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Board appoints CaSonya Thomas to lead Human Services

CaSonya_Thomas_PhotoA director with 25 years of experience in meeting the social service and mental health needs of San Bernardino County residents was appointed on Tuesday by the Board of Supervisors to lead County Human Services.

CaSonya Thomas, director of the Department of Behavioral Health, will succeed Linda Haugan, who is retiring as Assistant Executive Officer of Human Services on Oct. 15 after more than 35 years of service to the County.

Haugan has spent the past 11 years as head of Human Services, a County agency that includes eight departments, more than 6,000 employees, and a $1.9 billion annual budget. Both Haugan and Thomas began their careers in what is now known as the Transitional Assistance Department as eligibility workers, an entry-level position in County Government. Thomas began her career in 1991.

Their careers illustrate the County’s successful efforts – mandated by the Board of Supervisors – to identify and develop talent from within the County organization, and ensure the County maintains a bench of qualified managers and executives to promote when vacancies occur. This practice will allow a nearly three-month transition for Thomas to work closely with Haugan before assuming her new role.

“It is an honor to receive this appointment, which comes with a tremendous responsibility to the people of San Bernardino County,” Thomas said. “Each day, Human Services changes lives through a number of programs and services, and we will remain committed to our Countywide Vision to build healthier communities by strengthening individuals and families, enhancing quality of life and valuing people.”

Thomas has held a number of positions within Human Services over the course of her 25-year County career, including Director of Behavioral Health and executive and management positions within Human Services. Under Thomas’ leadership, Behavioral Health played a key role in the County’s efforts to assist the survivors of the Dec. 2, 2015 terrorist attack in San Bernardino and the families of those who died.

“CaSonya Thomas is an outstanding employee and an asset to the county. As the newly appointed Assistant Executive Officer for Human Services, Ms. Thomas will bring professionalism and expertise that will continue to strengthen the County of San Bernardino,” said Board of Supervisors Chairman and Third District Supervisor James Ramos.

“CaSonya has proven herself as a successful and well-qualified leader for this position. Her experience, hard work and professionalism will serve our residents and the County well,” said Board of Supervisors Vice Chairman and First District Supervisor Robert Lovingood.

“It was a privilege to appoint Ms. Thomas as the Director of the Department of Behavioral Health in 2012, and I am thrilled to now support her appointment as the Assistant Executive Officer for Human Services,” said Fifth District Supervisor Josie Gonzales. “I am so pleased to see her succeed and I have no doubt she’ll continue to do a remarkable job.”

“CaSonya has consistently demonstrated her commitment to the well-being of all county residents,” said Second District Supervisor Janice Rutherford. “Her intelligence, compassion and creativity are perfectly suited to the challenges we face.”

Haugan assumed the reins of Human Services in July 2005 after an already-notable career that included the implementation of the landmark C-IV Statewide Automated Welfare System. Her first order of business as Human Services chief was to successfully and dramatically reduce the County’s food stamp error rate.

Throughout her tenure, Haugan has fostered collaboration between Human Services departments to improve services to the public, a practice that has made the County a consistent leader in winning national and state awards for innovative and effective programs.

“I have had the good fortune of working with many talented people who carry out their public service mission with passion and intelligence. That’s why I feel I am leaving Human Services in a very good state and in very good hands,” Haugan said.

Thomas has a bachelor’s degree in business administration and a post-graduate degree in public administration, both from California State University, San Bernardino. She is also certified in healthcare compliance by the national Health Care Compliance Association.

Thomas serves as president-elect to the County Behavioral Health Directors Association of California (CBHDA), whose goals include advocating and developing public policy agendas that support access to necessary quality services that promote behavioral health and wellness, and resiliency and recovery in communities. She also is co-chair of the CBHDA Cultural Competence, Equity and Social Justice Committee.

Human Services departments, divisions and offices include Aging and Adult Services, Animal Care and Control, Behavioral Health, Child Support Services, Children and Family Services, Children’s Network, Environmental Health Services, Homeless Services, Preschool Services, Public Health, Transitional Assistance and Veterans Affairs.

County issues heat advisory with temps over 100

Rising TemperatureDr. Maxwell Ohikhuare Health Officer for San Bernardino County has issued another excessive heat warning for high temperatures today and through this coming weekend. Temperatures are expected to be above 105 degrees for the Inland Valley areas and up to 110 degrees for the high deserts. The mountain areas below 6,000 feet will see temperatures up to 102 degrees.

“As another heat wave hits our county, we need to remember to try and stay cool. Check on those most vulnerable, the elderly, those who work or exercise outdoors, infants and children, the homeless or poor and people with chronic medical conditions,” said Dr. Ohikhuare. “We also need to remember that cars get very hot and can be deadly to a child or pet left behind.”

High or unusually hot temperatures can affect one’s health. Take the necessary precautions to prevent serious health effects such as heat exhaustion or heat stroke by following the tips below.

Stay cool

  • Stay in air-conditioned buildings.
  • Find an air-conditioned and cool place to go to by dialing the United Way’s toll-free resource line at 2-1-1
  • Do not rely on a fan as your primary cooling device.
  • Limit outdoor activity, especially midday when it is the hottest part of the day, and avoid direct sunlight.
  • Do not leave infants or children in a parked vehicle, even in the shade with windows cracked, temperatures can reach over 120 degrees inside. Their abilities to cool through sweating are not as developed as adults.
  • Wear loose, lightweight, light-colored clothing.
  • Take cool showers or baths to lower your body temperature.
  • Check on at-risk friends, family and neighbors at least twice a day.

Stay hydrated

  • Drink water more than usual and don’t wait until you’re thirsty to drink.
  • Drink from two to four cups of water every hour while working.
  • Avoid alcohol or liquids containing high amounts of sugar.
  • Make sure your family, friends and neighbors are drinking enough water.

Remember, pets are vulnerable to high temperatures too, but are unable to vocalize their distress. Some signs of heat distress in pets can include heavy panting, difficulty breathing, lethargy, excessive thirst, and vomiting. You can help prevent a heat emergency by taking these steps.

For Pets

  • Leave your pets extra water.
  • Bring pets inside during periods of extreme heat.
  • Ensure they have plenty of shade if kept outside.  Remember, the shade your pets have in the morning will either change or diminish as the sun moves throughout the day and may not protect them.
  • Don’t force animals to exercise when it is hot and humid. Exercise pets early in the morning or late in the evening.
  • Do not let pets stand on sidewalks or hot asphalt to avoid burning their paws.
  • Never leave pets in a parked vehicle, even in the shade with windows cracked, temperatures can reach over 120 degrees inside. The vehicle is quickly turned into a furnace and can kill any animal!

For more information, contact the San Bernardino County Department of Public Health at 1-800-782-4264. For the National Weather Service forecast, visit www.wrh.noaa.gov or the California Department of Public Health web site.

Government Works: Fleet Management recognized for excellence

fleet management 3Continuing San Bernardino County’s recognition at national levels, the County’s Fleet Management Department received four awards at the Government Fleet Expo in Tennessee last month.  The national “Leading Fleets Award” is an open competition to all 34,000 public entity fleets in the United States and Canada.  All applicants are recognized but only the top 50 best fleets are named in the final round of competition.  From the final 50, the top 20 receive numbered rankings.  San Bernardino County’s Fleet Management department placed 20th this year.

In conjunction with Government Fleet Magazine and the American Public Works Association, the awards program, sponsored by Ford Motor Company, recognizes fleet operations that are performing well in the areas of fleet leadership, efficiency, future goals planning and overcoming challenges.

The Fleet Management (SBC Fleet) department also received its “CleanFleet Certification, a national program certifying fleet operations as energy efficient and environmentally responsible.  This program is the industry-recognized method of measuring and rewarding high maintaining standards in clean fleet management.  Certification categories include hazardous waste generator identification, general waste management requirements and storage, recycled oil products and used oil management program, vehicle and equipment washing facilities, facility air quality, Freon management, contract repair work (outside services), product storage, facility management, administration and general management, including purchasing policies, vehicle replacement and carbon footprint, facility utilities and carbon footprint.

Additionally, SBC Fleet received its second certification as a “Certified Fleet Management Operation”, from Government Fleet Management Alliance (GFMA).  This program identifies fleets that are efficient and cost effective. With over 120 certification criteria addressing 20 critical operational areas of fleet management, SBC Fleet is one of 22 fleets certified in the nation.  The certification process includes eight foundation categories: staffing and productivity, company and employee goals, mission statement and business plan, parts inventory management, replacement policy and financial program, fleet utilization management, fleet policy and procedures documentation, preventive maintenance program and customer service and level of support.Final Government Works Stamp

The fourth and final award, also presented by GFMA, is the “Master Certification” award, given to those fleets that are both “certified and CleanFleet” certified.  There are only six public fleets in the United States and Canada which have achieved GFMA’s Master level certification.

Earlier this year, SBC Fleet also placed 8th in the 100 Best Fleets in the Nation competition.  This is the 12th year San Bernardino County Fleet Management has placed in the top 100 fleets in the nation and ranking as high as number two in the nation.

“I am exceedingly proud that our Fleet Management Department continues to contribute to the Countywide Vision by operating in a businesslike manner and being good stewards of taxpayer’s resources.  Being recognized as one of the most professional and efficient fleets in the nation is a great honor and a testament of the hard work and dedication of the Fleet staff,” said Roger Weaver, Director of Fleet Management. “Congratulations to every employee in the department for what they do in improving our vehicles and services, saving taxpayer dollars, and in contributing to San Bernardino County’s vision of creating a better place to live.”

This is an example of how Government Works.

Candidate filing begins for the 2016 Presidential General Election

ROV logo

Candidate filing for the November 8, 2016 Presidential General Election begins Monday, July 18 and continues through Friday, August 12.

There are over 200 local offices up for election in San Bernardino County, including school district, special district and city offices.

Citizens who are interested in running for school district or special district offices may obtain and file the appropriate documents at the San Bernardino County Elections Office, 777 E. Rialto Avenue in San Bernardino from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.  Completed candidate filing documents must be filed at the Elections Office by 5 p.m. on Friday, August 12, 2016.

In addition, citizens may obtain the appropriate documents at the following special district offices, during regular business hours:

  • Beaumont-Cherry Valley Water District
  • Big Bear Airport District
  • Big Bear City Community Services District
  • Big Bear Municipal Water District
  • Big River Community Services District
  • Hi-Desert Memorial Healthcare District
  • Inland Empire Utilities Agency
  • Mojave Water Agency
  • Monte Vista Water District
  • San Bernardino Mountains Community Hospital District
  • San Bernardino Valley Municipal Water District
  • Yucaipa Valley Water District

Citizens interested in running for city offices up for election must pick up and file their candidate filing documents at the appropriate City Clerk’s office during regular business hours.

For more information on this election, including a complete list of districts with offices up for election, visit SBCountyElections.com or call (909) 387-8300.

County wins 45 awards from National Association of Counties

NACo Achievement Award 2016The County of San Bernardino’s innovative and groundbreaking programs earned 45 Achievement Awards from the National Association of Counties (NACo), continuing a tradition of recognition from the organization.

Every year, NACo recognizes programs across the country that modernize county government and increase services to county residents. This year, NACo awarded 618 entries from 112 counties in 34 states.

In 2015, San Bernardino County won 46 Achievement Awards from NACo, the most in the nation. In 2014, the County won 31 NACo Achievement Awards. This year, San Bernardino County distinguished itself in Southern California where Los Angeles and San Diego counties each won 47 awards, Orange County won 10 and Riverside County won four.

“I’m so proud of the work our employees and departments do every day to improve the lives of our residents,” said Board of Supervisors Chairman James Ramos. “I congratulate all the departments and those who continue to distinguish themselves on a national scale.”

The Board of Supervisors will recognize and honor the people and departments responsible for the winning programs and services below at an upcoming public meeting:

NACo Child Mental Health: A Comprehensive, Collaborative Strategy: Children and Family Services established an Administrative Joint Management Strategy and Structure to ensure mental health services are provided to youth in the child welfare system in a comprehensive, systematic and sustained fashion.

Gateway Mock Trial Program: In 2013, the Public Defender’s Office, in collaboration with the Probation Department and the California Superior Court, developed a mock trial program for juveniles being detained in the Gateway Program. Juveniles volunteer to participate and the teams are divided up depending on which phase of the Gateway program the minor is in. The teams are coached by Deputy Public Defender volunteers who go into Juvenile Hall to teach the intricacies of preparing for and conducting a live trial. After months of preparation a full trial is conducted in front of the other Gateway students which is presided over by a real Superior Court judge.

Law Day Program: Deputy Public Defenders volunteer their time to meet, interact, and discuss legal issues with students at local schools to educate them on the great heritage of liberty, justice, and equality under the law. The goal of the Law Day Program is to use the powers of active learning to help bring awareness of the risks of being young in today’s society and as they transition into adulthood. It gives our youth a better understanding of the law, and educates them of our moral and civic obligation as Americans to preserve and strengthen the principle of guaranteed fundamental rights of individuals under the law.

Meeting Kinship Needs through a Resource Portal: Children and Family Services  entered into a collaborative with other agencies in 2014, to create a one-stop, comprehensive, online and phone accessible, resource portal comprised of available government, community and business resources for foster and kinship families and transition-age youth in the county. Other agencies in the partnership are iFoster, the United Way of California and 211 California. The portal includes information on resources administered by other county human services departments, especially Transitional Assistance and Behavioral Health as well as the Housing Authority.

Parent Partner Program and Services: The Parent Partner program was established by Children and Family Services to provide an avenue for parents of children who were previously in child welfare cases to mentor fellow parents whose children are currently receiving child welfare services. Under this program, CFS employs suitable parents of children who have successfully passed through the child welfare system and dedicates them to mentoring parents and families with open cases or referrals. It has been observed that a significantly greater proportion of children in open CFS cases reunified with their families when their parents and families utilize the services of Parent Partners.

Psychotropic Medication Protocol: Children and Family Services in partnership with the Department of Public Health and the Juvenile Dependency Court have developed a Psychotropic Medication Protocol to ensure that psychotropic medication is administered to children only when absolutely necessary, and once the determination is made that a child actually needs the medication, it is provided on a timely basis. The goals are to ensure that only appropriate medication is being prescribed for dependent children; decrease the waiting time between when the initial request for a psychotropic prescription is submitted and when the Juvenile Dependency Court approves or denies the request, and reduce the workload of child welfare social workers.

Take the Lead Campaign: In January 2015, Children and Family Services and Performance Education & Resource Centers launched the Take the Lead Media Outreach campaign in order to generate increased media coverage that highlighted the success stories and available services provided by the department. The communications team essentially began to “Take the Lead” in their approach to generating media coverage. Through this campaign the department was able to essentially have an ally in the media in its goal of educating the community about the need for loving foster and adoptive homes, child abuse prevention, and other resources available to children and their families.

Homeward Bound Project Adopt: The County developed a unique multifaceted pet adoption and marketing effort called, “Homeward Bound Project Adopt.” This ongoing campaign includes the establishment of a social media presence on Facebook, development of marketing videos placed on YouTube, coordination of approximately 50 annual on-site and off-site subsidized pet adoption events and the establishment of an annual large scale adoption effort called the “Homeward Bound Mega Pet Adoption Event.” Through this coordinated and consistent effort, the County has realized an increase in the number of pets adopted, by percentage, and a decrease in the number of pets euthanized.

My Elections Gateway – A Program to Provide Customized Election Information: The County Elections Office challenged itself to find a better way to distribute customized election information to improve service delivery for all voters. The Elections Office developed a mobile-responsive application, accessible from the existing website, which allows for maximum ease of use from a wide range of mobile devices and personal computers. Since the release of My Elections Gateway in October of 2014, the Elections Office has received positive feedback and praise for making voter registration and elections more understandable and accessible.

The Veteran, Senior and Homeowner Exemption Outreach Program: This program enables the Assessor-Recorder-County Clerk to educate the public on available exemptions that provide tax relief for veterans, seniors, and homeowners. Forms of communication such as brochures, special mailings, and personal interactions at community events and resource fairs were developed. Since implementing the program, there have been significant increases in the number of applications received for tax relief programs and services.

Bloomington Intergenerational Housing Project: This project is an affordable senior and adult/family housing development containing 106 one and two-bedroom units. The developer has allowed 11 units for occupancy by Mental Health Services Act eligible adults and senior clients. The remainder of the 95 units will be affordable to low income individuals and families. The Bloomington Intergenerational Housing Project is a collaborative permanent supportive housing project with Related California, John Stewart Company, the Department of Behavioral Health (DBH), and DBH’s Full Service Partnership, AgeWise Supportive Services, and Mesa Full Service Partnership.

Fontana Siena Apartments Housing Project: This “new construction” affordable housing development has 55 one-, two- and three- bedroom units. The developer has allowed 15 of the units for occupancy by Mental Health Services Act eligible individuals, one unit reserved as the manager’s unit and the remaining 39 units will be designated for low-income tenants. The project is a collaborative permanent supportive housing project with developer Palm Communities, LifeSTEPS Inc., ConAm Property Management, Corp., Fontana Siena Partners, L.P., the City of Fontana, the County Community Development and Housing Agency, the Department of Behavioral Health (DBH), and DBH’s Mesa’s and Mariposa’s Full Service Partnerships.

SPARC Initiative: The SPARC Initiative is a landmark success in renewable energy policy development, with broad endorsement from constituents, environmental groups and industry. In 2013, a moratorium on commercial solar projects was adopted to respond to extensive public resistance. There is now a regulatory framework that may well achieve our governor’s 50 percent renewable energy mandate, while respecting local priorities for community development, conservation and environmental stewardship. The SPARC Initiative included nearly 20 workshops. To accommodate intense public interest throughout our enormous geographic area SPARC also made extensive use of digital tools for virtual town meetings, sharing of research through a web-based library, public notices, editorial commentary, and a wide range of other web-based content. Key successes from this groundbreaking Initiative were our innovative web program at www.SPARCFORUM.org, a new regulatory framework for renewable energy development, and broad consensus on community-scale development.

Faster Election Night Results Program: In 2012, the Elections Office set a goal to improve the existing ballot counting program and provide faster results. To achieve this goal, the Elections Office implemented the Faster Election Night Results Program. This program strives to achieve four objectives: make the process for segregating ballots more efficient, speed up the process of delivering ballots to the central counting location, speed up the process for reviewing ballots, and improve the process for counting ballots. After implementing the Faster Election Night Results Program, election night results were delivered 6 hours faster in the 2012 Presidential Election than the 2008 Presidential Election.

Probation DRRSC Employment Readiness, Training and Placement Program: In response to AB 109, the Probation Department established Day Reporting and Reentry Services Centers for adults in three major geographical areas of our large county: Central Valley, West Valley, and High Desert. These centers were designed as one-stop, centralized places for the reentry population providing onsite representatives from the Department of Behavioral Health, Department of Public Heath, Transitional Assistance Department, and the Workforce Development Department. Employment has been identified as a key factor to recovery, reentry and recidivism reduction, therefore, probation has partnered with Workforce Development to develop a comprehensive Probation to Work Program. This program provides job training, resume building, computer resources, mock interviews, financial education program, support for overcoming barriers, and career planning.

Special Victims K-9 Unit: Sometimes just being in the physical courtroom itself can be stressful for kids. And then when you factor in the content of what they may have to discuss in their testimony, overall, it can be a traumatic experience. Asking a child to recall horrific details in a courtroom full of strangers, with his or her abuser staring from across the room, is a painful and sometimes embarrassing situation. To ease these fears, the District Attorney’s Office created the Special Victims K-9 Unit. Our main goal is to greatly reduce the understandable fears that a child has about entering the courtroom. Doing so is beneficial to everybody involved because when the child is calm and feeling more confident, it is likely that we can more effectively obtain justice.

El Niño Threat Flood Mitigation Program: The forecasts for the 2015 El Niño storm season predicted a severe threat for flooding in the county. Flood control facilities, which include earthen flood control channels, basins and rivers, had a buildup of brush and natural habitat in excessive amounts that needed removal to prepare the facilities for the flood threat. The removals of these materials are governed by the environmental regulatory agencies and require long permit processing timeframes. The County met with representatives from all the major environmental resource agencies along with County emergency responders to discuss an innovative expedited permitting process to meet the El Niño threat. After much discussion the regulatory agencies agreed to let Public Works clean out 37 priority facilities through a special expedited permit process. The priority facilities were cleaned out and allowed adequate flows that provided protection to properties and life as expected.

Storm Emergency Computer Application: The forecasts for the 2015 El Niño storm season predicted a severe threat for flooding in the County, compelling agencies to modernize flood management technologies. The Department of Public Works replaced its slow manual processes and paper log records with GIS technology to create a real time computer application to provide location-based analysis, real time situational awareness, and response.

Job-Driven SlingShot Initiative: In October of 2014, the San Bernardino County Workforce Development Board and the Riverside County Workforce Development Board formed the Inland Empire Regional Collaborative (IERC) to create the Inland Empire Job-Driven SlingShot Initiative. The IE SlingShot Initiative is about creating a model for how employer engagement is incorporated in the development of training curriculum that results in better training and employment outcomes. Healthcare and manufacturing were chosen to pilot a new approach on aligning business and education because of employer demand and the potential for income mobility within these sectors. San Bernardino and Riverside County Workforce Boards have created industry sector working groups made up of business leaders from the region, meeting to effect change and industry growth in the Inland Empire.

Transitions Program: The Transitions Program housed within the California Institution for Men and the California Institution for Women, is a collaborative effort between the County Workforce Development Board (WDB), and the California Department of Corrections Rehabilitative (CDCR) Programs. The Transitions Program was created to offer offenders employment preparation and financial literacy skills, ensuring successful reentry into society upon their release from prison. Since November of 2014, the WDB and CDCR, have partnered on this unique and innovative Transitions Program to provide nearly 1,000 offenders with employability skills training and resources including, but not limited to, referrals to the America’s Job Centers in the county of residence, child support information, social security and identifying documents, housing, education, financial literacy and hope of a seamless transition, after release, into society.

Workforce Development Board Human Centered Design: One of the goals of the Workforce Development Board has been to find ways to implement new processes that will help customers be more successful. The Workforce Development Board used a Human Centered Design model to improve the overall customer experience in all three America’s Job Centers of California in the county by creating a welcoming environment, where customers are surrounded by teams of experts and provided a sense of comfort and support. The WDB’s efforts were recognized nationally as part of a Department of Labor Challenge, for improving customer experience and outcomes for shared One-Stop customers. Subsequently, the Department of Workforce Development was invited to showcase Customer-Centered Design strategies at the Customer Centered Design White House Learning Exchange in Washington, D.C.

Expedited Solar Permitting System: In August 2015, the Small Residential (<10kW) Rooftop Solar Ordinance was adopted by the County to address new requirements imposed from the passage of Assembly Bill 2188. The goal of AB 2188 was to streamline and expedite the permitting of small solar systems of 10kW or less. This kilowatt category applies to small residential rooftop solar energy systems. AB 2188 stipulated that permits not approved over-the-counter should be reviewed within 1 to 3 days and that an inspection be completed within 1 to 5 days. In addition to meeting the mandates of AB 2188, the County has collaborated with neighboring jurisdictions to adopt consistent and replicable standard requirements in the Expedited Solar Permitting System.

Children & Youth Collaborative Services (CYCS) – Intensive Eating Disorders Program: Children and Youth Collaborative Services adapted Family Based Treatment, an evidenced based treatment provided in the home, with intensive case management for eating disorders. In the past two and a half years, this program has provided services to 102 youth with severe eating disorders. Ten percent of these youth started the program while hospitalized and fed through a nasogastric tube to address medical consequences of the disorder. Ongoing collaboration with the medical team, including facilitating access to a nutritionist in the local community, is a cornerstone of this approach. Of those served, 60 percent appeared to be capable of managing any ongoing issues without the need of further mental health treatment. An additional 8 percent improved, but needed additional mental health services to address the eating disorder after the program was finished.

Domestic Violence Health Care Partnership: The goal of the domestic violence and healthcare safety net partnership is to address and prevent domestic violence through integrated models of service and system-level improvements. In the County, a partnership between the Family Assistance Program, a non-profit organization, and the Department of Public Hesperia Health Center was established. Since the implementation of this project the Family Assistance Program and the Health Center successfully impacted several crucial areas: Changes in shelter and clinical practice, collection and analysis of quality improvement data to measure change in behavior and practice, improvement in identification of domestic violence patients, increased health care resource acquisition for victims, impact on community knowledge and attitudes, and significant improvement in shelter clients accessing routine care.

ICEMA Statewide EMS Data Repository: The Emergency Medical Services Authority and Inland Counties Emergency Medical Agency worked together to create a statewide data repository for the collection and reporting of EMS data. It was designed to provide a cost effective way to collect EMS patient care and hospital trauma data, allow access to a records management system for smaller Local Emergency Medical Services Agencies that could not afford their own system and support a mechanism for the reporting of information to the National Emergency Medical Services Information System for national benchmarking. It established a statewide EMS data repository, standardized data collection throughout California and broadened the number of counties reporting data to the state. Overall, it resulted in the addition of one and a half million records documenting patient care in 18 counties.

Integrating EMS and HIE: Health information exchange is the mobilization of health information between organizations and healthcare providers. It is a secure method of sharing vital patient information and is part of a national initiative designed to improve the quality of care, safety and efficiency of the health delivery system. During the past several years, Inland Counties Emergency Medical Agency has been implementing processes that facilitate the exchange of health information between EMS providers and other organizations throughout San Bernardino, Inyo and Mono counties. In 2014, ICEMA proposed a pilot project to the California Emergency Medical Services Authority designed to evaluate ways to integrate EMS data into HIE. The ultimate goal was to improve the quality of healthcare for patients in the community and provide a new service to county residents that filled the gap in the provision of medical care by including EMS care data into the continuum of patient care. The pilot project, known as Integrating EMS and HIE, was completed in September 2015.

Child Support Services: The Department of Child Support Services utilizes the Bridges to Employment Program to assist parents toward employment and self-sufficiency, so they can support their children and families. The Bridges to Employment Program is a referral program made possible through collaboration between DCSS and the County’s Workforce Development Board Our common goals are to retrain and find employment for unemployed or under-employed individuals, connect job seekers to employment that leads to self-sufficient wage, educate the community on the negative impacts of dropping out of high school, provide adult intervention, tutoring, and mentorship to students, and set higher goals and expectations for educational and career achievement in our community.

Community Education Mental Health First Aid Training Program: The Department of Behavioral Health developed an active community education program focused on Mental Health First Aid © (MHFA). The primary goals of the community education program are to address stigma, decrease discrimination against persons with behavioral health disorders, and increase mental health awareness. DBH’s outreach focused programs expend a considerable amount of time and effort conducting culture specific outreach and marketing MHFA training using various methods, resulting in high levels of community interest and active community participation. Targeted outreach and groups that have been represented include faith-based organizations, foster family agencies, foster parents, youth groups, and veterans serving groups. All of the community MHFA courses are provided for free and conducted in locations that are easily accessible to the community.

Effective Collaboration Improving Maternal Mental Health: The goal of the Maternal Mental Health Work Group, led by the County’s Department of Behavioral Health, Children’s Network, Department of Public Health, First 5 San Bernardino, and Inland Empire United Way 211, is three-fold: To identify and pull together existing resources in the community that support mothers experiencing postpartum depression, to build the capacity of organizations, such as family resource centers, healthcare providers, and Screening Assessment Referral and Treatment centers, through training on maternal mental health, to reduce the stigma that exists around maternal mental health issues through general and culturally-relevant campaigns and to encourage mothers to reach out for help. In May 2015, Maternal Mental Health Awareness Month, the Work Group in partnership with ISD-Multimedia Services, produced a public service announcement emphasizing to mothers and families, “You Are Not Alone.”

Engaging Fathers in the Inland Empire: The Inland Empire Father Involvement Coalition (IEFIC), started in 2013, is a group of community-based, County, and faith-based organizations collaborating to reduce father absenteeism and support father engagement. The IEFIC does this by providing education opportunities for fathers, support services that are accessible and father-friendly, outreach to develop partnerships and promote positive images of fatherhood through media and evaluation of the program’s outcomes, and identification of best practices for father engagement. In 2015, the IEFIC launched its Inaugural Inland Empire Fatherhood Conference to inspire, educate and equip fathers to be actively engaged in their children’s lives.

Family Stabilization: Utilizing a collaborative approach, the Transitional Assistance Department, Department of Behavioral Health, Arrowhead Regional Medical Center, and community-based organizations are working together to address needs of Temporary Assistance for Needy Families customers experiencing multiple barriers to participating in Welfare-to-Work activities. The new Family Stabilization Program provides unique services, including treatment of all family members, rapid rehousing, car repairs, tattoo removal, and other services not available to customers who do not volunteer for the program. Proven measurable results include 2,415 instances of direct services provided to Family Stabilization individuals, improved interagency coordination and elimination of duplicate services.

Housing Support Program: The Transitional Assistance and Behavioral Health departments and the Housing Authority partnered and attained competitive Housing Support Program funding to fill a gap in services available to homeless Temporary Assistance for Needy Families customers. Housing Navigator services for families referred by Transitional Assistance are provided by the Housing Authority, through a sub-contract with Knowledge and Education for Your Success (KEYS), an HACSB affiliated local non-profit organization. Also, by leveraging an existing contract with Transitional Assistance and Behavioral Health, case management services related to locating permanent housing were included to address TANF families’ needs for life skills training, service needs to remove barriers, and on-going support to prevent recurrences of homelessness. In 2015, more than 1,200 referrals were made to HSP, with 409 families successfully placed in permanent housing.

In-Home Supportive Services Program Integrity Initiatives: The Department of Aging and Adult Services in 2012 designed and implemented the In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS) Program Integrity Initiatives to ensure beneficiaries and caregivers under the program are reporting and claiming only legitimate benefits and payments. These internal processes have proven to be successful in enhancing IHSS program integrity and have resulted in cost savings in the IHSS program.

Stakeholder Engagement and Interagency Coordination: On April 1, 2014, the Department of Aging and Adult Services entered into an agreement with the Inland Empire Health Plan and Molina Healthcare of California to provide In-Home Supportive Services as a managed care benefit for the state’s low-income seniors and people with disabilities who qualify for both Medicare and Medicaid under California’s Coordinated Care Initiative. Current findings confirm that the County’s strong partnership and effective collaboration with health plans and other stakeholders are strengthening efforts to coordinate care for these seniors.

Support Group for Families of Conservatees: The Office of the Public Guardian is appointed by the Superior Court as the conservator for some of the most vulnerable people in our community: the elderly and the mentally ill. Communication and understanding are essential components when working with the families of persons who meet the criteria for conservatorship and at times there are gaps in providing these essential components. The Public Guardian recognized the gap in services and in response created the Family Support Group to provide families with an ongoing source of support as well as to clarify the responsibilities of the Public Guardian, demystify associated government entities, assist families in understanding their new roles, avoid duplication of efforts and provide the most comprehensive services possible to better serve the conservatees and enhance their quality of life.

TAD Leaders in Action (LiA) Workshop: The program works to foster individual professional development within the Transitional Assistance Department and increases knowledge of department administrative operations, which result in greater productivity, higher retention rates, succession planning, and improved customer service. The structured mentoring and learning environment ensures training consistency for both mentors and mentees, and a consistent message which includes: Decision making skills, global thinking/vision, interpersonal skills, and relationship building. The program consists of mentees attending several workshops, which include learning the basics of the TAD budget, discussing varying leadership styles, and interview preparation. Since the inception of the TAD LiA Workshop in 2014, the average number of participants has remained consistent from quarter to quarter. Furthermore, participants have reported positive impacts attributed to participation, such as returning to school, receiving a promotion, taking on new duties in their current position, and enhanced interview skills.

Transitional Assistance Department Processing Center: The Transitional Assistance Department Processing Center was developed as a solution to maximize productivity and improve customer service in response to the expansion of health care coverage under the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The ACA resulted in a dramatically increased number of health care program applications within short open enrollment periods. Since ACA initial open enrollment in 2013, through the end of open enrollment in 2015, TAD processed over 325,000 applications with no increase in staff. The County receives approximately 20,000 Medi-Cal applications per month during open enrollment periods, an increase of 25 percent from the previous two years. The Processing Center was developed to meet application processing timeframes and provide accurate benefits as quickly as possible with minimal impact to the customer.

Triage Engagement and Support Teams (TEST): In 2015, the Department of Behavioral Health formed the Triage Engagement and Support Teams and placed them in critical entry points where persons in crisis traditionally enter the criminal justice or inpatient hospital systems. The goal is to provide an alternative to consumers in psychiatric crisis who may have traditionally been hospitalized or incarcerated. In the first nine of the planned 17 sites, TEST has reduced unnecessary expenditures for law enforcement and hospitals by diverting 76 percent of crisis intervention encounters from hospitalization. TEST has further saved law enforcement resources by providing transportation to the hospital and accompanying the consumer during their hospital admission process in crisis intervention encounters that could not be diverted. The support provided by TEST, both to avoid unnecessary hospitalizations or incarcerations and after a client’s release when hospitalization or incarceration cannot be avoided, enables consumers to break cycles of intense distress and crises by replacing them with ongoing engagement in the outpatient continuum of care.

Workforce Development Department Partnership: The Housing Authority of the County of San Bernardino (HACSB) partnered with the County’s Workforce Development Department to secure three Workforce Development Specialists to work exclusively with HACSB program participants, helping them to find and retain work by providing them with career counseling, employment services workshops, job referrals, and job skills enhancement services. April 2013 through February 2016, the program has secured 325 jobs for low-income residents with salary ranges from $8 to $25 an hour.

Department of Behavioral Health Patient Rights Grievance Tracking Log: The Department of Behavioral Health’s Patients’ Rights Office protects the patient, consumer and human rights of all recipients of psychiatric services. The Patient’s Rights Grievance Tracking Log is a web-based application designed to allow the DBH Patient’s Group to efficiently track and report on grievance investigation, advocacy assistance, and other services for this purpose. Its main objectives are to allow storing all communications and complaints that are a part of a grievance as one electronic case file and keep track of time spent on all types of services requests for effective resource management in one place. Timely processing and resolution of each complaint received is key to compliance of mental health law as is the training of providers. The system ensures complaints and training are closely monitored to avoid any disruption in providing services per departmental and County objectives.

ISD Department Diversity Website: The mission of the Information Services Department’s Diversity Committee is to work collaboratively to advocate and support diversity in our department while encouraging opportunities for employees, our customers (county departments) and communities to grow in their own understanding of diversity. This DDC initiative, spearheaded by the county’s Human Resources Department is committed to attract, recruit and retain a skilled, high-performing and diverse workforce that reflects our strong commitment to equality and opportunities for all. The DDC embraces and celebrates the differences among employees in terms of age, cultural background, physical abilities and disabilities, race, language, religion, gender, and sexual orientation, and provides an opportunity for employees to thrive personally and professionally as they work together towards excellence for the employees and citizens of the County.

Leadership Training: The County Library believes in fostering employee engagement through training and development. As our system continues to grow and develop, the training needs of our staff have also changed. Because we cover a large geographic area, there is a need for consistency in leadership across our system. The main objective in providing Leadership Training is to give staff the opportunity to grow and develop as a manager. Leadership Training is a six-month course covering various topics that outline the responsibilities of lead staff members. There are a variety of leadership topics that are covered at each training session. Each session combines instruction/lecture components and a variety of practical exercises including role play scenarios, small group activities, an open forum for sharing experiences, and question and answer sessions.

Summer Reading Program: Revamp and Restructure: The Summer Reading Program is a read for rewards based program designed to encourage kids to read during the summer months. Studies show that children who read at least five books over the summer will maintain their reading level for the next school year. The purpose for revamping and restructuring our Summer Reading Program was to align our core values and the services we offer to the Countywide Vision’s effort to support the success of every child from cradle to career. We wanted to develop a meaningful and exciting program that enriched people’s lives, work with our community, and develop and train staff to provide the best program for people visiting our libraries. By revamping and restructuring our program we have been able to increase the number of children, teens, and adults reading during the summer months. We have increased circulation, participation, and strengthened our partnership with local schools in our communities. Lastly, we were able to engage our employees and offer an exciting program families can enjoy.

Coordination of Compensation and Benefits for Victims of the San Bernardino Terrorist Attack: The December 2, 2015 terrorist attack resulted in the death of 14 people, 13 of whom were County employees, and direct injury to an additional 22, all of whom were County staff. Recognizing the impact that this tragedy had on its employees and their families, the County partnered with state agencies to coordinate payments and help ensure that victims continued to receive full compensation and benefits. The Human Resources Department and District Attorney led efforts to integrate these payments as seamlessly as possible in order to protect income and benefit levels for the victims and, with support from the state, was able process California Victim Compensation lost wage benefits through the County payroll system.

BRASS Report: Attracting desirable development to our slowly recovering County economy depends upon three key regulatory conditions: a timely permitting process, ready access to land use information, and a proactive guidance for developers through regulatory complexities. Concise reports on targeted lands and permitting requirements are compiled succinctly, made accessible through -multiple means, and used as a basis for planning new development to add economic value to our County. The BRASS Report begins with a now-standardized property information report, focused on building and zoning requirements. It addresses numerous land use application types. The report framework is integrated into all relevant County departments to eliminate duplicated efforts, maximize uniformity of data collection/reporting, and ensure accuracy of information disseminated by our inter-disciplinary team. With this program, the first application or inquiry generates the BRASS Report. Then the Report is provided to all subsequent inquiries, eliminating redundant time-consuming efforts by staff and inadvertent inconsistencies in property information.

Fourth of July safety tips for pets

dog july 4The division of Animal Care and Control would like to remind pet owners that pets require extra attention during the July 4 holiday period.  Fireworks can frighten pets into fleeing from their home.  The best way to avoid this is to bring your pets inside before it begins to get dark.

If you are unable to bring your pets inside, ensure that their enclosure (yard, kennel, etc.) is secure, or they are tethered appropriately.  Pets should always wear a form of identification on their collar with information that is current. This allows a good Samaritan who locates your animal to contact you directly and quickly.  Collars with tags can fall off. Microchipping pets provides an additional and secure method of identifying your pets.

Should your pet run away, check the animal shelter that services your area as well as the shelters that service the surrounding areas.  San Bernardino County Animal Care and Control provides animal services for most unincorporated areas of the county and the cities of Big Bear Lake, Highland, and Yucaipa.  Shelter services are also provided for the city of Rialto.  More information on area shelters can be found on the Animal Care and Control web page or by clicking here.

Additionally, with the use of fireworks and hot, dry weather, there is an increased fire danger.  Make sure that your family has a disaster plan that includes your pet’s needs for water and food.

San Bernardino County Animal Care and Control can be contacted by calling (800) 472-5609 or visit our web page.

Animal Care and Control is doing its part to help the community achieve the Countywide Vision by ensuring residents have the resources they need to provide the necessities of life for their families and pets.

Preschool Services now enrolling for the 2016-17 school year

PSD logoThe Preschool Services Department (PSD) is now enrolling for the 2016-2017 school year. PSD has openings for children ages 0 to 5 and pregnant mothers, but hurry because spots are filling up fast.

Children who are homeless, in foster care, or in families receiving CalWORKs cash aid are automatically eligible.  Children with disabilities or special needs are given priority for enrollment.

PSD offers free or low cost high quality child development services for low income families.

Full day classes start Thursday, July 7.  Visit the site nearest you to enroll your child.  Sites are accepting applications Monday-Friday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.  Click here for a list of sites for you or for someone that you know who may benefit.  For more information please call 1-888-KIDS-025 or 1-888-543-7025 .

Don’t delay, enroll your child today!

Youth art workshops begin at Victor Valley Museum

Victor Valley MuseumThe Victor Valley Museum will host a series of Youth Art Workshops this summer for children age 8 years and above. With the theme “Discover Your Own Backyard,” each 2-hour workshop will focus on an animal from the High Desert, past and present. The workshops, co-sponsored by the Artists of the High Desert, are scheduled on Saturdays from 2 to 4 p.m. Registration is required.

Participants will draw, paint, sculpt, and learn about fossil mammoths on July 9, three-toed horses on July 16, and prehistoric camels on July 30. On August 6, the focus will shift to the present with the Mojave rattlesnake. The final workshop will showcase all the students’ art. Each student can complete a keepsake portfolio of their works.

Cost for all four workshops is $100 per person ($75 for museum members). Individual workshops are $35 each ($25 for museum members). Limited scholarships are available. For more information and to register, call the Victor Valley Museum at (760) 240-2111.

Youth Art Workshops and the Victor Valley Museum’s other exciting events and exhibits reflect the effort by the Board of Supervisors to achieve the Countywide Vision by celebrating arts, culture, and education in the county, creating quality of life for residents and visitors.

The Victor Valley Museum is a branch of the San Bernardino County Museum located at 11873 Apple Valley Road in Apple Valley. The museum is open Wednesday through Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Admission is $5 (adult), $4 (senior or military), and $2.50 (student). Children under 5 and San Bernardino County Museum Association members are free. Parking is free. “Mysteries at the Museum” is included in general admission. For more information, visit www.sbcountymuseum.org. The museum is accessible to persons with disabilities.

Enjoy a summer movie at the County Museum

summer movies at the museumBring the family, bring a picnic, bring some lawn chairs—it’s Summer Movies at the San Bernardino County Museum. Family favorite films will be screened at 7 p.m. on selected Fridays in the museum’s courtyard. Sponsored by the Museum Association, Movies at the Museum are free for Museum members and $5 per person for non-members. Popcorn is free!

The series kicks off on July 1 with the PG-rated film, “A Night at the Museum”. The series continues on July 15 with G-rated “Rio,” August 5 with “Princess Bride,” and August 19 with “Robots,” both rated PG.

For those over 18 looking for a fun evening night out, Alfred Hitchcock’s “The Birds” will be shown on July 29. The event will highlight the museums renowned Wilson C. Hanna bird egg collection, the 5th largest in the world. In addition, guests will enjoy bird-themed activities and aptly-named cocktails to honor one of the most famous horror films in American film genre history.

Summer Movies at the Museum and the County Museum’s other exciting events and exhibits reflect the effort by the Board of Supervisors to achieve the Countywide Vision by celebrating arts, culture, and education in the county, creating quality of life for residents and visitors.

The San Bernardino County Museum is at 2024 Orange Tree Lane, at the California Street exit from Interstate 10 in Redlands. The museum is open Tuesdays through Sundays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. General admission is $10 (adult), $8 (military or senior), $7 (student), and $5 (child aged 5 to 12). Children under five and Museum Association members are admitted free. Parking is free. For more information, visit www.sbcountymuseum.org. The museum is accessible to persons with disabilities.

Under the stars, on the field with Vision2Read and the 66ers

Vision2Read_Logo_FINALBring your tents and sleeping bags for a fun night at the Vision2Read Family Sleepover following the Inland Empire 66ers baseball game on Saturday, July 16.

The game begins at 7:05 p.m. at San Manuel Stadium in San Bernardino. Following the game, families are invited to camp overnight in the outfield and watch a movie made from an all-time favorite book, “The Princess Bride.”

Tickets to the game and Family Sleepover may be purchased for $15 at Vision2Read.com.

“This is a great way to spend a fun evening with your family and raise awareness about the importance of reading,” said James Ramos, Chairman of the San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors.inlandempire66ers

A hot dog and soda will be provided during the game. Ice cream will be served during the movie. Coffee and light refreshments will be available in the morning. The stadium is at 280 South E Street in San Bernardino. Security will be provided throughout the event.

For more information about the Vision2Read Family Sleepover, watch this video.

Vision2Read, a year-long literacy initiative of the Countywide Vision project, aims to raise the bar on literacy in our county by focusing on the importance of reading, connecting people who need help or who can help to literacy resources. Sixty-nine percent of San Bernardino County third graders do not meet new California English language arts and literacy standards and 32 million adults nationwide can’t read.

Literacy has an impact on a number of elements in our community such as jobs and the economy, education, public safety and wellness. When literacy skills are nurtured and encouraged, children and adults can reach their potential, the local economy can continue to prosper and the county will have a more educated workforce to attract employers to the region.

Visit Vision2Read.com for additional information about the campaign and literacy resources.

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