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2017 County Strategic Priority:
Securing Our Safety Net


We are closing the gaps in the Safety Net to support our highest need residents to achieve self-sufficiency, recovery and well-being. We are achieving this through coordination of three related initiatives: Project 301, which identifies and provides coordinated services to the 301 most vulnerable people/families in our community, strengthening Behavioral Health services by expanding and bolstering successful programs and launching coordinated services, and targeting safety net services at the neighborhood level.

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Priority Summary

There are individuals and families in Sonoma County that have significant and multiple needs for safety net services provided by county departments and lack sufficient access to services and opportunities to move toward resiliency, self-sufficiency and optimal well-being. While Sonoma County departments aim to serve the needs of the highest risk populations, currently no mechanism exists to identify and target the highest need, shared clients of multiple departments. Further, the County does not have strategies, processes, and systems to comprehensively integrate, coordinate and evaluate services that are needed and delivered to the highest need clients. Furthermore, there is significant unmet needs for behavioral health services in our community.

The Safety Net priority initiatives will focus on improving access to coordinated services to address critical service gaps and evaluating the effectiveness of these service delivery strategies. The Safety Net priority work will be addressed through coordination of three related initiatives: Project 301, Behavioral Health services, and Neighborhood services. These priority initiatives will coordinate across projects, and work in collaboration with other Board priorities, to develop an integrated system that aims to yield improved client well-being outcomes and improved efficiencies in the ways County departments and community partners use resources, develop partnerships, and deliver critical services.

The Safety Net services priority will leverage existing County, State, Federal and Private investments in ongoing efforts. Unmet need of resources required for the successful development, launch, and long-term, ongoing support for Safety Net services falls broadly into the following categories: cross-department administrative commitment, program and administrative staff support, in-kind department staff support for initiative development, legal consultation, data systems design and support, information technology systems and support, and infrastructure resources for co-located services. 

County agencies are seeking in-kind technical assistance support from the Harvard Government Performance Lab and Berkeley California Policy Lab to support successful development and deployment of long-term, outcomes-oriented performance improvement goals of the Safety Net priority initiatives.

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Specific goals for this priority are to:

  1. Improve health, well-being and self-sufficiency outcomes of clients and families.
  2. Increase number of people accessing services.
  3. Improve referrals, access and sustained engagement of clients for County-provided services.
  4. Increase coordination of county services and reduction in duplicate services.
  5. Decrease resources expended per client/family.

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Potential outcome measures to track progress toward these goals could include:

Outcomes for participating individuals/families:

  • Secure jobs or become self employed.
  • Increase in assets and household income.
  • Reduction of reliance on public benefits.
  • Housing stability.
  • Reduced recidivism.
  • Reduction or elimination of barriers to initial or continuous employment.

Government Performance Improvements:

  • Improved service integration.
  • Improved referral and client tracking mechanisms.
  • Expanded services to meet critical needs.
  • Increased access to services.
  • Improved information sharing across departments and community partners.
  • Creation of a single record system.
  • Expanded capacity of staff.
  • Reduction in paperwork, gaps and duplication of services.
  • Improved evaluation to assess outcomes.

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Priority Projects

The County has identified three primary initiatives to advance the Enhancing the Safety Net priority. Under each of these initiatives are numerous existing and new projects. In this sense, much of what is proposed in this priority is a greater integration of disparate safety net services, targeted in a more focused and coordinated way on those most in need, where those people live.

In addition, there are a number of influencing factors, representing potential opportunities to advance this priority or threats to its progress. These include: Changes in state and federal funding landscape may limit resources for projects; Institutionalized silos regarding information sharing, confidentiality, and funding streams may require time-intensive coordination and negotiation; Multiple data software systems at local and state levels used by participating departments may require time-intensive data-sharing agreements and integration design; Immigration status of clients may be a barrier to accessing care and integrating into data systems; Investments in improving systems of Safety Net services likely to yield considerable long-term impact on client well-being and resource efficiencies, yet require multi-year investments in planning, data system integration, service delivery system redesign and deployment, and longitudinal evaluation.

  1. Project 301: The strategic priority initiative Project 301 will focus on strengthening collaborative service delivery strategies and case management across Sonoma County departments for at least 301 of the most at-risk residents and families. Phase 1 will focus on data sharing and data system integration and coordination to identify the target population to be served and to define and confirm shared measures. Phase 2 will focus on developing a model for comprehensive approaches to address key needs, based on a “no wrong door” strategy to ensure access to services across departments in order to prioritize coordinated care. Phase 3 will focus on implementation and conducting of a comprehensive evaluation to assess impact on client outcomes.
  2. Behavioral Health Services: The strategic priority initiatives focused on Behavioral Health will build upon existing work to strengthen cross-department and community coordination aimed at addressing critical gaps in the mental health and substance abuse system from prevention to crisis intervention to treatment and recovery. The focus of these initiatives will expand and strengthen a comprehensive system of coordinated mental health and substance abuse services, including implementation of the county Drug Medi-Cal program, implementation of the Mental Health Services Act (MHSA) 2017-2020 plan, successful coordination of the Stepping Up Initiative, launch of the Whole Person Care pilot, and a regional partnership to develop the Psychiatric Health Facility (PHF).
  3. Neighborhood Services: The strategic priority initiative of “neighborhood services” aims to assess and plan the viability of services delivery in specific community neighborhoods within Sonoma County, including but not limited to, Cloverdale, Sonoma Valley, and West County. The analysis will include key service needs in particular geographic areas, costs and anticipated benefits of co-locating county and community services, including co-location at existing County properties, and negotiation of establishing neighborhood services. The initiative will build upon a pilot effort to be launched by the Departments of Human and Health Services South County Center in Petaluma in April 2017.

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Contact Information

575 Administration Drive
Suite 104A
Santa Rosa, CA 95403
38.464665, -122.725235

Lead Departments


Health Action

Upstream Investments

UC Berkeley California Policy Lab

Harvard Government Performance Lab

Other Stakeholders

Cities and towns of Sonoma County


Health clinics

Mental health service providers

Substance-abuse treatment providers

Social service providers

Sonoma County residents and businesses

Clients of safety net services

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