SANTA MARIA, Calif. -

Putting the money where the need is. That's the purpose of a new state law to stop child abuse. It could mean more money for programs in Northern Santa Barbara County that desperately need the help.

Scott Whiteley is the North County Program Manager at Child Abuse Listening Mediation, or C.A.L.M. The organization provides help for children and parents who have been abused or have experienced some sort of trauma.

The majority of its funding comes from the county.

"There's never enough funding so we have to make do with what we have," said Whiteley. "There's much more need than we have funding for."

South County's chapter of C.A.L.M. has been established for 40 years, while the North County operation is slowly growing to accomodate the region's huge demand.

"The majority of child abuse complaints to child welfare services come from the North County and they've been a woefully underserved area," said Whiteley.
                            
Help may be on the way. Governor Jerry Brown recently signed Assembly Bill 2187 into law, which clarifies which county birth certificate fees go to. The fees are used to fund county child abuse prevention and intervention programs just like C.A.L.M.

Previously the fee went to the county where the child was delivered, even if the child was to be raised in another county. Now the fee will go to the county where the child is raised, no matter where the baby was born. It ensures the money goes to the appropriate place.

Congresswoman Lois Capps visited the small Santa Maria office Wednesday. She addressed the importance of keeping these programs properly funded.

"The resources that are here, in the offices that are bursting at the seams they tell me, it just speaks to the need and to the beauty of the programs and the interactions that exist here," said Capps.

C.A.L.M. is trying to make its presence felt in North County. Its in the midst of a 5-year strategic plan to get their services in North County on par with what it offers in South County.