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County Spotlight - Calaveras

(Published in 2016)

Calaveras Health and Human Services Agency, Behavioral Health Services (BHS) Division provides a range of MHSA prevention, support and crisis services for peers, families and the community that  include:

FSP provides extensive and specialized case management services for adults  who have serious mental illness or children/youth with a severe emotional disorder. Services include assignment of a single point of responsibility case manager, access team with 24/7 availability, linkages to supportive services, and a "whatever-it-takes" commitment to progress on concrete recovery goals.

Living Room Wellness Recovery Center:
An average of 30 community members and consumers attend the Living Room Peer Center daily (Monday through Thursday) at the BHS Annex. Dual Diagnosis, Wellness Recovery Action Plan (WRAP), Women’s Process, Depression, Art Therapy, Six Dimensions of Wellness, Walking for Your Health, Poetry, and NAMI Connections support groups are weekly peer run recovery support groups, which are held at the Living Room.

Parent Mentor Program: The Parent Mentor Program will consist of up to four trained and committed parent consumer volunteers (who have successfully navigated the CWS system) that will provide information, support and mentorship to parents who have recently lost custody of their children as well as parents whose children are in the foster care system. A skilled BHS clinician will train, support and monitor these peer volunteers one day a week. Since February 1st, 2016 - BHS Clinician is getting trained and oriented prior to program start-up.

Artistic Rural Therapy (ART) Program: Since November of 2015, the Art Therapy Program contracts with individual therapists to provide art therapy workshops titled Teen Art and Self Discovery and Healing Through Expressive Arts for at-risk youth and adults with mental illness. These workshops utilize a variety of artistic expression that results in new coping skills, management of emotions, and self-confidence skill building for at-risk youth and adults.

Integrated Dual Diagnosis Project:
Since October, 2015 - the Integrated Dual Diagnosis Project has trained and supports three peer-run weekly support groups that provide peer support to dual diagnosis consumers suffering with substance abuse and mental illness and live in Calaveras County. Currently peer support groups are held in Railroad Flat, Copperopolis, San Andreas and Angels Camp. These volunteers meet twice a month with the Integrated Dual Diagnosis Case Manager for ongoing peer support and professional consultation.

First 5 Strengthening Families Program: With an ongoing contract from Behavioral Health, First 5 Calaveras’ Strengthening Families Program provides community–based educational services and training for parents struggling with children or youth who may be at-risk for mental health problems. Services include local educators and child care providers training, parenting seminars, workshops, coaching, counseling and counseling scholarships. Also, First 5 Calaveras is targeting and supporting foster/kinship/adopt parents by providing training that specifically meets the identified needs of
adults raising at-risk foster children, and providing stipends for their participation to assist with transportation and childcare costs

Supportive Employment Program:
Since March of 2014, and with a contract from Behavioral Health, The ARC of Amador and Calaveras have provided job placement and job coaching to eligible mental health consumers.

Psychosocial Rehabilitation Certificate Program:
Since 2009, per the Workforce Education and Training (WET) component of the MHSA plan, BHS has sponsored a Psychosocial Rehabilitation Certificate Program at Columbia College for consumers, family members, providers, and residents of both Calaveras and Tuolumne counties, with transportation services for consumers provided.


Foster Youth Mentor Program: Since December, 2015, and with a three-year contract from Behavioral Health Services, the Calaveras County Office of Education is matching foster children or children living with grandparents, in first through twelfth grades, with caring adult mentors.

LGBT Support:  Since October, 2015, and with a contract from BHS, a therapist provides bi-weekly support group facilitation to youth identified as lesbian, gay, bisexual, and/or transgender (LGBT) in a Murphys church setting,  in order to improve wellbeing, increase confidence/self-esteem, increase support network, and gain coping skills.

Veteran Services: Since July, 2015, veterans meet twice a month veterans informally to socialize and provide support when needed to veterans with stress, trauma and PTSD symptoms. “Veterans Night” was organized by a group of local veterans who are receiving bi-weekly training and support from a contracted clinician specific to helping skills needed for this new service. Veterans across Calaveras County are invited to participate.

Grandparent Project: With a contract from BHS, the Calaveras County Office of Education’s Grandparent Project provides four educational support groups in the county as well as individual consultation to grandparents and other caregivers raising relative children to help identify children and youth with serious emotional or behavioral disorders.  Groups are held in Angels Camp/Copperopolis, Murphy’s/Arnold, Valley Springs and West Point, and provide information and education on recognizing signs of emotional/behavioral disorders, feelings of isolation, grief and depression due to loss, parenting education, family reunification, special education, advocacy and legal issues, county resources, school system access, scholarships, and conflict resolution.


Triage Crisis Support Services
In January 2014, Behavioral Health was awarded a grant to provide a crisis support Sheriff Liaison position at the Sheriff Department that can provide immediate crisis stabilization help to individuals in a mental health crisis and their families. In June, 2015 – a talented case manager was hired as the Sheriff Liaison for BHS. She responds quickly to dispatchers’ calls from officers throughout Calaveras County that are in need of immediate support, and responds to referrals from NAMI and other community agencies. This case manager provides the crisis stabilization services that may prevent the need for a psychiatric evaluation at the emergency room. This new service reduces the incidence of ongoing crises, and reduces the number of 911 repeat calls from individuals who need assistance.

Mental Health Crisis Training for School Personnel: With a contract from BHS, the Calaveras County Office of Education provided mandatory training in September for county-wide school based and other mental health staff in the PREPaRE Curriculum – which provides mental health professionals and other school crisis intervention team members with the knowledge necessary to meet the mental health needs of students and staff following school-associated crisis events.

Crisis Intervention Training (CIT): With a contract from BHS, a trainer from Yolo County provides a  three day CIT Training every other year to provide skills and resources to police officers and other public safety first responders in dealing with individuals experiencing a mental health crisis. The training offered in February 2016 included lectures, role play, and demonstrations, and features experienced trainers from law enforcement, service providers, NAMI, consumers and family members.

A shorter version of CIT (four hours total) is also provided by the Yolo trainer throughout the year - titled " Crisis De- Escalation"  and provides law enforcement, probation, social services, and nonprofit organization staff  with an understanding of individuals in crisis that suffer from a mental illness, and how to de-escalate a potentially volatile situation that results in positive outcomes. At the same training, an instructor from San Francisco’s Combat to Community organization provides insight and training on how to work with local veterans in crisis.

In Our Own Voice (IOOV): With a contract from Behavioral Health, NAMI Gold Country has implemented the stigma reduction program for Calaveras County titled “In Our Own Voice” by people living with mental illness since July, 2014. Presentations have been held for high school students, Probation staff, BHS staff and clients, and Social Services staff.

Question Persuade and Refer (QPR) trainings:  Suicide Prevention Training (2 hours) has been offered since 2009. This gatekeeper training targets a broad range of individuals, such as school staff, students and parents, employers, faith-based and spiritual leaders, community-based service staff, and natural community helpers. BHS staff has trained gatekeepers using the Question, Persuade, Refer (QPR) method. Targeted individuals and groups have received training to help recognize and review risk, and intervene to prevent the immediate risk of suicide. Calaveras County Office of Education Youth Development and Prevention Programs staff will be contracted to provide QPR ongoing to school personnel and students beginning in April, 2016.
Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) and Youth Mental Health First Aid (YMHFA) trainings: Three local contractors for Behavioral Health have provided Mental Health First Aid trainings ongoing to Calaveras residents, a range of organizations, high schools, and county staff that provide direct services to our community. Participants receive an 8 hour education course, and learn a five 4-step plan encompassing the skills, resources and knowledge to help an individual in mental health related crisis connect with appropriate professional, peer, social and self-help care.

Mental Health Awareness Workshop: With a contract from BHS, a therapist has provided five workshops for victims of the Butte Fire in Fall, 2015 for the community on how to recognize and support friends and family members that are showing warning signs for mental health and stress symptoms. These 2 hour workshops were held in Mountain Ranch, Railroad Flat, Mokulumne Hill and West Point.

Eliminating Barriers to Learning Training (EBL):  Since July of 2014, and with a contract from BHS, Calaveras County Office of Education has provided EBL training to all classified and non-classified school personnel in Calaveras County. This training provides teachers and school staff  with tools to identify, recognize, refer, and support students with mental health needs.


The BHS division has received MHSA housing funds from CalHFA  in January, 2016 for persons with severe mental illness ($640,867) – and allowable uses of these funds will include rental assistance – including house payment subsidies, security deposits, utility deposits, or other move-in cost assistance, utility payments, moving cost assistance; and funding to build or rehabilitate permanent housing in Calaveras. Stakeholders provided input regarding best use of housing funds, and  implementation planning is in process since March, 2016.


Calaveras County 1

 A north-eastern rural country and
  forested community spread out over
  1,020 square acres, with a population
  of approximately 44,600. Seventeen
  percent (17%) of the residents
  (7,800)are children from birth to
  (seventeen (17) years old and ten
  percent (10%)of the children live in
  poverty regions. Residents are proud
  of Calaveras' majestic National Forest,
  its gold rush history, and the
  renowned annual Calaveras County
  Jumping Frog Contest.

Prop 63 in Calaveras County

Calaveras County has been able to build a community of learning for parents and families. For those that participate in the workshops, a sense of belonging is being created as individuals discover that they are "not alone" in some of the challenges, struggles and frustrations that may arise in parenting. Attendees are able to also celebrate their success stories together while building relationships and a support network based on their interactions with each other along with the knowledge they receive from facilitators. Calaveras parents are receiving the tools and support that they need to make thoughtful choices and decisions while raising their children for success.

Prop 63 Programs in Calaveras County

• Parent Education Seminars & Workshops and Train the Professionalsprogram funded by Prop 63 and administered through partnership with First 5 Calaveras.

• Seventy-seven (77) no-cost parent trainings are offered in various locations throughout the county in single session topics or multi-session focused workshops. 261 unduplicated adults attended in 2013-14.

• 90% of facilitators are licensed professional from the local area.

• Workshops such as:
1,2,3 Magic: Positive Parenting Approach  
Anger Management for Parents  
Co-Parenting: Putting Kids First 
Gardens of Growth: Growing Healthy Food, Kids, and Families 
Helping Children Deal with Anger 
Helping Children with Grief and Loss 
Mindful Parenting 
Nurturing Skills for Families 
Nurturing Skills for Fathers (incarcerated fathers)  
The Nine Most Important Needs of Foster and Adoptive Children 
The Nurtured Heart Approach: Igniting Your Child's Greatness 
Understanding ADHD 
Understanding Childhood Trauma

• Parent Education Seminars and Workshops' success stems from collaboration efforts which includes quality facilitators, parent-driven topics, locations throughout the vast rural county, no-cost child care, and substantial nutritious snacks.

 Foster Care Training Incentive Program (Foster-TIP) gives stipend to foster and kinship parents for attending workshops. The intent is to encourage active participation in the local parenting workshops and to build connections with other foster parent in the community.


Prop 63 numbers in Calaveras County

Calaveras County 2

First 5 Calaveras with funding from Prop 63 will host a full day workshop featuring Howard Glasser, creator of Nurtured Heart Approach and founder of the non-profit Chidren's Success Foundation. He is a renowned author of eight books, including Transforming the Difficult Child.


"The Nurtured Heart Approach (NHA) is described as a social emotional strategy that instills greatness and transforms negative behaviors into positive behaviors, increases interrelatedness and connectivity among family members,[1] couples,[2] teachers and students and builds “inner wealth” more commonly known as character strengths and virtues."


Friday April 24, 2015 in Murphys,CA

Registration will be open to residents of Calaveras, Amador, and Tuolumne counties. Please call (800) 787-3654 for registration information.



Participants on benefiting from programs funded by Prop 63

Nurturing Skills for Fathers (for incarcerated fathers)

"This class helped me look at all aspects of anger and the negative consequences that can happen. I plan to take more time after becoming upset before I talk to my daughter.  I will calm down first"

"I always thought both my wife and I were just talking  loudly at the kids, but have now come to the realization that it was actually yelling, which we can now at least begin to work on"

"I honestly believed that my son was too young to notice what was going on at home--but now I see he can feel the difference of attitude so I am going to do my best at showing him love"


Gardens for growth! Growing Healthy Food, Kids and Families!

" I will have my children choose 1 to 2 outdoor garden activities a week and really take that time to spend with them enjoying nature. I plan on incorporating activities that we learned in the class!"

" I am inspired to go 'back in time' with my kids and really slow down a bit to enjoy the great outdoors with my children--I felt closer to my child and our bond is stronger after sharing the time exploring and planting together"


1,2,3 Magic--Positive Parenting Approach

" I got up in the morning and knew what I was going to do. I had a plan--I didn't talk and explain as much--fewer words and less emotion in stressful times ignoring some of the negative behavior and staying calm"

"I will count to 3--giving my child and myself time to correct the problem and calm down"


Nurtured Heart Approach

"For myself I will not focus so much on the negative. I will 'reset' and focus on more positives--therefore making myself healthier as a parent"

"As a professional working with mentors--I am looking forward to sharing the concept of energizing the positive"


Facilitator's Observations

" In many of the workshops it is apparent there is a strong informal support system outside of these classes that has been developing among these parents--which may be one of the very best and most important aspect of these classes"

Parents made comments about how they are becoming more aware of how food can affect their child's mood and behavior. When parents offered a healthier meal, children seemed to be more in control of themselves and more pleasant to be around versus when sugary foods were given.


People behind the success

Joyce Peek, First 5 Calaveras Program Director,has been instrumental in the success of each of the Prop 63 programs. Joyce has a passion in serving Calaveras County’s children and families to create the best experience possible for them.
A toll-free “Warm-Line” is available for parents that have an interest in attending.  Of utmost importance is the “warm handoff” that Joyce provides to all of those involved. From forming relationships with superintendents and principals and creating partnerships with community agencies to connecting personally with those that have been referred to or are interested in taking the workshops, Joyce makes sure that people are knowledgeable regarding the process and that all questions are answered to make each person feel as comfortable as possible.
During workshop sessions Joyce sets the tone and works with facilitators to create a learning environment that that is comfortable and feels safe for participants to share and learn from each other
One class participant stated:
“Everyone was great! I was so impressed.  You could see immediately, on the first day, everyone felt they were in a safe, nurturing, non-threatening and non-judgmental environment. That enabled everyone to exhale and really open up and share. And that led to a real connection with everyone in the class.”