FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 12, 2000
Contact: Diane Thomas
Media Affairs County
of Orange Honored With Three State Awards
A handbook for opening a child care center, mentors for
children and teens with emotional and/or behavioral problems,
and an effort to keep first-time juvenile offenders from
repeating their mistakes are three County of Orange programs
honored as the most innovative and creative in the state.
Only 17 percent of the 162 entries from 33 counties were
honored as 2000 Challenge or Merit Award winners.
The California State Association of Counties' (CSAC) annual
statewide competition selected the Social Services Agency's
(SSA) "The Process of Starting a Child Care Center
or Large Family Care Home in Orange County: A Handbook
for Beginners," as a Challenge Award winner. The
Health Care Agency's (HCA) "Project Together"
and the Probation Department's "8% Early Intervention
Program," were both selected as Merit Award winners.
"Leadership, innovation, collaboration, creativity,
resourcefulness and effectiveness have made these County
programs winners," said Steven Szalay, Executive
The SSA " Handbook for Beginners" assists
prospective providers of child care centers or large family
child care homes with planning and development information
specific to Orange County. After contracting with Community
Planning Associates (CPA), a list of 5,000 tasks required
to develop a child care center was compiled. Extensive
research in each of Orange County's 33 cities (now 34)
was conducted and the user-friendly product was complete
in May 2000.
"Project Together" works to match responsible
adult volunteers with a child or teen in mental health
treatment. Mentors, acting as teachers, tutors and guides,
serve two to four hours per week for six months with a
child/teen. Before 'Project Together" was implemented
16 years ago, many children and teens were remaining in
mental health treatment for years with little or no change
in behavioral and social functioning. Since then, studies
show that children and teens can overcome their adversity
with the positive influence of a committed mentor in their
In the mid-1980s, the "8% Early Intervention Program"
evolved when studies of 6,000 young first-time criminal
offenders showed that 8-10 percent of the youths accounted
for 55 percent of the repeat offenses in Orange County.
Aided by the National Institute of Corrections and Temple
University, the Probation Department developed a program
to focus on the repeat offender population, specifically
first-time juveniles under age 15 and their families.
Later, a similar program was established for older youth.
Currently, more than 300 teenagers are involved in the
program with 31 percent fewer probation violations, 43
percent fewer law violations and 26 percent fewer days
Representatives of the County's award-winning programs
will receive their awards in November at the 106th annual
CSAC state conference at the Ontario Convention Center
in San Bernardino County.
"I am very proud of all the County's programs. To
be recognized with a Challenge Award and two Merit Awards
is an achievement the entire County can be proud of,"
said Board of Supervisors Chairman Chuck Smith.