Wanda English Burnett
to information from Connie DeBurger, executive director of Family
Connections, families will be impacted by budget cuts that were
DeBurger noted that the Indiana Department of Child Services
has announced that further cuts in the budget will impact funding
for Family Connections. She said funding for the Healthy Families
Indiana program was slashed from $42 million to $34 million
already this year. It will drop to $27.9 million for the fiscal
year 2011 and will spiral downward even more in 2012 to $24.7
It is not possible to continue the same caliber of services
that we are used to providing with these types of deep cuts,
DeBurger noted. She said Family Connections will sustain a nearly
60% cut in funding from 2009 to 2012. What really hurts
is that we will have to decrease the number of families we can
serve and with the current economy, these are families most
in need of some assistance, DeBurger said.
Director Jim Payne of the Department of Child Services released
statistics showing that the Healthy Families program works.
At a recent meeting of Healthy Families program managers, it
was noted that participants of the program have higher rates
of immunizations, well child check-ups, and fewer low birth
weight births. Abuse rates for families enrolled in the program
are less than one percent.
We understand the need to reduce spending, but it is difficult
to understand why programs that serve our more vulnerable populations
receive the deepest cuts, especially when there is solid evidence
these programs work, DeBurger concluded.
The organization, based in Versailles, has a great outreach
program and will continue to help as many families as they possibly