Los Angeles County Supervisor Kathryn Barger issued a statement Monday following the Board of Supervisors’ approval of final changes to the Fiscal Year 2023-24 County budget, calling the spending plan a balanced approach to addressing county residents’ needs while practicing fiscal responsibility.
“With the changes to the budget approved today, we are striking a balanced approach to improving and enhancing services for the public while preparing for future economic uncertainty due to stagnate property and sales tax growth and looming financial responsibility to address decades-old sexual assault cases,” Barger, who represents the 5th District, which includes the Santa Clarita Valley, said in the prepared statement. “We must balance these economic realities with our ongoing efforts to enhance services and programs for L.A. County residents who depend on us for their safety and well-being.”
Barger highlighted several areas of the budget that she viewed as key additions and allocations, including support for foster children and caregivers, and changes to the county’s approach to incarceration.
“There are thoughtful additions that I am proud of, including $1.4 million and 30 new positions that will provide supportive services for foster children and caregivers in the Antelope Valley. While this investment in North County is a good start, we need more support for child welfare services to help vulnerable youth and their families. I will continue to advocate for more services and resources in that region,” Barger’s statement said.
“I am also supportive of the funds allocated to Care First Community Investment projects and programs,” the supervisor added. “A total of $88.3 million is included in the approved budget, bringing the county’s cumulative investment in CFCI since 2021 to $676 million. These funds will continue helping our county build a newly envisioned justice system – one that prioritizes giving individuals the help they need to stay out of jail.”
Barger said the budget also includes an increased emphasis on mental health services for those in custody.
“The 41 new positions and $52 million allocated for mental health services for individuals in custody, as well as an additional $30 million to help move individuals with mental health conditions into appropriate community care treatment, are important investments,” she said in the statement. “Sadly, L.A. County’s jail system is the largest provider of mental health services in the nation. We have a moral imperative to improve the health and mental health services we provide for those in the sheriff’s custody. This budget takes important steps toward that goal.”