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2010 Employee Recognition Awards - Human Services


GOLD - Shared by members of the combined ACCESS CalWIN and Benefits CalWIN Implementation Team:

Back Row, Left to Right:
Lorena Moran
Rachel Stephens
Todd Estabrooks
David Brown

Front Row, Left to Right:
Josie Sanchez
Margarita Gonzalez
Sandra Quiroz-Carter
Miriam Estrada

Not Pictured:
Anna Arce
Olga Gallardo
Lainie Gray
Gail Groves
Sean McAdam
Adella Ruvalcaba
Josie Sanchez

With the downturn in the economy and the associated increases in requests for assistance, providing the ability for Human Services Department clients to serve themselves using technology had become an urgent need.  To meet these demands, the department implemented two technology-based solutions known as ACCESS CalWIN and Benefits CalWIN.  The combined ACCESS CalWIN/Benefits CalWIN Team worked ceaselessly over a four month period to implement both systems.  Team members participated in numerous meetings, wrote policies and procedures, developed business processes, designed trainings, and implemented all aspects of the two new systems simultaneously.  A subset of the team was also responsible for the implementation of the technology itself, which involved procuring, installing, configuring, and testing the hardware and software.  The result of these extraordinary efforts has been an increase in the number of eligible individuals receiving access to Food Stamps, as well as quicker application processes which allow clients to receive their benefits faster and have easier access to benefit information.


SILVER - Shared by members of the Forever Families Team:

Back Row, Left to Right:
Paige Baldhosky
Mockalee McDonald
Claudia Herrera-Sandoval
Melissa Klein

Front Row, Left to Right:
Kristy Castro
Carol Gossett
Mary Greenham

The primary purpose of the Forever Families Team is to find "forever" families.  Forever families provide adoptive homes for children who cannot safely return to their birth families and otherwise would grow up in foster care without a family to call their own.  Each member of the Forever Families Team takes this commitment to family very seriously, as evidenced by the fact that the team has consistently exceeded federal standards of timeliness of adoptions for many years.  In 2010, during National Adoptions Month, the Forever Families Team furthered their well-deserved reputation as one of the very best adoptions programs in the state by organizing an Adoptions Day event that exceeded all expectations and received impressive media support.  The typical expectation is to achieve 40 adoption finalizations in one year.  However, members of the Forever Families Team achieved 10 finalizations in just one day, joining waiting children of all ages--including hard to place older children--forever with their waiting families.  While the smiles on the faces of all involved and the changed lives of all of these children are incredible rewards, the individual efforts of each member of the team are deserving of special recognition.


BRONZE - Shared by members of the Adult Protective Services Team:

Left to Right:
Olivia Rios
Nancy Dybdahl

Not Pictured:
Denise Laxier Mickel
Marta Sprague
Nora Vazquez

The Adult Protective Services Division is mandated to investigate abuse and neglect of those over the age of 65, as well as dependent adults between the ages of 18 and 64.  Meeting this mandate with three Senior Social Workers is challenging enough.  However, when faced with a 33% reduction in staff for a five month period, the remaining two Senior Social Workers--Marta and Denise--responded to 227 referrals of abuse and neglect.  This level of response was made possible with the outstanding support demonstrated by their Screener, Olivia; the Public Health Nurse assigned to this unit, Nancy; and Nora, who works as a part-time Social Worker I.  Each member of the team coordinated with their manager to navigate referrals to ensure the most efficient and comprehensive response, prioritizing and re-prioritizing referrals and working diligently to evaluate the needs of clients and then meet those needs as efficiently and thoroughly as possible.  While this group of employees always works as a cohesive unit, this was a period unlike any other.  Each member of the team consistently demonstrated that their dedication to supporting each other is only outweighed by their commitment to the health and safety of the elderly and dependent communities they serve.