Collaborative and Restorative Response in San Rafael, CA
The Center for Restorative Practice was originally called the Coordinated Youth Services Council.
Under this title as the Coordinated Youth Services Council (CYSC): CYSC was formed as a private, non-profit partnership composed of five public agencies (Social Services, Mental Health, Juvenile Probation, Education and Public Health) and seventeen private agencies. The agency was established in 1990 to serve children and families in Marin County to help improve services for high-risk children and their families by creating and operating a coordinated service delivery system of centralized intake, assessment and case management that was multi-disciplinary, non-jurisdictional and “client/family-centered."
The Center for Restorative Practice (CFRP) is a private non-profit organization in Marin County that is dedicated to restorative, team-based and collaborative responses to family problems. We are well-known locally for “Family Network,®” our model of family group decision-making that has been the centerpiece of Marin County’s “Youth Pilot Project” since its inception. Systemically, our goals have been to 1. Reduce Marin County’s overall out-of-home placement rates and 2. Help families succeed in reducing the “risk factors” that brought the minor or family to the attention of child welfare, juvenile justice, mental health and special education systems.
Prior to July 2014: The Youth Pilot Project was a State Program in which funds that are set aside to place children/youth in group and foster care homes were used to serve qualifying minors and their families to keep children/youth in their own home. The idea was to keep these minors safely in the home when possible by using the Youth Pilot Project funds to pay for services when the services needed could not be obtained for 1. Free, 2. The cost of the service exceeded the family’s ability to pay, or 3. When a specialized service was needed. Marin County’s Health and Human Services contracted with CFRP to facilitate team meetings by using our Family Network Model.
July 1, 2014 The Youth Pilot Program is no longer a program supported by the State. During the time that CFRP worked with the Youth Pilot Program, it was able to help keep an average of over 85% of children served out of foster care or from going to a higher level of care. CFRP is grateful to the Department of Social Service - Children and Family Service (CFS) for their partnership. CFRP and the Department of Social Services (CFS) continued to work together during Fiscal year 2014-15 to serve families in Marin County. The focus with CFS during this time was to help reduce the recidivism of families and minors that the Department served. While Marin County had one of the lowest placement rates throughout the State, they had on the other end one of the highest recidivism rates in the State. Our task was to work with families who were primarily involved in "Family Reunification" and "Family Maintenance" with CFS. Our time frame in working with the families referred to us was to be from 6-9 months. While it has been a popular statement to say that "It takes a village to raise a child," I actually believe that it takes parents to raise children and family and friends can be helpful to this end. It is important when helping families to have a place where honest discussions can take place. The meetings where everyone wants to just "feel-good" without doing the hard work will often have superficial results. We hope to continue to help families and teams feel supported and do the hard work that helps keep families together.
With changes to some of Marin County’s services, e.g., Community Mental Health, now called Behavioral Health and Recovery, in 2012, CFRP began working with the Tamalpais Union High School District in providing services to students with Individualized Educational Plans (IEPs) where students and families need support to help ensure that the student can remain in the least restrictive educational setting if possible. Many of the students are dealing with anxiety, depression and other mental health issues that are interfering with their ability to fully access their education. For some families, we provide the same type of meeting structure that we provided to Children and Family Services. Much of the work involves Behavioral planning and interventions to support families in helping students get to school as well as providing coordination and consultation to the school, parents and other providers.