MONROE – The National Association of Counties awarded Union County awards for innovative, effective county government programs that strengthen services for residents.

County departments received Achievement Awards in varying categories:

· Libraries for the Library’s Small Business Support Program

· Health for the Behavioral Health Collaborative

· Civic Education and Public Information

“The extraordinary work of these three teams has resulted in additional support, resources and valuable information for the residents we serve," Deputy County Manager Michelle Lancaster said.

The Library's Small Business Support Program used grants to develop a customer passport program and provide business owners with resources to bolster their online presence during the pandemic.

"The library is not only a place to borrow books, but has evolved to a full community support system,” ," library director Nina Chaffin said. “This program is a perfect example of the various services and programs we are proud to offer.”

The Behavioral Health Collaborative is a partnership between the county's social services department and Union County Public Schools to place social workers and behavioral health therapists in schools across the district.

The collaborative served more than 5,000 students and their families in the first year.

"We have seen this program save lives and improve student outcomes by intervening earlier and connecting families with critical resources," said Christina Neal, who leads the collaborative.

The Public Communications team consolidated disparate communications from across departments to reach more residents and have a more strategic approach to communications.

"Communication is woven in everything we do as a county and is vital to engage with the residents we serve," said Kathryn Brown, Director of Public Communications.

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