Board of Directors Regular Meeting Agenda


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Meeting Date: 04/27/2016  

SUBJECT MATTER:
Receive, consider and act upon a proposal from Montgomery County Constable Ryan Gable concerning Safe Harbor initiatives;
FISCAL IMPACT:
The Woodlands Township 2016 Law Enforcement Budget includes $196,100 in funding for the Safe Harbor program ( $103,991 MCSO & $92,109 MCCOP3).  The fiscal impact of any new personnel related to a proposal from Constable Gable has not been presented at this time.
BACKGROUND:
At the Township Board of Directors meeting on March 23rd,  the Board directed staff to meet with Constable Ryan Gable to discuss the Child Protective Services (CPS) and Safe Harbor cases processed by the Constable's office.  The Board also asked the Constable to develop a proposal for their consideration.

As background, In the 2015 Township Budget two new Safe Harbor Detective positions were approved, one each for the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office (MCSO) and Montgomery County Constable’s Office, Precinct 3 (MCCOP3). Both of these positions focus on cases assigned within the Township boundaries.

Staff met with Constable Gable and his staff and MCSO officers assigned to CPS and Safe Harbor cases on April 19.  From the discussion, staff learned:
 
Effective September 1, 2015, as a result of new state legislative mandates,  a new position was funded within Child Protective Services (CPS).  This new position reviews and passes along CPS reports to local law enforcement entities. The new CPS review process  increases the work-load of both agencies. While this new legislation formalizes the law enforcement review process of CPS reports, mandating that a Child Advocacy Center (Safe Harbor) be involved, law enforcement has always reviewed CPS reports provided to them by CPS.
 
Based on this new process, the MCSO is now reviewing about 325 to 400 CPS reports on a monthly basis. In February 2016, of the 327 CPS reports reviewed, 13 were assigned as a Safe Harbor case/Forensic Interview and in March 2016, of the 305 CPS reports reviewed, 9 were assigned as a Safe Harbor case/Forensic Interview. MCCOP3 in February 2016, received 15 CPS reports and in March 2016, 8 CPS reports were reviewed. Constable Gable’s Office estimates that they will receive from 20 to 30 CPS reports monthly.
 
CPS Reports – Example of breakdown and/or categories of the CPS reports as reviewed by MCSO in February 2016:
  • MCSO reviewed 327 CPS reports
    • 42 sexual abuse
    • 73 physical abuse
    • 212 were other (non-law enforcement related)
  • 13 were assigned as a Safe Harbor Case/Forensic Interview
 
In discussion with MCSO and MCCOP3, it was learned that the typical number of cases assigned to the Safe Harbor Detective(s) is about 8 to 10 monthly. Both agencies also shared that since the inception of the new legislation, the number of assigned cases has increased approximately 3%. The MCSO shared that the Safe Harbor cases generated from the CPS reports could increase by 5 to 10% by year-end.

 Statistical Data 2015 and to-date 2016


 

 
Note – Total (All) Safe Harbor Cases – Assigned, is not an accumulative number. Some cases carry over from month to month.
 
According to both agencies, the CPS reports do require additional time for the review process (to see if said reports constitute further investigation and/or become a Safe Harbor case/Forensic Interview). The MCCOP3 is finding it difficult to pick-up this additional function with the currently assigned Safe Harbor Detective position. Both agencies indicated that they plan to request additional personnel from the Montgomery County Commissioners Court during the next budget process.

Additional materials may be provided by the Constable either prior to or at the Board of Directors meeting.
 
RECOMMENDATION:
Board to determine the course of action.

    

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