State funding disappearing for anti-teen pregnancy program

Connecticut State representatives at the Capitol (AP Photo / Jessica Hill)

NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) –  Governor Dannel Malloy announced more than 78 million dollars in budget cuts to help reduce the state deficit. The problems is, those cuts mean some agencies will not be able to offer as many services to those who depend on them.

Case in point: There’s a very successful program going on in some shoreline schools that could very well disappear because of these cuts.

Governor Malloy announced about 78 million dollars in budget cuts, and this is just the beginning. For this year, Connecticut is looking at a more than 260 million dollar deficit, with a deficit of another 900 million for the next fiscal year. These cuts from the Governor include more than three million dollars slashed from the Department of Social Services. That is what funds the teen outreach program of Family Centered Services.

“If the students are actively engaged in a meaningful service project, then it will keep them busy and away from other things like getting pregnant and other distractions,” said Asia Goubourn, the program supervisor for Family Centered Services of Connecticut.

Preventing teen pregnancy actually saves the government money, because teenage mothers often end up needing thousands of dollars in state assistance. Teens in the outreach program have a birth rate about a third of the national average, so it’s working. However, the news from Hartford is not good.

“We have already had a $53,000 cut this year,” said Family Centered Services Executive Director Cheryl Burack. “The Governor just announced another 5% cut yesterday, and in his budget for next year, he has proposed to totally eliminate the program.”

The governor wants some 40 state agencies to trim their spending, but he can legally only reduce a budget line item by 5 percent. The legislature has to vote on deeper cuts. The Governor’s cuts total 78 million. Republican lawmakers announced a bill earlier this week that would cut almost three times that much. Democrats say they’re working on their own plan.

There is supposed to be a vote in the general assembly in two weeks, because quarterly payments go out at the beginning of April, and they want those payments to be lower. So the governor’s cuts are just one step in a process that will continue until the fiscal year ends June 30th.



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