Little brunette girl holding paper house in front of her face, covering it. Protect your home concept. Blurred.

Children and Family Services (CFS) is proud to be recognized with several Achievement Awards this year from the National Association of Counties (NACo).

“These awards highlight the department’s dedication to continuous improvement of the programs and services we offer. It is important to recognize and celebrate such efforts, as they lead to better outcomes and increased successes for our children and families,” said CFS Director Jeany Zepeda.

Under the leadership and support of the San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors, San Bernardino County departments won 160 National Association of Counties (NACo) 2023 Achievement Awards, an impressive number that nearly doubled last year’s record of 82 awards making San Bernardino County the top county in the nation for the second year in a row.

CFS was recognized in the Children and Youth category and the Personnel Management and Employment and Training category for their innovative programs, all aimed at strengthening the department’s mission to protect endangered children, strengthen their families, and develop alternative family settings.

The Office of the Ombudsperson was established to enhance the complaint resolution process and offer an additional level of customer service to resolve emerging concerns. The Office of the Ombudsperson also offers complainants an impartial, objective, and professional opportunity to have their concerns addressed. The process enhances customer service by ensuring equity and fairness for all complainants, while improving resource allocation thereby leading to positive solutions.

To address the hiring challenges, particularly during and following the COVID emergency, CFS leveraged technology and modified existing hiring practices to implement a Virtual Hiring program. The program facilitated outreach through the County’s online application portal and employed video conferencing platforms to conduct interviews and extend job offers and resulted in the hiring of 662 essential staff members. The program’s long-term benefits include the continued use of flexible interview mediums, which allows for a wider pool of candidates for whom an in-person interview was not feasible, saving travel time and related expenses for interview panelists, while addressing the need to fill essential roles to ensure the safety, permanency and well-being of San Bernardino County’s children and families.

As a part of its mission to protect children and strengthen families, CFS initiated a collaborative pilot project with the Fontana Police Department (PD) to improve child welfare within the city.  The collaboration focuses on taking proactive and preventive measures to intervene in child safety matters and prevent situations that result in child abuse and neglect cases. The collaborative also aims to streamline the number of child abuse and neglect referrals being sent by law enforcement to CFS through the Child and Adult Abuse Hotline (CAAHL). This collaboration provides a forum to discuss and address systemic issues, develop a tracking system for measurable outcomes, and streamline referrals that are called in.

The Resiliency Institute for Childhood Adversity (RICA) was created to address the need for long-term, trauma-focused care that was observed by both CFS and Loma Linda University Children’s Hospital. RICA provides a multi-disciplinary and holistic approach to the needs of children who have experienced a disproportionate burden of Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) including abuse and neglect. RICA aims to ensure each child receives the services needed to promote resiliency and recovery from trauma. In addition to services directed to the child, RICA also provides training opportunities for professionals and patient advocacy.

Through Life Works, CFS staff can access free and confidential on-site counseling services. The program also allows staff to access services online, over the phone, and via chat. The access to on-site counseling was intended to assist staff with navigating any issues that could impact job performance as well as mental, emotional and physical well-being.

Additional County Update News – November 9, 2023

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