Why the Pennsylvania Budget Crisis was Terrible for Vulnerable Children

SP2_ThumbnailThere’s no doubt that the drawn-out budget spat between House Republicans and Gov. Wolf has harmed kids.

The state withheld $1.7 billion allocated for children, youth, and family services from July to December. The five months of nonpayment wreaked havoc with the finances of nonprofit child welfare providers that are on the front lines of protecting children from abuse.

These organizations are still reeling from the fallout. During this period, agencies first made as many cuts as they could. They furloughed workers. They cut expenses. Some dipped into operating reserves and endowments, and took out loans. The state will not reimburse accrued or lost interest, even though our elected officials were the sole cause of the delay.

Inevitably these organizations had to cut back on preventive services, such those that support parents and family unity. Destabilizing kids’ lives ultimately puts more children at risk of abuse. It simply does not make sense.

See the full op-ed published in WHYY Newsworks on April 4 in Philadelphia, PA.

Screenshot 2016-02-29 16.51.10Sam Waxman is a master’s student in social policy at the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Social Policy and Practice. Prior to coming to Penn, she coordinated job training programs for low-income individuals in Washington, D.C., and was a consultant to philanthropists implementing innovative public sector initiatives.

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