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Pa. Budget Impasse Threatening Services For Foster Children

By Kim Glovas

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- Pennsylvania's state budget impasse has stopped funding for child welfare agencies, including those that provide for foster children and foster parents. Now, a lawsuit has been filed to get those funds flowing again.

The Pennsylvania Council of Children, Youth and Family Services filed the lawsuit against the Commonwealth in mid-September.

Council board member Darlene Hewett, is also CEO of the Village, a Philadelphia non-profit which works with foster children.

"Seems to be incomprehensible why these services would not be seen as essential by the governor, who is the one who can deem them as essential services," says Hewett. "And, meanwhile, the legislature is being paid, the governor is being paid, so why are these services not considered essential as well?"

Hewett says this is unacceptable.

"It's really very confusing when state workers are continuing to be paid, parks continue to be open, and yet we're told that services to Pennsylvania's most vulnerable children and families are not essential services."

She says county agencies are extending lines of credit to keep funding services for foster children and foster parents. Hewett says the state currently owes 1-point-4 million dollars to foster care services, and there is no guarantee that it will pay that debt.

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