The2nd meeting of the Subcommittee on Families and Children of the Interim Joint Committee on Health and Welfare was held on Wednesday, September 16, 2009, at 10:00 AM, in Room 129 of the Capitol Annex. Representative Tom Burch, Chair, called the meeting to order, and the secretary called the roll.
Guests: Mike Waford for the Kentucky Center for the Institute of Discipline; and Eric Clark for the Kentucky Association of Health Care Facilities.
LRC Staff: Ben Payne, Amanda Dunn, Jonathan Scott, and Cindy Smith.
The first item on the agenda was a discussion of the SIAC/RIAC programs by Anita Jennings, Department for Mental Health, Developmental Disabilities and Addiction Services, Cabinet for Health and Family Services, and Michelle Blevins, Department for Mental Health, Developmental Disabilities and Addiction Services, Cabinet for Health and Family Services. Ms. Jennings said that these programs are State and Regional Interagency Council’s that provide services to children with emotional disabilities. They have been in existence for 20 years and utilize $30 million in system-of-care grants that benefit agencies and citizens across the Commonwealth. SIAC makes annual recommendations to the Legislative Research Commission and the Governor concerning how it successfully serves the youth of Kentucky. The SFY 2010 recommendations include new public health approaches, suicide prevention, and focusing on transition age youth. Ms. Jennings detailed the suicide prevention efforts of her program. She said anyone needing suicide prevention services can access the website www.kentuckysuicideprevention.org or the toll free number 1-800-273-TALK.
Senator Stine asked what information relating to suicide prevention is available for the general public. Ms. Jennings said the national “Signs of Suicide” Program works for schools and universities as well. She said they are also doing a social marketing campaign about suicide prevention.
Senator Stine asked if the toll free suicide number would offer people post-help. She said they will refer anyone for needed help after a suicide attempt.
Next, Michelle Blevins discussed the Kentucky Impact Program. She stated that the program started in 1990 as a grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. The program utilizes wraparound services for children, youth, and families to identify and coordinate services and supports for children and youth involved in multiple child serving entities and who have a severe emotional disability. KY Impact serves 6,000 children and youth representing all 120 Kentucky counties. Two individuals who have received KY Impact services testified. Anthony Bixler and Brandon Lane gave accounts of their positive experiences with the program and said that the program had benefited them a great deal. Also, a KY Impact case worker, Sed Williams, testified and described how children and youth are referred into the program and how the program works closely with school systems.
Senator Stine asked Mr. Bixler and Mr. Lane how they found out about Kentucky Impact. Mr. Bixler said that he found out about Impact services through his mother and that he was given access to Impact services through Seven Counties. Mr. Lane said he found out about Impact through Sed Williams, the Impact case worker at his school and he was given access to services through Seven Counties as well.
Representative Meeks asked what happens to the kids after graduation. Ms. Blevins said that average length of time to receive Impact is around 20 months. Mr. Bixler is no longer receiving Impact services and is planning to attend college.
Senator Stine asked Mr. Williams if the kids he helps are able to access tutors through schools, or members of the National Honor Society. Mr. Williams said kids volunteer to be tutors through the extended school services program and teachers provide tutoring as well.
The last item on the agenda was a presentation on the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) which provides federal stimulus funds to states. The presentation was given by Beth Jurek, Executive Director, Office of Policy and Budget, Cabinet for Health and Family Services. Ms. Jurek told the subcommittee the stimulus funds are not recurring funds and that most of the ARRA funding must be completely spent by December 30, 2010. Ms. Jurek relayed to the subcommittee that the Kentucky Department for Mental Health, Developmental Disabilities and Addiction Services, the Commission for Children with Special Health Care Needs, the Department for Family Resource and Youth Services Centers, and the Office of the Ombudsman were departments and offices not affected by the ARRA Act and received no funding.
The subcommittee was given a detailed report by Ms. Jurek concerning the departments that did receive ARRA funding; including the Department for Aging and Independent Living, the Department for Community Based Services, the Department for Income Support, the Department for Public Health, the Department for Family Resources and Volunteer Services, and the Department for Medicaid Services. Details were presented showing increased funding for the Senior Community Service Employment program that provided over $450,000 to Area Agencies on Aging and allowed for subsidized employment for unemployed seniors. Additionally Senior Nutrition Programs received more than $1.3 million with over $1.1 million of that money to be spent in State Fiscal Year 2010.
Ms. Jurek also reported that funding in excess of $34 million was provided to the Child Care Development Fund and included child care assistance for low-income working families and child abuse and neglect preventive services. Community Services Block Grants received nearly $17 million and funded programs, such as food banks and provided for emergency assistance for basic needs. The Foster Care and Adoption Assistance Program received almost $12 million and funding was provided for the care and support of children removed from parental custody and to restore funding for private child care providers. The SNAP food stamp program received more than $5 million for additional benefit dollars, additional administrative funds to process the increased applications, and to hire interim workers. The TANF Program will only receive funds if caseloads increase and the program received $1.3 million for a three quarter period. The Department for Income Support and the Child Support division will receive nearly $29 million for the benefit of children, custodial parents, and local programs. The WIC program will receive approximately $2.5 million for system enhancements. The First Steps program will receive more than $5 million for the benefit of improving the outcomes for infants and toddlers up to age three. The immunization grant program will receive $2.6 million for vaccine assistance and an additional $2 million grant concerning the H1N1 vaccine. The Department for Family Resources and Volunteer Services will receive over $400,000 in AmeriCorps funds and nearly an additional $400,000 for the Corporation for National and Community Service. Finally, Ms. Jurek stated that the Kentucky Medicaid Program will receive an estimated $990 million to handle the increase in applicants for services.
Senator Stine asked if there had been an increase in the people asking for help with the child care assistance program. Ms. Jurek said that there had been a huge increase and now it has leveled off.
Senator Stine asked if all the programs are getting equal shares of the money. Ms. Jurek said the federal government decides what programs get the funding, and it is not equally divided. She also reiterated the four agencies that did not get any funding at all.
Senator Stine asked what quality initiatives are. Ms. Jurek said that $4 million went to quality initiatives. This includes money to improve the quality of daycares, as well as training for daycare providers.
Senator Stine asked how folks in the community can access the funding. Ms. Jurek said they should contact their local community action agencies.
Senator Stine asked about the stimulus funds for vaccines and if it includes the H1N1 vaccine. Ms. Jurek said that stimulus funds would be used for the H1N1 vaccines, but that is not included in the $2.6 million total.
The meeting was adjourned at 11:20 a.m.