GILMAN — A program that promotes positive parenting in Ford and Iroquois counties is in jeopardy of losing its funding from the state when the Ford-Iroquois Public Health Department is dissolved next July.
The bi-county agency's interim administrator, Steven Williams, told the board of health this week that the Illinois Department of Public Health has indicated that a $188,000 annual grant provided by the Department of Human Services for the operation of the local Healthy Families Illinois program will not be transferable to the new county public health departments.
Without the grant, the program may not be sustainable, Williams said. He estimated that it is expected to cost Ford County about $60,000 and Iroquois County about $100,000 to implement the HFI program, Williams said.
Williams added that the DHS is already working on its grant allotments for the 2014 fiscal year, which begins July 1, but the two counties' independent health departments will not be in operation until after that date, so they are not in a position to apply.
Williams has been in contact with Andrea Palmer, acting chief of the DHS Bureau of Early Childhood Development, to find a way to continue the grant funding for Ford and Iroquois counties.
Together, they suggested seeing if it would be possible for the Ford-Iroquois Public Health Department to retain its Federal Employer Identification Number and exist only as a "conduit for funds" for a period of time after the agency is ended June 30.