Guests at December’s meeting of the Burholme Community Town Watch and Civic Association listened to Christmas carols performed by the Redeemer Church Praise Band and a presentation by Catholic Social Services about a new initiative.
In addition, there were representatives from the offices of state Rep. Brendan Boyle, state Sen. Tina Tartaglione and City Councilman Brian O’Neill.
Last May, the city Department of Human Services selected Catholic Social Services to serve youths who live in the 2nd, 7th and 8th police districts.
CSS is beginning its work this month, as case managers complete eight weeks of training.
Attending the civic meeting were Mary Bell, a CSS community liaison; Frank McFadden, director of quality assurance for CSS; and Yvette Yates Parker, a social service program supervisor at DHS.
DHS is transitioning to a system in which community-based organizations manage the cases of the city’s most at-risk youths. The new model is called Improving Outcomes for Children.
While CSS will serve youths in three of the Northeast’s four police districts, Center City-based Turning Points for Children will serve those in the 15th Police District.
The decision to revamp Philadelphia’s child welfare system followed tragic cases in recent years in which there was a lack of coordination between DHS and agencies it had contracted with to provide services.
That dual-responsibility setup led to a lack of accountability when something went wrong. Now, while DHS will provide oversight, the sole responsibility lies with the community-based organizations.
CSS will monitor a child’s health, school attendance and living conditions. It has set up offices at New Foundations Inc., a foster-care agency at 7210 Rising Sun Ave.; the Immaculate Mary Home, at 2990 Holme Ave.; and Jewish Family and Children’s Service of Greater Philadelphia, at 10125 Verree Road.
Burholme Community Town Watch and Civic Association will meet again on Thursday, Jan. 9, at 7 p.m. at United Methodist Church of the Redeemer, at Cottman and Lawndale avenues. ••