The California State Association of Counties (CSAC) recently announced the recipients of its 2020 Challenge Awards spotlighting the most innovative programs developed and implemented by California counties. This year, LA County departments were recognized for their work advancing public service excellence, taking home 3 Challenge Awards and 4 Merit Awards.

Challenge Awards Recipients

LA County Library- Smarty Pants Storytime

Smarty Pants Storytime is a new take on traditional Storytime, developed to increase school readiness, targeting families who may not have access to early-learning opportunities. Smarty Pants Storytime is designed to help toddler-to-preschool-aged children develop competency in the following areas: basic reading, basic math, problem-solving, social interaction, and regulation of emotions and behavior. Curriculums with these indicators are introduced in a fun and interactive setting, utilizing songs, stories, games, and activities. The program also emphasizes caregiver engagement by modeling activities, educating about their importance, and offering take-home activities.

Office of the Assessor— Online Auctions

Due to the impact of COVID-19, the Public Administrator successfully changed its personal property auction format from in-person to online only, which substantially reduced auction-day staffing resources and increased gross proceeds for the estates.

Department of Parks and Recreation—Woodcrest Library Play Park

Woodcrest Library Play Park is an innovative and imaginative play space in South Los Angeles, an area that that was assessed as Very High Park Need during the Department of Parks and Recreation Needs Assessment. The book-themed park was constructed within 1800 square feet, enhances rather than restricts access to the library, and features play structures and panels, laptop charging stations, fitness stations, and 1500 drought tolerant plants.

Merit Awards Recipients

Department of Animal Care & Control- Manage Intake and Expanded Placement of Animals

DACC’s Managed Intake reduces the necessity of accepting animals into the seven DACC animal care centers, and the Enhanced Placement initiatives increase positive outcomes for stray and unwanted animals by increasing adoptions, providing additional foster homes, and partnership with private animal adoption organizations.

Beaches and Harbors- Can the Trash! Beach Poster Contest

Can the Trash! is an environmental messaging campaign created to educate youth about the significant problem of runoff pollution and its effect on the health of the County’s beaches and ocean waters. It uses creative content to teach elementary school students how trash and other pollutants improperly disposed of in their neighborhoods end up as a source of coastal pollution.

Department of Public Social Services- In-Home Supportive Services Online Orientation

The IHSS Provider On-Line Orientation Application was developed as an alternative to the in-person orientation required to become an IHSS provider. This
project has met a critical need for the IHSS Program by making more providers available to serve and protect a vulnerable population during the on-going pandemic.

Department of Health Services- Telemedicine for Alternate Destinations

The Telemedicine for Alternate Destinations Program enables 911 EMS patients to be routed to a Psychiatric Urgent Care Center (PUCC) rather than an ER. Not sending these patients to the ERs increases ER capacity, limits wait times, and connects patients to outpatient mental health and social services far superiorly to the community ERs.

You can learn more about the winners from LA County and throughout the State of California here!