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Governor’s Budget Provides Funds for Family Development Programs

Press release from the House Republican Caucus; April 4, 2012:

NASHVILLE, Tenn.—As Governor Bill Haslam announced his Administration’s Budget Amendment on Monday, one legislator was especially grateful that his work for Tennessee children caught the attention of the Governor.

Representative Ryan Williams (R—Cookeville), a longtime advocate for children, was heartened by the news Governor Haslam will fully fund Williams’ budget amendment for Healthy Start and Child Health and Development (CHAD) programs because of increased revenues to the State.

At his unveiling of the amendment, Governor Haslam stated, “It is state government’s job to provide services that citizens can’t get on their own,” Haslam said. “Our budget proposal earlier this year reflected a thoughtful and strategic process to allocate taxpayer dollars to serve Tennesseans in the most customer-focused, efficient and effective way possible.

“This budget amendment continues that focus by making targeted investments in the short term that allow us to plan for a more comprehensive approach to our budget decisions in the long term. I am pleased that we’re able to restore funding for programs important to Tennesseans. We will continue to evaluate all of our funding priorities in the context of the broad picture of our state’s needs.”

Rep. Williams remarked, “I appreciate the Governor working with my colleagues and me to fund these important programs for the children of our State. This has been a personal priority since joining the Legislature and helping children has always been a passion of mine. His amendment reflects a thoughtful assessment of how to best serve Tennesseans while helping our youngest generation.”

CHAD reaches 997 children, targeting teen parents under 18, families with children under 5 years old, other parents the Department of Children’s Services refers as being at risk of abuse and neglect, and low income families. The program provides family assessment, developmental screening, nutrition assessment, referral for other services as needed, and monthly home visits.

Healthy Start Healthy Start reaches 1,148 families and 1,295 children. The program targets prenatal women, families with children under 5 years old, and low income families. Healthy Start provides family assessment and stress inventory, developmental screening, referral for needed services, and home visits with intensity based on the assessed needs of the family.

Overall, Haslam’s amendment revises the FY 2012-2013 budget request to reflect new estimates on increased state revenues. The supplemental appropriations amendment to Senate Bill 3768/House Bill 3835 will include funding that was not part of the budget the Governor presented in January, which was based on earlier revenue projections.

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