Local News

County to receive $3.4 million health grant

Many agencies assist families through various services in Finney County. But many parents or families in need of assistance don't know where to look for help.

Date: 9/30/2009

Posted by Finney County Community Health Coalition on 10/12/2009


By Rachel Gray

rgray@gctelegram.com

Such is the pattern for many families across the country. In order to establish comprehensive communication between agencies and children in need, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) will allocate $51 million through Project LAUNCH (Linking Actions for Unmet Needs in Children's Health).

For Finney County, $3.4 million will serve more than 600 families through a variety of services. The state of Kansas received $4.25 million from the grant, and Finney County will receive 80 percent of that money.

According to the SAMHSA Web site, Project LAUNCH works toward coordinated programs that take a comprehensive view of health. It addresses the physical, emotional, social and behavioral aspects of wellness. The public health approach addresses the health needs of the population rather than addressing only the health problems of individuals. Project LAUNCH seeks to improve outcomes at the individual and community levels by addressing risk factors that can lead to negative outcomes. It promotes protective factors that support resilience and healthy development, which can protect individuals from social, emotional, physical and behavioral problems.

For Finney County Health Coalition members, this means a tight network of agencies that can find help for those in need.

With the grant, coalition members hope to expand programs in the community, as well as promote home visits to those in need or children who are at-risk. They hope to expand USD 457 Parents as Teachers, expand mental health services and provide resources for a center that will provide a health care infrastructure for the entire community.

The Center for Children and Families at St. Catherine Hospital, 401 E. Spruce St., serves as the hub that links these networks of health care and will expand services and referrals to ensure community members get the proper assistance to meet their needs, said Verna Weber, executive director of the center. The center also provides life skills training and support systems for community members.

"We're thrilled we have this grant to create resources to help people," Weber said.

Lisa Knoll, development manager for the Kansas Children's Service League, represents KCSL on the county coalition. She said part of the aim to expand community services is to provide assistance for families who may not know about the services. She said at-risk children or unsure parents may be found in all homes.

"Good parents come and ask for help. And we've all needed advice or help at some point," she said.

"We're a more mobile community than we used to be," Knoll said, meaning families move to the area from other places, away from extended family. "Many families here don't have that support system of family to turn to for help. That's where these services come in."

Knoll said the grant would be used to expand services and programs for younger children. She said programs are in place for middle school-aged children and young adults, but more early childhood programs are necessary.

"From ages 0 to 10, these can be important years in determining if the children engage in at-risk behaviors," Knoll said. "We want to start prevention in early childhood," she said.

The grant was made possible through a collaborative effort from the University of Kansas, The Kansas Department of Health and Environment and the Finney County Health Coalition.

Finney County Help Desk: www.finneycountyhelpdesk.org/


For more information: http://projectlaunch.promoteprevent.org/