, 2013

Natural Supports: A Scan of Current Use and Future Opportunities

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Natural supports are those family members, friends and community members who enhance our lives and support us in achieving our goals.  The use of natural supports is becoming more common in association with human services, and DHS actively promotes the identification of natural supports and their involvement with individuals and families involved in a variety ...

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Publications | January 29, 2013

Youth Using Behavioral Health Services: Making the Transition from the Child to Adult System

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Addressing the specific needs of youth across multiple life domains as they transition from the children’s behavioral health treatment system to the adult treatment system is critically important. To help quantify these issues and contribute to discussions related to system interventions locally, Allegheny Health Choices, Inc. (AHCI) identified a cohort of youth who turned 17 between ...

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Publications | January 21, 2013

Your Culture is Valued Here: Lessons from the DHS Immigrants and Internationals Advisory Council

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In 2007, DHS established an Immigrant and International Advisory Council, seeking to ensure that its services were culturally competent and accessible. Since that time, the Council is credited by many with making the region more immigrant-friendly. Beginning with two specific goals – cultural competence training and improving access to translation and interpretation services – the ...

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Publications | January 1, 2013

I Hope I See You Somewhere Else: Allegheny County Jail’s Discharge Center Helps Ex-Offenders Leave on the Right Foot

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This report provides an overview of the Allegheny County Jail’s Discharge Center. Click to read the full report. ...

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Publications | January 1, 2013

Allegheny County DUI Alternative to Jail Program: System Collaboration Leads to Innovative Reform

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This report provides a description of the DUI Alternative to Jail Program and its impact on the systems and individuals involved. Click to read the full report....

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Publications | January 1, 2013

Family Group Decision Making: A Quantitative Analysis of the Impact on Out-of-Home Placement

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Family Group Decision Making (FGDM), an intervention designed in New Zealand to improve safety and permanency for maltreated children, was implemented in Allegheny County in 1999.  From 2001 through 2010, 2,908 children received FGDM. An evaluation of its effectiveness was conducted by Chapin Hall.  This report describes the evaluation and its findings. Click here to ...

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Publications | January 1, 2013

From Almshouses to Excellence: A History of Child Welfare in Allegheny County

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To commemorate 50 years during which Allegheny County government has been responsible for providing public child welfare services, DHS commissioned this historical overview of child welfare in the county. Click here to view the full report.  Related: The Next Page: Bold ideas behind Pittsburgh’s first child-welfare system – Meet the heroines Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, January 4, ...

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Publications | November 23, 2012

Allegheny County Department of Human Services Quality Improvement Activities: 2009-2011

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Since 2008, when a report on Quality Improvement activities across DHS was published, an enhanced quality improvement process has been in place for the delivery of direct services at DHS. The primary focus on these efforts have been in child welfare; activities range from a Quality Service Review process to Child Fatality and Near-Fatality reviews. ...

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Publications | October 29, 2012

Quality Services Review

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PA Department of Public Welfare Click to read the full report....

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Publications | October 29, 2012

Practice Innovations in Child Welfare

American Public Human Services Association Click to read the full report....

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Publications | September 1, 2012

Allegheny County Jail Collaborative Annual Report 2011-12

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Click to read the full report. ...

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Publications | September 1, 2012

Aging Up, Not Out: Moving Youth from Foster Care to Employability

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When youth in child welfare reach their 18th or 21st birthday, they are no longer eligible for child welfare services.  Unfortunately, they are also too often unprepared emotionally, financially or academically for college, the workforce, and independent living.  In recognition of this issue, and the needs of these youth, DHS created the Independent Living Unit ...

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Publications | September 1, 2012

Aging Out of the Child Welfare System in Allegheny County: Descriptive Analysis, Challenges and Implications

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Eighty percent of youth in child welfare foster care leave the child welfare system within six months of turning 18.  Unfortunately, many are not ready for the challenges of adulthood.  Youth who age out of the child welfare system are likely to have lower levels of education and employment and higher levels of public assistance, ...

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Publications | July 31, 2012

2011 Allegheny County DHS Local Government Case Competition: Reducing Stigma among Individuals with Serious Mental Illness

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Participants in the fifth annual Local Government Case Competition were asked to develop a plan to reduce the stigma associated with mental illness.  Teams of graduate students approached the challenge from a variety of perspectives; the winning team targeted working-age adults with mental illness through a multifaceted plan of increased self-sufficiency and public awareness. In ...

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Publications | May 1, 2012

Allegheny County LINK: A Summary of Data and Consumer Feedback

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The Link is a collaborative effort among local agencies, organizations and indi­vidual consumers, designed to help older adults and people living with a disability maintain their independence, dignity and quality of life. Funded in 2006 by the Pennsyl­vania State Office of Long Term Living, the mission of the Link is to simplify and streamline access ...

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Publications | May 1, 2012

Showing the Way Out: Youth Support Partners Use their Personal Experiences to Support Other Youth

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In 2008, the Allegheny County Department of Human Services hired four Youth Support Partners (YSP), young adults with lived experiences in human services, to serve as positive role models and peer supports for young people involved in the system. From that beginning, the Youth Support Partners program has expanded to include a manager, four supervisors ...

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Publications | January 1, 2012

System of Care Initiative: Building Creative Partnerships – Involving Families in Program Evaluation

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Between 1993 and 2011, Allegheny County Department of Human Services received three SAMHSA grants to implement systems of care designed to support youth with serious emotional disturbances who were involved in multiple child-serving systems. Evaluation was a critical piece of these grants, which prioritized family empowerment and inclusion.  In keeping with this priority, and its ...

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Publications | January 1, 2012

Evaluation of Allegheny County’s Crisis Intervention Team Training Program

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This report summarizes the development, implementation and evaluation of a crisis intervention training program designed to teach police officers how to identify and intervene appropriately and safely with individuals with mental illness. Click here to view the full report....

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Publications | December 29, 2011

Effect of Mental Health Court on Arrests and Jail Days – A Multi-site Study

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Northwestern University Click to read the full report....

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Publications | November 1, 2011

Collaborative Approach to Juvenile Justice Reform: An Analysis of Juvenile Justice Related Services in Allegheny County

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This report provides an overview of Allegheny County’s Juvenile Justice Related Services, created to ensure that adolescents in the juvenile justice system who are struggling with behavioral health issues receive coordinated services tailored to their individual needs. Click to read the full report.  Executive Summary of Juvenile Justice Related Services in Allegheny County Key Characteristics ...

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Publications | September 29, 2011

Asking Why – Reasserting the Role of Community Mental Health

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Judge David L. Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law Click to read the full report....

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Publications | September 1, 2011

A Picture of Success: DHS-Funded Students Respond Enthusiastically to Arts Education Opportunity

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With funding from Casey Family Programs, 30 students from grades seven through 12, involved with DHS’s child serving systems, attended studio classes at Manchester Craftsmen’s Guild in Pittsburgh. Participating in classes in ceramics, design, digital arts or photography, the students not only learned skills, but also built confidence and self-discipline. Click here to view the ...

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Publications | September 1, 2011

How Case Reviews Transformed Allegheny County’s Criminal Justice System

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This report describes Allegheny County’s criminal justice case review process, including factors that have contributed to its success and proposed solutions to ongoing issues. Click here to view the full report....

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Publications | August 1, 2011

Prevention Programs Across the Department of Human Services

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DHS is committed to meeting the human services needs of county residents, particularly the county’s most vulnerable populations, through an extensive range of prevention, early intervention, crises management and after–care services. While system involvement is sometimes inevitable, necessary and highly beneficial to consumers, DHS believes that preventing the need for such system interventions can ultimately ...

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Publications | July 29, 2011

Framework For Collaboration: Integrating School and Human Services Data In Pittsburgh

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OCD | Developments by the University of Pittsburgh Click to read the full report....

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Publications | July 1, 2011

Allegheny County Jail Collaborative Annual Report 2010-11

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Click to read the full report. ...

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Publications | May 31, 2011

Transforming Lives Through Systems Integration: The “Improving Outcomes for Children and Families” Initiative

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DHS’s Improving Outcomes for Child and Families initiative utilized a service integration focus to serve families with multiple needs.  It was based on the belief that making systems work together as a team would improve services and reduce the confusion that families face when they need to interact with staff from a variety of child-serving ...

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Publications | May 29, 2011

How Are the Children? Inspiring Hope. Renewing Vision. Influencing Action. Casey Family Programs 2010 Annual Report

Casey Family Programs Click to read the full report....

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Publications | February 2, 2011

Challenge and Change 1997-2010: Transforming an administrative infrastructure to support program integration

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This report details the transformational administrative and operational changes within DHS from its creation in 1997 through 2010. Click to read the full report....

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Publications | February 1, 2011

2010 Local Government Case Competition: Pittsburgh Public Schools and the Pathways to the Promise

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Fifty-five graduate students from local universities participated in the 4th Local Government Case Competition. The focus of this year’s competition was on narrowing the academic achievement gap for students involved in human services and raising the bar for all Pittsburgh Public School students.  Specifically, participants were asked to consider how to make more students “Promise ...

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Publications | January 1, 2011

Child Welfare Placement Dynamics: Long-Term Trends in Allegheny County’s Child Welfare System

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The number of youth in out-of-home placement on the first of the year declined from 3,088 in 1996 to 1,765 in 2010, a total decrease of 43 percent. This report offers a view of the child welfare system in Allegheny County over this period, including demographics of children served, their system trajectory, and their involvement ...

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Publications | January 1, 2011

Residential Enhancement Service Planning Opportunities for New Directions Program (RESPOND): A Program Evaluation

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RESPOND is an intensive treatment program designed to serve youth whose multiple needs (intellectual disability and significant behavioral challenges) are not able to be met through DHS’s current array of services. RESPOND operates on a collaborative model that integrates effective clinical treatment with principles of psychiatric rehabilitation, applied behavior analysis and community support programs. This ...

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Publications | January 1, 2011

An Analysis of Allegheny County Mental Health Court

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This analysis uses summary violations and criminal convictions to compare recidivism rates of graduates of the Allegheny County Mental Health Court, which was established in 2001 to address the needs of people with mental illness and/or substance use disorders in judicial proceedings. Click here to view the full report. ...

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Publications | May 31, 2010

Quality Improvement Assessment

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This report describes the more than 100 quality improvement activities and initiatives taking place throughout DHS, using the Council on Accreditation’s (COA) Performance and Quality Improvement standards to frame the discussion of how DHS currently manages quality improvement. It discusses best practice approaches and provides benchmarking information about what organizations similar to DHS are doing, ...

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Publications | May 21, 2010

Fighting Hunger While Positively Impacting the Food System – Integrating SNAP Benefits at Pittsburgh Citiparks Farmers’ Markets

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Heinz College, Carnegie Mellon University Click to read the full report....

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Publications | April 1, 2010

2009 Allegheny County DHS Local Government Case Competition: Building the Homewood Children’s Village

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The 3rd annual Case Competition was designed to engage local graduate students in developing a five-year strategic plan for the Homewood Children’s Village. Student teams approached the challenge from a variety of perspectives, but the team that ultimately won the competition impressed the judges with their knowledge of Homewood’s existing assets and their ability to ...

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Publications | March 29, 2010

Strategies for Improving Homeless People’s Access to Mainstream Benefits and Services

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U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Click to read the full report....

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Publications | February 21, 2010

Advancing Data on Homelessness in Eleven Communities

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U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Office of Special Needs Assistance Programs in the Office of Community Planning Development Click to read the full report....

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Publications | January 1, 2010

An Examination of Training for Family Support Center Staff

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Family Support Center staff are required to meet hourly training goals each year, in addition to maintaining certifications for specific positions.  This training is primarily provided by the University of Pittsburgh’s Office of Child Development. Focus groups were held to collect feedback about the training and to identify ways in which training could better support ...

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Publications | January 1, 2010

Homewood: A Community Profile

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This profile of the Pittsburgh neighborhood of Homewood (and subsequent Addendum) was compiled by DHS to assess demographic changes and examine quality of life issues-poverty, education, health care-in Homewood and in the City of Pittsburgh and Allegheny County to accurately assess the community’s assets and needs. Click here to view the full report. Click here ...

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Publications | January 1, 2010

The Role of Race in Child Welfare System Involvement in Allegheny County

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This study documents the service paths of African American and white children following referral to Allegheny County child welfare services, to identify and examine the factors related to service disparities. Click here to view the full report....

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Publications | January 1, 2010

Serving Consumers with Limited English Proficiency

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DHS surveyed providers and DHS staff on behalf of the Immigrants and Internationals Advisory Council to identify the need for limited English proficiency services in the community and assess DHS’s ability to meet those needs. Results of the survey are included in this report. Click here to read the full report....

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Publications | January 1, 2010

Understanding the Allegheny County Homeless Population

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DHS examined a cohort of homeless individuals to describe the demographic composition and service utilization of the county’s homeless population, as well as to quantify the costs associated with their care. Homeless individuals in Allegheny County frequently consume public resources and contribute to a measurable and sizable public expense; the consumption of mental health services ...

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Publications | May 29, 2009

Educating Homeless Children in Allegheny County: An Evaluation of Families, Agencies, and Services

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DHS, Duquesne University School of Education and the Homeless Children’s Education Fund Click to read the full report....

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Publications | November 18, 2008

Home Foreclosures in Allegheny County

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In this analysis, DHS examined the issue of home foreclosures in Allegheny County. Click to read the full report....

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Publications | October 27, 2008

The State of Technology in Aging Services in Pennsylvania

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Center for Aging Services Technology, American Association of Homes and Services for the Aging Click to read the full report....

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Publications | August 29, 2008

A Worthy Diversion

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The Politics of Mental Illness, The American Prospect Special Report Click to read the full report....

Publications | June 1, 2008

One Vision One Life Trauma Center Intervention Program

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This research brief examines the 41 trauma center interventions conducted by One Vision One Life from 2005 to the spring/early summer of 2007. Click to read the full report....

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Publications | June 1, 2008

Violence in Allegheny County and Pittsburgh

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This report provides a profile of community violence in Allegheny County in order to better understand the relationship with violence held by DHS consumers and clients. Click to read the full report. ...

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Publications | May 31, 2008

2008 DHS Local Government Case Competition: Greening DHS

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The second annual Local Government Case Competition sought ideas from students on how to embed environmental sustainability in DHS policies and operations. Forty-six graduate students from local universities were divided into 12 teams and each team presented its ideas to a panel of judges. These presentations, as well as an overview of the Competition and ...

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Publications | May 31, 2008

Data Warehousing, Flow Models and Public Policy

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This paper, presented at the 28th Annual APPAM Research Conference in November 2006, describes the context and need for integrated data in human services, data warehousing technology and its unique challenges in the public sector, innovative data warehouse applications that have arisen in part from joint projects with universities, and future opportunities for data warehousing. ...

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Publications | March 1, 2008

Children of Incarcerated Parents

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This report examines the human service experiences and potential needs of children of incarcerated parents. Click to read the full report. ...

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Publications | February 8, 2008

Overview Report of Allegheny County Jail Collaborative Evaluation Findings

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University of Pittsburgh School of Social Work, Center on Race and Social Problem Click to read the full report....

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Publications | February 7, 2008

Mental Health Courts – How special courts can serve justice and help mentally ill offenders

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U.S. News and World Report Click to read the full report....

Publications | January 29, 2008

Time for Reform: Investing in Prevention, Keeping Children Safe At Home

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Kids Are Waiting (KAW), the Pew Charitable Trusts Explores how the child welfare system in Allegheny County focuses on prevention services to successfully reduce the number of children in out-of-home placement. Click to read the full report....

Publications | January 3, 2008

Allegheny County Jail Collaborative Evaluation

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University of Pittsburgh Click to read the full report....

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Publications | January 1, 2008

Immigration and Public Benefit Eligibility: An Overview

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This document, created in response to needs identified by the diverse groups participating in the DHS Immigrants and Internationals Advisory Council, serves as a resource guide for those seeking information about immigrants’ eligibility for public benefits. Click here to read the full resource guide....

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Publications | January 1, 2008

Home Foreclosures in Allegheny County

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In this analysis, DHS examined the issue of home foreclosures in Allegheny County. Click here to read the full report. ...

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Publications | December 29, 2007

Behavioral Health Justice-Related Services and Beyond in Allegheny County, Pennsylvania

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American Jails Magazine, November/December 2007 Click to read the full report....

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Publications | July 29, 2007

2007 KIDS COUNT Data Book

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Annie E. Casey Foundation Discusses Allegheny County’s investment in intensive, community-and home-based prevention services for families at risk of child abuse and/neglect Click to read the full report....

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Publications | June 29, 2007

On the Move: Helping Young Adults with Serious Mental Health Needs Transition to Adulthood – Partnerships for Youth Transitions (PYT)

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National Network on Youth Transition for Behavioral Health Examines the results of the Partnerships for Youth Transitions initiatives funded by SAMHSA in five communities across the country, including Allegheny County Click to read the full report. ...

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Publications | May 31, 2007

2007 DHS Local Government Case Competition: The Future of DHS

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This report describes DHS’s inaugural Local Government Case Competition, in which local graduate students were asked to consider how DHS will look in the next 10 years. Click to read the full report....

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Publications | October 29, 2006

An Effective Child Welfare System and Evidence-based Practice for the Child Welfare System

National Family Preservation Network Discusses DHS’s use of innovative, evidence-based practices in the child welfare system to improve outcomes for children and families Click to read the full report....

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Publications | January 31, 1998

Redesigning Human Service Delivery in Allegheny County

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With the creation of the Department of Human Services in 2007, Director Marc Cherna began the process of integrating the existing Departments of Aging, Federal Programs, Children and Youth Services and Mental Health/Mental Retardation/Drug & Alcohol/Homeless & Hunger Programs. The restructuring, which was the result of a lengthy internal planning process and public discussion, is ...

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