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WV Crimes Against Children committee calls on Tomblin for supplemental funds

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On May 8, legislative members on the Select Committee on Crimes Against Children were joined by U.S. Attorney Booth Goodwin, Senator Bill Laird (D-Fayette), Child Abuse Pediatrician Joan Phillips and affected families to call on Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin to consider a supplemental appropriation during the upcoming special session scheduled to start May 19.

The supplemental appropriation would go toward filling the over $1 million in cuts to child advocacy centers, In-Home Family Education, Family Resource Networks and Starting Points Family Resource Centers, child abuse prevention and domestic violence programs and services.

In a letter to Senate President Jeff Kessler (D-Marshall) and House Speaker Tim Miley (D-Harrison), Tomblin states that “re-appropriated funds will be expended to ensure the (Domestic Violence Legal Services Fund) and the (Children’s Trust Fund) are funded at their FY 2014 level during FY 2015.” The letter also states that the “(Division of Health and Human Resources) will allocate $150,000 of funding to In-Home Family Education grantees from the current balance in the Children’s Trust Fund special revenue account.”

While Delegate Linda Phillips (D-Wyoming), chair of the Select Committee on Crimes Against Children and member of the House Finance Committee, said “we understand the difficulties the current budget situation presents,” Delegate Barbara Fleischauer (D-Monongalia) said she feels like money has merely been “moved around.”

All present said there are places where the money can be found and believe having the monetary resources to adequately take care of the situation early on means not having a bigger issue down the road. Phillips said she “looks forward to working to restore funding and strengthen (the requested) programs.”