Fresno Co. Budget Could Impact Mental Health Clinics

June 6, 2008 8:52:00 PM PDT
If the county budget ax falls hard, the phones will stop ringing, and seven thousand people who depend on mental health clinics like this one in Reedley will have to find help somewhere elsewhere.Fresno County Supervisor Henry Perea said: "The reality if there's no where for them to turn. That's what scaring alot of folks in this community that the safety net is ripping and people are now falling thru the net."

By closing two of Fresno County's rural mental health clinics in Reedley and Sanger, and three others in Fresno, the county says it can save some 2-million dollars. The cuts included in this 800 page proposed budget would also spell the end of free medication for some mentally ill patients who can't afford it.

As county supervisors map out a spending plan to make up for a big drop in sales and property taxes the sheriff's department still faces 11- million dollars in cuts. But some behavioral health officials say shifting money from mental health and social programs isn't the answer.

Fresno County Behavioral Services Joe Wilson said: "Any dollar we save with use of funding for mental health services will actually save us four to five dollars when it comes to the jail or any other safety concerns that we have."

As county leaders move forward with budget hearings they must still find ways to trim millions from the sheriff's budget.

Meantime, a successful juvenile boot camp that was in jeopardy did get a reprieve. The county has found a way to get six million dollars in state money to keep the Elkhorn Correctional facility open.


Load Comments