They Like Us, They Really Like Us!

County employees: Stand up and take a bow!

Judges for the California State Association of Counties (CSAC) have honored San Diego County with eight awards for innovation in County government, the greatest number of CSAC awards ever won by the County. The most prestigious honor, the California Counties Innovation Award, was given to San Diego County for reforming In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS). CSAC also selected the County for two Challenge awards and five Merit awards.

“In these tough economic times where everyone is trying to do more with less, this type of recognition is a great honor for San Diego County,” said Board of Supervisors Chairman Bill Horn. “I am very proud of what we can do. CSAC looks for unique programs that can be easily replicated by other counties.” 

In-Home Supportive Services helps seniors and disabled individuals by providing assistance with meals, grooming, house-cleaning, laundry and shopping. These services allow residents to continue living in their own homes.

Reform efforts involved conducting criminal background checks, surprise home visits to make sure residents were getting the required services, fraud training for staff members and a new document scanning system to improve record-keeping and documentation. In the first fiscal year after implementation, the program realized $24 million in savings. 

Here are the other winners:  

Challenge Award for Camp Connect San Diego, a camp that brings together siblings separated while in foster care.

Challenge Award for Free Foreclosure Prevention HOME Clinics, a free program offered at County libraries which provides education and counseling for people facing bankruptcy.

Merit Award for “Engaging Non-Custodial Parents” Video Series. The video is posted on the Child Support Services website and allows non-custodial parents to educate themselves on the child support process. Staff members save about 15 minutes per interview with non-custodial parents and the additional time allows them to focus on the specifics of their case instead of the general process.

Merit Award for Improving Regional GIS Data Exchange. A new computer script gives GIS improved reliability in the flow of information between it and the San Diego Geographic Information Source or SanGIS, a partnership with the City of San Diego. The implementation of the computer script cut the number of network outages to zero and saved $34,440 in the first year.

Merit Award for the Responsible Pet Ownership (rePO) Program. This is a program for animal owners who have been cited for minor violations. The program educates the owners and saves time, money in court costs and reduces recidivism. 

Merit Award for Senior Expo: Protect Yourself and Your Wallet, a program which teaches seniors how to protect themselves from physical and financial abuse.  

Merit Award for Integrated Fire Suppression/Storm water Compliance Program. The use of diffuser/filter systems allows the County to test building fire sprinklers and fire pump systems in a safe and effective manner and has saved the County $190,000 since August, 2008.