The peace and serenity of Nevada County was shattered in early 2001 by gunfire that resulted in the death of three innocent bystanders shot by a mentally ill local resident. One of the victims was 19-year-old Laura Wilcox, an intern at the County Behavioral Health Department. This tragedy set her parents, the state Legislature and Nevada County on a long and often controversial path that has resulted in Nevada being the only County in the state to fully implement an Assisted Outreach Treatment Program.
San Benito County Chief Probation Officer Brent Cardall has something to be proud of. For the past two years, his department has been honored by CSAC for their innovative programs. In 2009, it was the County’s Juvenile Hall Orientation Video that garnered statewide honors; this past year, the Night Reporting Center was the recipient of a CSAC Challenge Award.
Rural counties face their own unique challenges; the remoteness of a location can pose logistical issues on many fronts for county government. Such was the challenge facing Calaveras County‘s Behavioral Health Department when it came to hiring qualified mental health staff. The innovative solution: create an educational career leader, sponsor previously non-existent certificate and degree programs, and provide tuition assistance to support staff growth.
Hope is alive and well in Tuolumne County. Tucked away on a semi-rural road a few miles outside of downtown Sonora is HOPE House – the “Housing and Opportunities for Emancipated Foster Youth home. This county-owned residence provides emancipated youth with a place to learn about living independently without the worries and struggles of where they will sleep, or where their next meal will come from.