Cuyahoga County Launches Pay for Success Program for Homeless Families (Philanthropy News Digest)

The Nonprofit Finance Fund has announced that Cuyahoga County, which encompasses the greater Cleveland area, will launch the first county-level Pay for Success (PFS) project aimed at reducing the amount of time children whose families are homeless stay in foster care.

In partnership with FrontLine Service, a service provider for the homeless in Northeast Ohio, the Partnering for Family Success Program will provide case management services to a hundred and thirty-five homeless families over five years. The first PFS project in the nation to address the areas of homelessness and child welfare will deliver twelve to fifteen months of "Critical Time Intervention," an approach that provides intensive services upfront to help reconnect homeless families to community support networks and settle them in family-appropriate housing. The program, which has received funding from the Reinvestment Fund, the George Gund andCleveland foundations, Sisters of Charity Foundation of Cleveland, and NFF, also will provide age-appropriate evidence-based trauma services designed to strengthen healthy and secure caregiver-child relationships.

In Cuyahoga County, children placed in out-of-home foster care cannot be reunited with their families until their caregivers can provide a safe and stable home environment — a challenge for those who are homeless or struggle with domestic violence, substance abuse, and/or mental illness. Children who spend significant time in out-of-home foster care often are profoundly affected by the loss of consistent caregivers, which in turn results in poor outcomes for the county's most vulnerable families and high costs to the county.

"Homeless families with children in out-of-home foster care should have access to programs that allow them to reunite with their children and provide a stable housing environment to help children thrive," said Cuyahoga County executive Ed Fitzgerald. "The Partnering for Family Success Program offers an innovative model for Cuyahoga County to support FrontLine's high-impact services, rigorously track outcomes, and drive resources toward better outcomes for children and their families, while also improving accountability for government spending."

"Nation's First County-Level Pay For Success Program Aims to Reconnect Foster Children with Caregivers in Stable, Affordable Housing." Nonprofit Finance Fund Press Release 12/04/2014.