Protect State Funding For Mental Health Programs
Protect State Funding For Mental Health Programs
With the assistance of three of our major health organizations serving the Santa Clarita Valley, Henry Mayo Newhall Memorial Hospital, Providence Holy Cross Hospital and the Facey Medical Group, we’ve identified nine significant non-profits serving the Santa Clarita Valley who focus on mental health services.
These include the Child & Family Center of the Santa Clarita Valley, The Domestic Violence Center of the Santa Clarita Valley, the Los Angeles Residential Community “Service Developmentally Disabled Adults” (Larc Ranch), Action Family Counseling (at risk youth), The Santa Clarita Valley Senior Center (Committee on Aging – Alzheimer’s program), Bridge To Home -The Santa Clarita Homeless Shelter, The SCV Youth Project, the Northeast Valley Health Corporation and the Samuel Dixon Family Health Centers.
These organizations provide vital services to our community, filling critical gaps not covered elsewhere. We believe continued support and funding for their mental health programs is imperative. Rather than overwhelm you with material, we have asked one of these organizations, The Child & Family Center to describe their current challenges. We believe the funding issues are very similar for all of these superb local health organizations.
The Child & Family Center of the Santa Clarita Valley, the area’s only community mental health center serving children, young adults and adults in a 250 square mile area, is facing significant challenges this year as the State transfers responsibility for mental health funding for Special Education students (known as AB3632) from the State and Counties to the Schools for the 2012/13 budget year. As a consequence of this action, children with very severe mental health needs may face a substantial loss of crucial services now available to children and their families in the Santa Clarita Valley!
The primary concern is that schools will be receiving funding for the needed services on the basis of the number of students enrolled in their district. Unfortunately, this allocation does not take into consideration the fact that some districts in our State have a far greater number of children who need these services than other districts. As a result, some districts will receive a windfall, while others, such as Santa Clarita, who have been diligent over the years in ensuring the identification of those children who need these services, will have a substantial shortfall. In response, school districts are examining ways to reduce services and/or provide the required intensive and complex services themselves for these very disturbed children. In addition, many schools are insisting that if these children require psychiatric services, the schools are not responsible for having those services provided. Instead, they insist that parents must look to their health plans and medical providers to obtain these services. However, many families with low incomes either do not have health plans or only have access to community clinics that do not employ psychiatrists. Thus, the impact on the school districts is poised to result in the loss of funding to provide these services by experienced organizations such as the Child & Family Center, the loss of critically needed psychiatric services for very disturbed children, and a tremendously negative impact upon children in having their critical mental health and psychiatric needs inadequately met.
Ensure that the formula to be established to allocate funding for these mental health services for 2012/13 and beyond is based on the true need for these critical services and not simply on the number of children in any given school district. Moreover, ensure that school districts contract with experienced, community mental health organizations to continue the provision of these professional mental health and psychiatric services for these very disturbed children in order to avoid any potential tragedies resulting from
Inadequate and/or poorly organized services.
State funding previously provided to the counties for numerous community mental health centers allowed them to provide special education students and their families with vital and necessary services to treat or prevent those who would attempt to hurt themselves, those who could not otherwise progress in school, those who could end up instead in the legal system, and those who would otherwise attempt to hurt others in their schools and in their communities. These community mental health centers are often the only thing standing between their clients and grave physical danger, and California’s communities cannot sustain any loss to the services they provide. To have schools take on the provision of these services for seriously disturbed special education students, and to not have critically necessary psychiatric services included, is to risk having our schools provide services for which they do not have the training or experience and to divert their time and attention from their mission and expertise of educating our children.
This year, the Child & Family Center provided services for over 850 cases a week. This included services at most of the middle and high schools in the Santa Clarita Valley and many of the elementary schools, services for families to help keep children safe while not placing them in institutionalized care, and services for the most fragile of those in need: children under the age of six. The Center also responded to numerous crisis intervention calls for children who might be a danger to themselves or others, seeing most of them in person. Due to its efforts, only a small percentage of cases were hospitalized, thus saving the county and state dollars for more expensive care. Inadequate funding for these services and/or a shift to schools for the provision of these services would risk school failure, serious harm to these children, potential harm to others in the community, and greater use of more expensive institutionalization, hospitalization and incarceration placements.
Below is a brief description and concerns from the other eight non-profits we are representing.
LARC Ranch (the Los Angeles Residential Community “Serving Developmentally Disabled Adults”) is the largest facility serving the developmentally disabled adult population in the Santa Clarita Valley. LARC Ranch serves not only its residential population but through its Day Programs special needs adults living in their own family homes. LARC has already permanently lost 4.25% funding over the last two years which adds up to approximately $109,000.00. We face an uncertain future as to what further cuts will occur when this next budget is signed. These cut backs severely impact LARC in its dedication to serve our special needs people. We have already cut back our budget. Furthermore due to medical advancements and continued medical care the developmentally disabled individual is living a longer, better life. The overall health and mental health of this population will be greatly compromised by limiting the number of doctor visits covered, the number of prescription medications covered and the number of providers that accept the Medi-Cal insurance. These cut backs are/will severely affect the lives of these special people from birth into adulthood!
Bridge To Home – The Santa Clarita Valley Homeless Shelter
The Santa Clarita Valley Emergency Winter Shelter (Bridge To Home) is the only homeless shelter in the Santa Clarita Valley. We sheltered 290 (250 adults and 40 children) men, women, and children this past winter. Of the adults, 124 declared themselves to be mentally ill or abusing a substance; 50% of the clients served. Observations of the shelter clients place that percentage as conservative. County provided competent, capable, and accessible mental health services are essential to the recovery from un-employment and homeless programs for these people.
The shelter was able to find longer term or permanent housing for nearly 35% of the family units seen and 5% of the single clients sheltered. Mental illness and the mental stresses of unemployment and homelessness contributed to the failure of many families to find and enter longer term or permanent housing and the low participation and success rates of singles. Accessible and capable mental illness programs would increase the return to independent sustainable living for more clients thus relieving pressure and expenses on numerous other county services.
Domestic Violence Center of the Santa Clarita Valley
The Domestic Violence Center of the Santa Clarita Valley, the area’s only agency serving a 250 square mile area, is facing significant challenges again this year as budget cuts are resulting in a loss of many of the crucial, often live-saving domestic violence services now available to residents of the Santa Clarita Valley!
According to a national census of domestic violence services, in just one day, over 7,700 requests for services went unmet due to a lack of resources. When the resources do not exist for victims to receive domestic violence services, they are often left with no choice but to risk their own lives by returning to their abusers.
Continued funding for our vital services is imperative.
Action Family Counseling
ACTION is a multifaceted organization under the auspices of ACTION Family Counseling Drug and Alcohol Treatment Programs. Its non-profit organization is the ACTION Parent & Teen Support Group Programs. ACTION Family Counseling Drug and Alcohol Treatment Programs treat adolescent and adults in intensive outpatient and residential treatment programs, treating substance abuse and co-occurring disorders. ACTION has 8 intensive outpatient programs, 4 residential treatment centers and 2 sober living facilities.
The ACTION Parent and Teen Support Group Programs exist on 6 high school campuses across Los Angeles, Ventura, and Kern Counties. Our groups are free to parents and teens. We work with teen anger, defiance/rebellion, truancy, drug and alcohol issues and gang involvement. Additionally we provide crisis counseling for high school in Santa Clarita and the Los Angeles, Ventura, and Kern Counties for at-risk teens.
Lack of Federal and State funding handicaps the treatment of adolescents who otherwise would not be treated at all. The California CARE 3 Program is cutting backing it’s funding to those who have treatment contracts in the drug and alcohol treatment arena. For example, outpatient treatment programs will only receive $1,000 for a 90-day treatment program. That’s $11.00 per day. How can treatment providers exist on $11.00 per day?
Huge cuts also exist in the mental health treatment arena. The California Care Program operated by the ADP under a SAMHSA grant was to serve a total of 11,560 adolescents over a 4-year period. With cut backs, service agencies may be unavailable to treat those in need. Service agencies are currently working for free.
SCV Youth Project
SCV Youth Project’s mission is to provide a safe, nurturing environment where teens and families are strengthened, empowered and equipped with the tools they need to live successful and fulfilling lives. They provide free peer mentoring, crisis intervention, support groups, education and outreach to teens 12- 18. Their campus based program directly impacts the lives of thousands of students each year, providing more than 8,000 hours of direct services. And while The Youth Project does not receive any state funding, they are still negatively impacted by budget cuts across the board (mental health as well as educational cuts). For example, when a large organization has its budget reduced from state funding, they will be forced to turn clients away (due to a reduction in programs or staffing issues); those clients still need assistance and will seek support from organizations such as the Youth Project or other neighboring programs that are providing FREE services. The other organizations who operate with smaller budgets could potentially be burdened with the additional requests for services, and in turn programs may not operate at their fullest capacity or efficiency. The bottom line, the clients need to be seen one way or the other, and the increased burden to the health and well being of the community will be great and perhaps unmanageable, therefore sacrificing quality.
Northeast Valley Health Corporation
Approximately 106,000,000 people in America are uninsured or have insurance but little or no access to basic health care services*. For almost forty years, Northeast Valley Health Corporation (NEVHC) has broken barriers to health care in California’s San Fernando and Santa Clarita Valleys, while also customizing our services to meet the needs of the communities we serve.
Today, with 13 Joint Commission accredited health care sites (including one mobile clinic and three school-based centers), 18 WIC centers, one pharmacy and two dental sites, NEVHC is needed more than ever. Throughout the areas we serve, more and more people are struggling to find health care for themselves and their families. For over 60,000 community members, NEVHC is their medical home.
Santa Clarita Valley Committee On Aging (Senior Center)
The Santa Clarita Valley Committee on Aging has provided Older American’s Act and other vital services to the North Los Angeles County region for 35 years. As 501(C)(3) non-profit organization, the Santa Clarita Valley Committee on Aging provides a seamless continuum of programs and services to 10,000 households annually in the second largest service area in the State of California. The agency serves a 450 square mile service area including all of the unincorporated areas of the 5th Supervisorial District in and around the Santa Clarita Valley. Suburban and rural environs that include isolated canyon areas characterize our service delivery area.
- Depression effects 20% of people aged 55 and older. It is the most prevalent mental health problem among older adults. It is also the most successfully treatable mental illness.
- Every 39 seconds someone will get Alzheimer’s disease.
- 5.4 million people (1 in 8) over the age of 65 have been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s type dementia.
- 40% of the elderly with dementia also have depression.
- 14.9 million people in the U.S. are unpaid family caregivers caring for someone with dementia.
- 80% of caregivers caring for someone with dementia reported distress emotionally and physically putting them at a much higher risk of developing their own significant health problems.
- 800,000 people with Alzheimer’s disease live alone putting them at a much higher risk of malnutrition, falls, inadequate self-care, wandering, and untreated medical conditions compared to those who don’t live alone.
- In 2011, the cost of caring for someone with Alzheimer’s disease to American society was $83 billion.
- The average cost for a semi-private room in nursing home caring for someone with Alzheimer’s disease is approximately $81,000 per year.
The SCVCOA operates its Adult Day Care/Alzheimer’s Respite program in its central facilities located in the heart of the Santa Clarita Valley. Hours of operation are Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. Facilities are equipped with accessible features that include ADA regulations for bathrooms, hallways, door entrances and is free of any health and safety hazards. The facility offers a dedicated space that is large and adequate for concurrent program activities. The facility also offers an enclosed outdoor area that is tropical and inviting by nature that can be observed easily through large picture windows with a full view of the space.
The Senior Center provides support groups and Respite Care for Caregivers, Grief Support Groups, Emotional Support Groups, individual counseling, weekly health and wellness lectures, and daily socialization. Adequate social and emotional support is associated with reduced risk of mental illness and chronic diseases of aging.
- Each year the SCVCOA Senior Center provides 12,000 calls to frail elderly seniors to alleviate loneliness and depression.
- Participation in support groups topped 4,000 in 2011.
- Over 3,000 people attended weekly health and wellness lectures last year.
- Over 3,000 seniors participated in educational and physical activities that promote healthy living.
In the midst of economic and emotional crisis, the Santa Clarita Valley Senior Center provides the stability and support that seniors need to live longer and productive lives. Healthy living reduces the cost of medical needs, mental health needs, and long-term care. Continued funding of these programs is essential for the well-being and improved quality of life for the seniors of our community.
The Adult Day Care/Alzheimer’s Respite program offers substantial programming for participants that stimulate cognitive functioning and physical conditioning while providing supervision of staff/volunteer to participant ratio of more than one to three. Activities include current events/history, arts and crafts, live music, creative writing, sing-a-longs, art therapy, pet therapy and reminiscence to name a few. Activities are designed to be flexible and tailored to the person’s impairment, strengths, and interests and to provide a sense of accomplishment and success. Several activities are taught by the agency’s recreational instructors giving participants the opportunity to meet and interact with a variety of individuals. Day Care activities are augmented with special equipment that includes a piano, large screen television and VCR, overhead projector and other assistive devices including a CCTV and voice activated computer. Participants are included in other Senior Center activities such as special exercise programs called sit-nb-fit, taught by a certified exercise instructor specializing in the needs of the elderly. Meals are provided in a central dining room at 11:30 a.m. and snacks are provided in the mid-morning hours. Daily activities promote sensory, cognitive, and perceptual stimulation in a setting that maximizes social components.
The Adult Day Care/Alzheimer’s Respite program also provides assistance with Instrumental Activities of Daily Life as needed, i.e. cooking, grooming, setting tables, serving food, dressing appropriately and other areas as indicated. With Caregiver approval and participant functionality, Day Care participants are taken on short outings into the community with in-kind service from the agency’s transportation department. These wheelchair accessible buses enable program staff and volunteers to provide outings with supervision on a one to one staff to participant ratio.
The Samuel Dixon Family Health Centers
Rev. Samuel Dixon founded the first Samuel Dixon Family Health Center over 20 years ago in the community of Val Verde, CA. Today we serve all residents of the Santa Clarita Valley. Our mission is to enhance wellness by providing quality outpatient health care services and programs, health education, community resources and referrals.
We want to ensure that all our friends and neighbors have access to affordable quality primary care. We make a special effort to serve the uninsured and under-insured residents of Santa Clarita Valley. With our two primary health centers – the Val Verde Health Center and the Canyon Country Health Center, we provide immunizations and vaccines, physicals, screening and diagnostic tests, well baby care, preventative programs, family planning, women’s health services, treatment of illness and injury.
Our newest health center opened in Newhall in April 2010. It is a six exam room facility with a counseling room and dental suite.
Through our three locations in the Santa Clarita Valley, we provide over 11,000 patient encounters annually with a third of our patients having a mental health related diagnosis of depression, anxiety or a combination of both. Our interest is to be able to coordinate both the mental health and primary care needs of our patients.