Foster youth from around the state gathered for a quick rally…
“You say cut back! We say fight back! You say cut back! We say fight back! ”
Then they were off-- to shadow a lawmaker for the day or to speak at a budget hearing. Supporters say foster kids have really lost 133-million dollars, as state budget cuts have also affected federal matching funds. 23-year-old Ashlee Jemmott says the funding that was cut helped with a variety of services including things like bus passes and rent. She says those are critical when kids are cut loose from the system when they turn 18. “And once these services are gone, what are we gonna have? It’s going to be even more challenging for us, to emancipate out, to get transitional housing, and to just live average lives.”
A spokesman for the state Department of Finance says the cuts last year were necessary to balance the budget and create a reserve fund. H.D. Palmer notes the state’s multi-billion dollar budget gap and says restoring the funding will depend largely on that.