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Eye On Boise

Wed., Jan. 19, 2011, 8:25 a.m.

Mental health services face cuts

Here's a news item from the Associated Press:  BOISE, Idaho (AP) — The economic downturn has left deep scars on Idaho's public services for the mentally ill, including efforts to help some of the state's most-vulnerable children. Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter's recommended budget for the Department of Health and Welfare's mental health services division for fiscal year 2012 is $32.4 million, down 4.6 percent from 2011 and a full 19 percent less than in 2008. The division has laid off or left unfilled 35 full time positions to assist adults with mental health problems, and another 14 positions to help kids. Administrator Kathleen Allyn says limited funding and staffing have forced her to prioritize. At the top of her list are intervention services for people in imminent danger to themselves or others. As funding has dived, demands have risen: Allyn's staff is completing some 400 crisis evaluations monthly.

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Betsy Z. Russell
Betsy Z. Russell joined The Spokesman-Review in 1991. She currently is a reporter in the Boise Bureau covering Idaho state government and politics, and other news from Idaho's state capital.

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