February 2018 issue
Hello HHS colleagues,
As we move further into 2018, I wanted to briefly update you on the Governor’s budget. The January budget had a relatively positive outlook, anticipating continued growth for the next two years. The proposed budget recommends a ‘steady as you go’ approach, in preparation for an eventual downturn. This means that for now, we are able to comfortably maintain our current level of services.
Which is not to say we are stagnant! In fact, quite the opposite. We are full steam ahead on numerous projects that will improve our services and efficiency, from new financial software to new partnerships to help rehabilitate young adults, as you’ll read below.
I am excited to work with our new CEO, Todd Leopold, to introduce him to the innovative work happening in HHS and share our vision for the coming year and beyond. I hope you’ll join me in giving him a big Placer welcome.
I congratulate you all on last year’s success, and look forward to what’s ahead.
Public Health: Workplace emergency preparedness and flu prevention
Be on the lookout for new tools for workplace emergency preparedness
Everyone has a role in workplace safety, especially during a workplace emergency. Remaining prepared for a workplace emergency is challenging. Each Health and Human Services division has an Emergency Action Plan (EAP), but staff may not be familiar enough with these EAPs to help when it counts the most. To this end, Public Health has worked with other divisions to create a standardized "HHS Brief Emergency Action Plan" for all HHS staff and for every HHS building.
This HHS Brief EAP should be kept at your workstation and identifies potential emergencies; succinct guidance on how all staff should respond; and instructions to manage the workplace emergency response. While the guidance is identical, HHS Brief EAPs have been customized for each division in each building, identifying the evacuation assembly location for each site. Paper copies of HHS Brief EAPs will be provided soon to all staff, and electronic copies will be available for additional printing on our MyPlacer site. A handful are available here, with more to come.
Along with the HHS Brief EAP, there will soon be an "HHS EAP Go Pack" at HHS staff exits. This Go Pack includes documents, equipment and supplies to help manage the workplace emergency. The HHS Brief EAP is not a substitute for each division's EAP, but rather a complement to it. Everyone is encouraged to review and remain familiar with your division's EAP, which has more detail and instructions than the HHS Brief EAP. For questions about division EAPs, refer to a supervisor or a member of your safety committee.
Reminder on flu prevention and the workplace
Hearing lots of coughing and sneezing in the cubicles around you?
We're all aware that it has been an early and active flu season. Here are a few tips from your colleagues in Public Health to help maintain a healthy work environment.
- Get the flu shot. It's not too late, and it's the best protection against flu to help you stay healthy and productive. Flu shots are covered by many providers. Not sure where to go? Visit vaccinefinder.org.
- Don't come to work sick. The flu is a highly contagious disease. When you come to work ill, you may unknowingly spread the flu to your co-workers who are at risk for complications from the flu.
- Practice good hygiene habits. Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing. Wash your hands and avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth.
- Sharing isn't caring. If someone is sick, avoid sharing equipment like phones, computers, headsets, etc. or shaking hands.
Visit the CDC’s flu portal to learn more.
Children's System of Care: Foster to adopt; Youth Commission challenge and classes
Mia’s journey: Adoption from foster care
Three-year-old Mia’s adoption was finalized in December. It was the culmination of a journey that started many years ago when Tasha and Aaron Lockhart of Roseville decided to become foster parents. Experience their story of perseverance, love and the rewards of being a resource family in Placer County: READ MORE
Placer County Youth Commission introduces innovation challenge for area youth
Do you know a creative student interested in solving community issues? On Feb. 17, 2018, the Placer County Youth Commission will host the inaugural Placer Youth Innovation Challenge.
At this new event, participants ages 13-19 will compete to create and present an innovative solution to this year's issue: food waste. Participants will be judged by a panel of industry professionals. Local business leaders will be present at the ceremony to recognize the winning team.
Applications for the event will be accepted now through Jan. 31, 2018. The winning team of three to four participants will receive $100 or more in rewards. More information and the simple online application can be found at www.placeryouth.com.
"The Youth Innovation Challenge will provide STEM [Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math] and entrepreneurial opportunities in Placer County,” explained PCYC commissioner and education committee chair Mitchell Herbert. “We hope that the Youth Innovation Challenge will help encourage students throughout Placer County to pursue their technology- or business-related interests."
The youth commission is also currently seeking nominations for the fourth annual Youth Impact Awards, a scholarship and awards program honoring local teens. READ MORE
Classes to help you recognize warning signs of mental health crises, suicide
Health and Human Services regularly partners with the Placer County Office of Education to host trainings around mental health problems, their impact and treatment.
There are several upcoming opportunities to take advantage of this valuable training. In the upcoming Mental Health First Aid course, attendees will gain the skills, resources and knowledge to help someone in crisis connect with appropriate care. In the Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training (ASIST), attendees learn skills to recognize and intervene to prevent the immediate risk of suicide.
Administrative Services: New data tool and holiday festivities
New tool will bring real-time data into budgeting decisions
In recent years, the county rolled out a software package called Board, by the vendor Neubrain, that was used to develop the 2017-18 budget.
In that system, data is tied to programs: A division director can, for example, see how much money went to Information Technology services in a given year.
It was a great improvement over older budgeting tools. But Health and Human Services staff wanted to go even deeper. From that pool of IT dollars, for example, how much went to basic customer service interactions as opposed to a custom development project?
This type of data can help leadership determine if their budget allocations are working, or if they need to change course and shift resources around.
As a result, Administrative Services has been working with Neubrain to add a component to the Board software that enables users to track budgets down to the project and grant level. It’s called the Advanced Board System.
What does that mean for staff? Administrative Services can generate detailed reports and projections with a few clicks, rather than spending hours creating and manipulating complex spreadsheets — and division leaders are armed with more current, relevant data as they make budgeting decisions.
Users could click “Grant Detail,” select MHSA, and get a comprehensive view of where Mental Health Services Act block grant dollars are being expended. They could also generate predictions for months, or years, down the line — something that in the past was done in Excel, by hand. The system updates overnight, so that reports reflect more current information than in past years.
The Advanced Board System is connected to ACORN, and will be connected to the new Workday system, so that managers can track how employees are spending their time between projects in order to make personnel decisions.
“It means we are better able to deliver current information to make critical business decisions and maximize their funding,” said Vicki Grenier, who manages Revenue and Budgets.
Currently, Administrative Services staff have been trained in the Advanced Board System and can generate these reports quickly. Eventually, they’d like to train division leaders to be able to use this tool as well — and see it rolled out to other departments across the County.
Administrative Services, other divisions deck the halls
For the seventh year, HHS went all out for the holidays!
Administrative Services collaborated with Environmental Health to host a winter celebration in the CDRC, welcoming more than 300 guests and decorating more than 50 workspaces.
After votes were tallied from among the visitors, the most creative workspaces were:
Cliff Ingram - Santa’s Reindeer Barn
Leonor Baker - a replica of the movie “Up!”
Sheri Jeffrey - traditional tree and decorations
Kristal Baumbach - a red brick dollhouse with Santa’s sleigh and reindeer
Kellie Barton - Elves’ game room
Jody Hoffman - oodles of elegant holiday décor
Mohan Ganapathy & Laura Rath - Santa’s septic tank
Environmental Health even ‘confiscated’ the leftovers at the event’s conclusion. Many visitors donated non-perishable items, generating over 80 pounds of food for the needy.
Check out photos from that event, and others including Public Health’s Candy Land-themed festivities!
Adult System of Care: Homeless housing helpline
Placer launches helpline for homeless housing resources
Placer County residents who are experiencing homelessness now have a new, centralized gateway to housing resources.
Today marked the launch of the Homeless Resource Helpline. People who are homeless may call 1-833-3PLACER (1-833-375-2237) and answer a few questions to determine their eligibility for various housing programs. Their needs will be shared with participating homeless service providers offering emergency, rapid re-housing and permanent supportive housing in Placer County. This telephone hotline is operated by the Homeless Resource Council of the Sierras , a collaborative group of agencies and nonprofit organizations from Placer and Nevada counties. That group leads the Continuum of Care, coordinating housing and services funding for homeless families and individuals.
This streamlined service will help various agencies throughout Placer County better coordinate services and prioritize needs. Homeless individuals will have their needs assessed in a consistent manner, and their data will be placed into the Continuum of Care’s Homeless Management Information System.
The helpline is also available in Spanish. Walk-in services will still be available at local emergency shelters for those who do not have a phone.
Community Recovery Resources to lead new efforts around rehabilitation programs for young adults
Community Recovery Resources has been selected as the agency that will lead new efforts around rehabilitative programs for young adults aged 18-32, funded by a grant. Placer County was one of 23 applicants awarded money by the California Board of State and Community Corrections, which stemmed from savings from the enactment of Proposition 47. Proposition 47 passed in 2014 and allowed some low-level, nonviolent felonies to be reduced to misdemeanors.
Animal Services: Employee feature & year in review
Get to know kennel attendant Nancy Magana — and her mother, a volunteer!
Nancy Magana is a kennel attendant working at the Placer County Animal Services Center.
She’s been in that role for four years, after leaving a career in graphic design. She signed up for the county’s Work Experience program, looking for a new path, and ended up volunteering with the animals. That turned into a part-time, and then a full-time, gig.
And it’s a family affair: Nancy’s mother, Mary Placencia, volunteers several days each week at the animal services center, doing laundry. With dozens of animals there at any given time, they go through at least four loads a day.
“I just like to help — and I don’t like to sit. I have to keep busy,” said Mary, who is 82.
“Having volunteers like my mom here helps us be more efficient,” Nancy said.
Get to know a little more about Nancy and her mother in this interactive feature.
Best year yet for adoptions
Animal Services broke many records in 2017, saving more lives than ever before. Animal adoptions increased more than 95 percent over the previous year, up 153 percent for cats and 50 percent for dogs.
The animal services center’s live release rate surged to over 91 percent, thanks in part to lifesaving partnerships with community partners to rescue neonatal kittens and feral cats, along with access to an in-house veterinarian that has enabled life-saving medical procedures from leg amputations to bladder stone surgery, as one dog named Curly experienced.
More animals are coming into the shelter, too: 2017 saw an increase of more than 500 animals compared to the previous year. With growing numbers, shelter staff and volunteers are using creative approaches to make sure animals find their forever home. For example, when they had trouble placing a large Hampshire hog that had been surrendered by his previous owner, staff turned to social media. Barney’s photos and video were shared widely and reached more than 440,000 people — leading to his adoption by a Bay Area family. Staff are also working to reunify more animals with their existing owners, reaching out to the community via Nextdoor and identifying animals via their microchips. Check out this remarkable story of a cat who was missing for five months before she was reunited with her owner thanks to a microchip.
What’s ahead in 2018? Stay tuned!
Environmental Health: Letter of thanks
Customer letter showcases collaborative approach to regulation
“We received this note from a client who, in the past, we have not always had the smoothest relationship with,” said Environmental Health Director Wesley Nicks.
“This is just one example of the way in which our unique approach to customer service has broken down traditional barriers and allowed us to build relationships in our community,” Nicks said.
Human Services: Tax assistance, employee feature & CalFresh success
Program offers free tax assistance to eligible residents
For the third year Placer County Health and Human Services will provide free tax assistance to low-income individuals and families, in cooperation with the IRS and United Way, through the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program.
VITA helps wage earners with the highest need receive their earned income tax credit, a refundable federal and state income tax credit for low- to moderate-income working individuals and families.
Last year, VITA filings netted Placer County residents more than a half million dollars in returns.
“This is money that is helping families stay financially stable and going back into our local economy,” said Human Services Director Linda Bridgman.
Click here to learn more, and here for a flyer.
Meet Vanessa Piper of Employment Services
Vanessa Piper is a client services counselor with Employment Services and an employee engagement ambassador.
Vanessa’s job includes teaching “Get Hired” workshops at Placer School for Adults, helping facilitate job fairs and assisting clients in writing resumes. The most rewarding part of her job is helping clients overcome barriers to employment that can be life changing.
Get to know a little more about Vanessa in this interactive feature.
Code for America partnership to create CalFresh website sees results
In 2017, nearly 2,000 people applied for CalFresh benefits through www.getcalfresh.org, the easy-to-use website developed jointly by Placer County and Code for America. It’s a new record for the site, which launched in 2015.
About half of those applicants accessed the site via a mobile device — one of the goals of the project.
“We collaborated with this nonprofit organization because we wanted to build something that would improve access to these critical resources and meet people where they are: on their phones and tablets,” said Human Services Director Linda Bridgman.