Orange County Children and Families Commission Approves Three Early Action Programs
ORANGE COUNTY, Calif., (Jan. 5, 2000) The Orange County Children and Families Commission has approved three Early Action Programs to begin receiving funds allocated from Proposition 10 revenues. These programs will be funded in February 2000 with the adoption of a comprehensive Strategic Plan. The Strategic Plan will include the distribution of approximately $3.7 million (less than 10 percent of the first year’s Proposition 10 allocation) to help meet the immediate healthcare and development needs of Orange County’s youngest and most needy children from prenatal to age five.
Proposition 10, passed in November 1998, established a tax on cigarettes, and mandated that these funds be allocated by local commissions for early childhood health and development programs.
The Orange County Children and Families Commission is currently developing a Strategic Plan slated for approval in February 2000, that will outline how Proposition 10 funds will best be used locally. To achieve a balance between long-term planning and immediate needs, the Commission approved the three Early Action Programs after verifying that these programs will serve as platforms that will be supported and expanded via the Strategic Plan.
"The three early initiatives we approved are only the beginning of the bright and healthy future of Orange County’s children. These initiatives will serve as a foundation for many more beneficial, supportive and much-needed programs that will be outlined in the Strategic Plan and funded through Proposition 10," said Orange County Children and Families Commission Chairman, Charles "Chuck" Smith.
The three early action programs approved by the Commission are outlined below:
Increased Hospital Support For Families ¾ This program allocates $2.25 million to place a case management professional in each of 14 high-birthrate or high-neonatal care hospitals to offer specialized support and help improve access to health service for families. By placing a staff person dedicated to healthcare needs of families in local hospitals, this program will help increase the proportion of the zero-to-five population with adequate healthcare coverage.
Expanded Health Services at Family Resource Centers ¾ This program allocates $950,000 in the first year to improve child health and school readiness by strengthening one of the County’s most effective community outreach programs, Family Resource Centers (FRC). It provides additional public health nurses and family advocates to five of Orange County’s FRCs to help improve outreach to families with young children and make public health nurses more available to low-income communities.
Child Care Assistance For High-Risk Families ¾ This program, by providing full-time child care for at-risk families, helps keep together families on the brink of being torn apart. Administered by the Children's Home Society of Calif., this program allocates $548,000 to be used to provide full-time childcare assistance to 60 Orange County families with children from zero-to-five years old, who have been identified to be at risk of abuse or neglect.
Proposition 10 The California Children and Families Act of 1998 was approved by voters in November 1998, adding a 50-cent tax per pack of cigarettes sold in California. The monies collected are to be used to fund education, health and child care programs that promote early childhood development, from prenatal to age five. The Orange County Children and Families Commission, an independent, nine-member commission, is tasked with overseeing the allocation of funds received through Proposition 10.