Q&A with Fernando Muņiz, Community Solutions Inc. CEO

BY John Stearns

Fernando Muņiz
With many state governments moving away from incarceration and investing more in community-based services, Fernando Muņiz sees opportunity for the Bloomfield-based organization he joined Dec. 4.

Muņiz is CEO of Community Solutions Inc. (CSI), which promotes the independence, responsible citizenship, and well-being of individuals and families involved — or at risk of involvement — in the child welfare, juvenile justice or criminal justice systems.

Since 1962, CSI has provided supervision, treatment and individualized services to help clients become productive citizens, he said.

To that end, it operates residential work-release programs, day reporting centers and evidence-based programs for youth and adults.

CSI operates about 50 programs, training contracts, and/or services in 10 states and Canada with a budget of $32 million and roughly 450 staff.

Muņiz said CSI is well-positioned for states' shift away from incarceration in providing evidence-based models for youth and adults.

For example, CSI tracks clients who find employment and don't reoffend.

The success rate of CSI's adult residential programs is 85 percent. More than 84 percent of youth are attending school at discharge from CSI programs and 83 percent have no new arrests while in CSI programs, he said.

Before taking his current job, Muņiz worked for the state Department of Children and Families, where he was deputy commissioner for 4― years.

What's the biggest opportunity you face in your new job?

Build on CSI's record of excellent results for our clients to expand CSI's programs in our current states and new markets.

What's the biggest challenge facing CSI?

Attracting and retaining top talent. Our work is complex and demanding, so we need to ensure compensation, benefits and culture make us attractive. We also need to invest in existing staff to ensure they continue to grow as professionals.

Tell us something about you many people don't know.

I started college as a computer science major, but ended up in the nonprofit field after serving two years in AmeriCorps working with young people in Bridgeport.