County Notes 12/19/12

Board OK’s agreements with two youth agencies

The Youth Service Bureau and Lakes Area Youth Service Bureau will continue providing services to Washington County after the Board of Commissioners approved contracts with the agencies Tuesday.

The county will pay the two agencies slightly more than $300,000. The YSB contract is not to exceed $247,457 and the LAYSB contract is not to exceed $54,153.

The two agencies work with youths who might otherwise enter the county’s juvenile court. If youths are ordered into the diversion programs, they might participate in community service work, an educational program or early intervention programs. Juveniles are also required to make restitution to victims and complete the diversion program to avoid a court record.

According to county records for 2011, 966 juveniles were served at a cost of $308 per juvenile. The county has a juvenile probation case rate of 343 per 100,000 people compared to the state’s juvenile probation case rate of 667 per 100,000 people.

County records also show 81 percent of juveniles served by the two agencies’ programs have no further involvement with the county justice system after 12 months. The program collected $4,594 in restitution and juveniles in the program completed 6,977 hours of community service.

ESR to continue employment training

East Suburban Resources will continue providing employment training services to dislocated workers and at-risk youths after the Washington County Board of Commissioners approved a three-year contract with the agency Tuesday.

The county will pay ESR more than $459,000 annually, totaling more than $1.3 million for 2013 through 2015. The agreement allows for three counselors, two professional trainers and two office support staff and is contingent upon state and federal dislocated worker funds.

ESR works through the county’s WorkForce Center. ESR staff provides assessment, job training and job-search assistance to unemployed workers. ESR’s youth program works with disadvantaged and at-risk youths to help them remain in school, achieve their diploma or GED, obtain post-secondary credentials and enter the workforce.

ESRs’ two professional trainers provided workshops to more than 6,000 job seekers and the three job counselors maintain a caseload of 50 to 90 dislocated workers at any one time and work with 450 dislocated workers this year.

An average of more than 2,600 job seekers received help each month this year, an increase of almost 25 percent from 2011. ESR must adhere to several benchmarks while providing services to county residents.

Agency to provide assisted living services

Scandia Eldercare will convert its services to provide assisted living services under contract changes with Washington County approved Tuesday by the Board of Commissioners.

Scandia Eldercare currently offers family foster care and wants to convert to providing 24-hour assisted living to private pay clients and those eligible to medical assistance home and community-based “waiver” services.

The facility has designated a least two of its beds for county clients, who will receive services funded through medical assistance’s elderly waiver and pay a reduced rent.

Scandia Eldercare must complete an annual program evaluation describing any incident or maltreatment reports and outline how its services have helped delay the onset of institutional placement.

Customized living is for persons needing regular supervision and help with daily activities. These persons are assessed by county staff and determined not to need skilled nursing home care but are unable to safely remain in their own homes.

Board addresses bridge-related issues

The Washington County Board of Commissioners agreed Tuesday to cost-sharing with the state Department of Transportation on the St. Croix River Crossing project and will help Oak Park Heights officials request state road funds for the project.

Commissioners agreed to pay almost $84,000 toward the project. The county’s responsibilities include sharing construction costs for signals and maintenance of certain roads, multi-use trails, traffic signals, bridge and storm water ponds.

The County Board also agreed to sponsor Oak Park Heights in an application to MnDOT for Local Road Improvement Program funds for utility relocation related to the bridge project.

Because Oak Park Heights’ population is under 5,000, county sponsorship is required for the funds, with the county acting as a financial conduit for the city.