Programs that help young people get off the street, gain independence and earn their GEDs are among those honored by the National Association of Counties.
The County of San Diego earned 39 achievement awards from the association, the most of any county in the nation.
Several of the County programs honored focus on at-risk children, including:
Independent Living Skills/Foster Youth Workforce Services: The County Health and Human Services Agency partnered with the San Diego Workforce Partnership to streamline services that both agencies were providing to older foster youth about to age out of the system. They created a two-tier delivery system, teaching foster youth the skills they need to live on their own and enter the job market.
Counseling Cove: County Behavioral Health Services created an outreach program to help homeless teenagers who are often struggling with multiple issues, such as severe emotional problems and drug and alcohol abuse. Workers go out to areas where homeless teens are known to hang out and give provide them with information about the services they can provide based on their individual needs including healthcare, shelters, education and employment.
STAR Program: The County Probation Department created a program to prepare 17-year-olds at the Kearny Mesa Juvenile Detention Facility to take the General Education Development (GED) exam, completing their high school education. The program is in cooperation with the San Diego Office of Education’s Sarah Anthony School, which serves young people detained at the facility. In the program’s first year, 91 minors in custody earned their GEDs, six minors got their high school diplomas, and 23 participants also completed online college courses.