At a time when we are seeing record numbers of clients, the Hamilton County Department of Job and Family Services also faces unprecedented budget cuts. Due to funding reductions, we have been forced to lay off more than a third of our employees and cut $15 million in contracts with social service providers.
Proposed cuts in the 2010-2011 state budget would further hinder efforts to serve Hamilton County’s most vulnerable citizens:
* A cash-strapped family applying for food stamps, cash assistance and/or Medicaid health coverage would wait 30 days for their application to be processed, instead of 10.
* A struggling single mom would wait longer for enforcement of a child support case with a non-paying parent.
* A preschooler benefiting from early-childhood development programs while her mom works would enter kindergarten behind her classmates due to the loss of those services.
* The concerned neighbor reporting elder abuse may experience a longer wait for an investigation.
* The loving grandparent or other “kinship care” provider caring for a grandchild while a parent worked on issues related to abuse or neglect would no longer get the support of a social worker or formal support group.
* A middle class family would decide against adopting because a cut in state subsidies would make it too costly to adopt.
Like many families in Hamilton County, we’re reprioritizing and making tough choices to get us through the economic situation. Unfortunately, the actions we’re taking will have a tremendous toll on many in our community.
Despite these cuts, we will continue to serve the residents of Hamilton County to the best of our ability.