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Caregiver Resources Face Cuts in Gov. Brown’s Proposed Budget
Jennifer K. Morita
Oro Caregiver Resource Center, along with 10 other private, non-profit
centers throughout the state, is on the chopping block this budget
In January, Gov. Jerry Brown released his proposed 2012-13 budget, which includes
the elimination of $2.9 million for California’s network of Caregiver Resource
Centers, which have been providing support services such as respite care, financial
and legal advice, counseling and referrals for families and caregivers of adults
with chronic and disabling health conditions.
The loss of state funding will also jeopardize matching federal dollars for the
state’s CRC network.
Caregiver advocates have launched an online petition to save the centers from
being axed, which has been signed by more than 2,600 people.
Michelle Nevins is executive director of Del Oro CRC, which opened its doors
in 1987 and serves 13 counties, including the Sacramento region.
In the past four years, its budget has been cut by 83 percent and now operates
on less money than it did 25 years ago, said Nevins, who explains how Gov. Brown’s
proposed budget could impact Del Oro and the services it provides.
Explain what happens to the CRC’s federal funding, if the state funding
This really is the question that our board is struggling with. We have to provide
a 33 percent match to our Title III-E Federal funds. We have always used state
funding. In-kind dollars (such as volunteers) can be utilized as well as fundraising
dollars. Del Oro has been formally fundraising for six and a half years (since
I became executive director) and we have not come close to raising the amount
of money that we would need to provide that 33 percent match. We could probably
further reduce our staff and make it at least a year.
We really need people to advocate on our behalf.
What will happen to Del Oro if the Governor’s budget cuts are approved?
Will you have to try to make up for the loss through private donations, or other
options, or will CRCs simply shut down?
Yes. Our board has been researching the possibility of a collaboration, perhaps
a host agency to keep our agency open. After 25 years in operation, it would
be tragic to shut down our agency. Our goal is to avoid this scenario.
What is Del Oro’s annual budget and how many people are employed at Del
Oro? How many people do you serve?
We currently have four employees. Our annual budget is just over $500,000. We
have 775 active clients that are receiving services from us although we double
that in outreach and education and training.
Has your budget been reduced in the past?
In 2008-09, we received a 33 percent cut. As a result of this cut, we closed
our rural office in Nevada County. Then in 2009-10, we received a 72 percent
budget cut from our Department of Mental Health funding.
We have less funding now than when we opened our doors in 1987. We went from
14 employees down to four. We reduced our office space from 3,600 square feet
down to just over 1,000 in a more cost-effective area. We have streamlined all
services — we no longer do home visits because we don’t have the
time or financial resources.
Our respite funding through Department of Mental was reduced from $125,000 down
to $9,500 and is now just used for emergency respite; we have reduced our assessment
and reassessment process; we no longer do family meetings or support groups.
Despite all of this, I remain extremely proud of the work we do. Our staff is
extremely dedicated and all of us have been here for years.
For more information, go to www.change.org and search “California Caregiver
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