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September 5, 2008
Strategy and Partnership for Lowering Infant Mortality
The Board's 2015 vision for the community includes having a lower number of infant mortality cases than the per capita national average. To achieve this goal, the Health Department is using the critical strategy of early identification of pregnancy and prenatal education.
With FY09 funding approved by the Board, the Health Department will expand prenatal care for young women starting later in the year. This includes collaborating with the CMC-NorthPark Ambulatory Clinic on North Tryon Street to provide early identification of pregnant women and quickly help them receive prenatal care.
Health Department staff will schedule the initial prenatal visit, and then transfer the patient to the ambulatory clinic for continuing prenatal care. This approach offers a seamless entry into early maternal care while offering positive birth outcomes for this population.
For more information, please contact Health Director Dr. Wynn Mabry, 704-336-2610.

Capital Campaign for Domestic Violence Shelter
United Family Services (UFS) is initiating a $15 million campaign to build an 80-bed facility to better address the emergency and longer term housing needs of battered women and children. The goal is to open a new facility during 2010.
Adding 80 beds at another location (to the 29 existing beds) would move Charlotte-Mecklenburg closer to the number of beds available in comparable communities. Along with the new facility, UFS and other partners will provide a comprehensive array of support services to help people building better lives free from domestic violence. Services would include trauma and sexual assault counseling, health care, education and job training, legal advocacy, licensed child care, consumer credit counseling, transportation and housing assistance.
UFS will be seeking approval from its capital campaign planning board to initiate the capital campaign in late 2008. UFS is partnering with Capstone Advancement Partners to plan and implement the campaign. Individual donors, foundations, corporations, and other local/state/federal sources will be asked to join forces with UFS in this campaign.
Currently, UFS and the County have collaborated to provide a stop-gap measure for placing families. County funds are used to place families in area motels when the shelter is full. County funding also pays for transportation and food for domestic violence victims, as well as for staff who provide safety planning, crisis counseling, and other services a victim would receive if they were staying at a shelter. Although these efforts have helped address the lack of beds in the interim, a permanent solution is needed to protect the victims and their children.
For more information, please contact Community Support Services Director Stacy Lowry, 704-336-3784.

AMH and CMS Partnering to Support Students
Area Mental Health (AMH) staff is partnering with Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools (CMS) staff to help students and their families deal with several challenging issues identified in the 2007 Youth Risk Behavior Survey.
This survey revealed that a significant number of Mecklenburg County high schools students are struggling with depression (28%), thoughts of suicide (12%), feeling isolated (18%), and the use of alcohol and drugs (34%). Approximately 40% of the student respondents said bullying is a problem at their schools. However, mental health and emotional issues often carry with them a stigma that prevents people from reaching out to get the help that is available.
To help reduce this stigma, The Junior League of Charlotte, in collaboration with AMH and CMS, produced a documentary entitled "Through My Eyes." This documentary features youth from our community talking candidly about their very personal experiences and provides a tool to engage in conversations about the issues.
This school year, CMS will use "Through My Eyes" as one of the anti-bullying campaign strategies, through a pilot project at Providence and Harding high schools. As part of its MeckCARES program, AMH staff and other community partners provided technical assistance to CMS in creating a teacher instructional guide that is being used in 9th grade health classes. This will impact more than 1,000 CMS student. In addition to the video and exercises, resource guides and other materials will be distributed, including information and support for parents.
AMH's MeckCARES is the system of care partnership among local child-serving agencies, families and the community. Its purpose is to improve outcomes for youth ages 10-21 with severe emotional problem and their families.
For additional information, please contact MeckCARES Director Kimm Campbell, 704-432-0695.

Feasibility Study Kick-Off Event
Recently, Board members received an invitation to attend the kick-off of the feasibility study on establishing an arts and technology center in Charlotte-Mecklenburg. The kick-off will be held from 7:30 a.m. - 9 a.m. on September 11 at the Wachovia Playhouse in ImaginOn. The event will feature a presentation by Bill Strickland, founder and CEO of Manchester Bidwell Corporation (MBC). MBC's affiliate, the National Center for Arts and Technology (NCAT) will be conducting the study, funded by donations from area foundations, corporations, non-profit organizations, local government and individuals. Board members who have not done so already should RSVP to Assistant to the County Manager Freda Murphy at 704-336-6989 as soon as possible.

Digital TV Day
Board members also are invited to attend the Digital TV (DTV) Day events on October 16. DTV Day is being held as part of efforts to educate people and raise awareness about the details and deadlines associated with the conversion from analog to digital broadcast television.
While Board members are welcome at all events, attendance is particularly encouraged for the 4 p.m. reception for Charlotte and Mecklenburg County elected officials. FCC Chairman Kevin Martin will be on hand as a special guest at the reception.
Board members should contact Assistant to the County Manager Deborah Goldberg with their availability to attend the reception, or RSVP directly by September 12 to Geraldine Johnson, in the Office of City/County Cable & Franchise Management.
- Harry L. Jones, Sr., County Manager

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