Pa. budget proposes cuts in social services

    Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett’s proposed budget for the department of Public Welfare holds more money, but will still mean service cutbacks.

    The department’s $11.2 billion budget is slightly higher than last year’s, but most of that money will go to federally mandated Medicare and Medicaid services.

    Pennsylvania has a growing number of older people relying on these services, said spokeswoman Ann Bale.

    “Therefore our numbers continue to grow, and so because of federal mandates we are unable to cut back on these programs, and so we’re looking at the areas that we can cut,” she said.

    Bale added that the department is trying to do more with less, but cuts will be necessary. Cuts may include funding for community-based family centers. Those centers provide services for at-risk families, such as child-rearing education or nutrition classes.

    Bale said the proposed budget also reduces money for autism services.

    Social service providers in the region said it is too soon to understand the exact ramifications of the budget proposal.

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