ORANGE COUNTY: Children’s Health Groups Benefit from Tobacco Tax
Orange County's Children and Families Commission has granted 45 child-health service groups a total of $17.1 million from the county's tobacco-tax revenue, the Orange County Register reports. Passed by California voters in 1998, Proposition 10 added a 50-cent tax on each cigarette pack to support health-related services for children under the age of five, and is expected to yield up to $50 million each year for the county. Gene Howard, executive director of the Orangewood Children's Foundation, said, "I think that we have the opportunity here, if we use the funds correctly, to have the biggest impact on children in Orange County that we've ever seen." Recipients of the grants, which range from $25,000 to $2.5 million, include the following:
- Children's Hospital of Orange County received $2.5 million to develop an assessment center to fight infant mortality, chronic illness and disability with early diagnosis and treatment. Funds also will provide counseling and support to 800 families with children in the neonatal unit.
- The Shelter & Hunger Partnership of Orange County received $1.1 million to reduce the number of families living in motels.
- Orangewood Children's Foundation received $600,000 to expand services at its family health resource centers, including the addition of health access workers.
- The Regents of the University of California received $2.5 million for research and treatment of autism, including a new Neurodevelopmental Center at the University of California-Irvine Medical Center.
- Maternal Outreach Management System received $470,536 to provide four home visits each to 600 mothers and their infants to work on early childhood development.
- Latino Health Access received $350,000 to develop a program that would reduce hospital-visits for asthma and allergy patients.