Inyo County Probation Receives Honors from CSAC
Inyo County’s Juvenile Services Redesign Initiative Receives Recognition & Award
From Sierra Wave Media
Inyo County Probation Department and Health & Human Services staff members are getting some well-deserved time in the spotlight as part of a state organization’s efforts to highlight the best practices of California counties.
Through a series of videos, the California Association of Counties (CSAC) is highlighting recipients of its annual Challenge Awards, including Inyo County’s Juvenile Services Redesign initiative.
Staff from Probation and Health & Human Services, responsible for implementing the program, were interviewed and filmed last week for the approximately three-minute spot.
The Challenge Awards video is expected to show and tell the story of Inyo County’s drastic – and successful – change in its approach to serving at-risk youth and their families through the Probation system, with assistance from agency and community partners such as Health & Human Services and local schools.
The video shoot marks CSAC’s second visit to Inyo County in as many weeks. The Inyo County Board of Supervisors was honored to welcome CSAC legislative staff for the official presentation of not just the Challenge Award but also a Merit Award earned by the Inyo County Clerk-Recorder’s Office for its Online Fictitious Business Name Registration program.
CSAC Health and Behavioral Health Legislative Representative Farrah McDaid Ting, CSAC Health and Human Services Legislative Analyst Roshena Duree and CSAC Human Services Legislative Representative Justin Garrett made the trip from Sacramento to present the respective awards to Chief Probation Officer Jeff Thomson and HHS Director Marilyn Mann, and ClerkRecorder Kammi Foote and her Office Clerk Brenda Delgado Botello.
The Challenge Award was one of only 15 awarded in 2018 and the Merit Award was one of only 36, out of a total field of 272 entries.
“To get two awards, a Challenge Award … and a Merit Award, is pretty impressive for a county the size of Inyo,” Ting told the Board of Supervisors during its October 16 meeting.
Since the 1990s, CSAC’s Challenge Awards contest has sought to “recognize the innovative and creative spirit of California counties as they find innovative, effective and cost-saving ways to provide programs and services to their citizens.” Entries are accepted in three population categories: Rural, Suburban, and Urban.
Both the Online Fictitious Business Name Registration program and the Inyo County Juvenile Services Redesign initiative were submitted and won in the Rural category. Duree called both programs “two of the most innovative in the state.”
Foote’s program is actually a first for the State of California. In an effort to alleviate the inconvenience of commute times posed by geographic challenges, and in the process boost filing compliance rates, Foote teamed with a government technology start-up, CityGrows, to launch the first completely digital Fictitious Business Name Filing in California.
The result has been dramatically increased compliance, transparency, ease of operation, and efficiency, with more than 80 percent of filings now taking place online. Business owners no longer have to drive long distances – sometimes hundreds of miles – to file their paperwork in person, and what used to take weeks to process, now takes hours.
“We love to highlight innovation, and we think for a small county you are leading the way and we think this is an example that the larger counties should take note of,” Ting said of Foote’s program.
County Clerk Foote shared credit for the success of the program with Delgado Botello, who oversees its day-to-day implementation, as well as the Inyo County Board of Supervisors for approving and supporting the project, Treasurer-Tax Collector Alisha McMurtrie for providing additional assistance, and to the developers from CityGrows.
The Juvenile Services Redesign initiative was another attempt to solve a challenge facing the County, this time a declining population at the Juvenile Hall and continued high costs to operate the facility 24/7. The solution: transitioning the center to a special purpose detention facility and “repurposing” the work of the staff there – changing their titles to Rehabilitation Specialist and putting them to work out in the community.
The goal was to serve more at-risk youth more efficiently through a preventative and proactive approach, in partnership with Health & Human Services and local schools. That goal, as noted by Garrett, is being achieved, with staff now able to provide programs and services to twice as many youth in a single month as they did during an entire year through the Juvenile Hall.
“It’s really an innovative program that’s getting a lot of results,” Garrett said.
Chief Probation Officer Thomson credited his staff, ongoing collaboration with Health & Human Services, and the Board of Supervisors’ foresight and prioritization of youth for the program’s success. HHS Director Mann thanked Probation and her staff for their hard work on what has been at times a difficult transition.
Supervisor Jeff Griffiths, who serves on the CSAC Board of Directors and is Vice Chair of CSAC’s HHS Policy Committee, had high praise for the local award recipients. “This honor wouldn’t be possible without the innovative work from our dedicated and caring staff,” he said. “It’s wonderful to be recognized as one of the most exciting programs in the state.”
For more information about the CSAC Challenge Awards, visit http://www.counties.org/challenge-awards. The video being filmed today will be available for viewing at this site in the near future.