Andrea Reik, director of Athens County Children Services, explained at the Tuesday, May 24 One Ohio Now state budget meeting that her agency is looking at a cut of $200,000 in the current budget proposal. Reik is concerned about the cut to her agency, as well as the cuts to many other social service agencies that local families depend on.
Athens County families are already facing tough times, and now the state is proposing to cut more of the programs these families rely on.
One example of how the national recession has hit Athens County hard in the last few years is the fact that Athens County Children Services has seen an increase in the number of child neglect cases involving families unable to provide for their children.
“We are also seeing more homeless families,” Reik said, adding that many families are being forced to move in with other families for economic reasons. “That puts kids at risk.”
At a time when more and more families are suffering from poverty, it makes no sense for the state to keep cutting from the programs designed to help poor children and families.
“Do we care about children? We are the safety net for children and families, and it’s being torn to shreds,” Reik said. She hopes state leaders will reconsider the cuts and provide more funding for the safety net programs that serve children and families living in poverty.