An innovative project is defined, for purposes of the CA Department of Mental Health (DMH) guidelines, as one that contributes to learning rather than a primary focus on providing that service. By providing the opportunity to “try out” new approaches that can inform current and future practices/approaches in communities, an innovation contributes to learning in one or more of the following three ways:
Introduces new mental health practices/approaches including prevention and early intervention that have never been done;
Makes a change to an existing mental health practice/approach, including adaptation for a new setting or community;
Introduces a new application to the mental health system of a promising community driven practice/approach or a practice/approach that has been successful in non-mental health contexts or settings.
The Innovation (INN) programs are research projects to evaluate the effectiveness of new approaches and practices. By their very nature, not all INN projects will be successful. Innovation projects are expected to be about one to three years long - although in some instances the length of the project may be extended up to five years. A thorough evaluation of each project will be conducted and the findings disseminated. Those projects deemed “unsuccessful” will be discontinued. To continue those projects showing positive outcomes, another funding source must be identified.
In addition to contributing to learning, all of the current Orange County Innovation Projects serve one or more of the following purposes:
Increase access to underserved group
Increase the quality of services, including better outcomes
Making Orange County a safe, healthy, and fulfilling place to live, work, and play, today and for generations to come, by providing outstanding, cost-effective regional public services.
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