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California sends out about three billion dollars a year to the disabled and elderly so they can buy food and afford housing. But in the second part of our series, Senior Insecurity, Capital Public Radio found there's little oversight of this program.

Even though Supplemental Security Income - or SSI - is California's second most expensive health and human services program, the state doesn't track whether it's enough to live on or how people spend their money.


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Don Cohon has been on the clinical faculty in pediatrics at the University of California, San Francisco since 1982. Currently, he is director of Edgewood Center for Children and Families' Institute for the Study of Community-Based Services. The Edgewood Center provides care for severely emotionally disturbed and learning disabled children, ages 5 to 14, most of whom have suffered parental abuse, neglect, or prenatal substance exposure.

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Diane Van Maren is a consultant for the budget and fiscal review committee of the California State Senate. She does research and analysis on budget and financial matters, especially related to health care institutions and services that are funded by the state. These programs include Medi-Cal, Health Families, mental health services, developmental disability services and human services.

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Brandie Campbell is the administrative support coordinator and communications specialist for the Central California Center for Health and Human Services, an ancillary unit of California State University, Fresno. She works to integrate university resources with regional health needs and collaborates with agencies and community organizations to improve the health and welfare of communities in Central California.

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Benjamin Cuellar is a professor and former dean of the College of Health and Human Services at California State University, Fresno. He oversees a professional school that offers education in specialized disciplines related to health and human services. The school is involved in a number of projects aimed at strengthening the health care safety net in the Central Valley through education, including support for health advocacy and environmental health training.

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Barbara A. Garcia is director of health at the San Francisco Department of Public Health. She previously served as deputy director starting in 1999, when she became responsible for the department's community programs, which are comprised of over 2,000 civil-service employees and 150 community-based organizations delivering primary care, behavioral health, maternal and child health, prevention and health promotion, housing and urban health, indigent health, adolescent health and women's health services.



This year saw a scorcher of a summer, the hottest on record. Worse, it could be the coldest summer we’ll see in our lifetimes. In this webinar, we’ll glean lessons and insights from a yearlong Los Angeles Times investigation into extreme heat. We’ll also identify gaps in state and federal tracking efforts, and outline policy changes that could help. Sign-up here!

The USC Center for Health Journalism's Impact Funds provide reporting support — funding and mentoring — to journalists who think big and want to make a difference. 

Apply today for our National Impact Fund for reporting on health equity and health systems across the country. 

Apply today for our California Impact Fund for reporting that brings untold stories to light in the Golden State. 


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