Discussion by community groups and the Task Force indicated that the goal of coordinated Arlin I&R is feasible, but difficult to achieve. The most feasible way to provide this service is through an alliance of all existing providers. The alliance should be established and then it could create a new agency to provide the I&R service or contract for the I&R service with an existing agency. The I&R service should provide as a minimum:
telephone I&R 24 hours a day for all callers
a complete listing of Metroplex social services
anonymous planning data collection on those using the service
a yearly plan and an evaluation of the usefulness of the service, including user satisfaction.
Possible sources of funding are: DHS; a local foundation (seed money only); community development funds from the city; and United Way. As this service becomes established, it is estimated that continuous funds will come from HMOs and managed care providers (15%), DHS (10%); city/county (12%); United Way (13%). The remaining 50% will come from fees to each agency based on the percentage of the total referrals they receive through the I&R service.
Considering the above discussion, several strategies were discussed.
Give the current city I&R (budget ($50,000/year) to the consortium and let them decide how to set up the service based on the criteria established by a representative board.
Have experts in the I&R field conduct a study and recommend a service system. This study would cost an additional $8,000.
Convene a blue ribbon panel of politicians, funding sources, and citizens who will design and take responsibility for implementing an I&R service. Service providers will function as technical advisors to this panel.
The Task Force recommended that a blue ribbon panel be appointed by the Mayor to develop criteria for an effective I&R service. The panel will serve as the initial board (a combination of the first and third strategy). The panel will recommend a Mayor appointed coalition of service providers to develop a program to meet the criteria.
Strategies and recommendation for goal #3 will be developed by the groups recommended in the objectives. Business sponsorship involves the community in services and reduces funding problems.
The Task Force recognizes that funds for many new services are not available through existing sources. The Task Force also found that most residents rely on family, friends, and neighbors for mental health services. In keeping with its guiding principles, it hopes to reorient existing organizations to prevent and help meet some of the major service needs of residents. The Task Force also believes that involving neighborhoods and building natural support systems will reduce the need for services. The objectives of Goal #5 are seen as feasible and implementable as listed. The Association of Private Practitioners has expressed and interest in assuming an additional burden for low cost services. The Chamber of Commerce has agreed to make mental health one of its priority focuses during the coming year.