Summary of Objective Implementation Status
Sonoma County’s Safety Net departments have been working to integrate and align services to ensure that community members receive coordinated care, no matter how the individual enters the Safety Net System. This “no wrong door” approach and philosophy provides a roadmap for the County to implement strategies to improve service delivery by enhancing client access to services and their experience with County Safety Net departments. The implementation plan outlined in the Strategic Plan contains five milestones to be achieved in phases over the next four years. For year one, the Safety Net departments identified three priority areas as part of phase one of the objective.
The metrics outlined in the implementation plan have not changed and reporting on those metrics will start in year two once the three priority areas have been completed. A new set of additional reporting metrics were added to capture and document the work of phase one. They include:
Key Milestone Update
The Safety Net Departments identified three priority areas for phase one of this objective with the aim of reducing service delivery complexity by:
1. Raising awareness of available County services and programs to County front line and lobby intake staff by providing training and education to help staffs’ understanding of basic eligibility requirements of the most utilized programs across the Safety Net Departments, 2. Develop and distribute a comprehensive resource guide to community-based organizations (CBOs) and Safety Net Departments staff with a description and contact information of County programs to help clients navigate the many programs and services offered by the County and, 3.Leverage the County’s new website redesign to restructure Safety Net Departments’ websites to be client centric and culturally responsive.
For the past year, the Human Services Department (HSD) lead has been working to complete priority area 2 and 3. Below is the status update.
To guide and support the creation of the brochure/resource guide, Human Services Department (HSD) lead used an existing cross departmental working group with representatives from the Community Development Commission (CDC), the Department of Health Services (DHS), HSD and the County Administrator’s Office (CAO) to help disseminate information, facilitate staff surveys, share client service utilization and to provide a list of programs and services provided by the Safety Net Departments.
A survey was sent to Safety Net Departments lobby intake staff in March of 2022 to gather information on the types of services most requested by clients including language access needs and the frequency and or number of referrals made to other departments. Over 200 staff responded to the survey and the information was used to inform the “no wrong door” brochure.
A focus group of primary Medi-Cal and CalFresh clients was conducted at HSD’s office located at Paulin Drive about the types of services they were seeking, the manner in which they access information, how they hear about County programs and what tools they use to access services.
HSD lead worked with 211 to access data regarding the number of referrals for programs and services coming from 211 to the County, including the service type and the departments that are getting the referrals. Staff also gathered County website click metrics to understand which County services get the highest number of visits per month.
All of this information has been used to aid in the creating a two page brochure to be distributed to CBOs, clients of County services and department lobby and intake staff. HSD lead has been working with a design firm to create the brochure including conducting focus groups to ensure that the language used in the brochure is easily understood by clients as well as ensuring that the brochure contain the most appropriate services so as not inundate clients and staff with too much information or duplicate other existing resource guides.
The brochure will be completed by the end December 2022.
As part of the County’s new website redesign, HSD lead had been working with HSD staff to redesign the Department’s website. The new site, slated to launch in Spring of 2023 will be client centric, meaning that it is designed to help the public quickly access the services they need with the fewest number of mouse clicks. A workgroup was created to support the website redesign. Two focus groups were conducted to inform the site layout, naming convention and language to help better understand County programs and services. A tree testing tool was also utilized by over 150 staff and community members to test the amount of time it took to find a service in the test site. Information from the testing helped to inform the naming of services and the flow of information on the site.
Once the site is up, click metrics will aid the Department in understanding how these new changes are improving access to Department services.
Coordination and Partnership Update
HSD lead has been working with the workgroup that came together to work on the recommendations provided in the housing and homeless services assessment conducted by KPMG. This workgroup has been meeting for over a year and there is natural linkage between the work performed by the workgroup and the goals of the “No Wrong Door” strategic plan objectives. Regular updates are also provided to the Safety Net collaborative group made up of the Department Heads of the County Safety Net Departments.
To help inform the creation of the brochure and the website, HSD lead conducted four focus groups with clients; two to inform the website redesign and two to inform the brochure. Additionally, staff worked with 211 to understand their client referral process and naming convention used in categorizing service types and programs.
Community, Equity, and Climate Update
To reduce the number of printed copies of the brochure, the information contained in the brochure will be distributed in a number of online formats, including a QR code to access the information from a mobile device, and will link to all Safety Net Departments. By maximizing the use of this resource and streamlining the website to improve access, there should be fewer people needing to visit a County department to request information.
Funding for this work has been secured and no additional financial resources are needed to complete the initial priority areas of this objective.