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The latest round of proposed cuts to home support and therapeutic foster care create a potentially serious situation. If the proposed cuts are finalized, it is questionable whether any organization will be able to provide these essential services.

Community services like therapeutic foster care and home support keep families together and help children overcome trauma. Eliminating these levels of care will lead to an increase in youth being referred to more expensive options such as hospitals and residential treatment.

We understand that the Department of Public Health and Human Services needs to make immediate cuts. However, the intended funding changes will result in cuts to community services that are far deeper than intended and will place our most vulnerable Montanans at risk.

Providers have already been forced to make difficult decisions so that they can continue to provide needed support to Montanans. Youth Dynamics has made difficult internal changes to limit expenditures, but we have not laid-off employees, cut services, or closed offices because we do not believe it is necessary at this time. Changes have not been finalized and we are searching for solutions so that we can continue to support youth and families with these essential services.

As CEO of Youth Dynamics, I am still confident that we can work with the Department of Public Health and Human Services to build a budget that is both fiscally responsible and is not balanced at the expense of Montana’s most vulnerable.

Peter Degel