Community Violence Reduction Initiative

Current Plan and Related Documents

This details the County’s plan, including strategies and investments, for implementation of the Community Violence Reduction Initiative.

Overview: 

Working in partnership with the Allegheny County Health Department (ACHD) Office of Violence Prevention and the City of Pittsburgh, the Allegheny County Department of Human Resources (DHS) has committed at least $50 million over 5 years to implement evidence-based, comprehensive and well-coordinated public health approaches to reducing community violence.

Additional Information: 

Additional analysis and information will be added as it becomes available. Read more about the initiative and implementation plan, including the communities and strategies here.

Related Data and Analysis: 

Read the latest report and view an interactive map on Homicides in Allegheny County (including the City of Pittsburgh) here.

Examine up-to-date information on homicides in the County and homicides in the City of Pittsburgh.

Examine community violence profiles of eligible communities here.

Allegheny County Opioid Settlement Projects

Current Plan and Related Documents

Overview: 

Beginning August 31, 2022, Allegheny County received its first payment related to the settlement of litigation against manufacturers, distributors, and associated consultants for the opioid industry. Together, the litigation settlement will yield $82 million in total payouts to Allegheny County through December 2038.

Analysis: 

The report lists the summary of the planned investments. Additional analysis and information will be added as it becomes available.  

Access the report

This report was created by University of Pittsburgh and describes services offered by county Area Agency’s on Aging to help inform local strategies.

What is this report about? 

This report describes the national landscape of Area Agency on Aging (AAA) services and supports, with particular focus on the services and supports of AAAs with demographically similar catchment areas to that of Allegheny County’s AAA (housed within the county’s Department of Human Services (DHS)). DHS contracted with the University of Pittsburgh to produce this report to help inform opportunities for growth and innovation.

The Aging Landscape complements the 2022 State of Aging, Disability, and Family Caregiving in Allegheny County, a comprehensive examination of Allegheny County’s aging, disabled, and informal caregiving populations conducted by the University Center for Social & Urban Research (UCSUR), the National Rehabilitation Research & Training Center on Family Support (NCFS), and the Health Policy Institute (HPI) at the University of Pittsburgh and other local organizations.

What are the takeaways?

  • Fifty distinct services are provided by AAAs across the nation, with AAAs offering an average of 27 services.
    • The number of services provided by AAAs with demographically similar catchment areas to that of Allegheny County DHS AAA range from 10 to 30.
    • Allegheny County DHS AAA delivers a total of 18 services.
  • In addition to AAA-required services (i.e., nutrition programs; evidence-based health promotion and disease prevention programs; supportive services for caregivers; and protection of the rights of older adults), a variety of supplemental services are provided by AAAs across the nation. The 10 most common supplemental services provided by AAAs include: transportation services; case management services; benefits/health insurance counseling and enrollment assistance; homemaker services; personal care services; options counseling; assessment services; elder abuse prevention and intervention services; senior center services; and long-term care ombudsman services.
    • Senior center services, nutrition services (particularly in-home meal services), and information services constitute the preponderance of services among AAAs with demographically similar catchment areas to that of the Allegheny County DHS AAA.
  • Innovative services and supports meriting Allegheny County DHS AAA consideration include, but are not limited to: telemedicine/telehealth services; COVID-19-related services (e.g., COVID-19 testing, vaccination); missing person programs; home sharing programs; educational programs (e.g., home safety education, medication education, life-long learning opportunities); and robotic pet support.

How is this report being used?

Aging Landscape Scan findings, along with 2022 State of Aging, Disability, and Family Caregiving in Allegheny County findings, are being used to inform the Allegheny County DHS AAA’s approach to supporting the health and well-being of Allegheny County older adults.

Child Fatalities and Near-Fatalities

Current Documents

What are Child Fatalities and Near-Fatalities?

The County is required by state law to review each death or near-death of a child and use the information to improve practice and systems. The 2008 Act 33 Amendment to the Child Protective Services law requires state and local reviews of all child fatalities and near-fatalities that result from suspected child abuse.

2019-2021 Child Fatalities and Near-Fatalities Key Findings

  • In Allegheny County from 2019 through 2021 there were 58 child fatalities or near fatalities. The number of total incidents rose each of these years, with 2021 experiencing 25—the highest number since the review process was developed in 2008
  • The age distribution of the victims in these years was consistent with the average distribution across all prior years. Most victims (44%, 26) were under one year of age, followed by 9 victims (16%) at age one
  • Blunt force/penetrating trauma (36%, 21) was the leading causes of both fatal and near-fatal injuries.  There were more incidents caused by drug ingestion or poisoning in 2021 (8) than in previous years
  • Most families (58%) had prior CYF involvement and 33% had active involvement at the time of the incident
  • Parents of the children remained the vast majority (70%) of named perpetrators, as with years prior

What can the dashboard tell us?

This dashboard and series of reports describes findings and outcomes from child fatality/near-fatality (CFNF) reviews. Information about the incidents–including victim and perpetrator demographics, cause of death/injury and families’ prior involvement with the child welfare system–is available in these reports as well as case practice and system reforms enacted to reduce the likelihood of future child abuse-related incidents.

Trouble viewing the dashboard below? You can view it directly here.

How is this information being used?

In addition to the state required reporting of child fatalities and near-fatalities, DHS has used the information to make recommendations to prevent these tragedies in the future. These recommendations include:

  • Improved collaboration with medical physicians
  • Upstream prevention and intervention services
  • Integration of the child welfare system and the substance use treatment system
  • Community and firearm violence reduction
  • Applying safety science to child protection

In depth explanations of these recommendations can be found in the “current documents” section above.


Previous reports

Allegheny County Discounted Fares Pilot Program

Current Plan and Related Documents

Overview: 

This pilot will examine how lowering the cost of public transportation affects individuals’ travel patterns, employment and earnings, healthcare utilization, and other socioeconomic outcomes. We will provide discounted public transportation fares to a sample of households in Allegheny County who are currently receiving or have recently received Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits.

Analysis: 

Researchers will evaluate the effects of the reduced fares using the data collected over the duration of the pilot. The random assignment study design will enable the researchers to estimate the causal effects of the reduced fares by comparing participants’ outcomes between the three discount levels. 

ACDHS and associated stakeholders will receive periodic reports detailing the research findings, and a final report will be made publicly available. 

Older Youth Pandemic Relief

What is this report about ?

From June to October of 2021, Allegheny County Department of Human Services (DHS) provided a cash assistance program for transition-aged youth called Older Youth Pandemic Relief (OYPR). This report describes the methodology and results of a series of surveys that evaluated the impact of the cash assistance program.

What are the takeaways?

  • 76% (n = 1,901) of the people who were eligible to receive the Older Youth Pandemic Relief (OYPR) payment applied for and received the money.
  • The money went to young adults with a high level of need. 85% of recipients were enrolled in Medicaid, and 49% received Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits.
  • Young adults planned to spend the money on meeting basic needs; top categories were bills, housing, car, food and clothing.
  • The program re-engaged young adults with services. 587 of the people who applied for (and received) the OYPR payment qualified for other services available to transition-aged youth but were not using them.
  • By filling out the OYPR application, they provided updated contact information and information about the types of assistance they need.
  • The percentage of recipients who reported having enough money to meet their basic needs increased from 25% at baseline to 34% after receiving the money. This increase was larger for Black and female demographic groups, which reported lower ability to meet their basic needs at baseline.

How is this report being used?

Findings from this program and report are being used internally at DHS to advocate for new income assistance programs. These include both direct cash cash transfers and other forms of income support, such as subsidized transit.

Each year, Allegheny County participates in a federally required national effort to count the number of people experiencing homelessness on a single night in January. Allegheny County also performs a supplemental count in the summer. The Point-in-Time (PIT) homeless count enumerates the sheltered (residing in emergency homeless shelters or transitional housing programs) and unsheltered (residing in places not meant for human habitation) homeless population within the County.

What are the key takeaways from the 2022 count?

  • The total count was higher in the winter of 2022 by 188 individuals. In January of 2021, 692 individuals were experiencing homelessness, compared to 880 in 2022.
  • The number of households with children increased by 12 from 2021 to 2022; adult-only households increased by 124.
  • The increases in 2022 may be partially attributed to significantly warmer weather in 2022, more shelter beds available in 2022, and a well-organized count.

How are these reports used?

Allegheny County will continue to conduct PIT counts, working to improve the accuracy of the count. And in particular, the count of people in unsheltered locations by assessing and expanding the locations that street outreach teams visit.

The data collected during the yearly PIT is submitted to HUD, to create a yearly homelessness assessment report presented to congress. For more information, visit the HUD website on the Point-in-Time Count, linked here.

Allegheny County uses the yearly data to understand the shelter conditions of the homeless population more holistically, and make recommendations around allocation of homeless and housing services.

What are these reports about?

Nationally and locally, policymakers and practitioners are interested in the people who frequently use publicly funded services, particularly crisis services. Most people who use crisis services do so infrequently during a year. A small number of people, however, use crisis services frequently, and sometimes they use more than one type of crisis service.

Allegheny County’s rich integrated data allows us to look at the people who use crisis services. This report summarizes key findings about the people who were involved with one or more of the following four crisis services in the years 2016 through 2017: hospital emergency departments, emergency homeless shelters, mental health crisis programs, and the criminal justice system. This summary report will be followed up by reports examining each of these four service areas in more detail.

What are the takeaways?

  • Of the people who used at least one of the four crisis services examined, 6% (10,655) met the definition of frequent users in at least one system. They accounted for 26% of all service episodes during this period.
  • There is little overlap between frequent utilizers of one type of crisis service and another. Just 9% of users were frequent in multiple systems. This does not mean they didn’t use other services, just that they were not frequent users of those systems.
  • Nonetheless, 26% of frequent users of mental health crisis services were also frequent users of hospital emergency departments, indicating that the emergency room might be a point of intervention for people in mental health crisis.
  • All frequent users of emergency shelter were connected to other human services prior to their first shelter stay during this period. This overlap suggests that although frequent utilizers of emergency shelters were connected to supports, the reasons behind people’s continued use of shelter were not adequately addressed through the services they were receiving.

Black residents are using crisis services at disproportionately high rates, and the disproportionality is more pronounced when looking at frequent utilizers. While 13% of the Allegheny County population is Black, 42% of people who used crisis systems (both frequent and non-frequent) were Black, and 49% of frequent utilizers were Black.

How is this report used?

This work is meant to be exploratory and descriptive in nature to help continue and expand the conversation about how we look at frequent utilizers and potential interventions going forward. By looking more closely at this population of frequent utilizers, we hope to gain insight into their needs, identify key intervention points, and find ways to encourage long-term wellness while reducing the need for repeat intense service usage.

Where can I go for more information?

For questions or suggestions, please reach out to DHS-Research@alleghenycounty.us

From June 2018 to December 2020, the Urban Institute conducted a systemwide assessment of the system response in Allegheny County, PA to intimate partner violence (IPV) to better understand the system as a whole and operations of some key agencies

What is this report about ?

Urban Institute presents the findings from their systemwide assessment. The goals of this assessment were to 1) examine how IPV cases enter the justice and child welfare systems in Allegheny county, 2) analyze agencies’ processes for responding to IPV and 3) recommend ways the county can improve responses to IPV.

What are the recommendations?

  • Have county leaders prioritize IPV
  • Shift the focus from case outcomes to people’s experiences, especially during early encounters with formal services.
  • Reinstate and sustain IPV-focused fatality reviews and ensure they embrace a non-blaming culture.
  • Establish a specialized IPV unit in the Allegheny County Public Defender office
  • Differentiate IPV from DV throughout all systems.
  • Record survivor information consistently and securely share it when possible.
  • Prioritize and improve referrals to batterers’ intervention programs
  • Create a mechanism to consistently track aggressors’ and survivors’ experiences at system entry points.

 

How is this report being used?

The county executive and Mayor of the City of Pittsburgh created an IPV Reform Leadership task force in May 2022 to actively work on addressing these recommendations and improving the system.

The National Center for Education Evaluation and Regional Assistance at the Institute of Education Sciences (US Department of Education) examined data from Allegheny County students to better understand predictors of near-term academic risks. The goal of this research to provide information for administrators, researchers, and student support staff in local education agencies who are interested in identifying students who are likely to have near-term academic problems such as absenteeism, suspensions, poor grades, and low performance on state tests.

What is this report about? 

The report describes an approach for developing a predictive model and assesses how well the model identifies at-risk students using data from two local education agencies in Allegheny County, Pennsylvania: a large local education agency and a smaller charter school network. It also examines which types of predictors— in-school variables (performance, behavior, and consequences) and out-of-school variables (human services involvement and public benefit receipt)—are individually related to each type of near-term academic problem to better understand why the model might flag students as at risk and how best to support these students.

What are the takeaways?

The study finds that predictive models using machine learning algorithms identify at-risk students with moderate to high accuracy. In-school variables drawing on school data are the strongest predictors across all outcomes, and predictive performance is not reduced much when out-of-school variables drawing on human services data are excluded and only school data are used. However, some out-of-school events and services—including child welfare involvement, emergency homeless services, and juvenile justice system involvement —are individually related to near-term academic problems. The models are more accurate for the large local education agency than for the smaller charter school network. The models are better at predicting low grade point average, course failure, and scores below the basic level on state tests in grades 3–8 than at predicting chronic absenteeism, suspensions, and scores below the basic level on high school end-of-course standardized tests. The findings suggest that many local education agencies could apply machine learning algorithms to existing school data to identify students who are at risk of near-term academic problems that are known to be precursors to school dropout.