In early 1999 a concerned community of elder services providers formed a grass roots committee, the Butte County Crisis Intervention Task Force, in response to a few well publicized cases in which elders diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease were jailed after assaulting their spouses.
The task force soon found that Butte County lacked a coordinated countywide system able to respond to the special needs of older and dependent adults. As the task force explored options for enhanced management of crisis care, they discovered the broader need for coordination of elder care ranging from prevention and early intervention to complex long-term care services.
DESS, acting as the lead agency for the Butte County Crisis Intervention Task Force successfully responded to a California Department of Aging Request for Proposal for a Long-Term Care Innovation Grant.
Committees were formed to explore important issues in greater detail. The first three committees convened were Crisis Intervention, Resources Directory, and Disaster Preparedness. Over the course of the project three more committees (Training and Education, Prevention, and Advanced Illness Planning) were added, as the need became apparent.
The second key goal of the planning project was to form an Elder Services Coordinating Council (ESCC). Recruitment for the council had been an ongoing focus of the planning project. The current contact list includes 80 representatives from 50 Butte County public and private agencies. On February 19, 2002, the Elder Services Planning Project Task Force was officially designated the Butte County Elder Services Coordinating Council.
The ESCC has become a model of collaborative planning. Where professionals were once frustrated at the unresponsiveness of other agencies, there is now a concerted effort to understand the roles, responsibilities, resources, and limitations of each agency. That understanding has cleared the way for inclusive, comprehensive planning for crisis response.