Funding still tight for county mental health programs

State funding levels for mental health, intellectual disabilities and early intervention programs have either decreased or remained stagnant in recent years and are not expected to go up in the coming year.

That was the grim news Deborah Duffy, Mental Health/Intellectual Disabilities administrator for Lycoming and Clinton counties, reported to the Joinder Board’s executive committee Wednesday.

Last year, she said, the state reduced its funding by 10 percent for mental health and intellectual disabilities.

Overall, that poses challenges for local officials to find money for needed programs, Duffy said.

In some cases, services have been cut over the years.

“The biggest challenge we face is finding funding for mental health services,” she said.

Meanwhile, she reported that Lycoming and Clinton counties could receive block grant funding.

The board approved funding for programs of various local agencies.

Early intervention services dollars for 2013-14 were approved for Hope Enterprises, Inc., special instruction, $116,000; Infant Development Program, Inc., occupational and physical therapy, physical therapy evaluation, and special instruction, $46,000; and The Joy of Speech, speech therapy, $66,000.

Funding for intellectual disabilities for the 2013-14 fiscal year were approved for: Clinton County Community Connections, Inc., community habilitation and transportation services, $75,000; Hope Enterprises, Inc., companion services, home and community habilitation, pre-vocational services, supported employment, transitional work services and transportation services, $400,000; Living Unlimited, Inc., supported employment services, $11,000; Lycoming Clinton Counties Commission for Community Action STEP, Inc., transportation services, $7,500, Skills of Central Pennsylvania, Inc., home and community habilitation, $34,000; and United Cerebral Palsy Central Pa., companion services, home and community habilitation, transportation services, respite services, family aide, $25,000.

The board approved state Act 13 funding in the amount of $25,000 for renovation of Lycoming Children and Youth’s Supervised Parental Visitation Center.