Youth programs and services affected by federal funding cuts - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

Youth programs and services affected by federal funding cuts

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by Jolene Toves

Guam - A roundtable meeting was held today to address the concerns regarding youth programs and their federal funding shortfalls.

Our island's youth are our future and with that in mind securing that future now through services and programs that directly benefit them is of utmost importance. But with federal funding cuts and the current state of affairs, the money used to fund these programs is drying up. Senator Michael San Nicolas said, "Several things came up that are alarming to me that I think we need to address as a group and perhaps most important is the issue of federal funding and the fact that the money is starting to dry up. 2911

Over the years Guam has seen declines of federal support coming in for the various non-profit group on island.  "It became very clear that more and more support for these nonprofit organizations here are going to become dependent on local funding sources the federal support is just not continuing at the rate we have seen in the past," he said.

Programs such as the UOG TRIO program are 100% dependent on federal funding has seen a budget cut over the last two years of about 10%. TRIO director Yoichi Rengill told KUAM News, "One is I had to reduce the number of students we are funded to serve and number two if I wish to retain the same number of staff there is very little room to consider either annual increment or raise."

Also faced with challenges is DPHSS Child Protective Services Program coordinator Elizabeth Ignacio said, "The only hardship we are feeling is that we had eleven vacant positions with the recent retirement of management and social workers and because of that that left a lot of labor that we use towards direct services."

Ingacio says when those positions are funded the program may feel the cuts from sequestration as the department although not felt at this time has also seen a 5-10% cut.

Meanwhile Attorney General's Office Family Division deputy attorney general Kara Sanchez says the funding issue has always been present highlighting the overcrowding and need for facility expansion at DYA, the struggles faced by CPS foster placements and the needs for additional facilities such as a transitional facility.

While today's roundtable discussion brought to light the dire situations our island's youth programs and services face the question remains how can the legislature and the government work together to address the need for funding. 

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