SAN DIEGO: County Designates $410 Million For Healthy Kids
The San Diego County Board of Supervisors approved a "sweeping" plan Wednesday that would make $410 million available over the next five years for improving the health and safety of the county's children. The San Diego Union-Tribune reports that the chief goals of the "strategic plan" include such preventive health measures as "promoting immunization ... visiting new mothers ... and expanding alcohol and drug treatment for adolescents and parents." Dr. Robert Ross, director of the county's Health and Human Services Agency, said these "timely, strategic investments" should "ensure that children are healthier." He said, "It crystallizes what is important to this board in terms of kids and lets them and the public know we are taking those priorities seriously."
Good Intentions, But Where's The Dough?
The Union-Tribune notes that the strategic plan, or "blueprint" for future spending, "does not specify where funding will come from," although officials say the programs will be funded through a combination of state, federal, private and county money. The first step to implement the plan will come next month when the county plans to include $18 million for some of these programs in the FY 1999 county budget. Next year the county plans to raise $7.6 million of the $18 million from increased sales taxes and license fees. The other $10.4 million will come from monies saved through "staff reductions and other cutbacks." "If we are smarter and better about using our resources, we can do great things for kids," Ross said (Kuchner, 5/20).
Break It Down
The Union-Tribune details the breakdown of some of the endeavors planned with the $18 million in next year's budget. They include: $3.3 million to hire "12 mental health workers -- including clinicians, psychiatrists and psychologists -- to provide mental health services for severely emotionally disturbed youth at Polinsky and Juvenile Hall"; $1 million for "adult mental health treatment"; $1 million for home visits made by "public health nurses and community workers"; $750,000 for "indigent preventive health services"; $700,000 for "Public Health Nursing and Public Health Clinic services"; $500,000 for a "computer database to track immunization compliance"; $400,000 to "reduce high mortality rates" through an expanded Black Infant Health program; and $100,000 for Project Care to "combat the spread of HIV among intravenous drug users" (5/20).