Ada County moved ahead on four programs to help boost low-income residents or those dealing with mental health issues using American Rescue Plan Act funds this week.
On Thursday, the Ada County Commissioners opted to use roughly $5 million of the county’s allotted $93 million from the federal relief package, which was approved in 2021, toward several programs aimed at providing counseling to Ada County students, support to low-income mothers and their children, and new light fixtures that cut down on viruses in county buildings.
Of the five proposals considered at the meeting, the only one to go back to the drawing board for more work was a pitch from Central District Health to spend $138,000 on a harm reduction program for drug users in the community. Commissioners objected to a program provision that would have provided kits to those experiencing addiction, including silicone pipes for safer drug use. A proposal for the program without this component will return for consideration at a later date.
So far, Ada County has identified $24 million worth of projects to spend its ARPA funds on, with another $5.6 million in the pipeline for approval. Another $53.5 million of the federal funds are still unplanned.
Support for new parents
Two of the programs Ada County gave the green light for targeted first-time, low-income Ada County parents.
The first initiative is the Nurse-Family Partnership Home Visiting program. In this voluntary program, Registered Nurses would be able to visit expecting mothers for home healthcare visits leading to the birth of their child and until they turn two. These visits include education on available resources and parenting, medical checkups, and support to avoid medical problems for either baby or mother during the pregnancy.
Possible participants would be referred by local health systems, the Ada County Jail, Idaho Department of Health and Welfare, and Child Protective Services. The program would cost roughly $725,000 over nearly three years.
Dawn Bridge, Ada County’s grant administrator, told the commissioners many low-income mothers can’t afford prenatal medical care or can’t get to appointments due to their work schedules or their lack of a car, so this program aims to bring that care to them and improve health outcomes.