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* This article first appeared in The Times Herald-Record on August 28, 2001. Used by permission.



August 28, 2001

News briefs
County wants to expand aid for poor
Orange County may spend nearly $90,000 to hire two outreach workers to help poor families in Middletown and Port Jervis, building on a program that has had some success in Newburgh, officials say.
The cities have higher rates of birth problems than towns and villages here, according to a report prepared by the county Health Department. This includes low birth weight, out-of-wedlock births and infant mortality, among other things.
The community health care worker program presently employs three people, who help low-income women find services they need, such as prenatal care and enrollment in Medicaid.
Perhaps 125 families were helped by the program this year, according to Robert J. Deitrich, director of the county Health Department's community health outreach program. This was paid for through state money, he said. Now the county may chip in.
"This will help families in the places with the highest rates of infant mortality," Legislator Jeffrey Berkman, D-Middletown, said yesterday. "It will decrease the risk of problems."
Deitrich asked the Legislature's Health and Mental Health oversight committee yesterday for the money for the new positions. County Executive Joseph Rampe said he may include money for the program in the upcoming county budget.


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