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Posts Tagged ‘Funding’

Guardian ad Litem Takes Moderate Cut In Tough Budget Year. Many Florida Foster Children Will Lose Their Voice in Court

Florida’s Guardian ad Litem program emerged from this year’s Legislative budget process with fiscal cuts not as deep as originally feared.

The program’s funding will be reduced by $2.81 million. Proposed cuts were $7.6 million in the Florida House of Representatives, and $2.6 million in the Florida Senate.

In the Fiscal Year 2009-2010 Appropriations Act, the Florida Legislature will reduce the Guardian Ad Litem Program by $3.817 million, and then reinstate $1 million in non-recurring money. Therefore, if the Legislature does nothing for FY 2010-2011, the GAL will be cut by $1 million.

There were no simple or pleasant solutions. This was the toughest budgetary year many people have ever seen. Although advocates stepped in quickly to help negotiate a balanced approach to this tough budgetary call, many foster children will be left without Guardians.

But make no mistake: The cuts span the spectrum of child services. (more…)

Florida Guardian ad Litem Funding Vital to Helping Neglected Kids

As Florida faces a financial crisis, our Florida Legislature is forced to grapple with ways to balance the budget. I recognize there are no good options for the Legislature, but some cuts create more problems than others.

The Florida Guardian ad Litem Program — whose staff and volunteer counselors and attorneys help the state’s neglected children and foster care youth — is facing severe budget cuts by the Florida Legislature that it cannot sustain. The Florida Senate has proposed an 8% cut in GAL funding and the Florida House proposal would cut 23% – or $7.6 million.

These cuts would result in a potential loss of 152 employees, or more than a third of the staff needed to recruit, screen, train, coach and mentor the nearly 5,700 volunteer child advocates who represent the best interests of abused, abandoned and neglected children caught in our dependency system. (more…)

Message to Florida Legislators: Protect the Children

January 5th, 2009   No Comments   Funding

This is an editorial from today’s Ft. Myers News Press. As the Florida Legislature begins a special session, the needs of certain residents should be kept far from the chopping block…

Legislators seeking ways to save money should save the children and spare  the most vulnerable residents from cuts.

That’s our mantra as the Florida Legislature begins a challenging two-week special session today to plug a gaping $2.3 billion shortfall in the current  budget.

With the economy blowing holes in the spending plans of every government, business, family and organization in the country, it’s with great reluctance  that we urge any spending program be kept off the cutting table.

But we do so for child protective services, mostly under the Department of Children and Families-and we urge you to contact our leaders in Tallahassee and do the same.

It’s not that education, health, law enforcement, roads, seniors and the environment aren’t essential service areas. They are, but the protection of vulnerable children cannot be diminished or postponed until the economy recovers. It’s a society’s most basic moral responsibility, as we see it. (more…)