Supervisor Holly J. Mitchell (File photo)

It’s been nearly two years since the county Board of Supervisors approved a motion calling for the convening of a countywide “prevention services task force,” and on July 25, the board agreed to implement the panel’s recommendations aimed at preventing discrimination in all county operations.

The impetus to create the task force was a 2021 UCLA Pritzker Center report that concluded the county’s prevention efforts had not been “successfully integrated and supported across departments,” according to a motion by Supervisor Holly Mitchell. The report suggested that the county create a multifaceted, permanent internal agency, or task force, to facilitate
the prevention effort countywide.

The task force met over the course of 18 months, eventually developing 14 recommendations addressing four areas — governance structure and coordinated service delivery; funding streams analysis; community-based service delivery; and prevention metrics and data integration.
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“The recommendations center equity in the county’s attempt to redress the harms perpetuated by racist systems built to disadvantage communities of color,” according to Mitchell’s motion.

“… In addition to consideration of prevention centered programs throughout the county, the task force pushes the board to think more intentionally about its efforts to eliminate structural racism within county systems, including going beyond prevention to also consider the concept of
promotion,” the motion states.

“Promotion, as understood in the context of the prevention continuum, focuses on improving life outcomes so that people can thrive in their neighborhoods. Promotion means more than preventing an undesirable outcome. Promotion means reducing the likelihood that undesirable
outcomes will occur while increasing the likelihood of improved life outcomes through facilitated support for children, families, and communities in order to achieve holistic well-being.”

Mitchell’s motion will supplant the task force with a permanent “Prevention and Promotion Systems Governing Committee,” the focus of which would be to “oversee the coordination and collaboration of prevention and promotion services.”

The motion also instructs the board Executive Officer, county CEO, county counsel and other department heads to provide staff to support the committee and hire a committee executive director.

“The committee shall be comprised of eight county department directors or initiative executive directors” representing relevant county departments or board priorities. The initial director of the committee would be the director of the Department of Public Social Services. The initial funding
would be $4 million.
“The path forward for the county is clear: create a prevention and promotion services delivery system that rights the wrongs of historical disinvestment and lifts county residents in their pursuit of positive life course outcomes,” according to the motion.

“The time is now for our county to marshal every available resource to boldly move in the direction of equitable prevention and promotion for our shared constituency.”