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Thursday, January 21, 2010 - 11:45am

Budget Shrinks for Social Services

The Recession has put a lot of strain on the State Department of Human Services as more people seek their services. At the same time, the department's budget is getting cut due to shrinking state revenues.

At budget hearings DHR commissioner B.J. Walker said that the number of people seeking her departments services have grown by nearly 40 percent since the beginning of the recession. She says that's because a lot of former welfare recipients had gotten jobs.

"When they lost their jobs during the recession, they went to unemployment insurance," Walker says, "But they came back to our front door for food stamps and perhaps Medicaid."

Walker's department could take a $150 million dollar cut next year. She says DHR has been furloughing employees and may continue to do so next fiscal year instead of laying off much needed social workers and other key employees.