Budget Approval May Depend On Funding For Child Welfare

April 01, 2014

Approval of a budget for the fiscal year 2015 may depend on a commitment that really isn’t a commitment.

Lawmakers are looking for a way to fund future spending for the Department of Child Welfare and Family Services, which is to replace Child Protective Services. The proposed $9.2 billion spending plan includes funding for 242 new caseworkers and support staff.

But Rep. Kate Brophy McGee doubts that’s enough and she was able to get language added in the House to say lawmakers would revisit child welfare funding when they know what’s needed.

Some legislators think that amounts to a blank check. Senate Majority Leader John McComish says he and his colleagues are willing to make a commitment as long as specific dollars are not part of it.

“I think we might see language that's more intent language as opposed to absolute commitment language,” McComish said.

Senators are set to work on the language Tuesday.