Santa Rosa, CA – December 13, 2018 – The Sonoma County safety net departments accepted a $1
million grant to continue advancing the work of the Accessing Coordinated Care
and Empowering Self-Sufficiency (ACCESS) Sonoma County initiative from the
Hewlett Foundation this week.
The basis of ACCESS
relies on close coordination between the safety net departments—Health
Services, Human Services, Community Development Commission, Probation, and
Child Support Services and criminal justice partners—to holistically support clients
with complex needs, and ultimately improve their health and economic stability.
ACCESS, which has
the goal of identifying the most vulnerable residents in the community—those
experiencing ongoing unemployment, homelessness and housing insecurity, behavioral
health and substance use issues, and who also may receive services that
intersect with agencies in the criminal justice system—and helps them receive
the support they need.
“In April of 2017,
the Board of Supervisors directed the departments with shared clients to
strengthen the County’s safety net services to help our highest need residents
achieve recovery and self-sufficiency,” said Sonoma County Third District
Supervisor Shirlee Zane.
Karen Fies, Director
of the Sonoma County Human Services Department said she was grateful the Board continued
making the ACCESS initiative a priority by including it the County recovery
plan finalized in September in response to last year’s wildfires.
“We appreciate the
support of the Board of Supervisors on this project. It is important that
County departments responsible for the health and well-being of our community
have the tools and technology to work together for the betterment of residents,”
The safety net
departments began addressing the problem by concurrently assembling a flexible,
interdepartmental multidisciplinary team and developing a comprehensive
data-sharing support system for enhanced care coordination.
County’s housing crisis, it is imperative we link our safety net services as a
means to provide coordinated assistance to individuals experiencing poverty and
housing instability,” said Margaret Van Vliet, Executive Director of the Sonoma
County Community Development Commission.
ACCESS Sonoma County
is currently working with IBM to integrate its safety net systems via a hub
that enables case workers, clinicians, housing staff, probation officers and
others across various departments to view all services a client is receiving.
This holistic view facilitates better data sharing leading to enhanced
coordinated care and outcomes.
The mobile aspect of
this system will allow the County and community workers to work with clients
out in the field, and more importantly, it will allow the client the ability to
actively participate in their care plan using technology to enable place-based
The funds from the
Hewlett Foundation grant will be used to continue the ongoing work ACCESS
Sonoma County has been doing with IBM, specifically to build-out its integrated
hub by adding systems from other agencies and eventually community partners who
are critical to holistic care.
benefits of ACCESS Sonoma County is improved health and well-being for
residents. The implications of these initial successes demonstrate more
equitable, effective and efficient approaches to understand and address critical
needs of residents.
“This programming allows safety net departments to share
information on mutual clients, increasing the likelihood of coordinating
services for residents who need it most and improving outcomes for these people,”
said David Koch, Chief Probation
Officer of the Sonoma County Probation Department.
Recent national and
state trends have shown the need for services to focus on the coordination and
integration of service delivery across safety net agencies. A significant
factor driving both cost and inefficiency is the siloed and fragmented way in
which many safety net agencies currently deliver services.
approach focusing holistically on all of the needs of an individual could yield
better outcomes for those being served,” said DHS Director Barbie Robinson
whose department leads ACCESS. “Coordinating so many different services is
challenging; however, we are working together toward solutions that both
strengthens safety net systems and reduces costs.”