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Children's Advocates Lobby Against Further Cuts to Services

By Margie Menzel

http://stream.publicbroadcasting.net/production/mp3/wfsu/local-wfsu-892409.mp3

Tallahassee, FL – Children's advocates swarmed the Capitol Tuesday, lobbying against further cuts to services. As Margie Menzel reports, the state's child welfare chief is also worried about the impact.

As Guardian ad Litem volunteers celebrated their 30th year, they got a brief visit from George Sheldon, Secretary of the Department of Children and Families. He'd been watching out for DCF's budget. His top concerns include caps to adoption maintenance and "Road to Independence" program supports for youth aging out of foster care, and what Sheldon called serious cuts to mental health and substance abuse programs.

"I'm talking $80-million, which is a 31-percent cut. Everything I know about child abuse is about mental health and substance abuse. So if we make those cuts, I'm concerned that one or two or three years from now, we're going to retrench from everything we've done in child welfare."

However, Sheldon says the Legislature has held community-based care for children harmless.