Proposed State Cuts to Child Welfare Programs Criticized

Article excerpt

A survey of 1,000 nonprofit organizations by United Way of Pennsylvania found that 82 percent experienced increased demand for service, 64 percent had layoffs and about one-third turned away people needing services.

About 70 percent were negatively impacted by budget cuts over the past two years, according to the survey released Thursday. Gov. Tom Corbett's proposed budget reminded United Way of Pennsylvania President Tony Ross of the movie title "The Good, the Bad and the Ugly," he said.

"We were pleasantly surprised," said Leslie Osche, executive director of the United Way of Butler County. "We expected worse."

Corbett would provide continued support for early childhood programs. Funding would continue at 2010-11 levels for substance abuse programs. Domestic violence and homeless assistance would retain most funding.

The ARC of Pennsylvania, which represents people with intellectual disabilities, noted the plan keeps intact the community service system, maintains money for special education, and provides a modest increase for early intervention programs for kids with developmental delays.

But local service providers worry about $47 million in cuts to county child welfare services and the elimination of the Human Services Development Fund, which provided $23 million this year to aid low-income and disabled individuals whose needs fall outside of other aid categories. …