I grew up a 4-H kid, doing projects, writing reports, going to meetings and delivering presentations. We raised lambs and showed them at the Sonoma-Marin Fair in Petaluma and the Sonoma County Fair in Santa Rosa. I really loved the Fairs, the rides, the food, the people and the animals too. But I think I [...]
There’s a new report out from the California Travel and Tourism Commission that, among other things, points out that tourism in California has rebounded to pre-recession levels and once again, people are visiting the Golden State in droves. Preliminary estimates indicate travelers spent just shy of $110 Billion in California in 2013. That’s great news. [...]
“One barrier you need to take off the table is “well, we don’t have money to do it.” It doesn’t take any money to sit down at a table and talk with people. That’s a freebie, with a huge payoff.” With those words, Nevada County Health Director Michael Heggarty sums up their approach to providing a system of care for kids, teens, and their families. They have broken down silos, ignored the barriers and are working across several different organizations to provide a network of services that starts with mental health, but has grown into much, much more.
To be honest, it started with a cluster of teen suicides in Nevada County—tragedies that while not statistically out of the norm, hit very close together and very close to home. They made people realize they needed to do more to reach out to kids and their families. And so even as funding for collaboration dried up, they collaborated. There is a monthly meeting that includes the leaders of the County Health Department, the Superintendent of Schools, the Courts, Probation, Child Welfare and others agencies that have contact with kids and their families. That trickles down to weekly meetings among other staffers.
The program is designed to let mothers who are going through alcohol and substance abuse treatment live with their children in a safe and supportive environment. Keeping these families together is usually far better for the children, and the prospect of keeping their kids often provides moms with the extra incentive they need to complete the program successfully. It saves money for the County because the alternative is often foster care for the kids and incarceration for the moms.
Clean and Sober living was originally run by a faith-based non-profit organization and funded partially by Stanislaus County. The local dollars allowed the program to get federal grants that made up most of its budget. But in 2008, 2009 and 2010 the recession forced Stanislaus County, and many other local governments, to make some difficult decisions. They had to cut sheriff’s deputies, firefighters and other necessities, and eventually, they had to eliminate funding for Clean and Sober Living too.
I admit, there are times when I wish it was a little simpler to use my smart phone to just make a phone call. But for every time I struggle to find my way back to the keyboard, there are at least five times when I am thankful for this app, or that function that makes my life easier. What was the name of that restaurant again? Is it on 9th or 10th street? Where is the nearest gas station? Smart phones are supposed to make our lives easier with that type of information at our fingertips, and now thanks to the Sacramento County Registrar of Voters, your smart phone can even make it easier for you to participate as a voter!