Children & Families First/Neighborhoods for Learning surveys launched in SCRV

March 28, 2001
Santa Paula News

Interviews are being launched to determine how Neighborhoods for Learning/Santa Clara River Valley will spend its share of tobacco tax funds

By Peggy KellySanta Paula TimesInterviews are being launched to determine how Neighborhoods for Learning/Santa Clara River Valley will spend its share of tobacco tax funds, the offshoot of the the Children & Families First Commission.The committee, made up of river valley community and civic activists and educators, among others, has been meeting for months to address the use of the Prop. 10 monies, which added 50 cents to the price of every package of cigarettes sold in California.Per the tax, income is to be targeted at children, 5-years-old and younger; areas - Ventura County has seven - are allotted funding based on birth rate. It is expected that the river valley will receive at least $142,000 annually for socio-economic programs.But first such programs must be identified: the committee, which meets every other week at Santa Paula Memorial Hospital, is led by consultant Brad Morrison, a Neighborhoods for Learning regional coordinator.
The surveys, 200 in all are being targeted, will help determine programs where the Prop. 10 funding will be best used to help the state’s youngest citizens get on the right track.The three principal goals Children & Families First are school readiness, child health and family strengthening, decided upon after a process which included community outreach and focus groups, parent surveys, data analysis, use of existing reports and the establishment of several committees - such as the one in the Santa Clara River Valley - with community-wide representation to focus on specific areas.The local survey effort will serve a dual purpose: not only will the interviews determine needs but offer work to low-income residents who will be paid for the work, a unique job experience.Committee members include Blanchard Community Library FLAIR Executive Director Elaine Hunt; Martha Duran of the Boys & Girls Club of Santa Paula, the umbrella for the Fillmore and Piru clubs; school district officials; religious leaders; Benito Juarez of Santa Clara Valley Services United; Santa Paula Memorial Hospital and other health care providers; and members of the social service community.There was discussion at the Feb. 22 meeting centering on the number of interviews that will be held to help determine needs and eventual programming: the Santa Clara River Valley is split into six sub-areas, and some Santa Paula representatives noted that the allocation of interviews was lopsided in favor of less populated areas which possibly could lead to unequal monetary allocations.

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