To ensure that it properly identifies and prioritizes the needs of the veteran community, the department should conduct a formal assessment of those needs, including soliciting input from the CVSOs.
The department has implemented a number of investigations to assess veteran needs for use during its strategic plan development. The first was a series of public hearings, known as All Hands Meetings, held throughout the State to hear directly from veterans, families, and local service providers, etc., as to their perception of veteran needs. Planning and execution of the hearings involved local veteran organizations and local governmental agencies that provide veteran services. These meetings highlighted the role of the CVSO locally and allow the local leaders to highlight local needs through smaller forums that precede the public hearings. The second effort was a statewide survey to seek input from the veteran community on veteran needs. This on-line survey began in February 2010 and closed data collection in mid-May. This survey sought input on veteran needs from three primary sub-groups: 1) active duty and veterans, 2) veteran family members, and 3) any resident interested in veteran issues. The department published a report on the findings in February 2011. (see attached). The third effort was to conduct three surveys of veterans involved with Operation Welcome Home. These surveys addressed both customer satisfaction and veteran service needs. After the veteran was interviewed by a CalVet member during Operation Welcome Home, CalVet sent out a survey 30 days, 180 days, and one year after they entered the program. The fourth effort was to conduct a survey of CVSOs just prior to the February 2010 training conference. This survey specifically asked the CVSOs, “In your expert opinion, what are the top three needs for veterans?” The department has published a white paper which utilized all of these data sources as its formal assessment of veterans needs and to make recommendations to the State’s policy makers as to prioritizing those needs. (2011-041, p. 186)
Agency responses received after June 2013 are posted verbatim.