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Nov 23, 2011
DCFS Appeals Federal Decision Regarding Emergency Funds
Reduces FY 12 Budget by $7.1 million

BATON ROUGE -- The Department of Children and Family Services today announced it has appealed a decision by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) that denies the utilization of Deepwater Horizon oil spill expenditures to qualify for Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) Emergency Funds, and as a result, DCFS is reducing $7.1 million in expenditures.

Secretary Johnson said, "We believe the regulations are very clear that these expenditures from the oil spill should qualify for TANF funds. The decision by the federal government is just the latest example of how the state and our people have been negatively impacted by the oil spill. The bottom line is that these funds provided by BP, as a result of the spill, provided assistance to needy families who were impacted by the disaster. These same families would have more than likely had to apply for regular TANF assistance had it not been for the funds provided by BP."

Johnson said that while DCFS is waiting on a judgment of its appeal, it was fiscally responsible to strategically reduce the FY 12 budget to cover the $7.1 million previously denied.

Johnson said that by adjusting all means of financing within the agency, DCFS was able to minimize the impact to programs and services funded by TANF. Without these adjustments, selected TANF programs would have been reduced by around 26 percent, instead of most of the programs being reduced by around 5 percent.

Reductions in state general funds include:
Child Welfare - Family Resource Centers - $1.5 million - This reduces contracts for Family Resource Centers for services that will once again be handled by DCFS child welfare staff.

Young Adult Program (YAP) - $310,848 - The YAP program assists youth who have aged out of foster care and are in need of further support and services. To help offset this reduction, DCFS will utilize contracts with local governments regarding homelessness to prioritize funds for youth aging out of foster care.

Administrative - $250,000 - This reduction will occur through efficiencies and streamlining of resources.

Two-Parent STEP Program - $200,000 - This is an optional state program that currently serves only 61 cases statewide.

Reductions in state general and federal funds include:

Child Support District Attorney Contracts - $2.7 million ($700,000 SGF, $2 million federal) - Realignment of contracts to reflect eligible and actual expenditures in the collection of child support collections.

TANF Initiatives (all federal funded):
  • Office of Juvenile Justice (OJJ) Programs - $1 million
These are funds being provided for the first time this year to the Office of Juvenile Justice (OJJ) that will be reduced. The program is funded for a certain number of slots but they are not forecasted to fill them.

Reductions to the following initiatives are 5 percent or less of what was spent last fiscal year for each program and were funded during a time of unprecedented TANF surpluses which have been exhausted. As a result, these programs have been reduced to bring expenditures in line with current TANF revenues.
  • CASA - $233,500
  • Drug Courts - $232,389
  • Early Childhood Supports - $197,345
  • Substance Abuse - $196,784
  • Nurse Family Partnership - $185,000
  • Abortion Alternatives - $75,000
  • Homeless Initiative - $42,489
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