Three CA Counties Honored with “Best of Category” in 2022 NACo Achievement Awards
May 19, 2022
Three California Counties – Lassen, San Diego and Santa Barbara — have been honored as “Best in Category” in the 2022 NACo Achievement Awards.
All winners are available in NACo’s searchable awards database, where winning programs are searchable by year, category and state dating back to 2009.
Lassen County received top honors in the Human Services Category for its Fatherhood Initiative Outreach Program.
The Lassen County Department of Child Support Services (DCSS) in rural Northern California created a Fatherhood Initiative to 1) build trust toward the department amongst non-custodial fathers, 2) provide education about services, and 3) develop a community-wide sense of the value of child support.
The multi-pronged, ongoing Fatherhood Initiative includes outreach and education components, and it is flexible and continuously incorporates new information, so that the department can focus on the components that produce the most effective results.
Key initiative components include educational and trust-building social media content, interdepartmental and regional ally outreach, network building, national discussion participation, and participant surveys. Though the Fatherhood Initiative is in an early stage, it has already produced positive results. Many Lassen County non-custodial fathers express surprise at their respectful treatment throughout the case process; they report they would have opened cases themselves or would have cooperated earlier had they realized the experience would be pleasant and helpful. We expect more regional fathers to open child support cases and improve parent-child connections. This program is highly replicable, and the Child Support Directors’ Association of California has shared components of the program to help other departments implement their own initiatives.
San Diego County
Sam Diego County’s “Investing Learn to Earn Virtual Event” was tops in the Personnel, Management, Employment and Training Category.
The County’s Deferred Compensation Program provides 457(b) and 401(a) plans to nearly 21,000 current and former employees. As of Jan. 31, 2022, the program had assets of over $2.2 billion. The County created “Investing Learn to Earn virtual event (Learn to Earn)” as a way for people to receive plan information in a simple, engaging way. It was important to create something that would require no explanation, because we’re all weary of having to learn “how to” virtually everything.
The primary goal of Learn to Earn was to help participants understand and be comfortable with asset allocation and be able to choose an asset allocation strategy that best suites them. Secondary goals were to drive program awareness, enrollments, and contribution increases. Learn to Earn ran from October 2021 – Jan. 31, 2022, taking visitors to a videogame-style environment to explore and play their way to better financial wellness.
The full plan website, www.myDCplan.com, lies beneath the videogame “skin,” providing full functionality for real-world action. Nearly 22% of users with existing accounts increased their contributions, while more than 28% of users who were not previously plan participants enrolled, and 20% of users engaged with our retirement readiness tool.
Santa Barbara County
Santa Barbara County is being honored in the County Resiliency Category. for its ReSource Center.
In 2007, Santa Barbara County sought to change how it managed solid waste by using new technologies and new facilities that would address California’s climate change mandates and decrease the landfilling of waste. Santa Barbara has historically shown innovative leadership in environmental policy, and this tradition continues with the ReSource Center.
The ReSource Center is the first operation in California to house a materials recovery facility, anaerobic digestion facility, compost management unit, and landfill all at one location. This comprehensive project recovers recyclable materials, transforms organics into landscape nutrients, and creates renewable energy. With these new facilities, approximately 60% of additional waste from the community’s trash cans is diverted from the landfill, bringing the region’s diversion rate above 85% while significantly reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
The project required over a decade of skillful coordination of regional interests, a comprehensive public outreach plan, a thorough environmental review process, and public financing for Santa Barbara County’s largest single capital project to date.