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Keyword: department of aging

County’s “Balancing Act” Budget Platform Named One of Nation’s Best Programs as National Association Of Counties Highlights Five County Departments for Effective Leadership

Baltimore County earned seven awards from the National Association of Counties’ (NACo) 2020 Achievement Awards, which recognize innovative, effective county government programs that enhances service and improves quality of life for residents.

“My administration is committed to innovation, citizen engagement, and a government that is more transparent and accessible to all our people,” Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski said. “We’re honored to be recognized by NACo for all these efforts and we will continue building on these efforts to realize a better Baltimore County for every resident.”

Since 1970, NACo’s annual Achievement Awards have recognized county government innovations, and are given in 18 different categories that reflect the comprehensive services counties provide, including financial management, county administration, information technology, health and civic engagement.

Five Departments Honored

Five Baltimore County Departments earned honors in the 2020 NACo Achievement Awards:

The Baltimore County Office of Information Technology won a 2020 Achievement Award in the category of Financial Management for the County’s budget “Balancing Act” platform.

Out of hundreds of programs, Baltimore County’s Balancing Act was awarded Best in Category—a distinction offered only to one program per category each year—due to its exceptional results and unique innovations.

The interactive online tool allowed residents to learn more about the state of Baltimore County’s budget and the difficult choices under consideration during the ongoing budgeting process. Through “Balancing Act,” residents could examine the current fiscal situation and simulate reallocating funds in order to balance spending and revenue.

The Baltimore County Department of Aging won two 2020 Achievement Awards:

  • 2020 Achievement Award in the category of Health for the “Living Connected” initiative to combat social isolation.

In response to a national epidemic of loneliness among older Americans, the Baltimore County Department of Aging (BCDA) developed the “Living Connected” initiative to offer a multifaceted approach to combatting social isolation through awareness education for all ages and engagement activities for older adults and caregivers.

  • 2020 Achievement Award in the category of Health for the Adult Well-Being Assessment to help measure quality of life indicators.

The Baltimore County Department of Aging embarked on a partnership with the National Council on Aging (NCOA) to provide data for the Aging Hub of the 100 Million Healthier Lives Project using the Adult Well-Being Assessment (AWA) to better understand population health outcomes that can influence policy and fiscal decision-making.

The Baltimore County Department of Health and Human Services won two 2020 Achievement Awards:

  • 2020 Achievement Award in the category of Human Services for their Child Protective Services/Domestic Violence (CPS/DV) co-location efforts.

The Baltimore County Department of Social Services’ Child Protective Services/Domestic Violence Co-Location Program provides a comprehensive approach to families experiencing child maltreatment and intimate partner violence. Clients have access to safety planning services, immediate trauma-based therapy and linkages to trauma-based community resources.

  • 2020 Achievement Award in the category of Health for utilizing nursing services in harm reduction efforts.

The Baltimore County Department of Health’s Harm Reduction Program provides HIV and Hepatitis C testing, access to safe injection equipment, wound care, immunizations and other services to help decrease the risks of overdose and infectious disease transmissions. This program is the first Harm Reduction Program in the state to employ a Public Health Nurse to integrate health-related services within the Harm Reduction model.

The Baltimore County Department of Human Resources won a 2020 Achievement Award in the category of Personnel Management, Employment and Training for the Baltimore County Government Employee Mentorship Program.

In 2019, Baltimore County launched its first Employee Mentorship Program, which is designed to promote team-oriented work environments while focusing on enhancing career development, increasing employee engagement and retention, and building employee morale. The program hails open effective communication, leadership empowerment and coaching as key factors to its success.

The Department of Permits, Approvals, and Inspections, Department of Public Works, Department of Planning and the Department of Environmental Protection and Sustainability in collaboration with the Office of Information Technology won a 2020 Achievement Award in the category of County Administration and Management for the Design of the Land Use Regulatory Automation (LURA) Program.

Baltimore County is modernizing its land use regulatory processes in order to make them more transparent and data-driven while improving overall customer service by strengthening inter-agency cooperation.


Food Insecurity Growing Risk for Seniors During COVID-19 Pandemic

Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski announced that, beginning next week, the Baltimore County Department of Aging will be expanding its food distribution efforts by providing boxes of food to the County’s older adults. The program will be supported by $590,000 in funding provided through the federal Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) to specifically target individuals age 60 and older.

“We’re taking another important step to ensure older adults in Baltimore County will not go hungry through this crisis,” Olszewski said. “Promoting food security is a top priority of my administration and we will continue to use all resources available to us to support our residents.”

“We’re pleased to be able to provide this new support for older adults in the County who may have difficultly preparing nutritionally-balanced meals during this uncertain time,” said Laura D. Riley, Director of the Department of Aging. “Before this pandemic, over 600 senior citizens relied on our Eating Together programs each day for nutritionally-balanced meals and we hope that this newly expanded meal distribution will help those in most need.”

Under this new program, each box of food will include three meals and a snack for six days.

“When combined according to the directions, each meal meets the nutritional requirements for adults age 60 and older,” said Jill Hall, Chief of the Division of Senior Centers and Community Services.

Boxes will be distributed by appointment only at three senior center locations in three different regions of the County:

Baltimore County residents over 60 years of age should call 410-887-2040 to schedule their pick-up date, time and location. Only individuals with appointments will receive a box of food. During the appointment, individuals will be asked to show proof of age through their BCDA Senior Center Membership Card or other identification.

Anyone unable to travel to these locations should contact Maryland Access Point (MAP) at 410-887-2594 to discuss other food options with the MAP staff.

The Department of Aging plans to continue to provide meals through the end of June, or until the senior centers reopen to the public, whichever comes first.

This is the latest effort from Baltimore County to combat food insecurity among older adults.

Since March 16, the Department of Aging has served over 8,300 meals for seniors—a 33 percent increase in the number of participants since before the COVID-19 pandemic. Additionally, through a partnership with Meals on Wheels, a home delivered meal service, Baltimore County is helping provide shelf stable meals or grocery box deliveries for nearly 200 senior citizens in urgent need of food. Department of Aging staff are also assisting with Baltimore County’s Saturday food distribution sites at the Hereford and Reisterstown Senior Centers.

Additional Food Resources

For younger residents, Baltimore County continues to offer other resources for grocery and produce. Find more information.


Online and Remote Programming to Help Combat Social Isolation, Share Important Resource Information

As Baltimore County continues to respond to the evolving COVID-19 pandemic, the Department of Aging has taken a number of steps to implement “virtual senior center” programming to provide important connections and resources for Baltimore County’s older adults.

“Our senior centers fill an important role in the lives of so many of Baltimore County’s older adults. During this unprecedented time, we’re doing more than ever before to expand our reach, innovate, and provide seniors with access to the critical supports they need,” Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski said. “We know that many older adults experience feelings of social isolation, and I want to applaud our Department of Aging for all their work to provide personal contact, online programming, and other essential resources in this uncertain period.”

Since Baltimore County closed physical senior centers to the public on March 16, 2020, to help prevent the spread of COVID-19, the Department of Aging’s Division of Senior Centers and Community Services has worked tirelessly to provide quality programming online as well as personal connections to residents affiliated with the Department of Aging senior centers.

“The Baltimore County Department of Aging is dedicated to meeting the needs of older adults in our communities—no matter what,” said Laura D. Riley, Director of the Department of Aging. “We’re so proud of our staff and volunteers for their dedication in serving our seniors. The lessons we’re learning now will shape our Department for years to come.”

Expanded Digital Presence

All 20 Baltimore County senior centers now maintain individual Facebook pages allowing senior center members to chat and stay in contact with both staff and other members. To date, these pages have garnered nearly 136,000 views to help fill a need for community. Find your local senior center’s Facebook page.

Online Classes

Baltimore County senior centers are now offering online classes for older adults over Zoom. Classes range from preexisting class options, including Tai Chi, Foreign Language, Strength Training and Cooking, to more individual programming, such as group Happy Hours. To find the full list of Senior Center Online Classes, please visit the Department of Aging's website.

Senior Meal Services

Since March 16, the Department has served over 8,300 meals for seniors—a 33 percent increase in the number of participants since before the COVID-19 pandemic. Additionally, through a partnership with Meals on Wheels, a home-delivered meal service, Baltimore County is helping provide shelf-stable meals or grocery box deliveries for nearly 200 senior citizens in urgent need of food. Department of Aging staff are also assisting with Baltimore County’s Saturday food distribution sites at the Hereford and Reisterstown senior centers.

Staff One-on-One Contacts

Understanding that while group opportunities offer the largest impact, one-on-one touches are another critical avenue to prevent social isolation amid COVID-19. Department of Aging staff continue to work remotely, making individual phone calls, and have identified other methods of contacting residents, including email, text and postcards, to provide residents with information about important resources. To date, staff have completed over 46,800 calls, texts, emails and postcards in the last month to ensure that residents stay connected and they have the resources they need.

For further details on activities, visit the Department of Aging’s website or visit any of the twenty senior center Facebook pages.


 
 
Revised September 11, 2017