Partnership for Community Excellence

For California to improve the big outcomes – education, employment, public health and safety – the state and thousands of governments must work closely together. But the history is one of conflict rather than cooperation. In 2011, CA Fwd engaged thousands of experts, advocates and civic leaders to craft the Smart Government Framework, which advocated for moving authority from the State to local governments and encouraged them to integrate actions to improve results. CA Fwd since then has supported the enactment and implementation of significant efforts to create cost-effective public services at the state and regional levels.

  • When the State enacted Public Safety Realignment in 2011, CA Fwd went to work with county agencies to develop comprehensive community correction models.  CA Fwd promoted best practices, helped counties to identify ways to expand drug treatment, mental health and health services for released offenders.

    In 2013, CA Fwd launched the Justice System Change Initiative (J-SCI) to build the capacity and skills of counties to transform justice systems through data-driven policy and fiscal decisions.  CA Fwd’s expert team of public service veterans works closely with individual counties to develop data-informed system-level analysis of how counties are managing the people with in the criminal justice system – in jails, waiting for trial and on probation. The JSCI team facilitates an executive-level collaborative to identify ways to reduce costs and improve results, and then supports work teams that design and implement specific improvement efforts.

    These efforts include evidence-based services that support individual behavior change and policies and practices that target resources to promote public safety.  The practices include more and better drug treatment, mental health care and other services to reduce recidivism.

    The partnerships are tangibly helping counties control costs and improve the quality of services.

    • In Riverside County, the Board of Supervisors has unanimously adopted a set of recommendations resulting from their comprehensive assessment
    • In San Bernardino County, the Sheriff’s Department has championed a rethinking of the county jail, and how to link services in ways that reduce incarcerations.
    • In El Dorado County, the Probation Department has stewarded a review of the jail population to explore ways to reduce the time defendants are incarcerated awaiting trial.
    • In Santa Cruz County, the executive office supported a review of how to better manage low-level offenders responsible for “quality of life” crimes.

    CA Fwd also is working with the state Mental Health Services Oversight and Accountability Commission, which is conducting a detailed review of ways to improve strategies and services for people who for lack of care end up in the criminal justice system, or who need care while in custody. 

    CA Fwd’s regularly reports on these activities as one way to inform the efforts by other state and local officials, as well as business and community leaders who experience the consequences of ineffective community corrections, public health and social service systems.

  • Since the state enacted the Local Control Funding Formula, CA Fwd has worked with the California School Boards Association to build the capacity of local school districts and county offices of education to transform educational outcomes. A collaborative of 16 school districts is learning from each other to improve public engagement and the use of data to deliver better results.

  • Through the California Economic Summit, CA Fwd is working to develop and deploy civic models to strengthen the alignment and partnership among workforce training institutions, such as community colleges, with employers who need qualified middle-skilled workers.
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