Valley Public Radio - Live Audio

California Audit Points to Lack of Oversight of Mental Health Funding

Aug 15, 2013

Credit Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio

California lawmakers and mental health groups say they ‘welcome’ new findings of inadequate oversight of state mental health funds. Health Care Reporter Pauline Bartolone has more from Sacramento.

The California State Auditor says state agencies haven’t made ‘serious efforts’ to measure the effectiveness of county programs intended to mitigate mental illness.

Democratic State Senate President Darrell Steinberg helped create the Mental Health Services Act.

“We know that there are thousands of people being helped by these Prop 63 dollars, but the people in charge of implementing the act have not completed full objective evaluation in a way that lets the public know that the money being spent is in fact helping,” says Steinberg.

Patricia Ryan of the California Mental Health Directors Association says she agrees the state could better evaluate the local programs, but there’s no doubt they are effective.

“We do measure outcomes, we know that we have significantly reduced homelessness, incarceration, jail times, we’ve improved the amount of time that kids spend in schools,” says Ryan.

The millionaires’ income tax has brought in billions of dollars for local mental health care programs since 2004 when voters passed Proposition 63.