Even with an $18,000,000.00 increase, DHS will cut programs for kids, adults

Despite getting an additional $18,000,000.00, the Oklahoma Department of Human Services is cutting services in an effort to get $30,000,000.00 more in state funds in the next fiscal year.

State Rep. Scott McEachin, R-Tulsa, said he was disgusted by a press release by the DHS because it made it look like the agency had been cut when it was one of the few agencies that got more money this legislative session despite a multi-million-dollar budget shortfall.

The cuts target “programs serving vulnerable children and adults,” according to the press release.

That includes a freeze on child care subsidies; a reduction of “SmartStart”; a reduction in Medicaid programs; a 5 percent cut in foster care and adoption rates; and other cuts.

“In this most difficult of budget years, we are grateful for the Governor’s and Legislature’s continuing support to the tune of an additional $18 million above our last year’s appropriation,” said DHS Director Ed Lake. “Unfortunately, the cumulative effects over the past couple of years of several state revenue failure reductions and the necessity of covering additional, unfunded obligations such as growth in adoption assistance payments, and increases in the state’s share of  Medicaid programs, all add up to a  $30 million budget shortfall for us.”

Over the past two fiscal years, DHS has cut more than 1,200 positions statewide.