SALT LAKE COUNTY, Utah (ABC4) — The National Association of Counties (NACo) awarded Salt Lake County with nine awards in seven different categories for what amounted to a record-breaking number of awards for the county, according to SLCo Mayor Jenny Wilson.

Salt Lake County was recognized for nine award-winning programs, ranging from jail initiatives to youth depression programs, according to the Salt Lake County press release.

The NACo gives annual awards to innovative and effective county government programs across 18 categories. The NACo President Denise Winfrey said “this year’s winners represent some of the most innovative and collaborative efforts [the association has] seen in over 50 years of presenting these awards.”

While not all the programs began in 2022, the awards were given for their success during the past year. Take a look at the county’s award-winning programs:

Library Connections at the Salt Lake County Jail (Best in Category)

The Library Connections at the Salt Lake County Jail program won the Best in Category award for Libraries, an award Salt Lake County has never received previously.

This program serves around 2,000 residents in the local county jail by providing 45,000 resources and monthly self-directed programs. The library also helps with the jail’s Life Skills program by offering classes to incarcerated individuals to help prepare them to be successful once released, according to the county’s press release.

ME Time (Youth Service Award)

This program uses principles from Cognitive Behavioral Therapy to help youth ages 13-19 reduce depressive symptoms and substance abuse in the county, the press release said. From 2021 to 2022, the county reports participants in the program showed reduced depressive symptoms by 22% on average.

The program, which started in 2019, seeks to improve adolescents’ mental health by gathering participants in a group setting once a week for six weeks and encourages them to engage in social and physical activities to improve their mental health.

Jail Resource and Reentry Program (Criminal Justice Award)

The JRRP assists those leaving the Salt Lake County Jail “with resources and information to successfully reenter the community,” the release said. The resources provided address court appearances, assistance with treatment, housing, employment, and transportation needs.

The county reports initial success with the program saying it has been able to help over 2,500 people.

Magna Regional Park & Inclusive Playground (Parks and Recreation Award)

This ‘destination park’ located in the northwest area of the county was created for an underserved community, seeking to provide recreation for those of all abilities. The park includes an inclusive playground, splash pad, pavilions, trails, and fields. This park was created as part of an effort to reduce the stigma of accessibility needs, the county said.

Data-Informed Programmatic Delivery (Health Department Award)

Since 2018, the county Health Department has been focused on providing greater attention to communities with “historically inequitable health outcomes,” the release said. In order to accomplish this, the department created a bureau called the Bureau of Population Health and Informatics (PHIB) that uses data and analytics to determine the potential of a program and improve services.

Advisory Committee SLCo Animal Services & Utah FACES Endowment (Animal Services Award)

Salt Lake County received two awards in the animal services category. The first was awarded to the county for its creation and operation of a voluntary advisory committee to Salt Lake County Animal Services. This committee gives recommendations relating to animals and shelters to the division, the mayor, and the council, according to the press release.

The county’s Animal Services also received an award for the “unique funding structure” it uses to increase fundraising money to support programs. The department created the FACES Endowment in 2019 and the county said “the endowment’s principal investment continues to grow yearly,” providing additional funding through interest accruals.

Home-Delivered Meals & Caregiver Talking Points (Aging & Adult Services Award)

The final awards were given to two programs in the Aging and Adult Services category. The first is the Home-Delivered Meals Heated Bags Sustainability Program. The county program delivers hot meals to older adults through employees and volunteers using insulated, reusable bags to keep the food warm. The bags are fixed if necessary and used again in order to reduce waste.

The final awarded program provides education to caregivers on several subjects. The purpose of the program is to help re-energize and educate caregivers to improve their skills and routine management, according to the press release.

“This year, Salt Lake County programs received a record-breaking number of awards,” Salt Lake County Mayor Jenny Wilson said. “These programs improve how we provide health care, serve older adults, care for animals, address teenage mental health needs, protect public safety, and more. I am proud of what we are doing to make Salt Lake County an even better place to live.”