Byline: Amy Williams Daily Herald Staff Writer
McHenry County board members found enough money in their $91 million budget Tuesday to retain health programs for poor women.
However, board members left out money in the health department's budget that would give teens younger than 18 birth control without their parents' knowledge. Whether the health department can provide those services anyway, overriding the county board's decision, is still up in the air.
Money for the confidential birth control program along with screening for sexually transmitted diseases, testing for cervical cancer and counseling were funded this year under the controversial Title X federal grant. However, the county board declined to take the $47,800 grant last month because of the provision that required the health department to offer confidential birth control services to minors.
But board members said Tuesday the other aspects of the program are too important to scrap and voted 19-4 to take $47,800 from money left in the health department's budget this year to provide them.
Members voted 14-10 to approve the $91 million budget.
"I'm not going to comment on the minors portion," said county board Chairman Dianne Klemm of Crystal Lake.
"But I was very much distressed that the health services for people who do not have insurance and are not very well off were cut. This is a whole program of health services for indigent people."
Board member Don Brewer of Algonquin said he approved the $47,800 because the services will only be for adults. "These are important services, and we need to have them because poor adults …