Social Services, mental health directors dealing with extender bill cuts

NORWICH – Chenango County’s social and mental hygiene services directors say programming and spending cuts in Governor David Paterson’s extender bills won’t have a significant impact locally.

Chenango County Department of Social Services Commissioner Bette Osborne said her department was “lucky” to only lose $20,000 in flexible funding passed through from the federal government. New York State, as a whole, will have to live with $4.6 million less.

DSS uses the funding stream to pay contracts for children’s services and, in part, for administration. The department budgeted $2.34 in flex funds for 2010.

“We can make it up by tweaking contracts. I’m confident that we’ll break even and can absorb the loss,” Osborne told a county committee last week.

DSS will have one less option for helping welfare recipients get back to work, however. New York State will end a Morrisville State College program that assisted unemployed or underemployed individuals with finding local jobs that pay above minimum wage. The so called “bridge” program covered tuition, uniforms, and textbooks for clients, and employers were reimbursed for worker’s wages for an agreed upon time period.

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