Programs for the Poor Face Huge Cuts

Monday, March 01, 2010

Gov. David Paterson's current budget proposal zeroes out funding for dozens of programs for the poor.

When welfare rolls were shrinking, there was plenty of money to fund programs that help poor families, like housing, child care, and after school programs. But the welfare rolls increased about seven percent in 2009 and there was a 10 percent increase in the cash assistance poor families get each month. Now, there's nothing left over for programs like the one run by the Council on Adoptable Children. It helps families that adopt kids get special-ed services, therapy, and group counseling.

Director Ernesto Loperena says the program keeps kids out of foster care, which can cost up to $100,000 a year.

"Obviously that re-entry would be a lot more expensive both to the state and the city," Loperena says.

Loperena says the proposed cut accounts for 12 percent of his budget and chances are slim he can replace the money with private funds because foundation money has nearly dried up.

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