Ketchikan’s Women in Safe Homes is no longer on probation. WISH was put on probation in the fall of 2015 after a site visit by State Council on Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault officials found the emergency shelter out of compliance on several regulations.
CDVSA’s report noted procedural issues, a violation of record-keeping regulations, and a lack of training for board and staff.
Don Moss is the WISH board president. He says the organization still received state funding during the probation period, though additional reporting was required.
“We had to apply at the end of each month for monies in order to continue our operation. They increased the reporting requirement, and they required a considerable number of changes in our shelter operation and so on.”
Moss says service to clients never was disrupted.
At the end of July, WISH hired consultant Jayne Andreen to work with the board in developing a transition program. Katie TePas was hired as the interim executive director. Moss says with their direction, considerable improvements were made in the operation of the shelter.
“Katie TePas was instrumental in that. She also has done a great deal in order to help develop cohesive staff and give them additional training, as well as additional responsibility. She and the board together have developed new policies and procedures, and new protocols, as they were needed. Updated old ones.”
Jaimie Palmer is board secretary. She says the probation was actually positive for the organization. She says it allowed the board to look at the entire program, and change things that may have made sense 20 years ago, but did not make sense anymore.
“We’re taking great strides to make sure the staff is well supported and is getting the training that they so well deserve. We have some staff that’s been working with the agency for many moons that have just gone to their first big training in Anchorage. So at this point I think it’s important for the community to know that. We really are taking it as a positive thing. We’re released from probation, so that’s great, and we’re trying to rally the community to come back to WISH, support us, come join the cause, and recommit to the program.”
Though WISH is off probation, Moss says CDVSA continues to require more frequent reporting on operations and finances. He says the board is in the process of hiring a permanent executive director, and they’re still accepting applications.