Wisconsin's counties to receive significant increases in children and family aids, additional state support and flexibilities in other areas
Madison – Governor Scott Walker today announced he will eliminate the long-term support waiting list for children with developmental and physical disabilities or severe emotional disturbances and provide additional state resources for children and family aids and other programs in his next state budget. Governor Walker made the announcement this morning at the Wisconsin Counties Association Annual Legislative Exchange. The increase in state funding for children and family aids were a top priority for Wisconsin’s county leaders in the upcoming budget.
“Our budget will increase state support for children and families in need,” Governor Walker said. “We are eliminating the long-term support wait list for more than 2,200 Wisconsin children who have developmental disabilities or physical disabilities or severe emotional trauma. We are also increasing aids for foster care, supporting our nursing homes, and boosting children and family aids. This is what I call the ‘Reform Dividend.’ Because we made the tough decisions and were prudent with taxpayer dollars, we can invest in our priorities and do it all without raising taxes.”
INCREASING FUNDING FOR CHILDREN AND FAMILIES IN NEED
- Expand access to care by providing $14,067,300 in fiscal year 2017-18 and $25,205,500 in fiscal year 2018-19 to eliminate the waiting list for long-term supports for approximately 2,200 children with developmental disabilities, physical disabilities or severe emotional disturbances. Also implement reforms to increase efficiency of service delivery and to develop an equitable funding methodology to ensure county funding remains within the program.
- Increase the children and family aids allocation by $1,250,000 PR-F in fiscal year 2017-18 and by $5,000,000 PR-F in fiscal year 2018-19 to address increasing child welfare costs. Total children and family aids funding would be $70,630,800 in fiscal year 2017-18 and $74,712,400 in fiscal year 2018-19, totaling $145,343,200 over the biennium. These aids provide county child welfare services, to assure the safety and well-being of children.
- Increase foster care and kinship care rates by 2.5 percent annually in each calendar year to strengthen foster and kinship care parent recruitment and retention efforts. The basic foster care and kinship care rate would increase from $232 to $238 in calendar year 2018 and from $238 to $244 in calendar year 2019. Additional funding to foster and kinship care under the budget bill would be $861,300 in fiscal year 2017-18 and $2,162,100 in fiscal year 2018-19, totaling $3,023,400.
- Provide an increase of $18,354,900 in fiscal year 2017-18 and $33,118,900 in fiscal year 2018-19 to: a) increase nursing home provider rates by 2 percent in each fiscal year to support direct care workforce and increased resident acuity in nursing homes; b) increase provider rates by 1 percent in each fiscal year to intermediate care facilities for individuals with intellectual disabilities; and c) increase funding for enhanced behavioral and cognitive impairment incentives.
- Support the Personal Care program direct care workforce by providing a 2 percent increase of $5,034,300 in fiscal year 2017-18 and a 2 percent increase of $9,936,300 in fiscal year 2018-19 to address increased program participant acuity.
- Provide $2,000,000 GPR one-time in fiscal year 2017-18 and $2,000,000 GPR one-time in fiscal year 2018-19. On top of the base GPR of $4,000,000 and $1,000,000 in Justice Information Fee PR, this equals a total of $9,000,000 over the biennium for grants for the expansion of the Treatment Alternatives and Diversion program. This program provides alternatives to incarceration for high-risk, non-violent offenders.
- Provide an additional $150,000 GPR one-time in fiscal year 2017-18 and $150,000 GPR one-time in fiscal year 2018-19, for a total of $1,300,000 for drug courts over the biennium, for grants to counties to help them expand drug courts. This represents a 30 percent increase in funding over base.
ADDITIONAL REFORM AND SUPPORT FOR WISCONSIN’S COUNTIES
- Allow counties to create joint agencies to administer various county programs and services. This will allow counties to share services to save on costs while at the same time provide quality services to county residents.
Provide $825,000 SEG in additional support in order to fully fund demand for cost- sharing non-point source abatement projects and other land and water conservation activities performed by counties. Total funding for the program will be set at $3,325,000 SEG, an increase of 24 percent over base level funding.