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FY13 Budget Testimony: Child and Family Services Agency

April 2, 2012

Children’s Law Center Executive Director Judith Sandalow testified before the DC Council’s Committee on Human Services regarding the proposed budget for the Child and Family Services Agency (CFSA). The proposed budget largely seems to provide the resources necessary for the agency to take steps toward ambitious reforms that Acting Director Brenda Donald has set, but cuts to prevention services are cause for concern. Read a summary below or review Sandalow’s full testimony as submittted to the Council.

Fortunately, the proposed budget maintains the current level of funding for three important programs: Rapid Housing, Grandparent Caregiver and Differential Response. “These three programs make it possible for hundreds of children every year to remain safely with their families rather than entering foster care,” Sandalow noted. Despite this, the proposed CFSA budget cuts $1.2 million from prevention services at the same time the Department of Human Services reduces funding for homeless services and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF).

Sandalow also highlighted concerns about the funding levels and sources of mental health services, kinship placements, education, and programs for older youth. She noted that CFSA has made progress in claiming federal revenue, which would be easier with approval of a State Plan Amendment.