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What happens when the unexpected does?

Column by Commissioner Cook

  • 21 julio 2022
  • Author: Doris Sanchez
  • Number of views: 438
  • 0 Comments

Commissioner Cook, right, hands out water bottle cases along with two other volunteers shown at the Kelly-Reeves  Athletic Field to residents during a boil water notice issued on Feb. 5 by Austin Water.

In an episode of “I Love Lucy”, how did Lucy respond in the chocolate factory when the chocolates came faster than she could box them? She gained 20 pounds.

Seldom does life follow our plans, hence contingency planning.

How we react shows our character and perhaps its flaws. Those who weather those changes tend to show creativity and resilience, not resignation and despair.

In my second year as commissioner in 2018, I participated in a “table-top disaster exercise.” This is a scripted disaster with all the normal players participating as though in their official roles. In this case, the scenario was a major 5K race planned in Twin

Commissioner Cook Announces Texas Housing Assistance Line

Information from the Texas Health and Human Services Commission

  • 13 julio 2022
  • Author: Doris Sanchez
  • Number of views: 190
  • 0 Comments

On July 7, The Health and Human Services Commission announced the launch of the Texas Housing Assistance Line at 1-855-802-0014.Adobe Stock Free Vectors Icon of house with blue roof, orange door and white structure ttps://www.bing.com/images/

This resource is available statewide 24 hours a day, seven days a week, to help people facing housing instability or homelessness, with a focus on people dealing with mental health or substance use issues.

Trained consultants will refer callers to local housing resources; crisis services; local mental and behavioral health authorities; Outreach, Screening, Assessment, and Referral programs; and 2-1-1 as appropriate.

For additional housing information, log onto DFPS - Housing Program (state.tx.us)

Dealing with mental health crises

Column by Commissioner Cook

  • 16 junio 2022
  • Author: Doris Sanchez
  • Number of views: 508
  • 0 Comments

Photo of people gathered at Bluebonnet Trails' Open House of their new youth respite center with logos of their partners surrounding the photo.Williamson County Commissioner Terry Cook: Dealing with mental health crises (statesman.com)

With Williamson County's former Mobile Outreach Team transitioning to support the city of Round Rock residents only, many have asked what the county is doing to provide services. We are continuing and expanding our partnership with Bluebonnet Trails, our local mental health authority and community center for Region 5, serving eight counties including Williamson. Its focus is to provide services for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, serious mental illness and substance use disorders.

While the media and politicos are blaming mental health crises for the recent shootings, many of those involved have no indication of a mental health crisis but are clearly not stable individuals. Williamson County seeks to connect our citizens in crisis with the most appropriate treatment when possible.

Bluebonnet Trails’ Mobile Crisis Outreach Team

The MCOT teams have previously been working in tandem with the county’s MOT group of social workers to provide on-site services and responses to mental health crises within the county, including at the schools. This group is now doing crisis assessments covering all but the city of Round Rock in this effort. Adults or children may be taken to respite centers or referred for case workers and programs with Bluebonnet staff.

Spotlight on transformative justice

Column by Commissioner Cook

  • 19 mayo 2022
  • Author: Doris Sanchez
  • Number of views: 710
  • 0 Comments

Williamson County Commissioner Cook: Spotlight on transformative justice (statesman.com)

In 2018, a program began in Williamson County diverting young adults ages 17 to 24 accused of nonviolent felonies, such as drug charges, from the traditional criminal justice system to services that address their development needs and help them make wise decisions to develop a strong foundation for adulthood.

Judge Stacey Mathews of the 277th District Court presides over the Transformative Justice Program, based on the model of stakeholder and community partnerships. The TJ program team includes court staff, prosecutors from the Williamson County’s district attorney’s office, members of the defense bar and county's Juvenile Services staff.  The county aggressively seeks grant-funding for such programs to offset costs and reduce the burden on the taxpayer. The Commissioners Court proudly partners with the Texas Indigent Defense Commission and the Texas Bar Foundation to help us fund this important program.

Does a community-based program led by decision-making teams improve emerging adults’ physical and mental health and reduce recidivism compared to the current criminal justice system? I interviewed two alums of this program. I changed their real names to protect their identities.

“Laura” was born into an unstable environment in a Michigan inner-city home. Her father left the family after fathering four children in as many years. Mom, who drank heavily, moved with her three kids to a trailer home in Georgetown, leaving one son behind. When Laura was 9, CPS removed the kids from the home. She, along with the older and younger brother, were placed in a neighborhood home for two weeks and ultimately moved to a group home of strangers. While there, Laura’s mom gave up her parental rights. Later, a foster family with big hearts adopted the three children. 

Laura thrived in her first two years of high school, joining ROTC, the Color Guard and becoming active in community service. However, her fragile life foundation began crumbling during her junior year, and she lost interest in the programs she had so enjoyed. Lacking friends outside of her prior groups, she drifted. In her words, “everything became meaningless.” Then her new parents divorced, and she moved again with her adoptive dad.

She started associating with troubled kids and began making poor decisions. She was arrested in Leander with a bag containing drugs and paraphernalia (the result of a group purchase) on a felony charge to the terror of her younger brother who witnessed her being handcuffed and placed in a police vehicle.

At the jail, J.R. Hancock, a defense attorney for the Transformative Justice Program and whose position is partially funded by the Texas Indigent Defense Commission grant, contacted Laura about the new program. Unbeknownst to her, Hancock was part of Laura’s adoption legal team. Recognizing the value of joining this program, Laura agreed to become one of its early clients. The next day Laura walked out of jail to her adoptive dad and her two siblings with a business card<

May 24, 2022 - Democratic and Republican Primary Runoff Elections & Early Voting Information

Information from the Williamson County Elections Office

  • 9 mayo 2022
  • Author: Doris Sanchez
  • Number of views: 2120
  • 0 Comments

Image of illustrated hand depositing ballot into white box marked VOTE by www.bing.com/imagesElection Day: Tuesday, May 24, 2022

Early Voting period: Monday, May 16 to Friday, May 20

Last Day to Apply for Ballot by Mail (Received, not postmarked): Friday, May 13

CLICK HERE FOR COMPREHENSIVE SAMPLE BALLOT

NOTICE OF ELECTION - DEMOCRATIC PARTY

NOTICE OF ELECTION - REPUBLICAN PARTY
The polling location is in the designated areas of each location.

May 24, 2022 Texas Secretary of State Election Law Calendar

If you voted in the March 1 primary, you can cast your vote only in runoff races for the same party. If you didn’t vote in the March primaries this year, you can choose to vote in either the Democratic or Republican runoffs as long as you are registered to vote.

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