Naco Award

Ventura County Earns National Achievement Award for PEARLS Program


WASHINGTON – The Ventura County PEARLS program has been recognized with an Achievement Award from the National Association of Counties (NACo). The awards honor innovative, effective county government programs that strengthen services for residents.

Ventura County’s Program to Encourage Active, Rewarding Lives (PEARLS) was launched in April 2020 as a partnership between the Ventura County Area Agency on Aging (VCAAA) and Ventura County Behavioral Health and made possible by the Mental Health Service Act. Housed under the VCAAA, PEARLS is a national evidence-based program for late-life depression that has uniquely been integrated into the front end of the VCAAA’s existing services as a means to provide early intervention for people who need a higher level of care. PEARLS brings high-quality care into community-based settings that reach older adults 60 and older.

Perhaps most impactful is the program’s ability to effectively combat isolation and loneliness in the most vulnerable moments of a client’s life and, in particular, through the COVID-19 crisis.

“We are incredibly grateful for the recognition from NACo and understand our role in providing critical programs and resources to some of the most vulnerable individuals living in Ventura County,” said Victoria Jump, Director of the VCAAA. “PEARLS is a vital program that often provides life-saving and certainly life-changing tools to program participants, all made possible by dedicated staff both at the VCAAA and Ventura County Behavioral Health.”

NACo President Larry Johnson said, “All across the country, counties are working tirelessly to support residents and drive recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. This year’s Achievement Award-winning programs showcase how counties work every day to build healthy, safe, and thriving communities.”

Nationally, awards are given in 18 different categories that reflect the vast, comprehensive services counties provide. The categories include children and youth, criminal justice and public safety, county administration, information technology, health, civic engagement, and many more.

Started in 1970, NACo’s annual Achievement Awards program is designed to recognize county government innovations. Each nominee is judged on its own merits and not against other applications received.

The National Association of Counties (NACo) unites America’s 3,069 county governments.  Founded in 1935, NACo brings county officials together to advocate with a collective voice on national policy, exchange ideas and build new leadership skills, pursue transformational county solutions, enrich the public’s understanding of county government and exercise exemplary leadership in public service.  Learn more at

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