COMMISSIONERS SUPPORT HUMAN SERVICES BLOCK GRANT For Release: June 25, 2012 Contact: Elizabeth Menhart, Communications Director/Tourism (724-852-5210)
WAYNESBURG, PA As the Pennsylvania state budget nears finalization, the Greene County Commissioners today announced that they strongly support the proposed Human Services Block Grant and are continuing to advocate for restoration of funding for human services programs, within available revenues.
"If the General Assembly passes a budget that reduces human services funding from current levels without providing counties with the flexibility to manage these continued reductions the impact will be devastating to counties, human services programs and everyone who relies on these services," said Commissioner Pam Snyder, chair of the Board of Commissioners.
The proposed Human Services Block Grant would consolidate multiple human services programs into a single block grant and would create a more open and inclusive decision-making process for local involvement in the planning of human services programming. Under the proposal, counties would be able to match services to the needs of their residents, rather than grouping clients into categories that may not address all of their needs.
Key parts of the Human Services Block Grant proposal include:
Local human services plans must be published and voted on, improving accountability and transparency.
Block grants will be phased in to allow counties to make administrative and programmatic changes to provide better coordinated, integrated and sustainable human services programs.
Counties will be able to maintain minimum funding levels by each category during the four-year transition period, and counties already operating in an integrated format can seek a waiver for immediate full block grant flexibility.
Counties wanting to continue funding programs along categorical lines may do so, while still gaining the advantage of streamlined administrative and reporting processes.
The state Department of Public Welfare will be required to provide technical support for counties needing assistance to transition into the new financial reporting and planning processes.
"Under the current budget proposal, counties are looking at a 10 percent cut in human services funding,” Snyder said. “The block grant program is the best option, although the hope is for human services funding to be restored to the highest allowable level."