$1 million given to help children's programs in San Luis Obispo County

bcuddy@thetribunenews.comDecember 30, 2012 

Eight local programs that provide critical services to children younger than 5 as well as expectant parents have received a total of more than $1 million from First 5 San Luis Obispo.

The money will go to such services as dental and vision care for young children and help low-income people navigate the health care system.

“The funding supports programs that improve children’s health, such as vision treatment and peer breast-feeding assistance,” said Susan Hughes, First 5 executive director.

First 5 also funded an oral health coordinator position, which will provide coordination of services countywide, with the long-term goal of establishing a centralized, coordinated and sustained effort to address “this important and critical need,” Hughes said.

“The grants will enhance the safety net of services for families with young children in our community,” said Julian Crocker, chairman of First 5.

First 5 was established after voters passed Proposition 10 in 1998, taxing cigarettes to fund education, health, child care and other programs.

First 5 San Luis Obispo County awarded $1,023,045 to eight local programs. The funding will take effect Jan. 1. 

Programs that received money are:

• The San Luis Obispo Child Development Center, $253,396 for two early learning systems specialists countywide.

• The Paso Robles Unified School District, Georgia Brown Elementary school readiness program, $3,500 to add another summer pre-K program class to its Kindercamp program.

• Diringer and Associates, $120,010 to provide professional development for family advocates and others who interact with families that have low or no insurance coverage.

• Central Coast Link, $177,146 to hire a “health navigator,” who will work in North County to identify and link families to health coverage and care.

• Community Action Partnership of SLO County, $354,293 to hire two health navigators who will work in Central and South County to identify and link families to health coverage and care.

• Gary Englund and Associates, $7,200 to provide treatment to children younger than 5 who have vision disorders.

• The county Public Health Department, $64,000 to coordinate oral health services throughout the county and establish policies that increase access to and the quality of children’s oral health services.

• The county Public Health Department, $43,477 for the BABES breastfeeding program, which supports peer breastfeeding counseling services throughout San Luis Obispo County.

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