Statement from CEO Lynn Dolce Regarding Edgewood’s Crisis Stabilization Unit
As reported in local news outlets, The Honorable London Breed, Mayor of San Francisco, and Supervisor Gordon Mar have introduced City and County grant funding legislation to provide $350,000 in 90-day gap financing to ensure that Edgewood is able to reopen its Crisis Stabilization Unit (CSU) services.
If approved by the full Board of Supervisors, the financing will help ensure we can continue to provide critically needed community services while completing a corrective action plan with the San Francisco City and County to address client safety issues that came to light last year.
Edgewood is not closing. Despite media reports, while these issues affect an important part of our work (Acute Intensive Services), and they do impact our bottom line, we have no plans to close or to step back from our commitment to providing critical behavioral health and family support services to those who need it most in the Bay Area.
Since 2015 the CSU has provided 24/7 support for over 2,000 youth aged 6-17 experiencing a psychiatric emergency, including youth facing suicidal thoughts or attempts, severe anxiety, depression and PTSD. Since its opening, the CSU has successfully diverted 88% of youth from inpatient psychiatric hospitalization and served as the City and County’s first line of defense for vulnerable youths in crisis.
It is crucial to understand how we got here and what we are doing about it:
- On August 16, 2019, The San Francisco Human Services Agency and the San Francisco Department of Public Health removed clients from Edgewood’s care and froze all new client referrals to Edgewood.
- On January 6, 2020, the San Francisco Department of Public Health defunded Edgewood’s Crisis Stabilization Unit. As a result of the San Francisco Department of Public Health defunding the Crisis Stabilization Unit, since February 14 services have been temporarily suspended.
- The San Francisco City and County’s measures have resulted in deep operating deficits in Edgewood’s Acute Intensive Services Programs, which include the CSU. Our community based services have not been affected by the referral freeze.
- The referral freeze was originally made in response to two former Edgewood employees who were charged with allegations of sexual abuse and inappropriate touching of two clients in two different incidents in 2019.
- These employees cleared rigorous background checks and were approved by the state to work at Edgewood. In response to each allegation, I immediately fired both employees. Neither of these incidents occurred in the Crisis Stabilization Unit, and no such allegations have been made regarding the safety of any CSU client.
- After these incidents occurred, we immediately set to work to fully understand the conditions at Edgewood that lead to safety breaches on behalf of the children we serve in residential treatment.
- We have been working closely with an independent third party consulting team and with the SF Department of Public Health on corrective actions so that we continue to meet our high standards of care. Edgewood has since spent the last seven months addressing these issues and has submitted 400-pages of documentation pertaining to corrective action the San Francisco City and County.
- In December 2019, the California Community Care Licensing Board which is responsible for ensuring that the quality of our services meet their stringent standards for client safety and care closed all complaints against Edgewood and approved the permanent license for our short term youth residential program. We continue to serve SFUSD clients in our Edgewood Community School and receive referrals to our residential services from Kaiser Permanente and other private insurers.
- Despite corrective actions and licensing approvals, Edgewood’s corrective action plan has not been approved by the Department of Public Health and the Human Services Agency. As a result, Edgewood is experiencing significant cash flow challenges due to the lack of referrals and funds from the San Francisco City and County. Edgewood needs to remain financially solvent to be able to complete the Corrective Action Plan process. The $350,000 City and County grant will help us do that while we actively complete the plan and pursue all available support from public and private sources.
- We are greatly appreciative of Supervisor Gordon Mar; The Honorable London Breed, Mayor of San Francisco; Teamsters Local 856; San Francisco Labor Council and the more than 40+ impassioned community advocates – including parents who said the CSU saved their children’s lives — who all spoke on our behalf at the February 20, 2020, meeting of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors Government Audit and Oversight Committee, which moved without objection to send the financing measure to the full board on Tuesday, February 25, 2020, where it was approved by a unanimous vote.
The larger task we now face is providing sustainable and diverse support of the $1.8 million Edgewood needs annually to operate the CSU. This type of public and private support is essential for the CSU to continue to deliver its vital services, and I encourage you to take action to help.
You can help us do this by:
- Writing a letter to the editor of the SF Chronicle or Examiner in response to the recent coverage on the importance of Edgewood continuing to provide its Crisis Stabilization Unit and for it to be fully funded. You can find a suggested template here.
- Making a financial contribution to Edgewood that will allow us to continue our CSU services and other vital programs serving vulnerable children and families. Click here to make a contribution.
You can find a fact sheet on the accomplishments of the Crisis Stabilization Unit here.
Thank you for being a champion for Edgewood, for helping us care for our community’s most vulnerable youth and families, and for helping us set the record straight. We cannot do it without you!