UnionMaine

Trust me, I work for the Government

DHHS proposes 70% cut in funding to foster adoptive care program. Republicans respond. DHHS blames the legislature.

I am not foolish. Just because an elected official says nice things doesn’t mean they will be able or willing to go to the mat to fight for your issue. But when you get a call, and they return your emails. When they take a call and spend twenty minutes on the phone even with someone of a different party or even not in their district you are proud to live in Maine. I just wish I was getting calls from members of my own party.

I am a Democrat but after my experiences this week after sending emails to every legislator with an email address and the Governor and the Governor’s wife I have one question.

Isn’t the majority supposed to lead? I am a Democrat and I have been reading the recent ads trumpeting the (D) majority in the legislature. We have the same majority in the Congress, so where is the leadership? On the Federal level George Bush is setting the agenda. No SCHIP, a department of labor that is destroying Unions and doing it with bureaucratic rules not by any open votes in Congress. Is it OK to drop pensions for workers over 65? It is now. Is it OK to let inflation and the growing number of poor children destroy the effectiveness of the SCHIP program? It is now. It is as if the (D’s) never got a majority. Maybe they just have no idea what to do with it and they are lost. Congress is about to pass a tax rebate bill and it will have no help in it for the unemployed whose benefits have run out. It will have more corporate tax breaks and then Bush will ask for more Billions for the endless war.

In Maine the Democrats are in the majority but the first cuts that come from the governor elected by the Democrats is an attack on kids supported by the Elizabeth Levinson Center, and then an attempt by DHHS to maintain layer after layer of management at the expense of services, foster children, and adoption plans. Where will the State find homes for the sickest kids when they can no longer be placed in loving homes? They will be shipped out of State, or to large for profit institutions at a cost many times the cost to support the current system.

DHHS is holding meetings where they allow the audience to believe that the cuts are “all the fault of the legislature”, and that preserving a massive management structure has nothing to do with the cuts to kids. They tell people “it is a done deal” the cuts are coming and it is too late to do anything. Are they leading the fight, no they are just rolling over and saying give up, it is too late.

After hundreds of emails to the legislature I have gotten a number of responses. Some of the legislators thought that there must be hearings scheduled and were surprised that DHHS is going around saying too late, too late, give up, it is too late.

Foster parents in Maine will have to judge the legislature by its success and by it’s intentions. So far I have heard from several Republican legislators. They have asked questions, they have returned emails. They have taken my calls and asked to meet other foster parents and to learn the facts.

Until now it is not the fault of the legislature, they have been given a snow job that relies on term limits to make legislative memory forget, to forget what DHHS did only five years ago. A 50% cut just five years ago. From 2002 to 2008 if all the cuts are approved the total will be as much as an 70% cut to some families. Has there been an 70% cut in DHHS overhead costs? 70% cut in management? 60%? Yeah, sure! Now if homes are lost, kids are harmed, it will be the fault of the legislature because they can not pretend ignorance. I notified every single legislator with an email address. I know of other Foster family associations that have sent hundreds more emails. They know and we will be able to judge them (R) or (D) by their actions, not their party affiliation. I look forward to praising those that recognize this sham.

Where is the Democratic leadership? Where is the outrage? So far two kind Democratic women leaders have sent emails; one guy sent a nice note. In return to my letters one of the Democratic incumbents sent a letter requesting a donation.

Then there is Chellie Pingree, Democratic candidate in the first District, she was dismayed, but she is not yet in office. My family is facing the loss of our home, and I know a mother of seven, whose sole source of income is the stipends for her children. Kids with so many challenges they could start their own hospital wing, but she loves every one and has given them a good home for years.

This isn’t politics; this is about kids being hurt. So far one side of the aisle seems to notice. Maybe the other side is planning their response.

When I hear from the Republicans that have contacted me, I will ask permission to post their names. I will be glad to share their names.

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January 24th, 2008 Posted by narsbars | Uncategorized | no comments

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