DCFS Unveils Outreach Program to Assist Homeless Families

New Social Work Team Located Near Skid Row

In an ongoing effort to enhance services to homeless families the Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) has formed the Skid Row Assessment Team. The team is located at Union Rescue Mission, the Midnight Mission and the Los Angeles Department of Mental Health in the Skid Row area.

DCFS will manage and monitor the partnership with other Los Angeles County departments and Beyond Shelter – a non-profit program that combats poverty and homelessness among families with children – to service up to 500 homeless families from Skid Row. The 12-month pilot project will have social workers walking the streets of Skid Row to assist families in relocating from the crime-ridden and drug-infested streets. The experienced team will initially consist of two DCFS supervising social workers and six DCFS children’s social workers. Eight additional staff will be brought on in the near future.

The project goal is to move homeless families into permanent housing in residential neighborhoods. These families will also be provided with needed services including job training, employment, support for locating new housing and assistance with overall case management services to ensure that they do not return to homelessness. Multi-disciplinary assessments will also be made in order to determine child safety issues and what needs the parents have with respect to financial, medical, mental health and substance abuse services, in efforts to preserve their family unit whenever possible.

Families in need of shelter, services or referrals will be referred to DCFS, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Social Services, the Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health and Los Angeles County Department of Health Services staff who are located at the Union Rescue Mission or Midnight Mission. Each family will be assessed and screened for services.

The DCFS Skid Row Assessment Team was created as a result of a Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors’ motion in December 2004. In June 2006, the Board allocated $80 million to the issue of homelessness in Los Angeles. As a result of this allocation, the Board approved $5.7 million for the Skid Row Families Demonstration Project administered between the County and Beyond Shelter.