Current Issues

Summary of Behavioral Health Community Programming

Whole Person Care 'Community Connect'

Pilot program for vulnerable Medi-Cal recipients to improve health outcomes and reduce utilization of high-cost services. $40M annually from 2016-2020. Core goal is to increase linkages and services outside of the health system into the larger community. Program Aims include:

Coordinate health, behavioral health, and social services in a patient-centered manner

Develop infrastructure to ensure long-term collaboration among participating entities

Improve beneficiary health and wellbeing through more efficient and effective use of resources. Will include opening of a sobering center.

Prop 47 “CoCo LEAD Plus” – Summer 2017 – No website at this time, to view the Press Release (PDF):

In Partnership with Antioch PD, will implement new arrest-diversion protocols and intensive, coordinated services for people with behavioral health issues who have been repeatedly arrested for a broad array of low-level, non-violent charges. Will combine coordinated diversion with peer-driven outreach and engagement, evidence-based behavioral health services, wrap-around social and vocational support, and housing opportunities for program participants.

Passed by California voters in November 2014, Proposition 47 – also known as the Safe Neighborhoods and Schools Act – is designed to reduce incarceration across the state by reclassifying certain low-level crimes from potential felonies to misdemeanors, and to reinvest the subsequent savings into community-based drug and mental health treatment, programs for at-risk students in K-12 schools, and victim services.

Detention Health Services – Fall 2016

Chief of Detention Health Services position created, hired David Seidner, who is now certified with the National Commission on Correctional Health Care.

New Director of Quality of Care position created and hired.

Updating Jail Health Standards and separate Mental Health Standards - studying/visiting other systems (Atlanta and Sacramento) and determining best practices to implement throughout our detention system. Every aspect of detention Healthcare is under review.

Core service delivery is safety first for all. Working on a treatment approach, rather than a simple medication approach.

Adding a 2nd Psychiatrist at WCDF to increase the amount of people who can qualify to be housed there - regardless of their medications need.

On-going improvement academy for employees.

Working to integrate all systems of care within detention health - formed team workgroups to give feedback/solve problems.

Working toward limiting the amount of time any individual is held in a safety cell.

Behavioral Health Services – Adult and Children’s Services

Contra Costa County Mental Health Clinics

Mental Health Crisis Services
Mental Health Resources: ()
George & Cynthia Miller Wellness Center, Martinez - Short-notice/same-day behavioral health appointments, Psychiatric Emergency Services

Contra Costa Regional Medical Center Psychiatric Emergency Services, Martinez

Crisis and Suicide Hotline: 1-800-833-2900 or dial 211 - Free national hotline for referrals to social services; Psychiatric Urgent & Emergency Care                                                                           24-hour Behavioral Health Access Line 1-888-678-7277 - resource for mental health and substance use services. Questions about mental health services and supportive recovery resources for substance use disorders. Assistance finding services. Insurance questions and referrals to low-cost and sliding scale services if uninsured.

Children's Mental Health Services

Operates three regional clinics as well as offers home, school, and community-based services to meet the varied needs of children, youth, and their families.

East County Children's Behavioral Health, Antioch

West County Children's Mental Health Services, Richmond

Central County Children's Mental Health, Concord

First Hope, Concord.

Clinic Services:

Psychiatric and medication assessments, consultation, and medication management

Individual, family, and group outpatient therapy

Case management to coordinate services                               Family Partners, with lived experience caring for family members with serious mental illness, support families of participants and help them navigate services and resources                                                       Wraparound services for children with serious emotional disturbances that involves each family's social network                                                                                                                                         Therapy for depression and anxiety, self-harmful behaviors, post-traumatic stress disorder and difficulties related to traumatic life events                                                                                                         Positive Parenting Program (Triple P) to increase parents' confidence in their parenting abilities

Family-based treatment of eating disorders

Other Services:

Psychological evaluations to aid with placement planning and treatment of children in the child welfare system who have been removed from the home due to abuse or neglect                                                             First Hope, a prevention program that provides diagnostic and treatment services for adolescents and young adults who are at risk for psychosis                                                                                                        Full Service Partnership (FSP) for participants who may need 24-hour services, including crisis intervention and stabilization, treatment, family support, and family education services                                         Intensive Home-Based Services (IHBS) provides intervention in the home and school for foster children and youth at risk of foster care placement                                                                                                 Mobile Response Team (MRT) travels to participants who are 18 and younger to provide immediate crisis intervention                                                                                                                                       Multi-Dimensional Family Therapy (MDFT) is family-based treatment for substance-abusing adolescents, or those with co-occurring substance use and mental disorders                                                                  Multi-Systemic Therapy (MST) is community-based, family-driven treatment for antisocial or delinquent behavior in youth                                                                                                                       Therapeutic Behavioral Services (TBS) for youth who are placed or being considered for placement in a high-level group home or locked treatment facilities for treatment

Services for Older Adults:

Intensive Care Management (ICM) to support aging in place

Improving Mood Providing Access to Collaborative Treatment (IMPACT) for those experiencing depression while receiving medical care

Senior peer counseling

Behavioral Health ServicesAlcohol and Other Drugs (AOD) ():

Detoxification: Bi-Bett's Pueblos del Sol, Concord; East County Detox, Pittsburg; Neighborhood House's Holloman Detox, Richmond.

Outpatient Drug-Free Counseling 

Residential Treatment Programs

Methadone - Bay Area Addiction Research and Treatment, Inc.

Criminal Justice Partnership:

Driving Under the Influence (DUI) 

Drug Diversion (PC-1000)                                                                                                                   State Bay Area Parole Services Network (BASN) and Federal Parolee/Probationers Programs                     Drug Court Treatment                                                                                                                     Juvenile Drug Courts                                                                                                                     Women's Services - Perinatal services
Youth AOD Treatment and Prevention Services

Drug Medi-Cal Organized Delivery System pilot program

Will expand benefits to treat substance use disorders, Increase and improve the quality and availability of SUD services, Expand the types of services available, Support coordination and integration of physical and behavioral healthcare systems, reduce emergency room and hospital inpatient visits, ensure faster access to SUD services while also increasing program oversight and integrity at the county and state level

Behavioral Health Services Forensic Mental Health – Marie Scannell

Assisted Outpatient Treatment/Laura’s Law – February 2016

Mental Health Evaluation Team programs

Provide a clinician at each Probation Office (east, west, central). Screen each referral for services – provide short term case management or link to other more appropriate services.

Assess Public Defender Social Worker referrals and refer to appropriate care.                                       Referrals from Napa State Hospital – assess those soon to be released and identify support in the community.

Receive 1370 Incompetent to Stand trial referrals directly from the court (misdemeanor cases only). Assess for inpatient or outpatient restoration training. If outpatient restoration is deemed appropriate, once they have completed the curriculum they are reassessed, and if appropriate, inform the court that he/she is competent to stand trial.

Health Services Department

Health Centers and Clinics

Antioch Health Center
Bay Point Family Health Center
Pittsburg Health Center
Brentwood Health Center
Concord Health Center
Concord Public Health Clinic
Willow Pass Wellness Center
George & Cynthia Miller Wellness Center, Martinez
Martinez Health Center/Contra Costa Regional Medical Center

North Richmond Center for Health
West County Health Center, San Pablo

School-Based/Mobile Health Clinics at 37 schools

Comprehensive well child exams, Physicals and sports clearance, Hearing and vision screening, Immunizations, Treatment of minor infections and illnesses, Dental examinations and cleanings, fluoride treatments, fillings and sealants, Pre-screening and referrals for mental health and other behavioral health services

Health Care for the Homeless

Multi-disciplinary bilingual team of medical, dental, Behavioral health, social support and administrative professionals provides: Urgent medical care, TB testing, Immunization, Mental Health/Substance Abuse assessments, support & linkage, Coordination with Hospital Discharges into the Philip Dorn Respite Center, Medical Respite Care, Enrollment Counseling for Covered CA & Medi-Cal, Public Health Nursing, PCP/Medical Home Assignments

Individual/Group Therapy, Outreach & Community Advocacy, Health Education

Dental Services, Health Screenings

Inpatient Psychiatric Services

23 acute psychiatric beds serving persons over the age of 18 with acute behavioral health concerns. Operated on a 24-hour basis, and admission to the inpatient unit can be either on a voluntary or involuntary basis. The unit is staffed with nurses, physicians, social workers, and occupational therapists, and provides patients with structure, psychotherapy and support groups. In addition to psychiatric services, an internist visits the unit daily to address general medical concerns.

The following types of treatment are offered and incorporated into individualized plans for patient care:

Comprehensive Evaluation: Diagnostic work-up, psychological testing, evaluation of patient strengths/needs, assessment of psychosocial factors (family, financial, vocational, and educational), and task behavior assessment.

Psychotherapy: Individual, group, and family.

Activities Therapy: Art, music, movement, self-care, occupational therapy, and other specialized groups including 12-step programs.

Recreation: Sports, exercise, dance, indoor games, social events, music.

Medication: As indicated and determined in partnership with the individual patient's treatment team.

Education: Self-care, medication, money-management, family education, symptom awareness and management.

Discharge Planning and Placement: Discharge planning is an essential part of our work with individuals and care providers and begins from the time of admission.

Medical and Physical Health Evaluation: Treatment and care as indicated by individual patient need.

West County Reentry Center/East Central Network:

The Network

Networked system of services that provides a "No Wrong Door" service mechanism to help returning citizens succeed in reintegrating into the communities where they resided before incarceration, consequently leading to a significantly reduced recidivism rate, increased public safety, and healthy family reunification.

West County Reentry Center/East Central Network:

The Network

Networked system of services that provides a "No Wrong Door" service mechanism to help returning citizens succeed in reintegrating into the communities where they resided before incarceration, consequently leading to a significantly reduced recidivism rate, increased public safety, and healthy family reunification.

“No Wrong Door” (NWD) engagement sites are a collaboration of community and faith-based organizations that provide information, referrals, engagement and support to returned citizens. Citizens are able to get access to: Mentor Services, Family and Community Reunification, Housing, Employment and Education, legal services, Women’s Services

Partnership with Center Point, Inc. to provide services for parolees living in Contra Costa County through the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR)-funded STOP (Specialized Treatment for Optimized Programming) project. Services include Department of Health Care Services (DHCS) licensed residential, Sober Living Environments, Transitional Housing and DHCS certified Outpatient services to all parolees at no-cost to the County. Center Point, Inc. is the contracted provider with CDCR to serve parolees in Northern California.

Reentry Success Center

Family Services, Financial Planning and Assistance, Education & Training, Employment Assistance, Health & Wellness, Housing Assistance, Legal Services, Public Benefits, Coaching & Mentoring, Peer Support

Public Defender

Clean Slate Program (PDF)                                                                                                               Misdemeanor Early Representation Program (EarlyRep in Antioch & Richmond)                                     Pretrial Services Program (PTS)                                                                                                          Public Defender Social Work Unit, Client Services / SUD Treatment placement                                 Arraignment Court Early Representation (ACER)                                                                                     Prop 47

Traffic Amnesty Program (PDF)

Immigration – Know Your Rights (PDF)


Youth Justice Initiative (YJI) (PDF)

Contra Costa Youth Reentry Project (CCYREP)

Mental Health:

Behavioral Health Court
Domestic Violence Intensive Support Program
Drug Court Intensive Support Program

Homeless Court
Forensic Mental Health
AOT (Laura’s Law)

Health, Housing & Homeless Services (H3)

Homeless Youth Services

Calli House – Emergency Shelter for ages 14 to 21

Permanent Connections - Subsidized Permanent Housing for 18 years+ with chronic mental illness, HIV/AIDS, developmental or physical disabilities

Homeless Adult Services

Emergency Shelters – Richmond, Concord. Both run 24 hours a day and offer meals, laundry facilities, telephone, mail, advocacy, and case management.

Philip Dorn Respite Center, Concord – medical stabilization/recuperative services. Provides Case management (resources, advocacy, and guidance), Medical care and linkages, Enrollment in Benefits and health coverage, Referral for alcohol/other drugs detox and residential treatment services, Meals, Housing search assistance

Permanent Supportive Housing

Resources for Community Development (RCD)

Housing Authority
Anka Behavioral Health
Shelter Inc.
Greater Richmond Interfaith Program (GRIP)
211/CC Crisis Center
Winter Nights Shelter
Rubicon Programs
Monument Crisis Center
CC Interfaith Housing
Loaves and Fishes
CARE and CARE Capable Centers, Warming Center

Coordinated Outreach, Referral and Engagement (CORE) teams: Establish relationships with clients through regular communication and visits to camps and shelters, and serve as a point of contact to connect clients to shelter, medical and mental health care, case managers, substance use disorder treatment and services, benefit counselors, housing and other services. CORE teams are part of a larger H3 initiative to streamline homeless services in Contra Costa County, funded in part through $1.2 million in grants from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development

Employment & Human Services

Family Maintenance: Families whose children are at risk of neglect or abuse, and who state they are willing to accept voluntary services, may be eligible for up to 12 months of Family Maintenance services if it is determined the children can remain safely in their home while these services are being provided. Nearly 1,700 children and their families are currently receiving Family Maintenance Services.

Family Preservation: Intensive support services are provided to families with children who are at risk of out-of-home placement. This program emphasizes keeping families together in a safe, nurturing environment and providing them with skills that will stay with them when they leave the program. Staff develop intervention techniques that are tailored to fit the individual needs of families. Each year, nearly 120 families within the Children & Family Services Bureau receive intensive services that help them stay together, safe and healthy.

Promoting Safe & Stable Families: Services include information and referral assistance, childcare, parenting classes, educational support groups, youth activities, and domestic violence counseling. Services are provided by collaborations of community based organizations and are free of charge.

Independent Living Skills Program: provides services to youth up to age 21 who are in-care or recently emancipated from the Foster Care System. Life Skills, Money Management, Resume Development, Young Parents Workshop, Scholarships, SAT/ACT, College Application, Housing, Cooking, etc. ILSP staff also work one-on-one with youth who might not do well in a classroom setting or might need a little extra help. 30 internet capable computers to help youth with financial aid, employment searches and resumes, housing searches and college applications. 

Transitional Housing:

In-care transitional housing is available for youth who are still in-care and over the age 16. Youth have the opportunity to live in their own apartment, with a roommate, in a supported environment. They will learn to shop for themselves, budget, daily household chores and basic cooking. Youth must get themselves to school each day and look for part-time work. They are expected to save a portion of each paycheck. They have to have 3 letters of recommendation approval from the county, ILSP and their Social Worker.

Our Transitional Housing Plus Foster Care (18-21 AB12) Youth reside in a shared apartment and split the cost of the monthly bills with their roommate. The THP +F/C program will cover the rent and the youth will receive a stipend for their monthly expenses.

Contra Costa County currently contracts with four emancipated transitional housing providers. Every program has support staff that youth must meet with weekly and house meetings that youth must attend to address issues, teaching moments and concerns. Each program has their own requirements regarding educational plans and employment.

Appian House is a six-bed transitional living program for ages 18 to 21 who are homeless or exiting the foster care system. Residents are provided guidance and support to complete their education and/or maintain employment that will eventually lead to permanent housing. Over the course of the 18-month program, each youth participates in the creation of a personalized Individual Development Plan (IDP) with his or her case manager. Independent living skills, such as money management, employment search, nutrition, and interpersonal life skills workshops are offered and included in each youth’s IDP. ()

Bissell Cottages operates with the philosophy that every young person has the ability to make good choices for themselves, when provided with gentle guidance, support, and positive opportunities. We value the diversity, determination, resiliency, and strength that all youth

bring to our doors. 24-month transitional living program for homeless youth ages 18-24, including those exiting foster care, who need mental health services and support as they transition into adulthood. Residents receive guidance and support from a personal coordination team that prepares each youth in their movement towards greater self-sufficiency. 24-hour on site staffing. Participants receive intensive daily personal mental health service coordination. Residents also receive a full range of individual and group life skills training, counseling, substance abuse prevention groups, school enrollment and employment assistance, social-recreational activities, health care services, and a variety of peer support and education activities. Participants who complete the program will be transitioned into permanent housing.

Homeless Youth-Health, Outreach, and Peer Education Program (Hy-Hope) – healthcare, outreach, peer education to engage homeless runaway youth and provide healthier alternatives to being on the streets, and assist youth in developing skills needed to support their well-being.

Community Services Bureau: HeadStart, Mental Health Services (0 to 5 years)

Workforce Development Board

Fair Chance Employer Summit

Education & Training
Employment Services
Community Corrections Partnership (AB109)                                                                             Collaboration w/CAO, Sheriff's, Probation, and other public agencies and community based non-profit partners to ensure re-entry participants are able to access services and leverage resources. Utilizes the America’s Job Center of California - EASTBAY Works network, Future Build program which provide access to employment and education assessment services that focus on self-sufficiency and job-readiness for the reentry population, and other CBO’s. Education: adult education, community colleges, Cal State, East Bay, Contra Costa Regional Occupation Programs

Contra Costa Zero Tolerance

Office of Reentry and Justice

Racial Justice Taskforce

Industrial Safety in Contra Costa County

Contra Costa County is home to active oil refineries, chemical plants, and numerous heavy and light industrial businesses. Based on safety concerns after some serious incidents, the Board of Supervisors adopted a landmark Industrial Safety Ordinance (ISO) in January 1999, requiring regulated facilities in the County to implement safety programs aimed to prevent chemical accidents that could impact the surrounding communities. The requirements of the Industrial Safety Ordinance are some of the most stringent in the United States, if not the world. The City of Richmond passed an identical ordinance in 2000.

The purpose of the Industrial Safety Ordinance is to prevent the accidental release of hazardous chemicals; improve accident prevention through participation from industry and the community; require industry to submit a Safety Plan; and conduct audits of the plans and inspections of the industrial plants.

Contra Costa Hazardous Materials Programs (CCHMP), a division of the County Health Department, administers the ordinance. A regular performance review and evaluation report is submitted to the Board of Supervisors. The 2017 Industrial Safety Ordinance Annual Report was presented by the March 7th Board of Supervisors meeting. It can be found on the County's website at

There are six businesses covered by the County's Industrial Safety Ordinance and two covered by the City of Richmond's ordinance. The six industrial sites covered by the County's ordinance are Phillips 66 Rodeo Refinery, Shell Oil Martinez Refinery, Air Products at Shell, Tesoro Golden Eagle Refinery east of Martinez, Air Products at Tesoro and Air Liquide-Rodeo Hydrogen Plant. The two industrial sites covered by the City of Richmond's ordinance are Chevron Richmond Refinery and Chemtrade West Richmond Works.

Audits of the regulated businesses are required at least once every three years to ensure that the facilities have the required programs in place and are implementing the programs. Five County ISO and two Richmond ISO audits were completed this reporting period:

  • Chemtrade Richmond Works—September 2014
  • Air Products Shell—April 2015
  • Air Products at Tesoro—April 2015
  • Shell Oil Products Martinez—May 2015
  • Air Liquide Large Industries—March 2016
  • Chevron Richmond Refinery—July 2016

Tesoro Golden Eagle Refinery—October 2016 There are three other programs in place to reduce the potential of an accidental release from a regulated stationary source that could impact the surrounding community. The programs are: the Process Safety Management Program administered by Cal/OSHA, the Federal Accidental Release Prevention Program administered by the U.S. EPA, and the California Accidental Release Prevention Program administered locally by CCHMP. The Industrial Safety Ordinance is also administered by CCHMP. Each of the programs is very similar in requirements, with the Industrial Safety Ordinance being the most stringent.

The Board of Supervisors approved an amendment to the Industrial Safety Ordinance in June 2014, broadening the goals and requirements of the regulation following the 2012 Chevron Refinery fire investigation report.

The ISO requires the regulated stationary sources to do an incident investigation with a root cause analysis for each of the major chemical accidents or releases that meets the definition of a Level 3 or Level 2 incident in the Community Warning System incident level classification system, based on meeting one or more of the following criteria:

  • Results in one or more fatalities
  • Results in greater than 24 hours of hospital treatment of three or more persons
  • Causes property damage (including cleanup and restoration activities) initially estimated at $500,000 or more.
  • Results in a vapor cloud of flammables and/or combustibles that is more than 5,000 pounds

Over a 17-year period, there has been a trend towards fewer and less severe Major Chemical Accidents or Releases incidents in the County since the adoption of the Ordinance. There were several Community Warning System Level II and Level III incidents in 2012 that caused some concern. There was one Major Chemical Accident or Release for the County Industrial Safety Ordinance facilities in 2015 and one Major Chemical Accident or Release at a non-ISO facility in 2015. These incidents serve as a reminder of the need to stay vigilant in ensuring safe facility operations. There were no major incidents in Contra Costa County in 2016.

Staff continues to work with other agencies such as the EPA, Cal/OHSA, the U.S. Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board, and the Bay Area Quality Management District, along with other local program agencies, for sharing of incident results, regulatory interpretations, and inspection results to improve effectiveness and prevention.

Contra Costa County's System for Helping the Homeless

Contra Costa County provides the "safety net" for those in need in our community. The Contra Costa Homeless Continuum of Care (CoC) is currently designing and implementing a Coordinated Entry System (CES) to ensure that homeless individuals, and those at-risk of homelessness, receive the most appropriate services to meet their housing needs.

The Coordinated Entry System is a collaboration of multiple community, government, and faith-based agencies that collectively provide services ranging from prevention to permanent housing placements. Homeless individuals are linked to the support needed to obtain and sustain housing. They move into the system by calling 211, going to one of our Coordinated Assessment and Resource (CARE) Centers, or through our Coordinated Outreach Referral and Engagement (CORE) teams.

The 211 information line, operated by the Contra Costa Crisis Center, provides a phone portal for individuals and families needing to connect to homeless services. Callers will be connected to CORE Team and CARE Centers. 211 is in the process of implementing Prevention and Diversion Screening and Referral services, and in September will begin a centralized reservation system for direct placement into emergency shelters.

Our CORE outreach teams have begun to engage and stabilize homeless individuals living outside and are helping to facilitate and deliver health and basic needs services, and locate permanent housing. Evening CORE teams can provide direct placement into shelter beds.

CARE Centers located in Richmond, Concord, and Walnut Creek provide a walk-in option for individuals and families who need to connect to homeless services. Services offered at CARE centers include help with basic needs, light case management, housing navigation services, and substance abuse treatment and support.

The Concord CARE Center also serves as an after hours Warming Center to offer much needed support in a safe environment overnight. CORE teams and law enforcement will be able to make warming center placements.

CORE teams establish relationships with clients through regular communication and visits to camps and shelters, and serve as a point of contact for many social services. A 2016 count showed that about 1,100 county residents are without shelter on any given night.

Through CCHS, CORE teams connect clients to shelters, medical and mental health care, case managers, substance use disorder treatment and services, benefit counselors, housing, and other services.

Most Contra Costa cities rely on their police departments to manage homelessness, leading to a drain on public safety resources as officers repeatedly respond to complaints about public disturbances, theft and panhandling; often involving the same few people. Those booked for infractions such as public intoxication or urinating in public rarely remain in jail longer than a night. They are often released a few hours after booking at Martinez Detention Facility.

To help alleviate the impact on their police, Martinez and Pleasant Hill will soon share a full-time outreach team to connect with homeless residents as part of a new Contra Costa Health Services (CCHS) plan to more efficiently deliver services to the county's homeless community. The cities agreed to fund the cost of a two-member team of CCHS outreach workers who will operate 40 hours a week within their boundaries.

There is no one single solution to eradicating homelessness in our community. Through these programs the County has implemented in cooperation with our cities and many non-profit groups, I am hopeful that we can make a difference in the lives of individuals living on the street. Get more information about Homeless Services in Contra Costa County and how you can help.

Alternatives to Toxic Pesticides

Growing up in Hawaii it was common for me to encounter a wide range of insects and pests both inside and outside my home. Weeds grew quickly in the warm tropical environment. Our response? My family had a monthly contract with a pesticide company to spray both the inside and outside of our house with a thick layer of toxic chemicals. Fortunately, these pests and fast growing weeds aren't as prevalent here in California, but how I manage them now is very different from my childhood in Honolulu. There are some great alternatives available to using highly toxic pesticides.

It is important for us to do our part to preserve our environment for future generations. We also want to keep our children, pets, and wildlife safe from harmful chemicals. Since 2001, Contra Costa County governmental departments have reduced their pesticide use by 60%. However, the County's use of pesticides is only 2% of all reported use in Contra Costa.

Before using pesticides or rodenticides around your home or business, consider other options. There are great resources available to help you make an informed decision about how to handle any number of pest problems, whether it is insects, rodents, or weeds. Some that I have found very helpful include the following.

The Our Water-Our World program is a partnership between many different water pollution prevention agencies and stores that sell pesticides to the public. Their goal is to help you manage home and garden pests in a way that protects the health and safety of your family, pets, and the environment. Visit their website to find materials designed to assist you in finding non-toxic and less-toxic solutions for managing pests in and around your home, including helpful fact sheets, and their booklet, Pests Bugging You? Choose Products Less Toxic to People, Pets and the Environment! Click on "promotional materials" and then on "booklets."

The University of California Statewide Integrated Pest Management Program has numerous fact sheets on managing pests in and around the home with a minimum amount of pesticide. You can find the fact sheets online.

The Statewide Integrated Pest Management Program also has a variety of links to inform you of the types of pesticides on the market with their risks to the environment and your family. They offer non-toxic methods, disposal suggestions and more.

Trained volunteers from the Contra Costa Master Gardener Program answer questions from Contra Costa County residents about pests and pesticides during their Help Desk hours, Monday through Friday from 9am to Noon. You can visit them at 75 Santa Barbara Road, 2nd Floor, Pleasant Hill, CA 94523; call them at 925-646-6586; or send an email to [email protected]. Visit their website at for more information about gardening in Contra Costa.

The Contra Costa Agriculture Department can also answer questions about pests and pesticides. They have a biologist on-call from 8am to 5pm at their Concord office, 2366-A Stanwell Circle. You can bring your pest problems into the office or call 925-646-5250 for advice.

The Mt. Diablo Audubon Society has information on their website regarding a variety of issues that affect our wildlife such as DON'T TAKE THE BAIT! AntiCoagulant Rat Poisons Kill, which you can read on their site at . There is also a link to their brochure called Who Will Save Us? (PDF), which you can print and distribute to others.

Finally, if you have any of these toxic products on hand, please dispose of them safely by taking the materials to your hazardous waste facility. In Contra Costa County, call 1-800-750-4096 for locations and information or go to

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Navigating through the County's large volume of programs, services and information can be difficult, but help is just a click of the mouse away. Contra Costa County's website includes a LiveChat program, weekdays from 8:30 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. You can access it right from a button on the County's homepage (and just to your left). You will also find the LiveChat button on every page of the County's website. Thousands of county residents have taken advantage of this service, posing questions ranging from how to access property information, where to pay taxes, or how to license a pet. Tap into the Live Chat team and you'll be talking in real time with staff at Contra Costa's Libraries trained to help answer questions that might be tough to resolve just by searching online.

Response to the service has been overwhelmingly positive, from both citizens who have used it and from staff who have expressed how rewarding it is to be able to help residents navigate the sometimes complicated maze of County government information. Much of the information is actually available on various pages of the County website. Your inquiries through LiveChat, which are tracked and reported to the County's departments, will help to organize the information so that it will be easier for future visitors to find.

My staff works hard to make my own District 2 website informative and up to date with many useful resources for my constituents. In addition to links to all of the District 2 city websites, you will find links to many local, county, and state organizations such as East Bay Regional Park District, Contra Costa Water District, local CERT training groups, and the California Secretary of State for voter registration. You will be able to see the advisory boards I make appointments to, where there are vacancies, and learn how to apply for those openings. You can also quickly access the Board of Supervisors' agendas for the current and past meetings, view past issues of my e-Newsletter, as well as sign up to receive a copy each month via email. If you're not already, I encourage you to become one of our many regular e-Newsletter subscribers. Each month's edition showcases local events and includes short, informative articles about what is going on in the County. Join my mailing list by clicking on e-Newsletters in the left navigation list. Along with my Facebook page and Twitter account (@AndersenCandace), my e-Newsletter is another way of communicating with you on a regular basis.