San Jose Mercury News (CA)-October !" #$$%
Aut&or'(y)*ne+ ,aren -e Sa
Mercury News
E-*t*on+ .a))ey F*na)
Sect*on+ /oca)
0a1e+ (
A rout*ne *n2u*ry be1un a year a1o at a yout& s&e)ter run by Santa C)ara County3s 4ost
5ro4*nent &o4e)ess-ser6*ces a1ency &as now 5ro1resse- *nto an *n6est*1at*on o7 5oss*b)e
Concerns 7*rst arose *n October #$$!" w&en a 7e-era) o77*c*a) 4on*tor*n1 4*))*ons o7 -o))ars *n
1o6ern4ent s5en-*n1 on s&e)ters 7or runaway yout&s 5a*- a 6*s*t to EHC /*7e(u*)-ers *n
-owntown San Jose8 A)ar4e- t&at c&*)-ren an- teens 7)ee*n1 t&e streets were be*n1 care- 7or *n
an un)*cense- 7ac*)*ty" s&e a)erte- t&e state3s co44un*ty care -*6*s*on" an- t&e s&e)ter 9nown as
Our House was 7orce- to s&ut *ts -oors t&e ne:t -ay8
Now t&e a1ency *s rece*6*n1 4ore une:5ecte- 7e-era) scrut*ny -- t&*s t*4e" 7ro4 t&e ;8S8
De5art4ent o7 Hea)t& an- Hu4an Ser6*ces3 O77*ce o7 t&e Ins5ector Genera)" w&*c& *s
res5ons*b)e 7or -*11*n1 out 7rau-" waste an- abuse o7 5ub)*c 7un-s8 T&e new *n6est*1at*on
co4es as EHC &as aban-one- )on1-&e)- 5)ans to reo5en t&e <-year-o)- s&e)ter= t&e 1rou5
announce- )ast wee9 t&at *t *s s&*7t*n1 *ts yout& s&e)ter 5ro1ra4 to ser6e youn1 a-u)ts" 7or w&o4
)*cens*n1 *s not re2u*re-8
T&e O77*ce o7 t&e Ins5ector Genera) -oes not co44ent on o5en *n6est*1at*ons" an- EHC
4ana1ers -own5)aye- )ast wee93s sur5r*se 6*s*t" say*n1 t&ey -on3t be)*e6e t&e *nter6*ews a4ount
to an *n6est*1at*on8

>et S5ar9y Har)an" -*rector o7 t&e (*)) ?*)son Center -- w&*c& now runs t&e county3s on)y
)*cense- runaway yout& s&e)ter -- was a4on1 t&ose 2uest*one- )ast wee9 by t&e *ns5ector
1enera)3s o77*ce an- sa*- t&e *ns5ector was @res5on-*n1 to a co45)a*nt o7 5oss*b)e 7rau- at
anot&er a1ency8@ (ecause o7 con7*-ent*a)*ty re2u*re4ents" Har)an -*- not -*sc)ose t&e na4e o7
t&at a1ency" but ot&ers 7a4*)*ar w*t& t&e *n6est*1at*on &a6e con7*r4e- EHC *s t&e 7ocus an- t&at
t&e 2uest*ons center on 7rau-8
T&e a))e1at*ons a55ear to *nc)u-e w&et&er EHC tr*e- to 5ass o77 5&ony )*cens*n1 -ocu4ents
7or t&e s&e)ter" an- w&et&er t&e un)*cense- 7ac*)*ty was e6en e)*1*b)e 7or t&e -eca-e-5)us o7
7e-era) 7un-*n1 *t &a- 5re6*ous)y rece*6e-8
?&en Hea)t& an- Hu4an Ser6*ces 5ro1ra4 o77*cer E6e)ynn (rown )ast October as9e- EHC
7or 5roo7 o7 a )*cense at t&e s&e)ter" s&e *nstea- rece*6e- a AAB wa*6er w*t& a -*77erent a--ress
on *t -- 7or a bu*)-*n1 t&at &a- been -e4o)*s&e-8 (rown a)so re5orte- 7*n-*n1 c&*)-ren" *nc)u-*n1 a
5re1nant teen an- a boy w&o &a- s5ent 4ont&s at t&e te45orary s&e)ter" 4*:*n1 a4on1
&o4e)ess a-u)ts8 An- because t&e 7ac*)*ty was un)*cense-" e45)oyees were un)aw7u))y
-*s5ens*n1 4e-*cat*on an- 5ro6*-*n1 counse)*n18
What's more, although federal grantees are required to screen staff through
fingerprinting and background checks, Brown said those safety measures were lacking.
EHC o77*c*a)s sa*- t&*s wee9 t&at t&ey &a6e a)ways 7*n1er5r*nte- t&e*r e45)oyees but t&at
t&e*r 5ersonne) 7*)es were or1an*Ce- *ncorrect)y unt*) t&*s year an- t&ey were unab)e to 5ro6*-e
-ocu4entat*on o7 t&e 7*n1er5r*nt*n1= t&ey t&ou1&t t&e )*cense-e:e45t -ocu4ent t&ey 5ro-uce-
a55)*e- to -*77erent )ocat*ons= an- a)t&ou1& t&ey were 4*:*n1 c&*)-ren an- a-u)ts *n a -ro5-*n
center" t&ey -*- not &ouse t&e4 to1et&er *n t&e s&e)ter8
;n-er *ts c&ar*s4at*c 7oun-er" (arry De) (uono" t&e non-5ro7*t EHC &as 1rown t&rou1&
1o6ern4ent 1rants an- 5r*6ate -onat*ons *nto an or1an*Cat*on w*t& a D$ 4*))*on o5erat*n1
bu-1et t&at ser6es 4ore t&an $"$$$ 4en" wo4en an- c&*)-ren eac& year t&rou1& a 6ar*ety o7
O6er t&e 5ast year" &owe6er" EHC &as been *n tu4u)t" *nc)u-*n1 t&e res*1nat*on o7 De)
(uono an- w*-es5rea- )ayo77s a7ter t&e re6e)at*on o7 7un-*n1 an- 4ana1e4ent *rre1u)ar*t*es8
EHC3s own au-*tors re6ea)e- @s*1n*7*cant -e7*c*enc*es@ a77ect*n1 t&e a1ency3s ab*)*ty to
a-4*n*ster 7e-era) 5ro1ra4s" an- t&e De5art4ent o7 Hous*n1 an- ;rban De6e)o54ent *s
current)y con-uct*n1 a re6*ew o7 D! 4*))*on *n s5en-*n18
/ast wee9" as news o7 t&e )atest *n2u*ry sur7ace-" EHC announce- *ts -ec*s*on not to
reo5en t&e runaway s&e)ter" w&*c& st*)) &a- not 4et state )*cens*n1 re2u*re4ents t&at ensure
sa7e con-*t*ons at a new )ocat*on on Sout& T&*r- Street8 A1ency 4ana1ers -escr*be- t&e s&*7t *n
5)ans as an e77ort to ser6e anot&er o6er)oo9e- 5o5u)at*on -- youn1 5eo5)e a1es % to # w&o
are barre- 7ro4 yout& s&e)ters but 7ee) out o7 5)ace 4*n1)*n1 w*t& &o4e)ess a-u)ts8 (e1*nn*n1
t&*s 4ont&" t&ese @trans*t*on-a1e yout&@ are be*n1 &ouse- 7or as 4any as A$ -ays *n EHC3s new"
4u)t*use Sobrato House not 7ar 7ro4 t&e 7or4er Our House s*te8
T&e new s&e)ter 7*))s a w*-e)y ac9now)e-1e- 1a5 *n care 7or troub)e- youn1 a-u)ts" 4any o7
w&o4 &a6e )e7t t&e 7oster care syste4 -est*tute= t&ere are on)y 7our suc& s&e)ters *n t&e state8
@T&ese are t&e yout& w&o t&e syste4 &as a)rea-y 7a*)e-"@ sa*- EHC 5ro1ra4 4ana1er H*)ary
(arro1a8 @?e can3t cont*nue to 7a*) t&e4 any4ore8@
(ut t&e ce)ebrat*on *s co)ore- by uncerta*nty surroun-*n1 t&e unusua) 6*s*t 7ro4 t&e
Ins5ector Genera)3s o77*ce8
@T&ey were as9*n1 about ser6*ces to yout&"@ (arro1a sa*-" sto55*n1 s&ort o7 c&aracter*C*n1
t&e 6*s*t an *n6est*1at*on8 @T&ere3s no reason we wou)- be un-er *n6est*1at*on w*t& t&e Ins5ector
(arro1a sa*- EHC &as rece*6e- a55ro:*4ate)y D#$$"$$$ *n 7e-era) 7un-s eac& year s*nce
AA to run *ts -ro5-*n center an- s&e)ter 7or &o4e)ess yout&s8 (ut *n recent wee9s" t&e a1ency
w*t&-rew *ts 5en-*n1 a55)*cat*on 7or a--*t*ona) 7un-s 5ro6*-e- t&rou1& t&e 7e-era) Eunaway an-
Ho4e)ess >out& Act8
Obser6ers 7a4*)*ar w*t& )oca) &o4e)ess 5ro1ra4s say t&e w*t&-rawa) 4ay re7)ect t&e
a1ency3s ner6ousness about cont*nu*n1 to acce5t 7e-era) 7un-s 7or a s&e)ter t&at &a- not
reo5ene- 7or 4ore t&an a year8
(rown" t&e 5ro1ra4 o77*cer w*t& t&e ;8S8 De5art4ent o7 Hea)t& an- Hu4an Ser6*ces" was
t&e 7*rst to 7or4a))y )o-1e concerns about EHC3s yout& s&e)ter8 EHC was 7ar 7ro4 t&e on)y
a1ency (rown 7oun- 5rob)e4s w*t& w&en s&e arr*6e- *n Ca)*7orn*a )ast year= s&e re5orte-
6*o)at*ons at as 4any as a -oCen a1enc*es 7ro4 Santa CruC to Sout&ern Ca)*7orn*a" *nc)u-*n1
e45)oyees &ous*n1 yout&s at t&e*r &o4es an- 7un-s be*n1 use- to run 5&anto4 s&e)ters8
A7ter so4e 1rantees" *nc)u-*n1 EHC" co45)a*ne- t&at s&e was o6er)y a11ress*6e an-
-*77*cu)t to wor9 w*t&" (rown was recent)y 5)ace- on a-4*n*strat*6e )ea6e8 (ut &er 7or4er boss
5ra*ses &er a55roac& as Fust w&at3s nee-e- to 5rotect 6u)nerab)e c&*)-ren8
"Everything she found was proven to be true, and nothing has been trivial," said
aren !orison, a former associate commissioner for the federal "amily and #outh
$ervices Bureau.
Santa C)ara County Su5er6*sor /*C ,n*ss sa*- s&e was unaware o7 t&e *n6est*1at*on
)aunc&e- by (rown but note- &er own on1o*n1 concerns about EHC8 ,n*ss absta*ne- 7ro4 an
Au1ust su5er6*sors3 6ote to 1*6e t&e a1ency 4ore t&an D 4*))*on 7or a no-b*- contract" c*t*n1 *ts
&*story o7 5oor 7*sca) contro)8
@I 7re2uent)y 7e)t we weren3t 1ett*n1 1oo- *n7or4at*on 7ro4 t&e4"@ ,n*ss sa*-" @an- t&at t&e
7*nanc*a) s*tuat*on was ob7uscate-8@
Contact ,aren -e SG at 9-esaH4ercurynews8co4 or (<$%) A#$-I!%8

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