8 hours with the Napa Valley Health & Human Services Agency: What I learned
Not having spent much time on Napa County’s Health & Human Services Agency south campus, I realized how little I knew about the programs, support and resources available to the individuals, families and neighborhoods in our larger community. The stated mission of the agency is to, “foster a partnership of clients, community members and staff to create leadership, vision and advocacy for the evolving health and human service needs of the people of Napa County,” Without providing an exhaustive list, the following is a brief sampling of the services provided, programs offered and populations served by the Agency: Alcohol and Drug Services, Child Welfare, Older Adults, Mental Health, Public Health and Employment.
After spending a day with a variety of dedicated individuals who assist and advocate for the above mentioned populations, here is what I learned:
Adult Protective Services are not only provided to those who are being abused or neglected. They are also for those who are neglecting themselves.
Public Conservatorship can happen to once strong and vital individuals who through a series of circumstances that are often no fault of their own, they are now in need of assistance in organizing and maintaining their finances on a long term basis.
There are specific neighborhoods in Napa that due to specific social determinants, like lack of access to good education and poor living conditions, have statistically been shown to shorten the life span of the individuals living in those areas.
Homelessness is a not homogeneous issue. Each homeless individual or family have their own reasons for coming into the system. We need to change our perceptions of the homeless individuals living and working in our county if we want to work together to eradicate homelessness.
When we focus on the strengths of our county’s individuals, families and neighborhoods and choose to involve ourselves in helping to create solutions to assist the most vulnerable members of our society, we honor each other as human beings and can begin to work together as a whole community, with shared motivations and concerns.
Submitted by Heather of Class 30.