- MELINDA DESLATTE, Associated Press
BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Louisiana’s social services agency is asking for a sizable jump in next year’s budget, largely to deal with child welfare cases that the department leader says are overwhelming workers.
Children and Family Services Secretary Marketa Garner Walters told the House Appropriations Committee on Wednesday without additional funds, “we are not serving children and families well.”
The department has taken repeated cuts since 2009, slashing its budget in half.
Walters said those cuts have hampered agency response to child neglect and child abuse, doubling caseloads and chasing away employees.
The department asked for a $99 million increase in the upcoming 2017-18 budget, a 14 percent increase. Walters says she knows she can’t get such a boost with the state’s dire financial problems, but says it’s her job to describe the problems.
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