Salem County Board of Chosen Freeholders
92 Market Street. Salem, N.J. 08079

Contact: Rita Shade Simpson, Clerk of the Board/Administrator

June 19, 2002


SALEM – The Salem County Office of Aging received high commendations from the state in a recent evaluation, meeting each of the 64 federal and state standards for serving the public, Freeholder Director Dave Sparks announced today.

"Our Office of Aging excelled in out-reach to clients, innovative programs, fiscal management, and for use of technology in administration," said Freeholder Director Sparks.

The New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services conducted a three-day on-site evaluation of County’s Office of Aging performance in areas such as administrative structure, policies and procedures, client services, program planning, customer access, and fiscal operations.

"The state specifically commented that the County provides a ‘gamut of services’ despite a small staff, and does so efficiently due to effective cross-training," said Sparks. "The state’s comment goes to the heart of the Freeholders’ belief that County government can be lean, yet provide excellent services. The staff at the Office of Aging has a ‘can do’ attitude, and we are proud of each of them."

Freeholder Sue Bestwick, Chair of the Health and Social Services Committee, said the Office on Aging assisted more than 4,300 people last year.

"The staff’s daily commitment helps the elderly, frail, and disabled residents of Salem County maintain their dignity and independence," said Freeholder Bestwick.

The state report said the Salem County Office on Aging "effectively tracks unmet needs and utilizes the limited resources of service providers to ensure that older adults of Salem County remain independent."

The report also stated the Salem County Office on Aging "is more technologically advanced that most Offices on Aging…(it) is to be commended for maintaining extremely organized client case files."

Freeholder Director Dave Sparks credited Fred Laning, County Director of Health and Senior Services, and Office of Aging Division Director Pam Pedrick for the excellent assessment by the state.

Laning said the highly energized staff at the Office of Aging piloted a model program for delivering frozen meals for older adults, and increased its outreach to ethnic populations.

"The pilot program was so successful it is now a regular service," said Laning. "The office also increased its services to African-Americans by 50%, to the Asian population by 14%, and to the Hispanic population by 60%."

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