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CLM Urges the Legislature to Advance FY25 Budget Priorities for Children and Families

March 12, 2024

While the Children's League of Massachusetts appreciates many strong investments in children, families, and human service providers in Governor Maura Healey's proposed FY25 budget, there are a few critical programs that need additional investments. We encourage our House of Representatives, particularly the House Ways and Means Committee at this time, to support these recommendations to ensure the Commonwealth is appropriately caring for the most vulnerable children and families in our state.

CLM asks the Legislature to support these programs above the levels proposed in the Governor’s budget. 

  • $495.9M to Congregate Care (line item 4800-0041) and add funding to implement a pilot program, as approved in the FY24 Budget, to address the high concentration of "high acuity" adolescents residing in congregate care, which negatively impacts the safety, climate, and effectiveness of these care settings. Having successfully diverted many youth from the juvenile justice system, we need a wider array of non-DYS services to meet their needs.

  • $27.3M for Family Resource Centers (line item 4800-0200) and an additional $5M of flexible funding to deliver the myriad of critical, locally relevant, and ever-evolving programming for families with appropriate staffing and resources. FRCs support families with children requiring assistance, provide a variety of critical treatment services, deliver child abuse and prevention education, divert families from more intensive DCF involvement, and provide access to a wide variety of basic resources for housing, food, baby supplies, transportation, and emergency shelters. As the migrant crisis continues, needs for necessities, housing, work, translation, and other support services are greater than ever pushing FRCs to their limits. Furthermore, responses to unexpected crises are repeatedly endured, such as with COVID-19 and natural/man-made disasters that unexpectedly impact local communities. So, the added flexible funding is critical to address the significant strains on staff and resources.

  • 20% increase to Temporary Assistance for Families with Dependent Children (line item 4403-2000) and Emergency Aid to the Elderly, Disabled and Children (line item 4408-1000). The current maximum cash assistance grants in our state are far below even half the federal poverty level known as Deep Poverty which hurts kids through health and emotional damage, housing instability, toxic stress, and impaired school performance; the Governor’s budget would freeze TAFDC and EAEDC at the inadequate October 2022 levels).

  • $15,000,000 for Housing and Services for Unaccompanied Youth and Young Adults Experiencing Homelessness (line item 4000-0007) to provide more housing and wraparound services to youth and young adults experiencing homelessness and housing instability (the Governor’s initial recommendation is less than the $11,000,000 allocated in FY24 budget).

  • EA (Emergency Assistance) for Emergency Family Shelter (line item 7004-0101) should be further supported by a supplemental budget, continued appeals for federal assistance, and reforms to the overburdened system, as noted by the Governor. 

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