The County Voice

Telling the County Story through Innovative Programs

Facing new challenges is nothing new for our 58 counties. It might be a natural disaster, such as a wildfire, flood or the drought; or it could be a new policy instituted by the state or federal government, such public safety realignment or the Affordable Care Act. CSAC’s annual Challenge Awards program – which recognizes the most innovative, cost-effective programs developed by our counties – regularly shows that county officials and staff are up to the task.

As I write this, CSAC staff is presenting at two Boards of Supervisors meetings in Southern California. Graham Knaus and Darby Kernan are presenting four awards in Riverside County while DeAnn Baker and Farrah McDaid are doing the same in Orange County. Last week it was DeAnn and Darby in Santa Cruz County spotlighting two innovative programs aimed at reducing recidivism. Next Tuesday, our Executive Director Matt Cate will be in front of the Los Angeles board to recognize numerous programs, while Graham will be heading to Tuolumne County to showcase how that county is dealing with the drought’s impact on wells.  From there, it’s San Mateo, Amador and San Diego Counties.

All told, our staff is showcasing 12 programs in eight counties that are being honored with Challenge Awards over a two-month period. And this doesn’t even take into account the numerous programs and their respective counties we have recognized with Merit Awards.

There’s a program where youths in Juvenile Hall train support dogs; another assists individuals with a behavioral health history further their education. There’s job training for foster youth and programs to assist our veterans and seniors. The list goes on and on covering numerous programs and departmental challenges.

At our upcoming Annual Meeting in Monterey County, we will be presenting six counties – Del Norte, Humboldt, Lake, Mendocino, Sonoma and Trinity – with a special CSAC Challenge Award for their collaboration in developing a joint marijuana policy statement. It’s a great example of what counties can accomplish when they work together and pool their resources and talents.

The Challenge Awards provide CSAC with an opportunity to spotlight county best practices, to help tell “the county story” regarding how the diverse needs of 38 million Californians are being met at the local level.

Our theme for this year’s annual meeting is #CountiesLead. The innovative programs developed by our counties is just another example of why this statement holds true.  For a complete list of Challenge and Merit Award recipients, click here.


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