Director for the Adult Services Division within King County’s Department of Community and Health Services
On this episode of The Jason Cavness Experience I talk to Leon Richardson - Director for the Adult Services Division within King County’s Department of Community and Health Services
We talk about the following and other items
Being a U.S. Army Reserve Officer
Adult Services Division within King County’s Department of Community and Health Services
Importance of collaboration
Focusing on removing barriers
Mr. Leon Richardson is the Director for the Adult Services Division within King County’s Department of Community and Human Services. He assumed these duties on July 26, 2021, after most recently serving as the Division Deputy Director and as the Director overseeing operations for the county run vaccination sites. He is a native of Washington State, and a graduate of the Washington State University and the New Mexico Military Institute. He is still actively serving in the United States Army Reserve and his career to date has been filled with public service at the port, city, and county levels.
In 2020, Leon established and led operations for DCHS’s COVID-19 Isolation/Quarantine (Assessment/Recovery Facilities) and was the leader of King County’s high-volume vaccination sites in Auburn and Kent.
As the Director for Adult Services, Mr. Richardson focuses on removing barriers and ensuring that King County provides services that deliver the most equitable opportunities for people to achieve their greatest potential. His division has the responsibility for providing
Adult human services to the residents of King County. Within this portfolio some of the things he oversees are the veterans, seniors, housing, domestic violence, and civil legal work. A lot of this work is accomplished through the over 280 contracts with community partners to develop, support and provide human services.
Mr. Richardson's passion is serving those in need and ensuring that resources are accessible by all who need them. He firmly believes that we need to be the change we want to see in our community and that we achieve this through collaboration and teamwork.
In your bio, it says you remove barriers, what does that mean?
Throughout my life in various spaces, I've seen a lot of instances of where everybody knows what the right answer is, but then there's always something that is preventing from doing the right thing. I pride myself on identifying those things with partners and beginning to remove those barriers, and to help people.
Who do you consider to be a customer for your division?
The residents of King County and the organizations in which we partner with. I would say more broadly, even beyond the organizations that we partner with the organizations that are providing human services to the community.
How do you collaborate and work with different governments and counties?
We talk on a regular basis with the various municipal governments. We have government relations staff that are on our teams at a department level that on a regular basis show up in those different spaces. I try to go out and interact with different elected leaders, different governments, local, federal, or state to make sure that we're collaborating and providing a joint response when and where needed.
What does your division do?
My division is the adult services division within the Department of Community and Human Services. We steward the veteran seniors and Human Services Levy, which is a six-year Levy, to provide broad human services focusing on veterans and seniors. There is a multitude of programs underneath that, like civil legal aid programs that have to deal with gender based violence. My division does several other things, all in the adult human services realm where we focus on people that are 18 and older and provide them services to make sure that they're living healthy, thriving lives.
How do you measure the success of your organization?
I think the success of our organization is measured, in part by the number of people we're able to help.
What kind of veterans do you help? Any veterans?
One of the unique things about the levee, we take a focus on understanding where there's gaps in the system and trying to fill those gaps. We define a veteran, as anybody that served one day in the military, a service member, you can be serving currently in any of the service branches. Or you can be the family member of a veteran and qualify for resources.
What are your goals for your organization moving forward?
Right now, we are going through a period of time, to gain feedback and learn how the veteran seniors and Human Services lobby has performed. Where did we get it right? Where did we have opportunities to change? Or do something different? What are the gaps out there that we're still missing that we need to be responsive. This levy expires at the end of 2023. Right now, it is, with our elected leaders to decide if they're going to put it back on the ballot. Which I have no indication to say that they're not. For us to work to make sure that the next iteration of the levy is better than this one. That means we need to do some deep work with community. We need to understand what we need to sustain and make bigger.
Leon’s Social Media
Leon’s LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/leon-richardson-90a16869/
Department of Human Services website: https://kingcounty.gov/depts/community-human-services.aspx
Adult Services Division website: https://kingcounty.gov/depts/community-human-services/adult-services.aspx
Leon’s Email: email@example.com
I would also just throw a plug out there that right now we're doing community conversations for the Veteran seniors in the Human Services lobby. One of the things that we're looking at is, is there a need in the community? That is that people feel that the government is really being responsive to them. One of the things that we pride ourselves on is filling the gaps, recognizing that we're in this large system between local government, state and federal and whether there's like programs or maybe programs only at one particular level.
The need is vast beyond that, or maybe there's a state program and a federal program that work together. But then there's a gap in between where people potentially aren't eligible or don't qualify, or whatever the thing may be in order to receive services or the health data they need. Where are those spaces and we we like to hear that and figure out how we can be more responsive to the community
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