City Desk

Why Is Families Forward Still Running D.C. General?

dcgeneralThe entity that manages the shelter at D.C. General is called Families Forward, Inc. The organization, based at 1012 14th St. NW Suite 105, boasts that it operates a full-service facility manned round-the-clock by staff. In other words, it runs the Mandarin Oriental of homeless shelters:

"Families receive 24-hour services, which include shelter, meals, case management, outplacement services and aftercare services....The Family Development Advocate tracks program graduates for a period of 90 days up to one year. Contact is made with graduates, employers and outplacement service providers no less than once each month to identify issues that might otherwise cause loss of employment or the reoccurrence of displacement. The program complements this one on one support with regular workshops, which graduates attend to attain added preparation and support."

Shelter residents have a different take.

In the past week, City Desk has reported several items on D.C. General: overcrowded conditions, indifferent case workers, the death of a newborn, and staff soliticing sex from female residents in return for blankets and juice.

Problems with Families Forward, Inc. should not be new to city officials. In its report on the Banita Jacks case, the Inspector General flagged the group and the facility for poor management in dealing with that troubled family.

From December 2005 to April 2006, the Jacks family stayed at D.C. General under the watch of Families Forward. Among the key findings, the IG noted that the Jacks children were never interviewed "nor were their needs ever assessed." In what should be all too familiar to current shelter residents, the IG also reported the Jacks family did not see a case worker for nearly a month after first moving in.

It took the Families Forward staff nearly a month to have Banita Jacks fill out the basic intake forms. Even after their first meeting with a case worker, the IG noted that the worker completed only the first two pages of a nine page assessment form. Among the topics left blank: "Medical History," "Psychosocial/Family" history, and the case worker's own "subjective observations."

The IG also reported: "Based on interviews with the team and a review of the family's shelter case file, there is no indication that Families Forward made any referrals related to the physical or mental health needs of any family member."

The IG found that Families Forward "failed to conduct a thorough needs assessment." The IG wrote in its final report:

"A thorough assessment of [the parents] could have provided valuable insight into the family's needs and past challenges they faced, and that could have resulted in their being referred for further evaluation, treatment, or services."

The IG recommended:

*The D.C. Department of Human Services should consider proposing to the mayor a strategy for providing physical, mental health, and developmental screenings to all homeless children.

*The Community Partnership for the Prevention of Homelessness as well as Families Forward should "review and amend in writing where necessary, the Hypothermia Shelter's intake, needs assessment, and case management processes to ensure that they are consistent not only with Families Forward's contractual obligations to the District, but also the intent...of the District's Homeless Services Reform Act."

Families Forward failed to return calls seeking comment. One worker who answered the phone  replied that he was too busy helping families to answer our questions.

In an interview late this afternoon, Councilmember Tommy Wells, who chairs the Committee on Human Services, says that the conditions at D.C. General are "awful."

Wells says that he plans on holding an oversight hearing on the D.C. General mess. "To any degree that staff added to[residents'] misery, they need to not just be fired but prosecuted for anything they've done wrong."

Wells continues: "If Families Forward is not capable of running a humane shelter then we are going to have to deal with that."

Wells says that, at a minimum, the shelter should be a humane living space.

Does Families Forward meet that definition?

"That's what the oversight hearing is for," Wells says.

*photo courtesy of DC Watch.

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  • Rick Mangus

    Sounds like another crooked orgainization like ACORN!

  • tired

    Hey Rick learn how to spell organization and then speak. Acorn was found to be inocent but you wouldn't know it because you won't read. Take your republican talking points and shove it.

  • Rick Mangus

    'tired', ACORN still has legal action pending in several states, maybe you should read, DUMB ASS!

  • DC Hoodrat


    What exactly are you tired of?

  • tired

    idiots like you.

  • tired

    See that goes to show Rick you are an idiot. check out bradblog

  • tired

    Oh by the way dumb ass is your middle name. Take your Republican talking points and shove it.

  • Typical DC BS

    Oh yeah, bradblog is such a respected source of facts.

    And by the way @tired, try spell check yourself. It helps make your point when you don't misspell words when you piss and moan about Rick's error (i.e. you don't know how to spell innocent).

  • Ward 6 Voter

    So Tommy Wells is going to have an oversight hearing. Big deal.

    Wells and his inept staff are a major part of the problem. Wells will have a hearing, listen to and agree with the director of Human Services, say that we must do better and adjourn the hearing. Wells will then be off to have a drink and burger at one of his Capitol Hill haunts like Tuna Cliffs.

    And the next time the City Paper contacts him about one of his oversight responsibilities, Wells will say he didn't know about the problem and that we must do better.

    DC needs to do better and send Wells and his staff to the unemployment line. (But at least Wells gave DC the $.05 bag tax!!!)

  • Rick Mangus

    You know this why I hate politicians, let's hold hearings, let's start a commission, let's put together a blue ribbon panel, just get off you're ass and go see for yourself and correct the problem. Stop GRAND STANDING for the media for Christ sake!

  • DC Hoodrat


    You know that's what politicians do... blameshift and NOTHING. Wells is a social worker... his punk ass should be ashamed.

  • tired

    Hey typical DC BS obviously you have issues, errors are made everyday and you are one. You are a sorry ass Republican who only shall I use your words piss and moan because you lost the election get use to it. You have a problem with Bradblog because they go after the truth you are in denial. Fox News , Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck are your news outlet.

  • Rick Mangus

    'tired', sticks and stones, sticks and stones!

  • DC Hoodrat


    You're doing a piss poor job at managing web traffic for some lunatic fringe blog. I am as liberal as they come, but I AM ALSO A REALIST.

  • Pingback: D.C. General Shelter Management Fired Staff For Inappropriate Contact With Female Residents - City Desk - Washington City Paper

  • Wendy Glenn

    Families Forward CEO Ruby King-Gregory responded with her own letter to Fenty today. In the letter, she admits:

    "Perhaps most sickening, it is true that there have been alleged inappropriate contact between staff and the female residents. However, know that when Families Forward was made aware of this concern, an investigation was conducted and the staff persons in question were swiftly terminated."

    King-Gregory also affirms that "some of the concerns" raised by Hawk are indeed true. She does not address the newborn that died at the shelter on Feb. 9.

  • Rick Mangus

    Where were all you so-called people of conscious when the liberal DEMOCRATS in this city forced a BAG TAX on the poor, even at five cents per bag it adds up!

    Where were all you so-called people of conscious when the liberal DEMOCRATS in this city cut funding for AIDS programs, like ADAP!

    Where were all you so-called people of conscious when liberal DEMOCRATS in this city seem to allow tax payer money to be given out by crooked council members to crooked and non existing charities!

    I never liked George W. Bush so don't even go there. Right now I trust the word of a whore before I trust ANY POLITICAN! The only difference is a whore performs a service for you're money!

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