A prescription drug abuse taskforce, homeless prevention for students, water conserving landscaping and a traffic school of sorts for pet owners are among the County of San Diego’s innovative programs that won national recognition and the second highest number of awards in the country by the National Association of Counties (NACo).

Those award wins were announced the same day that Orange county announced that seventeen of their programs had been selected for NACo awards.

“The County of San Diego is recognized nationally for the exemplary way it serves the citizens of our region. The latest affirmation comes from NACo, which recognized our County team with 28 Achievement Awards,” said Board of Supervisors Chairman Bill Horn. “I’m proud of our entire team of professionals, especially the many people whose work is reflected in these honors.”

The Achievement Awards are earned by county programs that are innovative, successful, save time and money and improve service to residents across the nation. The NACo awards were created in 1970 to modernize and streamline county government.

San Diego County’s award-winning programs represent each of the County’s five major groups: Public Safety, Health & Human Services Agency, Land Use & Environment, Community Services and Finance & General Government.

Among the 28 initiatives honored were the HOPE re-entry resource program for inmates released from local jails; a veteran’s internship program that assists those seeking paid work experience in county government; and a sheriff’s management academy that is a Peace Officers Standards and Training certified program which serves to provide an overview in contracts and fiscal responsibility as well as leadership training and management skills.

For a complete list of awards, visit: http://www.naco.org/programs/recognition/Pages/2011AchievementAwards.aspx.
Meanwhile, The County of Orange had seventeen of its programs selected to receive a 2011 Achievement Award by the National Association of Counties (NACo). Among these, the Probation Department’s Center for Opportunity, Reentry and Education (CORE) Program was designated “Best in Category” in Criminal Justice and Public Safety.

“We are honored to have been recognized by NACo and given the opportunity to share the creative spirit of County programs, which have been created to enhance and streamline the services we provide,” said Chairman Bill Campbell, Orange County Board of Supervisors.

The seventeen Orange County programs to receive the distinction are:

CORE Program – Center for Opportunity, Reentry and Education (Best in Category): The Probation Department provides an educational opportunity to adults who have yet to earn their High School Diploma or GED Certificate as well as cognitive behavioral therapy to adults who have struggled to put their lives back together after incarceration.

Camino de Esperanza Program: OC Parks and the Probation Department created the “Camino de Esperanza” (or “Trail of Hope”) program that organized field trips for incarcerated youth to parks facilities to educate and inspire each of the participants.

Dana Point Harbor Water Quality Improvement Program: OC Dana Point Harbor established a Dana Point Harbor Water Quality Improvement Program to develop new and innovative ways to improve water quality inside and outside of the Harbor.

Dog License Amnesty Program: Designed to provide financial relief to dog owners in Orange County who incurred penalties or late fees for past due licensing. During the 45 day program, OC Animal Care sold 6,975 more licenses as compared to the same time period the previous year.

Election Academy: This program was created by the Registrar of Voters to offer OC citizens a new service to increase their level of election participation. This education tool was also established to provide a thorough understanding of elections, how they work and the policies behind them.

Human Powered Craft Operational Safety Guidelines Signage and Sticker Program: Implemented by OC Dana Point Harbor in an effort to educate all human powered craft (HPC) users and their fellow power and sail boaters on how to operate vessels in a safe and considerate manner.

Internal Savings in Difficult Times: The Internal Savings Program has helped the Registrar of Voters manage an additional 5% in cuts to its fiscal year 10-11 and upcoming fiscal year 11-12 budgets without resorting to layoffs or furloughs.

Intergenerational Literacy: Intergenerational Literacy is a component of an adult literacy program that partners with OC Public Libraries to provide several monthly reading times when entire families read, play, and learn together.

Library Book Cart Delivery System: Developed by an OC Public Libraries warehouse employee, the system sorts and delivers books and materials to the branches using special-ordered book carts versus hand-held canvas bags, greatly reducing the number of steps in the process.

Military and Overseas Portal: The Military and Overseas Portal, created by the Registrar of Voters, offers the military and overseas citizens of OC a new service, fills gaps in the availability of current services, improves the administration of existing government programs, and increases the level of citizen participation in and understanding of elections.

Orange County Executive Office OC Infrastructure: The CEO obtained approval from the Board of Supervisors to implement a recommended reorganization of County departments, establishing OC Infrastructure, achieving $12 million in savings, and applying balanced scorecard performance measures.

Parks Mars and Stars Program: OC Parks partnered with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration Jet Propulsion Laboratory to host a new series of outdoor, educational public programs showcasing NASA’s unmanned missions to Mars.

Parks Second Sundays Habitat Restoration Program: OC Parks’ Second Sundays series of events resulted in the successful recruitment of thousands of volunteers annually who worked tirelessly to improve the Upper Newport Bay Nature Preserve habitat for wildlife by planting and seeding native species and removing invasive, non-native plants.

Poll Worker PASS: Developed by the Registrar of Voters to improve the administration and enhance the cost effectiveness of conducting elections. Another goal of the program is to enhance the level of citizen participation in a government program by streamlining volunteer communications.

Prototypes Mother & Child Residential Homes Program: The Prototypes’ Mother and Child Residential Homes on the Tustin Family Campus is a first of its kind program in Orange County. The homes, which can accommodate up to 15 families at one time, provide a range of comprehensive and integrated services for mothers and their children who are receiving services within the Orange County Social Services Agency system.

Rapid Methods Beach Water Quality Testing: The Health Care Agency’s Water Quality Program took part in an 8-week project that demonstrated the use of new ocean water testing methods, which provided same day results of water status and notification to the public.

Solutions for Parents: A Child Support Marketing and Communications Program: This Child Support Services program encompasses results-oriented marketing, advertising, and community relations campaigns designed to vigorously promote available child support resources to customers while better meeting their needs.