State program comes under scrutiny

NORWICH – A state-funded program that would target mentally ill children and youths for services at the county’s mental hygiene clinic came under intense scrutiny Thursday.

Town of Pharsalia Supervisor Dennis Brown had a myriad of questions for Chenango County Community Mental Hygiene Services Director Mary Ann Spyrn regarding Child and Family Clinic Plus. Spryn revealed the new initiative in her monthly report to the Finance Committee.

The New York State Office of Mental Health has determined that the current capacity for providing mental health services to children and youths in the state is less than half of what is required. The program would double the capacity for clinic services, provide an early screening system in the schools, and support in-home services.

About $220,000 in revenues would be directed to the Chenango County department and spur the hiring of three social workers and one clerical staff in 2007. Based on the department head’s calculations, the program could net $72,000 in revenue over expenses next year if it adopts the program. The state money will begin flowing in the fourth quarter of this year.

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