Los Angeles County is home to more than 10.4 million residents, more than a quarter of California’s population. As the state’s most populace county, it follows that the number of its citizens who need County services, such as mental health interventions, immunizations and child welfare assistance, are in the tens of thousands. How can a small change or new program make a noticeable impact in such a vast infrastructure? How can you communicate effectively when you are trying to reach so many? Three programs in Los Angeles County demonstrate how and do so in a way that, no matter the size of county, can be replicated with success.
In a time of deep budget cuts, crime prevention and rehabilitation programs are often the first to feel the pinch. The Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department developed two unique solutions: Recycle a Bicycle & Operation Medicine Cabinet.
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.
The county programs that receive a Challenge Award have to demonstrate creativity and be programs that are replicable. In the case of Orange County, both the District Attorney’s Office and the Clerk Recorder’s Office used partnerships and collaboration as keys to their success.