Customer Awareness Response Effort (CARE)- Not for Ourselves Alone

Group of people sitting and talking at a trianing.The Challenge

Community members with trauma are not served by health and social service agencies alone. They seek services through several county and local agencies including the Library, Clerk-Recorder Office, Regional Transit Authority (RTA), Public Works, Central Services and many more. These departments are relied on to provide excellent customer service yet many have not received formal trainings on how to interact with individuals who are experiencing trauma. This leads to challenges for both staff members and the community members experiencing trauma. 



The SolutionLarge room of people sitting during a training presentation.

Offer trauma informed training to public agencies and programs in the County, focusing on how to interact with mental health clients within a customer service role, focusing on three main goals:

  • Build capacity and increase interagency collaboration to best serve the public.
  • Better help County staff understand trauma and how it impacts constituents, including its own employees.
  • Create a better, more informed and public engagement and customer service experience. 


The BenefitPeople interacting during a training exercise.

When an organization learns how to provide trauma-informed care, they educate the staff about the effects of violence, victimization and trauma on individuals. Their services allow clients to feel safe, be accepted and be understood by everyone who may come in contact with them. Employees also feel safe and supported.




Trauma Informed Monthly Newsletters
CARE Workbook
Helpful Articles
Trauma-Informed Tools
For Your Department


The Customer Awareness Response Effort (CARE) program is funded through San Luis Obispo County Mental Health Services Act (MHSA) funds, Read more about MHSA here.



Several San Luis Obispo County departments and local agencies have participated in the CARE program. They include:

  1. Agricultural/Weights, and Measures
  2. Assessor  
  3. Auditor Controller Treasurer Tax Collector
  4. Behavioral Health Administrative Staff
  5. Central Services
  6. Child Support Services
  7. Clerk- Recorder Office
  8. Department of Social Services
  9. District Attorney's Office
  10. Information Technology
  11. Library (County-wide)
  12. Parks and Recreation
  13. People's Self Help Housing
  14. Probation
  15. Public Health Administrative Staff
  16. Public Works
  17. Regional Transit Authority
  18. San Luis Obispo County Food Bank Coalition
  19. Sheriffs Department
  20. Veteran's Services

“CARE is a wonderful and insightful series that has provided an invaluable set of tools to our staff. This training offers a comprehensive view of trauma, how it affects behavior, and how we can better serve those that exhibit symptoms of trauma. Not only did we learn theory, but we took the time as a department to develop real world actions we could take to better serve our patrons. I recommend this to anyone that has staff that directly serves the public.”

-Chase McMunn, Assistant Director of Libraries, County of San Luis Obispo Public Libraries


“I have worked for the County for almost 35 years in public service.  The CARE program has caused me to adjust my thinking and take a step back with dealing with a customer that is upset and frustrated.  I think the info that has been given to me through CARE has caused me to be more patient and empathetic to those individuals.  It brings me back to why I am here in the first place which is to help and serve the public to the best of my ability.  Everyone has a story!”

-Tami Bisantz, Division Supervisor, County of San Luis Obispo Clerk-Recorder’s Office


“I would like to see this training become mandatory for all county employees. The information presented was, in my opinion, key to providing excellent customer service and is vital to our goal of becoming a world class organization.”

-Desiree Hernandez, Family Support Officer, Department of Child Support Services