Graham Kilmer
MKE County

County Programs Win 5 National Awards

National Association of Counties' non-competitive awards praise Milwaukee's innovations.

By - May 23rd, 2023 03:36 pm

Milwaukee County Courthouse. Photo by Graham Kilmer.

Milwaukee County executive David Crowley announced that five county government programs have been recognized by a national awards committee.

The National Association of Counties (NaCo) annual Achievement Awards recognize county government programs for innovation in a number of areas, including services like health, parks and recreation and emergency management among many others. The awards are non-competitive, so they are judged on their own and not against other submissions. All five programs submitted by Milwaukee County received awards.

NaCo is a trade association representing county governments. In 2020, Crowley was appointed to a leadership position within an association caucus that represents large urban counties.

“It’s an honor to have the work of Milwaukee County’s changemakers recognized by the National Association of Counties,” said Crowley in a statement announcing the awards. “We are committed to moving resources upstream and transforming county government into an organization dedicated to achieving race and health equity.”

The county was recognized for the Mental Health Emergency Center, its Credible Messengers program, the Milwaukee Parks Foundation, the Milwaukee County Strategy Dashboard and an electronic patient records system for the Milwaukee County Office of Emergency Management.

“The Office of Strategy, Budget, and Performance is thrilled to see all five of our submissions win National Achievement Awards,” said Joe Lamers, the director of that office. “Our three performance managers worked exceptionally hard to ensure the county’s hard work was recognized nationally.”

The Milwaukee County Parks Foundation was created in 2019 to fundraise for programming and improvements in county parks, as well as additional staff positions for the understaffed Parks department.

The Mental Health Emergency Center was opened in the fall of 2022. The new facility was a major piece of the restructuring of the county’s behavioral health system. It was developed in partnership with the county’s four major health systems: Advocate Aurora Health, Ascension, Children’s Wisconsin and Froedtert Health.

The Credible Messengers program was a new approach to youth intervention that began under the Crowley administration. For county youth that have come in contact with the juvenile justice system, or may be at risk, the program partners them with a mentor that has had similar life experiences. The goal is to prevent the child from ever entering the criminal justice system, or at least from re-entering. The county has reported that 75% of youth in the program have not recidivated.

In 2020, the Crowley administration created a strategic plan for county government that set a goal of achieving racial and health equity in Milwaukee County. The strategy dashboard provides public data on county programs and health outcomes.

The new electronic records system is being built so that patient information collected by the 15 local fire and EMS services in the county can be accessible to healthcare providers. The ultimate goal is a “universal, countywide EMS electronic patient care system.”

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Categories: MKE County, Politics

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