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The Governor’s FY2012 budget recommends consolidation and transfer of the Georgia Family Connection Partnership (FCP) appropriation from the Department of Human Services (DHS) to the Governor’s Office for Children and Families (GOCF). 

Georgia Family Connection was created 20 years ago to streamline services and systems that impact and serve children and families. FCP’s core principles are local decision-making based on reliable data, accountability, and leveraging resources.

The logic behind this move is baffling. Even today, at the Department of Human Services budget hearing, when Rep. Carolyn Hugley (District 133 – Columbus) asked DHS Commissioner Clyde Reese if he knew the reason for this move, he was unable to provide an answer.

FCP has a reputation for good, reliable work in 159 counties of the state and helps multitudes of children and families. It secures decent funding from the private sector (much of which would be lost if absorbed into GOCF) and has worked well with DHS. All that said, we are left with the inevitable question: What problem would this move solve? I don’t have an answer. Do you?

The Lottery funded Pre-K budget has been cut by $20 million down to $335 million and is projected to serve the same number of children as in FY2011: 84,000 kids. This endangers not only the quality of the classroom portion of the programs, which were, by national averages, already underfunded by about 25%, but also, potentially the number and function of the Pre-K Transition Coaches, who work in the communities to assess and provide supports for Pre-K families.

For Georgia’s public colleges, the budget for FY2012 is $303 million, down from $474 million. For Georgia’s private colleges, appropriations are down from $59 million to $40 million. Georgia Technical Colleges and Schools have taken a hit as well; FY2012 is budgeted at $132 million down from $206 million in FY2011. Check out our blog posting from 1/18/11 (The Recession is Doing All It Can) for more details.

Bottom Line:
The Governor does not want to count on Lottery reserves to help any of these programs, so something will need to give.


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January 2011