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PROPOSITION 10
The California Families and Children's Act
By Jack M. Bertman, M.D.
Mono County Health Officer


In November, 1998, voters in California passed Proposition 10, which increased the state excise taxes on cigarettes and other tobacco products. The proposition directs these tax dollars into a newly established Trust Fund, which will support programs promoting early childhood development from the prenatal stage to age five. The overall vision of Proposition 10 is that all California children will thrive in supportive, nurturing, and loving environments, enter school healthy and ready to learn, and become productive, well-adjusted members of society.

Proposition 10 created a new state commission and individual county commissions to oversee the expenditure of Trust Fund monies. As a small county, Mono County will receive approximately $200 thousand per year. This represents a very significant amount of funding for the children of Mono County.

The County Board of Supervisors has adopted an ordinance establishing the Mono County Children and Families Commission, consisting of five members who are appointed by the Board and serve a term of up to three years. The Commission is composed of the County Health Officer, a member of the Board of Supervisors, the Director of the County Welfare Department, the Superintendent of the mono County Office of Education, and the Director of the Mono County Childcare Agency.

Our local Commission is charged with providing a comprehensive and integrated delivery system of information and services to promote early childhood development. The Commission has appointed an advisory panel that consists of the Healthy Families, Healthy Children Task Force. This advisory panel as prepared a comprehensive needs assessment for the children of Mono County. The Commission will utilize this needs assessment to help develop a strategic plan that will prioritize funding to children throughout the county. The plan will also contain an element for measuring the impact of the services on the lives of children and their families.

In addition to the advisory panel, the Commission will also take input on how to best use the funding from citizens throughout the County, at a series of Public Hearings to be scheduled in the months of January and February. It is hoped to combine these hearings with RPAC meetings in the various towns throughout the County. A schedule for these hearings will appear in the newspaper as soon as possible.

The Commission has begun the important process of gathering information and developing timelines for the completion of the strategic plan. Community input is essential and it is hoped that those interested will attend a Public Hearing. Commission meetings are being held at least monthly and are open to the public. For questions or information about the Commission, please call Linda Tomasch at the Mono County Office of Education, 934-0031.

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