Federal Pandemic Relief Funds in Massachusetts
CLM is actively advocating for use of Massachusetts’ federal pandemic relief and recovery funds to support children, families, and the human services workforce.
CLM co-sponsored a presentation by Mass Budget and Advocacy on the equitable use of pandemic funds for education. (July 2021)
FY2022 State Budget
CLM is focusing on increases to Massachusetts’ FY22 fiscal year budget in the following key areas:
Family Resource Centers (FRC’s) (Line item #4800-0200)
FRC’s were created to meet the needs of families in the community. They are places where families can seek help from knowledgeable professionals who can point them in the direction of services that will lead to success, preventing the need for more intensive involvement in the child welfare system altogether. There has been exponential growth in the numbers of families served by FRC’s. In 2019 the FRC’s served nearly 11,000 families, and since their inception in 2015 FRCs have served 37,996 unique families.
The need for FRC’s was brought into sharp relief throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, as Centers served as a hub and a provider of a wide variety of basic assistance, including housing help, food, baby supplies, transportation assistance and access to emergency shelters.
Additional funding for FRC’s will support important enhancements that better enable them to meet families’ needs, including continuation of the mental health action project, and additional staffing that supports the increased demand and responsibilities for FRC’s, with the flexibility to address specific local conditions. Additionally, new funds will support an assessment of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on FRC’s, and the feasibility of extending FRC services to address intergenerational needs.
Family Support and Stabilization Services (FSS) (Line item #4800 – 0040)
Family Support and Stabilization Services are essential to ensuring that fragile families get the services they need to keep children home, reducing the number of placements foster youth experience, and better supporting foster families, including kinship caregivers; and support successful reunification of children with their families. Services provided to children and families in their homes have been shown to result in higher rates of employment for families, while simultaneously lowering delinquency and teenage pregnancy. All of the services provided through this line item are for community programs and are far less expensive than out of placement services.
These funds can also support youth with more severe emotional, physical and behavioral challenges; Comprehensive Foster Care unbundled services, through this line item, offer additional support to children and foster parents, ultimately preventing disruptions and increasing placement stability.
The Office of the Child Advocate (OCA) (Line item #0930-0100)
The OCA is charged with identifying gaps in services and trends across all child-serving agencies and is in a prime position to conduct cross-agency work for the betterment of our youth. Cross-agency collaboration is necessary to address these issue effecting children, young adults, and families in the Commonwealth.
The OCA’s unique position – working with state agencies such as the Department of Children and Families, Department of Youth Services, Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, the Department of Higher Education, the Department of Labor and Workforce Development, the Department of Public Health, the Department of Transitional Assistance, and the Department of Housing – allows them to bring these parties together to generate solutions for youth.
The OCA is in a unique position to implement projects that directly support our most vulnerable children, and families who have experienced increased stress and trauma as a result of the pandemic.
Additional items we support
In addition to these priority items, CLM supports the budget requests made by the coalitions we support, including:
- The Special Education Circuit Breaker (#7061-0012)
- Early Intervention (#4513-1020)
About the State of Massachusetts’ Budget
The state’s budget runs on a fiscal year, beginning on July 1 and ends on June 30th. The Governor’s office and the state legislator work in tandem to create the state’s operating budget for that year. For more information about the state of Massachusetts’ current and proposed budgets, as well as a detailed process and timeline, please visit the state of Massachusetts’ webpage here.
If you would like more information about CLM’s budgetary advocacy or to request CLM endorse budget priorities, please contact Public Policy Director Rachel Gwaltney at firstname.lastname@example.org.