Planned adolescent mental health facility at ARMC clears key hurdle

The Board of Supervisors cleared the way for the addition of 20 desperately needed adolescent mental health beds at the county-owned and -operated Arrowhead Regional Medical Center (ARMC) in Colton.

The ARMC Behavioral Health Adolescent Unit Project will remodel an existing adult patient bed mental health facility at ARMC to include a new unit for adolescents, providing intensive, short-term, and highly focused psychiatric care for teens and young adults in need. This new unit will also serve as both an adolescent emergency department and an adolescent psychiatric nursing unit.

The adolescent unit will have 20 beds serving youth 13-17 years of age while the adult side will have 70 beds. There will be separate emergency departments for adult patients and adolescent patients. The adolescent unit will have collaborative programming through local school districts and multiple robust therapy groups.

California is experiencing a critical statewide shortage of adolescent inpatient beds. As of 2017, there were only 7.6 beds per 100,000 children/adolescents available in California. According to the California Hospital Association, the minimum necessary number is 50 beds per 100,000 children/adolescents.

The board’s action allows the county Project and Facilities Management Department (PFMD) to advertise for competitive bids to construct the project. PFMD will advertise for bids on Friday, April 12. A mandatory pre-bid meeting for prospective bidders is scheduled to be conducted on May 2. The bid opening is scheduled for June 20. Once PFMD has identified the lowest responsible and responsive bidder, the board will be asked to approve the awarding of a construction contract.


Student interns will train with Behavioral Health, Children and Family Services

Student interns from two universities will train with the county Children and Family Services and Behavioral Health departments under agreements approved by the Board of Supervisors, helping the students develop the skills they need to succeed in alignment with the Countywide Vision.

One agreement will allow student interns from the University of Kentucky (UK) to receive supervised social work field experience with Children and Family Services through April 8, 2025. The other will allow Master of Science-Physician Assistant student interns from California State University, San Bernardino to receive training and field experience with Behavioral Health through June 30, 2025.

The Department of Behavioral Health (DBH) employs qualified professionals in a variety of areas, including medicine, nursing, psychology, marriage and family therapy, and social work. DBH can provide necessary tutelage and guidance to student interns participating in a variety of behavioral health-related educational programs. The use of interns to assist the county’s workforce is a valuable means of maximizing available public resources.

Since 2008, DBH has operated a successful unpaid internship program through agreements with schools and other institutions. These agreements enable students to earn required internship hours while working under the supervision of qualified DBH staff.

The agreement with UK will provide opportunities for students to receive supervised field experience within Children and Family Services (CFS) in preparation for professional social work. CFS will provide learning experiences that will help students receive the skills they need to prosper in the 21st century. Field experience provides opportunities for students to apply and integrate the knowledge, theories, and concepts of social work practice learned throughout their social work curriculum. Field experience is an essential element of UKY’s educational process for professional social work practice.

CFS will work with UK to provide support to students as they engage in field experience. Integration of classroom learning with agency-based practice allows social work students to observe and participate in CFS programs and activities to gain understanding about the benefits and challenges of the organization and its diverse client populations.

CFS will designate a qualified field instructor to coordinate each student’s learning experience and supervise them throughout the program. The field instructor will use this program as an opportunity to lead students to a personal understanding of the responsibilities and rewards of professional social work.


Greater safety in store for streets near Fontana schools

The streets leading to and from Beech Avenue and West Randall elementary schools in Fontana will be much safer for children thanks to action taken by the Board of Supervisors.

The board approved an agreement with Caltrans to provide $230,000 in federal Community Project Funding/Congressionally Directed Spending funds toward the $260,000 cost for the preliminary engineering phase for the Unincorporated Fontana Safe Routes to School Project.

The Unincorporated Fontana Safe Routes to School Project consists of sidewalk construction, sidewalk gap filling, Americans with Disabilities Act curb ramp updates and ladder-style crosswalk markings along Randall Avenue from Beech Avenue east to Poplar Avenue in the Fontana area. The pedestrian improvements run south of two elementary schools, Beech Avenue Elementary School and West Randall Elementary School. Congresswoman Norma Torres, whose district includes much of Fontana, secured the funds to construct the project.


Board supports non-profit that creates opportunities for disabled residents

At the request of Board of Supervisors Chairman and Third District Supervisor Dawn Rowe, the board approved the allocation of $50,000 earmarked for Third District community projects to the Yucca Valley non-profit DesertArc for improvements to its facility.

“DesertArc employs people who have severe physical or intellectual disabilities and puts them to work,” Rowe said. “You’ll see them maintaining parks in the community and performing other important work. It is an opportunity for those who have aged out of the school system to now have a productive life and be able to give back. It is an honor to partner with DesertArc.”


Board advised of election results

The Board of Supervisors formally accepted the certified election results for the 2024 Presidential Primary Election held on March 5.

The county Registrar of Voters conducted the election in compliance with the California Elections and Government Codes and the County Code. Ballots were cast by 305,853 eligible voters in the election, which equated to a 26.22 percent turnout of all registered voters.

The registrar completed the canvass on March 29. The canvass included processing more than 155,000 ballots after Election Day, including all mail ballots without a signature on the envelope or having a signature that did not initially appear to match the signature on file with the voter’s registration documents.  The canvass also included processing all mail ballots received on Election Day, all mail ballots postmarked by Election Day and received within seven days, all provisional ballots, and all ballots cast by voters who conditionally registered to vote after the Feb. 20 registration deadline.

The registrar notified 5,375 voters that they either did not sign their return envelope or that their signature did not match the one on file with their voter registration documents and provided them an opportunity to make corrections by March 27.

The elections team also completed the required audits of the tallying of ballots, including a hand count of a random sample of 1 percent of the paper ballots counted by ballot scanners.

The registrar provided the Certified Election Results to the California Secretary of State, distributed it to the governing bodies of every local jurisdiction that participated in the election, and posted it on ROV’s website.


Board honors retired county counsel on her passing

The Board of Supervisors adjourned its meeting in the honor and memory of retired County Counsel Michelle Blakemore, who passed away last month at the age of 65.

“There were many great things that Michelle contributed to our county,” said Rowe, who said she relied on Blakemore as a trusted, talented, and highly intelligent advisor and steadfast advocate for the county.

Blakemore retired in November 2021 after 32 years of dedicated and exemplary service to the county, four of those years as County Counsel.

“Michelle was instrumental in guiding the County through countless challenges, innovations, and successes,” Rowe said. “We wish Michelle’s family peace and strength during this difficult time.”

Additional County Update News – April 11, 2024

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *