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The Fox is in the Henhouse

By Greg L | 6 April 2015 | Prince William County | 1 Comment

Guest Post by Vigilant

On March 4th the Prince William County School Board signed off on a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between Youth for Tomorrow (YFT) and PWCS whereby YFT would fund a central office position entitled “Substance Abuse Prevention Specialist”. The position is posted on the YFT website (as a Student Assistant Specialist) and states that the individual will be working out of the Kelly Building. Do you think they are just being generous? Think again.

On October 3rd 2012, the school board signed off on their first MOU with YFT. That one allowed YFT to provide counseling to Medicaid eligible students as a pilot program in 6 PWC schools. Actually, it’s called Therapeutic Day Treatment and it requires that each student who participates receive at least ten hours per week of behavioral health services during school hours (billed to Medicaid). Well, the “pilot “went very well for YFT. Their revenue from providing this “outpatient care” jumped from $266,988 in 2012 to $1,447,897 in 2013. To help with the math, that’s a jump of 1.2 million in just one year. 2014 was an even better year for YFT. They were in 6 schools for 2012-13 and they jumped to 13 in 2013-14. Dr. Gary Jones, the CEO of Youth for Tomorrow, writes about the “unparalleled achievements” of 2014 including a 203% increase in Therapeutic Day Treatment services over 2013 and a 436% increase in other services provided to PWCS students. So that means what? 3.9 million for YFT for “outpatient care” in 2014? We will have to wait until they file their Form 990 to know for sure but suffice to say things are working out well for YFT.

What did PWCS get out of the deal? Looks like they got several fully funded positions to work in the schools. According to the Youth for Tomorrow website, in 2013 PWCS entered into 2 separate MOUs with YFT– one which provided for a School Based Threat Assessment Coordinator and the other provided for a School-Based Nurse. What’s interesting is that those two MOUs are not identified as agenda items for any school board meetings during 2013 or 2014 so, if in fact those MOUs were entered into by PWCS, they were done so outside of protocol and the public was not properly informed.

Here’s what it looks like: Quid pro quo. PWCS offers Youth for Tomorrow unfettered access to their Medicaid-eligible students and Youth for Tomorrow gives PWCS a few people to help out at central office. That’s a problem, especially if that arrangement was worked out behind closed doors and without PWC taxpayers being informed.

There’s another problem with the Youth for Tomorrow / Prince William County School relationship as well – it’s called the First Amendment. The Establishment Clause of the First Amendment specifically prohibits any governmental endorsement or support of religion.

Youth for Tomorrow is a faith-based organization. Through the YFT website, Dr. Jones, CEO writes, “it all begins with the faithful commitment the Lord places upon our program services to His children” whom “have received re-direction of their behaviors, witnessed role models in Christian faith and given hope for a bright future they never thought available to them before YFT” He goes onto write that the work of YFT results in “achievements of generational significance and only noticeable when you experience the daily saving of souls and the redirection of lives which occurs slowly but assuredly in a remarkable…95% of our children in behavioral health services.” Also from the website, YFT’s “highly trained counselors, therapists and teachers offer support and caring grounded in faith which offer hope and the possibility of a ‘new life’

Prince William County Schools is a public institution and as, such, it is inappropriate, if not illegal to enter into an agreement with a faith based organization that advances religion within schools, with individual children, and does so without parental awareness or public consent. To top it all off, YFT is exploiting those Medicaid-funded services in their solicitation to potential donors for contributions towards YFT’s Christian efforts to “save the souls” of “His children.”

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1 Comment

  1. Anonymous said on 7 Apr 2015 at 7:15 am:
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    I agree that this all sucks, but where were you when this “public private partnership” all the fiscal conservatives were championing began a few years ago? Everyone wants to get rid of social services and this is what you get. YFT shut down the county group homes helping kids and is now getting more. So what? This is the Republican business model.

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