While for war policies continue to kill and destroy military and families at home
& in Iraq, bushites Graham, Demint, and No CigTax Gov.Sanford have fun as
SC Cuts Funds for Abused Children, while Dubyah McBush, the Administration
and Congress continue Funding the Killing of Our Troops and destruction of families.
State cuts budget,
loses matching funds for abused childrenBy Liv Osby • STAFF WRITER • June 1, 2008
The Legislature's recent funding cut to A Child's Haven will have three times the apparent impact and comes as the number of children living in poverty is growing, an agency official says.
The nonprofit agency offers treatment and support to some 77 children 5 and younger who've been traumatized by poverty, neglect and abuse and their families in Greenville County.
And special projects director Scott Dishman says that in addition to the $135,000 it lost in state funding as Legislators whittled down the state's $7 billion budget, it will also lose the $270,000 in federal Medicaid matching funds the state money drew.
All told, that means about 20 percent of the agency's $2 million budget.
"What legislators on both sides of the aisle need to understand is that as taxpayers, we will pay for these children in the end, whether it's through foster care, the juvenile justice system, or addiction treatment," Dishman said. "The money is much better spent up front. Without this intervention, they end up as just another poverty statistic."
In Greenville County, he said, 91 percent of the children in the program are living in a stable home and succeeding in a mainstream school after one year, he said.
Nationally, he said, studies show that 20 years later graduates had an arrest rate for violent crimes of about 3.5 percent compared with 47 percent for children who did not receive the services.
Meanwhile, he said, the Census Bureau reports the pool of children in Greenville County living below the federal poverty level grew from 13.8 percent to 19.7 percent between 2000 and 2006, or from about 12,600 to19,900 kids.
A Child's Haven wasn't the only local nonprofit group to lose funding. Gateway House, which provides housing and job opportunities for mentally ill people in Greenville County, lost $300,000, or a quarter of its funding, said executive director Phil Emory. Without another source of money, some services will have to be cut, he said.
And the Urban League of the Upstate lost about $18,400 ó funds that will come out of the Right Steps program, which helps keep at-risk youths out of the juvenile justice system, said CEO Johnny Mickler. That program is already facing a $68,000 shortfall in foundation money, he said.
And while $18,000 is a smaller percentage of the League's $1.8 million annual budget than the other groups, any loss is hard to absorb, he said.
"Any time that we lose any money, it's a hardship because we are having a tough time filling in the gaps in services when the need is greater," he said. "And from what we see as far as the economy and what's happening with housing and jobs and gas prices and everything, the need for our services will increase even more."
Mickler said he will look for other sources of revenue.
"We are not in a position to turn anyone away," he said. "So it makes it very hard."
The Phillis Wheatley Community Center was also slated for a $75,000 cut.
"That represents our summer program," said Donna Mosley Coleman, executive director. "That means that this summer we will only be able to serve about 55 kids compared to more than 200."
The program provides meals, academic enrichment and recreation daily during the summer months, Coleman said. About 95 percent of the children come from low-income families, she said, and families that had counted on the program are now struggling with what to do with the children while they're at work.
"A mother was in here last night, sitting there crying, saying, 'What am I going to do?' " she said.
Without a structured program, Coleman said, the children could get into trouble or wind up lagging behind in the next academic year. She's going to look for other funding, but so are many other agencies, she says.
"It's frustrating," Coleman said. "People complain about kids getting into stuff and kids not doing well. But they just made these cuts without any determination whether the program was effective or not."
State Sen. David Thomas said cutting funding to programs that have received state money for years, like A Child's Haven, which has gotten the funding since 1994, was wrong.
Dishman said he's heard talk that the funding might be made up by state agencies, the Department of Social Services, for example. But they're "not swimming in any surplus dollars," he said, so the agency will see how else it can make up the funds.
"In the meantime, we're strong enough financially to apply our own Bandaids to this wound for one year because we have some money put away for a rainy day," he said. "But during that year, we have a lot of work to do to make sure this never happens again."
END THE WAR! BRING THEM HOME! JOBS,HEALTH,GREEN ENERGY
posted by Liz in Arizona