The County Voice

Seeing Counties’ Best Practices First Hand

I had the pleasure of spending a couple of days last week in Riverside and San Bernardino Counties to learn about four very innovative programs. A few weeks ago I spent a Saturday in Tulare County meeting with teens and learning how one county program is enhancing their lives. Our communications guru Gregg Fishman has made similar road trips, traveling to Sonoma and Tehama counties, as well as a few blocks away to the Sacramento County Elections Offices. On the horizon we have visits to Mono, Nevada, Stanislaus and Ventura. The reason? To showcase these counties’ best practices through videos and blog postings during National County Government Month in April.

The programs we are featuring are recipients of the 2013 CSAC Challenge Awards. These best practices run the gamut in terms of program content and clients served. For example, in my trip down south last week I learned about mobile therapeutic clinics for children and a comprehensive plan at the Riverside County Regional Medical Center to reduce surgical infections. I also sat down and discussed two collaborative programs in Bernardino County: one that takes on student truancy and another that combats West Nile Virus.

But we know that these best practices are just the tip of the iceberg of what our 58 counties are undertaking to bring services to 38 million Californians. The Challenge Awards are a portal through which we can learn about these programs and see them at work. Over the years, we have seen an increase in collaboration, creativity and outreach. Much of this is due to the fact that our counties have stepped up to the challenge of continuing to provide vital services despite budget cuts. And a lot of this has to do with the commitment and creativity among those who have dedicated their careers to helping others. We have met a lot of incredibly talented county staff during our travels – and we expect more of the same when we move forward on the 2014 Challenge Awards.

Look for our videos to be rolled out next month; but also look for our Call for Entries for this year’s Challenge Awards. This is a great opportunity to showcase the innovation within your county to your counterparts in California and across the nation.

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