New Horizons (Frederick County FY18 and beyond - Annual)

Program Summary

This program through the Student Homeless Initiative Program (SHIP) will expand the existing New Horizons mentoring and community services access program for homeless high school students. The program will provide supportive services to homeless students to improve attendance rates to the level of peers, increase the graduation rate for homeless students and connect them to part-time jobs.  

Target Population

Unaccompanied homeless youth.

Story Behind the Curve

FY19

  • There was a significant decrease in the number of referrals made to community services and employment programs during FY19 compared to FY18. The decrease in referrals is a result of the New Horizons staff meeting many of the needs of homeless students through internal supports and connections instead of through referrals.  In addition, students returning from the FY18 school year did not require as much service connection (or still had an active referral/connection) in FY19 as they may have had in the previous year.  
  • The percentage of enrolled youth on track to graduate on time or graduate on time trended downward for FY19, compared to FY18.  Some of the challenges that contributed to the downward trend included students who experienced significant mental health problems that lead to poor attendance and/or missed class assignments, and several students struggled with learning disabilities.

FY18

  • Factors that contributed to a positive program performance included: working relationships with local school staffs; consistent office hours at each of the schools; availability of youth when New Horizons counselors were in school; the ability to transport youth to referred agencies and community service organizations; capture and monitoring of all participant data within cloud-based case management system ("ServicePoint"), working relationships with support community service agencies; additional counseling staff with Spanish-speaking language skills; and consistent communication with youth provided for participation engagement and program retention.  
  • Challenges included: high absenteeism for the majority on enrolled youth; lack of time spent with enrolled youth that would help to establish trust and relationship continuity; problems with identification of homeless youth at some of the school sites (most notably Frederick HS); and inefficient enrollment support at three school sites (Walkersville, Gov. Thomas Johnson, and Tuscarora).      
  • Reasons for positive performance measures: FCPS Department of Student Services intervened at times to provide identification of unaccompanied homeless youth in select schools; reinforcement of program objectives and benefits to school administrations and staff; providing of e-school data that assisted New Horizons staff with the ability to know school performance, behavior and attendance records, and make recommendations and adjustments per enrolled youth accordingly; consistency and persistence on behalf of New Horizons staff.        
Partners

FY19

The New Horizons program work with the community organizations to provide direct services, increased resources, professional development for staff and advocacy to close service gaps. By working with community partners, the program provides wraparound services to meet the needs of homeless unaccompanied youth. The organizations and community partners listed below provided services in the following areas:

  • YMCA of Frederick County: membership scholarships
  • United Way of Frederick County’s Prosperity Center: Budget coaching
  • Frederick County Health Department: Health insurance, healthcare services, dental services
  • Advocates for Homeless Families: Rapid re-housing
  • Frederick County Public Schools: Educational support, access to extracurricular opportunities
  • Maryland Human Trafficking task force: Awareness and tools for identification
  • Frederick County Department of Social Services: shared resources
  • Mental Health Association of Frederick County: Walk-in mental health services and benefits navigation
  • Frederick County Workforce Services: Job training and employment access
  • Goodwill Industries: Job training and employment access
  • The Frederick Center: LGBTQ support groups  
What Works

FY19

  • As the program becomes more entrenched in the FCPS school system and awareness/outreach by staff to students increases, the number of participants and request for services is increasing as evidenced by the enrollment increase between FY18 and FY19.
  • In addition to the wrap around services listed above in "Partners", the staff of New Horizons has enhanced their ability to meet many of the needs of the participants through internal supports.
Action Plan

 

FY19

  • New Horizons staff will work to insure that students are thriving in school in the areas of: attendance, academic performance, and behavior measures through increased communication with FCPS staff and periodic updates from the FCPS E-school system which provide grades and other academic information.
  • To meet the objective of youth on track to graduate on time or graduate on-time” New Horizons staff will  provide greater support to students in the areas of:
    • Personal health, including mental health care, medical, vision and dental
    • Educational support in the form of tutoring

FY18

  • Insure housing stability
  • Assess school attendance history, and determine barriers to improvement
  • Access school performance, and determine barriers and supports needed to maintain or improve
  • Access personal health status, and determine supports needed to maintain or improve
  • Create individual goals in collaboration with youth, monitor progress, and provide supports necessary to sustain progress. 
Scorecard Result Program Indicator Performance Measure Action Actual Value Target Value Tag S R I P PM A m/d/yy m/d/yyyy