Pay for Success Watch: NCCD, San Diego Foundation Announce Juvenile Reentry Venture (Chronicle of Social Change)

By John Kelly

The National Council on Crime and Delinquency (NCCD) already has an iron in the pay-for-success (PFS) fire in San Diego where it is working with The Children’s Initiative on a plan to provide county-wide alternatives to detention.

Now, NCCD has secured some federal funding to assess the prospects of a venture at the other end of the juvenile justice spectrum: reentry from out-of-home placements.

NCCD, which has headquarters in California, Wisconsin and Washington, D.C., will work with the San Diego Foundation to “examine feasibility of using PFS in a program designed to address top barriers to a successful transition for formerly incarcerated young adults,” according to a statement from NCCD.

“One of the many ill effects of our country’s mass incarceration problem is the incredible challenges that formerly incarcerated people face when they reenter their communities to rebuild their lives,” said CEO Kathy Park.

In the same statement, San Diego Foundation CEO Kathlyn Mead identified the barriers likely to be tackled in a PFS venture: access to a safe place to live, education and job opportunities.

Pay for Success projects generally involve private funders supporting the up-front costs of a social services venture. State or local government agrees to pay for the services, with interest in many cases, but only if certain agreed-upon benchmarks are achieved.

NCCD has funding from the federal Social Innovation Fund to assess the viability of such projects before a capital commitment takes place. It is already conducting feasibility assessments for three projects:

  • YouthStat, a program that identifies New Haven’s most at-risk students and brings together representatives from local agencies to help create a unique plan for them. Mayor Toni Harp initiated YouthStat after the shooting deaths of two teenagers last April. YouthStat has already identified 365 youths and received consent from guardians to craft plans for them.
  • Alternatives to Detention and Placement, operated by The Children’s Initiative in San Diego. The establishment of community alternatives was a major recommendation in the 2008 plan for counteracting juvenile disproportionate minority contact, which was published jointly by the initiative and San Diego County.
  • One Summer Plus, run by Milwaukee nonprofit Community Advocates. The nonprofit established a pilot version of this violence prevention project after visiting the original One Summer Plus in Chicago last summer.

In San Diego, Children’s Initiative Associate Director Brook Smith said the study would not be complete until October. The hope is to release a preliminary report of some kind before that and, he said, “things look very bright in terms of locating more permanent funding.”

NCCD received an initial allotment of $863,959 from the federal government in 2014, and it is unclear if its work on this new assessment is supported with remaining dollars from that grant. The San Diego Foundation has committed $50,000 in in-kind donations and $50,000 in-cash match to their project.

John Kelly is senior editor for The Chronicle of Social Change.