New Horizons (Frederick County FY18 and beyond - Annual)

Program Summary

FY21

This program will provide mentoring and community services access 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 during the FY18-19 school year.

FY20

This program will provide mentoring and community services access for homeless high school students. The program will also provide supportive services to homeless students to improve attendance rates to the level of their peers, increase the graduation rate for homeless students, and connect them to part-time jobs.

 

FY19

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 during the FY17-18 school year.

Target Population

FY21

Unaccompanied homeless high school students.  Students are connected to the program via self-referral or referrals from Frederick County Public School personnel.

FY20

Unaccompanied homeless high school students. Students are connected to the program via self-referral or referrals from Frederick County Public School personnel.

 

FY19

Unaccompanied homeless youth.

Measures
Time
Period
Current Actual Value
Current Target Value
Current
Trend
Baseline
% Change
Story Behind the Curve

FY21

  • Continued closure of the school system due to COVID-19 caused significant reduction in identification of students experiencing homelessness.
  • COVID-19 safety concerns prevented case managers from accessing enrolled students that caused a sharp reduction in formal assessment of needs that then caused further reductions in plan creation, goal setting, and goal accomplishment.
  • Youth lost jobs due to furloughs.
  • Social distancing mandates reduced opportunities for internships and volunteer positions in the community.
  • Significantly increased needs of students enrolled in the program caused the average case load per case manager to be reduced.
  • During the year, there were two case managers, with an average caseload of 23-25 youth from the six high schools containing the most students experiencing homelessness.
  • In spite of schools being largely closed through the majority of FY21, New Horizons case managers were instrumental in supporting students increased and comprehensive needs during the period. Needs included: food, hygiene items, accessibility to the Internet and phone service, transportation, cash assistance, rental subsidies, educational support and advocacy to ensure that educational needs, academic considerations, and life challenges of students were a consideration while schools were closed.
  • The New Horizons program continued to use online intake platforms created early in the pandemic to ensure quick access to services and supports once a youth was identified and on boarded in to the program.
  • Staff self-care needs were prioritized and emphasized due to COVID-19 with encouragement to utilize personal time, counseling, and participation in additional professional development training.

FY20

New Horizons Program achieved all of its goals. 55 participants were served which is five above the target number. The program exceeded performance in all three categories compared to last year.

 

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

FY21

  • SHIP’s THRIVE! Host Home Network: Youth-specific housing and financial support
  • Frederick County Health Department: Access to health insurance, healthcare services, dental services
  • Frederick County Public Schools: Educational support, access to extracurricular opportunities, transportation
  • Frederick Community Action Agency - health services, food
  • Religious Coalition for Emergency Human Needs - dental cost coverage, family shelter
  • Frederick Health/Monocacy Dental Associates - oral health
  • Trauma-informed Frederick: advocacy
  • Trauma Center of Frederick: mental health support
  • Transit: transportation
  • Frederick County Government - funding
  • Frederick County Office of Children & Families - organizational support and guidance
  • City of Frederick - funding
  • The Temple, Paul Mitchell School - grooming and hygiene for youth
  • Frederick County Family Partnership - GED training, child care
  • Clark Computer Services - laptops for youth
  • Ausherman Family Foundation - funding
  • Rotary Club of Carroll Creek and the Rotary Club of Frederick - funding
  • Community Foundation of Frederick County - funding, organizational support
  • Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development - funding and organizational support
  • Maryland State Department of Education - funding and organizational support

FY20

The New Horizons program facilitates services for young people through collaboration and flexible support with a number of Frederick County community organizations. Through these partnerships, the program offers a wide spectrum of wraparound services to meet the needs of unaccompanied youth experiencing homelessness. These organizations include:

  • SHIP’s THRIVE! Host Home Network: Youth-specific housing and financial support
  • Frederick County Health Department: Access to health insurance, healthcare services, dental services
  • Frederick County Public Schools: Educational support, access to extracurricular opportunities, transportation
  • Frederick Community College: Financial Aid and enrollment support, career program exploration and development
  • Frederick County Department of Social Services: Temporary Cash Assistance, SNAP benefits
  • Frederick Community Action Agency - health services, food
  • Spanish Speaking Community of Maryland: Legal support, language translation
  • 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
  • Lions Club: Eyeglasses Support
  • The Frederick Center: LGBTQ counseling and support groups 
  • Maryland Human Trafficking Task Force: Awareness and tools for identification
  • YMCA of Frederick County: membership scholarships, access to recreational facilities
  • United Way of Frederick County’s Prosperity Center: Budget coaching
  • Advocates for Homeless Families: Rapid re-housing
  • Religious Coalition for Emergency Human Needs - dental cost coverage, family shelter

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

FY21

  • Based upon previous successes, the New Horizon's (NH) team know how important it is to have positive, supportive relationships at the school level that bolsters effective student identification processes.
  • The New Horizons  team plans to re-introduce the program at the individual school level once the new school year opens in late August.
  • Having direct contact with students when enrolling them in the New Horizons program.
  • New Horizons will return to a formal assessment of needs leading to the creation of a service plan and goal setting.
  • With the restoration of the Youth Action Board, and continual integration of youth perspective, the program will work develop youth leaders who will contribute to the continual improvement of the program and our engagement processes.
  • Given the stresses resulting from serving young people with high needs, the New Horizon's director will continue to provide case managers with social emotional support.

FY20

  • There were three fulltime and one-half time case managers, which expanded the program’s service capacity in covering youth at six of the ten FCPS high schools.
  • New Horizons case managers were instrumental in making adjustments to address student needs during the pandemic and addressing challenges accessing Wi-Fi and online coursework.
  • Staff purchased TRAC phones, laptops and hot spots to maintain communication with students.
  • Many more service plans were completed during the FY20 fourth quarter compared to the same time last year due to the increase in staffing.
  • Impacts of long-term closures during the pandemic and the increased complexity of problem solving required that staff work to overcome additional barriers in facilitating and coordinating support for youth.
  • The New Horizons’ case managers advocated for students remotely with their school counselors to ensure that educational needs, academic considerations, and life challenges of students were a consideration while schools were closed. Staff advocacy was the most important factor in such a large number of seniors graduating and other students moving to the next grade level.
  • The New Horizons program transitioned to online platforms, weekly staff meetings and case reviews to support the needs of program participants.
  • Staff self-care needs were prioritized due to COVID-19 with encouragement to utilize personal time and participate in additional professional development training.

FY19

  • As the program becomes more entrenched in the FCPS school system and awareness/outreach by staff to student’s 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

FY21

  • Return to pre-COVID processes: with the community continuing to open up and schools returning to near-normal operations at the start of the 2021-22 school year, it is anticipated that the program will also return to pre-pandemic performance levels of identification, enrollment, assessment of needs, goal-setting and accomplishment.
  • Case manager expansion: the program anticipates receiving American Rescue Plan funding that would allow for the hiring of two additional program case managers thereby expanding the reach of the program and increased numbers of unaccompanied youth in the program.

FY20

New Horizons will continue outreach efforts for recruitment of new participants and maintain community partnerships. 

 

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.
Local Highlight

FY21

The New Horizons program survived the pandemic, and are applying lessons learned to further strengthen the program and the team.

  • Staff experience with high needs youth bolstered the program’s service delivery model.
  • The commitment to continuous improvement has increase the program’s capacity to best serve youth experiencing homelessness.
  • The 2021 New Horizons Academy summer program was expanded to include upwards of 72 students from six high schools and four middle schools.
  • New Horizons engaged with the Free Child Institute to help staff to best engage youth power, and model appropriately in our engagement practices.

FY20

  • 52 of 55 students graduated or were on track to graduate on time compared to 38 at the close of FY19. Of the 52 on track or graduating, 26 graduated. This is the largest class of graduating seniors from the New Horizons program since its inception.
  • Seven of New Horizons students maintained transitional housing through SHIP’s (Student Homeless Initiative Partnership) and the THRIVE! Host Home Network.
  • New Horizons was able to access additional funding through SHIP to provide rental assistance directly to unaccompanied New Horizons’ youth who lost their jobs and their sole source of income. The financial assistance provided to the New Horizons’ students prevented disruptions to living arrangements.
  • SHIP hired a part-time Youth Consultant to co-facilitate the Frederick County Youth Action Board and to support development of the THRIVE! Host Home Network.
  • Program staff connected students with accessing food, often requiring social distance deliveries, coordinating with area food banks, and arranging for grocery gift cards.
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