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Bernalillo County Earns Best in Category National Achievement Award for the Supportive Aftercare Program


The Department of Behavioral Health Services has been recognized with an achievement award from the National Association of Counties (NACo). The awards honor innovative, effective county government programs that strengthen services for residents.

NACo recognized Supportive Aftercare Program: Community Reintegration, a Collaboration with Parks and Rec in the category of Parks and Recreation. This program centers around teaching individuals to use transitional living communities as a safe space to continue working on their recovery and to learn to utilize the strengths of their surrounding community. Addiction often forces individuals into isolation, so learning to be part of a dynamic community is often something individuals trying to maintain recovery struggle with. The program focuses on how the Supportive Aftercare Program (SAC), in the heart of Albuquerque’s International District, is teaching individuals how to access various community resources and use them as an asset to their overall well-being, while living as part of a unique sober community.

Due to the overall success of the SAC program and the desire to show individuals in the community that their community does in fact care about them and want them to be a part of the community, Bernalillo County decided to combine forces between two departments for the greater good of the clients. This collaboration highlights the successful and creative collaboration between Bernalillo County’s Parks, Recreation and Open Space Department and the Department of Behavioral Health Services (DBHS).

NACo President Mary Ann Borgeson said, “We are seeing firsthand now more than ever that counties work tirelessly to support our residents. This year’s Achievement Award-winning programs showcase how counties build healthy, safe and vibrant communities across America.”

“We recognize that for many, recovery is much more than navigating an addiction, but rather navigating life’s challenges. The integration of Parks and Recreation into the work that the Department of Behavioral Health is doing in their Supportive Aftercare program truly does provide a wider array of support services for our clients and provides more tools for them to succeed,” says Julie Morgas Baca, County Manager.

Nationally, awards are given in 18 different categories that reflect the vast, comprehensive services counties provide. The categories include children and youth, criminal justice and public safety, county administration, information technology, health, civic engagement and many more.

Started in 1970, NACo’s annual Achievement Awards program is designed to recognize county government innovations. Each nominee is judged on its own merits and not against other applications received.

Information regarding behavioral health services can be found at: www.bernco.gov/dbhs.

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