Sandoval issues list of human services add-backs

Gov. Brian Sandoval's office has issued its list of programs where funding should be restored if additional money becomes available.

Latest projections for Medicaid, welfare and food stamp programs show there will be as much as $69 million more available for the budget. Sandoval has already committed $25.7 million of that total to filling a gap in education funding, leaving about $43 million.

The list, according to Sandoval's staff, is not ranked in any priority at this point.

It includes funding for youth camps at China Spring and Aurora Pines in Douglas County as well as Spring Mountain in Southern Nevada. The current proposed budget would eliminate state funding to those camps.

It includes restoring the $37 million in state funding for hospitals and skilled nursing facilities the budget currently imposes on the counties.

Also on the list is funding for the TANF (welfare) Loan Program and Kinship Care. The loan program provides welfare payments to disabled single moms who are unlikely to be able to meet the work requirements required to remain on welfare. The program loans them monthly payment money which is repaid once their application for SSI benefits through Social Security are approved. Eliminating that loan program, lawmakers were told, would leave those welfare mothers without any money for up to a year while the federal government processes the SSI application.

The kinship care payments are foster care payments to family members who take in their grandchildren, nieces or nephews when the parents. Advocates say kinship care is not only cheaper than foster care by unrelated people, it's better for the children involved since they remain with family members. Eliminating the payments would increase the burden on those family members who agreed to take in their young relatives.

Family Resource Centers around the state, which coordinate a variety of social services for parents, are also on the governor's list for a share of restored funding as are room and board payments for youth mental health placements and mental health residential support payments. Lawmakers agreed earlier this week to close those centers unless more money is available.

Cuts to the state's autism programs also would get funding restored as would the proposed cuts to emergency medical services and the Substance Abuse Prevention and Treatment Agency.

Health and Human Services Director Mike Willden said it would require about $70 million to completely restore the governor's list so partial restorations are likely in those accounts if lawmakers agree.


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