Human Services Position Statements - 2010 Legislative Program


Employment Support for Working Families

Support budget and statutory changes allowing localities to provide the matching funds necessary to draw down emergency federal funds for low-income families needing assistance to navigate the national recession.

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) made available up to $79 million for Virginia to provide increased spending on cash assistance, non-recurrent short-term benefits and employment assistance for families receiving Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF).  TANF is designed to help needy families achieve self-sufficiency, and the current economic crisis is threatening that self-sufficiency, through the loss of jobs and permanent housing.  However, the use of these one-time federal funds requires a 20 percent match, which the state is unlikely to provide, due to Virginia’s budget crisis.  Rather than forfeiting this important federal funding opportunity, localities should be permitted to provide the matching funds if they are able, in order to assist those most vulnerable through current economic hardships.

(New position.)

 

Child Care

Support state child care funding for economically disadvantaged families not participating in TANF/VIEW, known as “Fee System Child Care.”  Particularly during periods of economic downturn, a secure source of General Fund dollars is needed statewide to defray the cost of child care, protecting state and local investments in helping families move off of welfare and into long-term economic stability. 

Research clearly indicates that the employment and economic independence of parents is jeopardized when affordable child care is outside of reach.  Parents may be forced to leave work to care for their children; to begin or return to welfare programs; or to maintain their employment, may choose to place their children in unregulated and therefore potentially unsafe child care settings.  Without subsidies to meet market prices, low-income working families may not access the quality child care and early childhood education that helps young children arrive at kindergarten well prepared to succeed.  In the Fairfax community, where the median annual income of families receiving fee-system child care subsidies is $26,772, the average cost of full-time preschool child care ranges from $8,000 to $12,000 per year.  These families are truly ‘the working poor’ who require some assistance with child care costs in order to help them achieve self-sufficiency. 

(Revises and reaffirms previous position.)

 

Mental Health

Support the continuation of efforts for mental health reform at the state level, by ensuring that the hundreds of Fairfax County residents with serious mental illness and disabling substance dependence receive intensive community treatment following their initial hospitalization or incarceration.  To that end, support additional state funding, as part of the promised down payment of such funding to improve the responsiveness of the mental health system. 

(Revises and reaffirms previous position.)

 


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