Felton’s Justice Services were developed with the intention of expanding Felton’s mission of transforming the lives of many of our most vulnerable community members. The scope of the programs continues to expand and evolve, having grown from one program in San Francisco County to multiple programs throughout Northern California.

Felton’s Early Crisis Intervention and Eviction Assistance Program (EAP)

Felton’s Early Crisis Intervention and Eviction Assistance Program (EAP) was created in 1998 and has helped thousands avoid homelessness and stabilize their living situations. Working in collaborative cooperation with the sheriff’s department, EAP provides early crisis intervention and homelessness prevention.

Victoria Gray is the program case manager who pours her heart into her job, working tirelessly to help people in need keep a roof overhead. In the wake of COVID-19, San Francisco Mayor London Breed issued an executive order declaring a moratorium on evictions and imposed new rules to protect those impacted by COVID-19 that is in effect until June 30, 2020. During times of crisis, the demand on Felton’s EAP services increases greatly. The program rescues those who have been pushed to the brink of homelessness by unforeseen hardships and limited resources, due to loss of employment, medical emergencies and other personal misfortune. After receiving counseling and/or one-time financial assistance from EAP, many go on to remedy their situation and find themselves in a more stable situation. Clients have shared that, in many cases, it was just the need to overcome that one mountain that provided enough hope and determination to continue forward movement.

As a result, hope becomes a byproduct of the service that helps empower those in need to push past such an unexpected life scenario.

In 2017, The Chronicle’s Season of Sharing Fund honored Victoria Gray and Felton Institute for many years of service and dedication.

Victoria Gray, Miguel Mercado

Felton’s Young Adult Court (YAC) Program

In 2005, the Back on Track program was launched by Kamala Harris during her tenure as District Attorney of San Francisco with a goal of helping youth avoid the penal system by providing case management. It was a prosecutor-led diversion model focused on preventing recidivism among non-violent first-time offenders. The program required a minimum 12-month commitment that provided therapy and goal training in the areas of career, parenting, health and community. ( keep in same paragraph)Back on Track evolved into Young Adult Court (YAC) in 2017, with a new focus on serving young adults ages 18-25 with a variety of misdemeanor and felony offenses who can benefit from an alternative to the typical court process. As with Back on Track, YAC is a collaborative venture of the San Francisco District Attorney’s office, SF Office of the Public Defender, SF Superior Court, Goodwill and Felton Institute. All partners work together to support participants towards the best possible legal and life outcomes. Over 110 young adults have successfully graduated from Young Adult Court (YAC), many of them leaving the system with an expunged record, clear of charges. This opportunity can change the trajectory of a young person’s life. Since COVID-19, YAC has conducted conferences and meetings online to continue providing critical services.

Felton Institute, Young Adult Court YAC, Graduation, YAC Program Manager Celina Hennessey

Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion (LEAD) Program

The LEAD program is an important addition to our justice programming, allowing Felton to be part of a pre-booking diversion intervention, designed to prevent individuals from receiving a new charge on their record. Through LEAD, we have expanded beyond Transitional Age Youth to supporting adults of all ages who are justice impacted, but who are also likely to be experiencing several other challenges, including behavioral health, substance use and broad social service needs. Here’s more information about how LEAD works.

Felton’s Felton Engagement Specialist Team (FEST) Program

FEST is comprised of Felton Engagement Specialist Team (FEST) members who are skilled case managers working in collaboration with the San Francisco Departments of Public Health, Public Works, Homelessness and Supportive Housing, and the San Francisco Police Department. Learning with Leaders brings together board members, guests, and staff in an intimate setting to learn more about Felton’s programs. Dr. Robin Ortiz, Director of Business Development and Justice Services and Curtis Penn, Program Director for FEST and Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion (LEAD) explains how FEST is providing critical services for those who are insecurely housed or homeless.

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Felton’s new Center of Reentry Excellence (CORE) Program

Felton’s newest justice service program is in Alameda County and is known as CORE, Center of Reentry Excellence. It provides a one-stop hub of reentry services working with the Alameda County Probation Department to serve all justice-impacted individuals in Alameda County. It puts Felton front and center with residents returning to their community from jail or state prison. These individuals are among the highly vulnerable in our community. The traumatic impacts of incarceration are undeniable, and many returning residents come home not only with the challenges they experienced prior to incarceration, but with an additional layer of trauma from incarceration itself.

CORE Logo, Center of Reentry Excellence, Alameda Country Probation Department

Within the first six weeks of the program, Felton received over 100 referrals and in accordance with COVID-19 practices served 98% via telehealth. Felton’s Director of Business Development and Justice Services, Dr. Robin Ortiz notes that this provides “an opportunity to support the vision of Chief Wendy Still. Felton will implement the team case management approach we have used so successfully in LEAD to ensure that each client who comes to CORE has at least three team members who can support them. In this way, we support great connectedness, higher levels of engagement, and a dynamic service process.“

Concluding Statement from Dr. Ortiz

Dr. Ortiz adds, “We believe that Felton has a unique role to play in this area of service provision. From hiring staff who have been formerly incarcerated because they bring a unique perspective to the work, to creating specialized behavioral health and substance use programming designed for the needs of reentering residents, the Felton justice services team supports residents in transforming their lives.


“Today we provide services to consumers across the age spectrum, including transitional age youth [TAY] (ages 18-24) and adults/older adults (ages 25-50+). Our justice programs provide case management/referral brokerage, crisis intervention, life skills development, substance use interventions, and workforce development supports to justice-impacted residents with a variety of social service and behavioral health needs.”


Complete list of Felton Insitute’s
Justice Services Programs:

San Francisco

Alameda County

  • Center of Reentry Excellence (CORE) – a one-stop hub of reentry services for all justice-impacted individuals in Alameda County.
  • Reentry Case Management – Serving returning residents of South, East and Central Alameda County who are experiencing mild to moderate behavioral health challenges.
  • Reentry Case Management – Serving returning residents across all of Alameda County who are experiencing severe and persistent behavioral health challenges.

About Felton Institute: Founded in 1889, Felton Institute responds to human needs by providing cutting edge, evidence-based mental health and social services that transform lives. Felton Institute is a tax-exempt organization registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit under EIN 94-1156530.

Offering more than 60 acclaimed and honored programs that address homelessness, mental health, prenatal, adolescent, adult and senior needs, Felton Institute provides services in San Francisco, Alameda, San Mateo, Marin, and Monterey counties.

Felton is named for its social services pioneer and executive director Dr. Katharine “Kitty” Felton who was called the ”conscience of San Francisco” and was committed to ensuring that children and families in crisis have access to social services and resources in order to help them build upon their inherent strengths and develop self-sufficiency. www.felton.org