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DHS News August 2012

Helping Foster Youth Transition to Success
The transition to adulthood can be a difficult one; however, the challenges can seem insurmountable to youth leaving the foster care system and moving on to post-secondary education. As a way to provide a consistent support system during a foster youth’s transition to independence, the DHS Executive Office offers a variety of services through its Independent Living (IL) Program.

‘We Rock’ Supports the Allegheny County Music Festival Fund
In 2011, DHS contracted with Creative.Life.Support, the nonprofit arm of Mr. Smalls Funhouse, to create the We Rock Workshop, a residency program led by Liz Berlin of Rusted Root that teaches foster youth to open up creatively through music. Since its inception, the group has donated proceeds from their performances at Mr. Smalls Funhouse to the Allegheny County Music Festival Fund (ACMFF).

YSP Open House
On August 22, the Youth Support Partners (YSP) Unit held an open house to celebrate their new location at 2801 Liberty Avenue. The gathering was an opportunity for YSP colleagues, partners, funders and friends to meet the YSP staff members; socialize in a friendly, relaxed environment; and tour the space.

‘Families United’ For Fun
On August 24, Families United ended the summer with what has become its traditional celebration of families.

PDF Icon August 2012 Event Photos (3MB)
View a photo collage of two August events: YSP Open House and Families United Celebration.

Candidates “Stand Up” for Local Youth
Political candidates from local races found common ground during the fifth annual Candidates’ Comedy Night held Thursday, August 16 at the Pittsburgh Improv. The evening of fun and fundraising allowed candidates to show off their hidden talents in a benefit for the Allegheny County Music Festival Fund (ACMFF).

A Day of Respite for Local Veterans
On August 11, DHS co-sponsored Stand Down 2012, an intensive service fair for homeless veterans and their families, offering them a daylong respite from the streets and a real opportunity to put their lives back together.

DHS Data Sharing with Local School Districts
More than half of the students in Pittsburgh Public Schools have received human services administered by DHS, DHS contractors, or other government and nonprofit agencies at some point in their young lives. Unfortunately, these students often face an achievement gap in Pennsylvania System of State Assessment (PSSA) scores, attendance, grade-point average and Pittsburgh Promise eligibility when compared to students with no human services involvement.

DHS Debit Cards
This summer, DHS launched a pilot program aimed at easing the way volunteers and other program participants get paid. With assistance from the county treasurer, county controller and PNC bank, DHS has begun distributing payments to AAA Senior Companions via PNC debit cards instead of a printed check.

Improving Information and Assistance Through AIRS Certification 
As a part of IMPACT, the DHS/AAA strategic plan, the Aging Entry and Independent Bureaus are working together to enhance the quality of Information and Assistance (I&A) provided by the AAA and its provider agencies through pursuit of CIRS-A Certification for I&A Specialists in Aging.

KUDOS – Zara Carroll
DHS Director Marc Cherna recently received a letter praising Zara Carroll, caseworker for the Office of Children, Youth and Families (CYF). The letter, sent by the former foster parents of an infant, stated that the parents “have always had faith in our systems but Zara definitely deepened it.”

We welcome your story ideas, employee news and comments.
If you’ve got news you’d like to see in DHS NEWS, please contact Mark Bertolet:

Mark.Bertolet@alleghenycounty.us | 412-350-3439
Interoffice mail: DHS-OCR, One Smithfield Street, 1st floor
Pittsburgh, PA 15222