Published: July 12, 2019
On Tuesday July 9, 2019, the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors awarded the Behavioral Health Youth and Family Services (YFS) contracts to the following three entities: Individuals Now, Inc. dba Social Advocates for Youth (SAY), Seneca Family of Agencies and LifeWorks of Sonoma County.
The three providers were selected through a Request for Proposals (RFP) using a competitive procurement process for the first time. Competitive procurement processes, include ensuring all interested parties have an opportunity to submit a bid to contract with the County by publicly announcing
a solicitation for services. This also allows the County to select the most qualified vendors to provide services and increases transparency, as the criteria and scoring information are publicly available. There is also an opportunity for bidders to ask questions and receive answers before submissions
to help ensure their bid adheres to the County’s requirements.
On April 2, 2019, the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors approved a set of contracting principles applicable to contracted services provided by the Community Development Commission, Department of Health Services (DHS), Human Services Department, and Probation (Sonoma County Safety Net
Departments). These contracting principles reiterate the Safety Net Departments’ responsibility to adhere to the competitive procurement processes. The contracting principles and the Board’s approval of the YFS contracts reaffirm the County’s commitment to conducting fair, open, and competitive procurements.
In July 2018, DHS informed the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors of an effort to enhance the process of procuring behavioral health services through competitive procurement. Since then, DHS has worked with the Board of Supervisors to approve contracting principles and begin a phased approach with contracts providing specialty
Mental Health services for youth and their families.
The principles spell out the process by which the Board and departments will work together when setting policy priorities as well as their respective roles in delivering the strategic vision for the County. The Board will rely on the departments to identify the best community-based organizations (CBOs)
through the established procurement processes. The departments will update the Board with additional information on service gaps and need across the County, thus enabling the Board to make better-informed decisions during the annual budget process. The contracting principles were developed with the hope that it will
reduce the need for mid-year budgetary adjustments and provide CBOs with a clearer understanding of the official channels through which funding can be obtained from the County.
Sonoma County’s CBOs are a critical part of the County’s safety net and they provide vital services in every community across the County, including serving some of our most vulnerable residents. These principles are designed to provide clarity and stability to CBOs, enabling them
to focus more of their attention on ensuring high quality services are provided to their clients. The departments look forward to ongoing partnership with the CBO community to help Sonoma County residents of all ages and backgrounds thrive.
There will be a transition period as we move from previous YFS service providers to the new providers that were selected over the next three months. The Behavioral Health Division (BHD) will work with clients to make this transition and will communicate the exact schedule after it is developed.
BHD is also working with all of the entities involved to ensure a smooth transition and continuity of care.
You can find our contracting principles from the following link as well:
Additionally, future opportunities to provide behavioral health services via contract are forthcoming. In Fiscal Year 2020-2021, the Department will implement the competitive procurement process for certain adult behavioral health services. Future procurement efforts will adhere to these principles.