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Behavioral Health

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.

Volunteers needed for 2016 Homeless Point-In-Time Count

Homeless PersonVolunteers are needed for the 2016 Point in Time Count. This count/survey will help determine funding for homeless services in San Bernardino County and help The San Bernardino County Homeless Partnership understand the regional service needs of our homeless population.

The event is scheduled for Thursday, Jan. 28, 2016 from 6 to 10 a.m., and volunteers are needed throughout the county.

Go to for more information and to register to volunteer.

For more information and to sign-up to participate in San Bernardino County 2016 Point-in-Time Homeless Count and Survey contact one of the following individuals:

Christy Hamilton, County of San Bernardino,

Michele Bletcher, County of San Bernardino,

Click here for more details.

Donate gift cards for youth and make a wish come true

Giving Tree 2015_ExternalSan Bernardino County’s 2015 Giving Tree Campaign for Transitional Age Youth is underway and donated gift cards for young people in need are being accepted through Monday, Dec. 14.

Make a difference in the life of a Transitional Age Youth this holiday season by purchasing gift cards for participating youth.

The Department of Behavioral Health provides services to transitional aged youth ages 16 to 25 who are homeless, at risk of becoming homeless who have been living in foster care, group homes and other placements.

The youth have listed their holiday wishes and are depending on the kindness of others. For some, this is the only gift they receive for the holidays.

To donate, request a wish from the Transitional Age Youth Holiday Wish Box by email to Roxanne De Hay or call (909) 387-7192 (7-1-1 for TTY users). Request a wish in person at the TAY Center, 780 E. Gilbert Street in San Bernardino.

Only gift cards are accepted. Click here for more information.

Summit to share best practices to end homelessness

Homeless PersonThe San Bernardino County Homeless Partnership (SBCHP), in collaboration with the Department of Behavioral Health Office of Homeless Services, is hosting their 9th Annual Homeless Summit to inform stakeholders and community members of the current and future efforts that have been and will be made to address the issue of homelessness in San Bernardino County.

The Homeless Summit will be held on Wednesday, Nov. 4 from 10 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. at the Ontario Convention Center, 2000 East Convention Center Way, in Ontario. The summit is free of charge to attendees.

“The County of San Bernardino is on track to completely eliminate veteran homelessness by the end of this year.  In addition, we are committed to ending chronic homelessness for children and families once and for all. The Homeless Summit will showcase our countywide approach to ending homelessness, and ultimately improving quality of life in every one of our communities,” said Fifth District Supervisor Josie Gonzales, who is also chair of the Interagency Council on Homelessness.

Guest speakers will include: Tom Hernandez, Office of Homeless Services; Sharon Green, Victor Valley Family Resource Center; Theodore “Ted” Alejandre, San Bernardino County Superintendent of Schools; Amy Sawyer, United States Interagency Council on Homelessness (USICH); and Philip Mangano, American Round Table to Abolish Homelessness. Gonzales will make closing remarks.

Interested individuals can learn more about the Homeless Summit or register to attend by visiting or by calling Deanna Luttrell at (909) 386-8225 (7-1-1 for TTY users.)

The SBCHP works to develop countywide public and private partnerships and to coordinate services and resources to end homelessness in San Bernardino County. Through this, SBCHP is helping to achieve the Countywide Vision by working to create a sustainable system of community health, public safety, and housing. Information on the Countywide Vision, the San Bernardino County Homeless Partnership and the Department of Behavioral Health can be found at

Public invited to provide feedback on veteran housing project

feedbackThe San Bernardino County Department of Behavioral Health (DBH) invites members of the community, especially veterans, to review and provide feedback on the Liberty Lane Veteran Housing project, a Mental Health Services Act (MHSA) Housing Program developed to provide permanent supportive housing for veterans with serious mental illness who are homeless or at risk of homelessness.

The plan will be posted for review and public comment for 30 days from Oct. 15 to Nov. 14 at under the announcements heading.

The California Housing Finance Agency and the California Department of Health Care Services have jointly allocated approximately $20 million in funds to DBH for this MHSA Housing Program. These funds will be used in the development of permanent supportive housing for veterans with serious mental illness who are homeless or at risk of homelessness. The project is proposed for development by A Community of Friends.

The Mental Health Services Act, Proposition 63, was passed by California voters in November 2004 and went into effect January 2005.  The Act is funded by a 1 percent surcharge on personal income of more than $1 million per year.

For additional information, please contact Douglas Fazekas, Housing and Employment Program Administrative Manager, at (909) 421-9451.

DBH, through MHSA, is supporting the Countywide Vision by providing resources to promote wellness, recovery and resiliency in the community. Information on the Countywide Vision and the Department of Behavioral Health can be found at

Project Connect event today for homeless and low-income families

Upland 2015 PROJECT CONNECT Flyer PIO rev  7 15 15 (4)The San Bernardino County Homeless Partnership and Upland Homeless Stakeholders invite homeless and low-income families to attend Upland Project Connect today from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Upland Project Connect is a free resource event which will be held at Upland Memorial Park in the Attwood picnic area along Foothill Boulevard between Hospital Park Way and Grove.

Complimentary lunch will be provided for the first 400 participants.

Free on site services, resources and referrals for low income individuals and families may include:
 Medical screenings
 Hygiene kits
 Child care information and services
 Senior Services
 Employment services
 Transitional Assistance Department
 Veteran’s Services
 Legal Services
 Other local resources and more

For more information, interpretation requests or disability related accommodations, please contact: Michele Bletcher at (909) 386-8231,, dial 2-1-1 or 7-1-1 for TTY users.

Community invited to event celebrating recovery

Vickie Baumbach, DBH Alcohol and Drug Services Program Manager II, and Veronica Kelley, DBH Assistant Director, at 2014 Recovery Happens Event.

Vickie Baumbach, DBH Alcohol and Drug Services Program Manager II, and Veronica Kelley, DBH
Assistant Director, at 2014 Recovery Happens Event.

The Department of Behavioral Health (DBH) and its community partners invite the public to help celebrate National Alcohol and Drug Addiction Recovery Month by attending the 12th Annual Recovery Happens event on Saturday, Sept.19 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., at Cucamonga-Guasti Regional Park, 800 N. Archibald Avenue in Ontario.  This no-cost event is made possible through the support of local community partners, agencies and businesses.

Recovery Happens will feature children’s activities, family games, entertainment, free refreshments (while supplies last) and agency booths providing educational resources. A special tribute will take place for individuals in recovery, their families and friends, and those working in the field of prevention, substance use disorder treatment and recovery support services.

This collaborative event between DBH’s Alcohol and Drug Services (ADS) and community partners is designed to increase awareness and understanding of substance use issues while celebrating recovery. Recovery Month is sponsored by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) and was adopted by the San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors in 2011. This year’s theme, “Join the Voices for Recovery: Visible, Vocal, Valuable!” emphasizes the value of peer support in educating, mentoring, and helping others.

“Recovery happens every day. In September, we celebrate the journey taken by community members, family and friends, towards wellness, prevention, treatment and recovery,” said DBH Assistant Director, Veronica Kelley. “DBH is honored to host this annual event to support those we serve.”

DBH’s ADS provides a full range of substance use disorder prevention, treatment and education for communities and residents of San Bernardino County through a network of community based organizations and County-operated clinics with the goal of promoting prevention, intervention, recovery and resiliency for individuals and families. Through ADS, DBH is supporting the Countywide Vision by working to create a county in which those who reside and invest can prosper and achieve well-being.

For additional information regarding this event or DBH ADS services, contact Lois Mergener at (909) 386-8262 (711 for TTY users) or or visit

Behavioral Health cultural committees recognized nationally

Spirituality Sub Committee

Members and guests of the OCCES Spirituality Sub Committee meet to discuss how to best integrate spirituality into behavioral health service delivery.

The Department of Behavioral Health’s (DBH) Office of Cultural Competency and Ethnic Services (OCCES) has been recognized with an Achievement Award from the National Association of Counties (NACo) for its 12 Culture-specific Subcommittees in the category of Civic Education and Public Information.

These community driven Culture-specific Subcommittees function as advisory groups, working to assist DBH in designing programs and services that are community-driven and culturally informed. The committees engage in policy advocacy, develop trainings and conduct outreach activities by recruiting members of the community and engaging them in program planning. Members attend scheduled forums to address the needs of their community and develop strategies to address those needs.

“OCCES, along with our community partners, support the Quality of Life element of the Countywide Vision and will continue to promote and provide culturally competent services that are community centered, culturally informed, recovery-oriented, and wellness driven. We are honored to be nationally recognized by NACo for these efforts,” stated DBH’s Cultural Competency Officer, Imo Momoh.

Community members are invited to participate in any of the following sub-committees: Asian Pacific Islander, Co-Occurring and Substance Abuse, Disabilities, African American, Latino, LGBTQ, Native American, Spirituality, Transitional Age Youth, Veteran’s, Women’s, and Consumer and Family Members.

For more information on these committees or the OCCES, call (909) 386-8223 (TTY users dial 711.)

Started in 1970, NACo’s annual Achievement Award Program is designed to recognize innovative, effective county government programs that enhance services for residents. Each nominee is judged on its own merits and not against other applications received. This year, the County of San Bernardino won 46 Achievement Awards from NACo.

DBH, through the Office of Cultural Competence and Ethnic Services, is supporting the Countywide Vision by capitalizing on the diversity of people to create a broad range of choices in health services for County residents.  Information on the Countywide Vision and the Department of Behavioral Health can be found at

Outreach to homeless in Victorville

Behavioral Health_ full color_Alternate Config (2)Homeless and low-income individuals and families can access a variety of supportive services and information during the Project Connect outreach event on June 3, hosted by the San Bernardino County Homeless Partnership and collaborative partners.

The event will provide free dental and medical screenings, hygiene products, legal services, employment services, housing support services, child care information and services and more.  Additional information regarding other county services and resources will also be provided.

“The homeless and those at-risk of becoming homeless often lack transportation and access to mainstream services,” said Office of Homeless Services Manager Tom Hernandez. “This is what makes the Project Connect event, and other events that bring together providers and those seeking services to one location, so vital to these individuals and the community.”

Project Connect will be held on Wednesday, June 3 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at St. Joan of Arc Catholic Church, 15512 Sixth Street in Victorville.

Project Connect outreach events are held periodically throughout San Bernardino County to provide a centralized service delivery location where non-profit medical and social service providers can collaborate to best serve those in need.

For additional information on this or subsequent Project Connect outreach events, contact Deanna Luttrell at (909) 386-8225 or 7-1-1 for TTY users.



Public input sought for Behavioral Health report

The County’s Draft Mental Health Services Act (MHSA, Prop. 63) Annual Update will be posted for public comment from March 20, 2015 through April 20, 2015. The public is invited to review the draft report and provide feedback on the comment forms, posted in English and Spanish. The report and comment forms are located at

“I encourage all interested parties to participate in this community planning process,” stated CaSonya Thomas, the County’s Behavioral Health Director. “The annual update process is something that occurs every year and we are always trying to improve the services provided and the way we work with community partners.”Behavioral Health_ full color_Alternate Config (2)

County Behavioral Health, through the MHSA, is supporting the Countywide Vision by providing behavioral health services and ensuring residents have the resources they need to promote wellness, recovery and resilience in the community. Information on the Countywide Vision and the Department of Behavioral Health can be found at

County Behavioral Health has leveraged resources provided through the MHSA to expand existing behavioral health services. The services are geared to target the unserved, underserved and inappropriately served members of our community.  Programs provided through MHSA are approved annually by the Board of Supervisors after a comprehensive stakeholder process and public review and approval by the San Bernardino County Behavioral Health Commission.

There are several components of the MHSA including Community Services and Supports, Prevention and Early Intervention, Workforce Education and Training, Capital Facilities, Technology and Innovation.

The Annual Update provides an overview of the outcomes related to each MHSA program and goes over the proposed changes for these components in the upcoming fiscal year.

The MHSA was passed by the California voters in November, 2004, and went into effect January, 2005. The Act is funded by a1percent tax surcharge on personal income over $1 million per year.

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