An innovative project is defined, for purposes of the CA Department of Mental Health (DMH) guidelines, as one that contributes to learning rather than one with a primary focus on providing a service. By providing the opportunity to “try out” new approaches that can inform current and future practices/approaches in communities, an Innovation project contributes to learning in one or more of the following three ways:
Introduce a mental health practice or approach that is new to the overall mental health system, including, but not limited to, prevention and early intervention;
Make a change to an existing practice in the field of mental health, including, but not limited to, application to a different population;
Apply to the mental health system a promising community-driven practice or 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 groups
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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