Healthy Start, the Training Wheels Partners Program, Court-Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) and tuition assistance for pre-schoolers were the biggest recipients of funds from the Wallowa County Commission on Children and Families approved by the Wallowa County Board of Commissioners Monday morning.

"We weren't able to fund all the requests, because each grant stream has specific requirements and we weren't able to fit each request into those requirements," said commission director Peg Vanderzanden. In a number of cases, the commission is just the "pass-through" agency for already-designated grants, such as for Healthy Start and CASA.

The $89,635 total is for one year (2003-04) rather than the full biennium because of continued uncertainty at the state level. It reflects a 63 percent drop in flexible spending, though Healthy Start, mandated by the state legislature, actually gained funding.

Vanderzanden said that $9,000 in Youth Investment Funds for programs for at-risk youth who have not yet "crossed the law" have not been designated, at least partly because program requests did not fit the requirements.

The county commissioners approved the following funding recommendations (full request granted unless otherwise noted:

• Healthy Start, $37,224, through Building Healthy Families; provides information and outreach to all families with first-borns.

• Training Wheels Partners Program, through Wallowa County Library and TEC: $17,753; provides services to improve readiness to learn and quality of child care through variety of programs.

• CASA, $11,948, Wallowa County Youth Services; provides trained volunteers to speak in best interest of abused and neglected children in court.

• Preschool Tuition Assistance, $8,550, ESD; provides tuition assistance to eligible families to a local preschool.

• Parent Education, $4,060, Building Healthy Families; enhances parenting skills and family relationships through parent education classes and provides center for resources.

• Youth Mentoring, $3,000 (requested, $5,000); matches at-risk youth with adult volunteers, who provide support and guidance to youth.

• Developmental Disabilities Respite, $2,500, Wallowa Valley Mental Health; provides vouchers for respite care for families who have children with developmental disabilities.

• Community Resource Team, $2,500; provides funds for multi-agency planning process.

• Livespan Respite, $1,500; provides vouchers for short-term respite care to eligible families.

• Chief Joseph Summer Camp, $600; provides summer employment for youth to work as counselors and child care providers for weeklong children's camp.

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