Sanford Center could lose majority of funding next year - KTIV News 4 Sioux City IA: News, Weather and Sports

Sanford Center could lose majority of funding next year

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SIOUX CITY (KTIV) -

Three Regions, one battle and the fate of mental health services provided by the Sanford Center in Sioux City are at stake. 

Earlier this week, Woodbury County Supervisors voted to opt out of the Sioux Rivers Mental Health Region, which includes Sioux and Plymouth Counties. With Woodbury County opting out of the Sioux Rivers Mental Health Region, this means the funds that were going to the Sanford Center could end beginning July 1, of next year.

"It's only the Sanford Center who believe they can have unqualified folks to be able to treat mental health needs and receive funding for which we believe is not appropriate," says Jeremy Taylor, Vice Chairperson, Woodbury County Board of Supervisors. 

The Sanford Center says not only do they meet the state standards but they exceed them.

"They don't understand what we call comprehensive mental health services and they don't understand where the prevention comes in, that is category 1 and that is who we are. 

Our people have taken courses, they have many, many years of experience working with this population and some of our workers have lived a life very similar to these kids, that's experience.   

Taylor adds that he does think the Sanford Center does good work but adds they don't have a licensed therapist on staff, the money they receive is being improperly used.

"Hire someone, compete, I would love for it to be the Sanford Center to compete and win and I can take off from this argument that it is this personal vendetta which is silly or there is some other nefarious reason, i want them to be the organization, but I am not going to back down for fighting for kids," adds Taylor.

Owens says they provide a service of prevention that no one else in the area provides and it is one that is greatly needed in the community. 

Representatives from the Sanford Center say they are willing to sit down and talk with the Woodbury County Board of Supervisors to iron out a reasonable compromise. 

Woodbury County Supervisors Chairperson, Matthew Ung thinks that the Sioux City Community schools should provide more funding than they currently contribute to the Sanford Center as counselors are in their schools and the Sanford Center also has an after school program.

"Preventative measures are good and they are part of the process but in this case they should come from the school district and I think it is fair to say because it was indeed the school district that approached the Sanford Center for the original memorandum of understanding and then they put in a paltry 1/10th of what the mental health region did and that is not fair," said Matthew Ung, Woodbury County Board of supervisors Chairperson.

"The Sioux City Community School District values the Sanford Center partnership. We also understand the supervisors' discussions around funding, because proper management of taxpayer money is very important.  As a public school system, we too have an obligation to be fiscally responsible with taxpayer dollars. The District's budget is set, and will remain, to ensure appropriate funding is allocated to the areas of highest need, responds, Sioux City Community Schools District Spokesperson, Mandie Mayo.

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