An infusion of state cash will help a Healdsburg medical group achieve
its stated goal of serving the underserved.
The Sonoma County Board of Supervisors announced the allocation of $561,924 to Healdsburg's Alliance Medical Center through the First 5 California, a state commission that recommends the allocation of resources benefiting children's health.
The commission was approved by voters in 1998 through a 50-cent
per pack cigarette tax that funds the commission that was the centerpiece of
The Alliance funding is earmarked for the development of two dental clinics at its Healdsburg site that will serve children under five and pregnant women. Alliance will also purchase mobile dental equipment to serve young children and pregnant women in Windsor and Cloverdale.
The funding is part of a $4.28 million program that will go to contracts recommended by First 5 California that officials say will double the county’s capacity for oral health services to uninsured or underinsured children under six.
The grant recipients went through a rigorous screening process, county officials said
“(These Grants) address the children’s health and healthy development, ensuring families are supported and nurturing, and ensuring that early care and education is high quality," First 5 of Sonoma County Executive Director Alfredo Perez said in a prepared statement.
"These are the critical components to assure optimal child development. Without them, children do not have the tools they need to succeed in kindergarten and life.”
The program addresses an urgent healthcare need, county spokeswoman Carol Ewart said, noting a limited supply of Sonoma County dentists available to serve uninsured children.
Forty six percent of Sonoma County kindergarteners have a history of tooth decay, and 16 percent have untreated cavities, she said, noting that tooth decay is the nation's most common chronic childhood illness.
The program also includes an $815,000 Value in Preschool (VIP) grant that will benefit preschools in Petaluma and Cotati through the Community Child Care Council.
The program provides up to one-year market-rate scholarships to eligible low-income children to attend high-quality preschools.
VIP scholarships benefit children and promote improvement in preschools competing for state funding, Ewart said.
"Many of the skills a child needs to succeed in school and life can be learned while playing with other children in a quality preschool," Ewart said. "Quality preschool has been proven to pay a high return on investment by improving a child’s school readiness."
First 5 grants will also help two Sonoma Valley family resource centers expand their capacity. La Luz Center will receive $171,138 for its Capital Facilities Renovation Project, which will expand the existing family resource center in Boyes Hot Springs and another $50,000 for renovations.
Community Action Partnership will receive $1,378,320 to develop Via Esperanza, an early childhood campus and family resource Center in Southwest Santa Rosa on the campus of Cook Middle School.