Combine and Cut: Governor's Block Grant Plan for County Human Services

A week after Governor Tom Corbett rolled out his state budget, many people are still trying to make sense of it.

Perhaps the biggest reshuffling in the Department of Public Welfare budget involves the expansion of the Human Services Development Fund, a flexible funding stream used for a wide variety of human services at the county level. This fund has been repeatedly reduced over the past few year. The new budget combines and cuts funding for other programs into a single Human Services Development Fund Block Grant.

All told, the new block grant is funded at nearly $674 million. That reflects a cut of more than $168 million, or 20%. Portions of a variety of health and human service programs ranging from homeless assistance to mental health services to protecting children from abuse would be impacted (see the table below).

DPW Programs transferred to Human Services Development Fund block grant (in $ thousands)

Portions of programs transferred to HSDF block grant:  
Medical Assistance - Outpatient ($14,727)
Behavioral Health Services (47,908)
Mental Health Services (550,469)
ID - Community Base Program (144,974)
County Child Welfare (48,533)
HSDF (14,956)
Homeless Assistance (20,551)
Total ($842,118)
Human Services Development Fund Block Grant Funding $673,695
Net Funding Reduction ($168,423)
Net Reduction Percent -20%
Compiled by the Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center

Comments

1 comments posted

Many if not all of the

Many if not all of the services included in this block grant are essential to the health and welfare of the service recipient. There is little alarm at this point because we do not yet know which services the county will cut nor do most of the counties in most cases. The safety net for some people will disappear and this is reason for concern. A twenty per cent cut was once considered unthinkable but lately many stand on the sidelines as support systems are beginning to crumble at an alarming rate. In the coming months it will become clearer that many trusted and once reliable organizations have been pushed toward bankruptcy and ruin.  

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