How Bellwether Transformed Agencies Supporting Youth in Utah, California, and Louisiana, Part 4: El Dorado County, California

You’ve read about Bellwether’s work in Utah, where we helped a team at the State Board of Education to develop a shared vision of quality for all their schools serving students in juvenile courts or the foster care system. And you’ve seen how our work in New Orleans resulted in an 18-month strategy to help the Youth Opportunity Center, part of the Orleans Parish School Board, evolve from a direct services provider to a community leader.

Our third partner in this work of ending fragmentation for youth was the El Dorado County Office of Education in California, where we partnered with leaders and stakeholders over 15 months to create a shared vision for improved countywide communication and information sharing. El Dorado County outperforms national averages on indicators of youth well-being as a whole, but it is also home to a population of young people unable to enjoy the County’s benefits. Our goal was to create a more coherent cross-agency experience for young people who come into contact with the County’s systems.

Atila, a young woman in El Dorado County, shared her story with us as we learned about how to better support young people. Atila now works with youth in one of the County’s juvenile facilities. Watch her story in the video below:

El Dorado County has many high-quality services, and there is, for the most part, enough to go around. But vulnerable young people and their families still struggle to thrive because of a lack of formal coordination between public agencies and community-based organizations, including courts, public safety agencies, behavioral health providers, and homelessness coordinators. 

As a result of the partnership with Bellwether, a group of approximately 30 stakeholders agreed to create a single entity to ensure young people get the services they need. In May 2019, the County’s Board of Supervisors approved a proposal to create a formal commission housed within the office of the County’s Chief Administrative Officer, the highest position supporting the elected Board of Supervisors. Details of the proposal and video of Bellwether’s presentation to the Board can be found here.

Since May, Bellwether has been supporting a subset of these stakeholders as they prepare the final documents to create the County’s first official entity overseeing the wellbeing of youth, with a special focus on those being served by the County’s agencies.

The County Superintendent of Education reflected:

Bellwether’s depth of knowledge, expertise, and professionalism enhanced our strategic and technical approach to our work. The capacity and collaboration between leaders and agencies in our County to serve the most vulnerable youth increased exponentially.

Bellwether Education Partners is currently accepting letters of interest from state and local leaders interested in partnering with us to improve coherence and coordination across agencies and departments to better serve young people who experience disruptions to their education pathways. Letters of interest should be submitted by email no later than September 30, 2019.

Read more of our blogging on ending fragmentation here