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Published on Apr 26, 2011
Family Visitation Center Ensuring that at-risk children who have been detained remain with their families is a key challenge facing the Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services. Together with faith-based organizations and the South County Office, the Department created the South County Family Visitation Center - designed to get children back to their parents. The Center offers a safe, home-like environment where parents can visit their children and assist them in the preparation of a safe return home. The county uses a blend of paid monitors and volunteer staff, which has resulted in annual savings of $3,960. More importantly, the program has become so successful that three more centers have opened in other areas of Los Angeles County.
Plain Language Iniative Understanding "government-speak" is often a difficult and tedious. The Los Angeles County Quality and Productivity Commission had a better idea: develop a program that promotes effective communication in easy-to-understand terms. The Simply Speaking - Plain Language Initiative created a writers network for managers to promote plain language and a core writers group to develop strategies. The county used a modest $289,636 budget to bring together all 37 county departments as active participants. As a result, several communication protocols were repurposed, various documents, fact sheets and contracts were rewritten in easier to read terms, and websites used plain language to articulate programs and activities. Increased cost savings and improved productivity ensued which also resulted in fewer calls to various government hotlines.
Mental Health FSP Programs The Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health needed to find a way to reduce hospitalization and incarceration days for individuals with lengthy histories of mental illness and psychiatric disorders without sacrificing quality of care. Enter the Full Service Partnership Program, which sets a staff-to-client ration not to exceed 1:15 in order to provide intensive care management, mental health, and supportive services. Using this approach, team members are able to respond to clients in crisis much more efficiently. Results were striking: homelessness days for older adults decreased 58 percent, and incarceration days dropped 30 percent, and other measurements experienced similar declines. This resulted in a $39.8 million cost avoidance for Adults and Older Adult program clients.