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Gov. Wolf proposes 2020-21 budget that would protect vulnerable populations

Governor Tom Wolf on Wednesday outlined a 2020-21 budget that he said would protect the most vulnerable Pennsylvanians by expanding comprehensive training for direct care workers, reducing waiting lists for care, and increasing staff in child welfare and other service areas.

The governor was joined by Senator Vince Hughes, Secretary of Aging Robert Torres, Executive Director of the Office of Advocacy and Reform Dan Jurman, and Denise Major, a home care aide, for the announcement at the Inglis Innovation Center in Philadelphia.

“Pennsylvania has a long history as a leader in caring for its vulnerable residents, including children, seniors, veterans, adults facing domestic violence and Pennsylvanians of all ages with mental health concerns or physical or intellectual disabilities, or other challenges,” Gov. Wolf said. “Every Pennsylvanian deserves an opportunity to thrive and that’s why making investments in our services for vulnerable populations is a priority of mine for the upcoming budget.”

The budget recommendations Gov. Wolf outlined call for investments in several human service programs to ensure vulnerable populations have access to needed services, many of which mirror the recommendations of the Council on Reform, established as part of the governor’s July executive order to protect vulnerable populations.

The proposed budget includes additional support for adults with disabilities in long-term care facilities, legal services for vulnerable populations, direct care worker training, home and community-based services, the Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) Program, evidence-based home visiting programs, and improving food security.

“When direct care workers leave their profession, we all lose,” Sec. Torres said. “High turnover robs us of their experience and expertise, and compromises continuity of care for the older adults and individuals with disabilities that they serve. This is why the governor’s call for $1.2 million in funding for direct care worker training is so important.”

The Council on Reform emphasized the need to expand and better train staff who work with vulnerable populations.

“Today’s announcement sends the message that Pennsylvania is here for its most vulnerable citizens,” Sen. Hughes said. “I am pleased to know that so many of our people will benefit from these new investments in services and training, which will have a major impact in our communities across the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. I thank Gov. Wolf for his support of vulnerable populations.”

“The investments I’ve outlined today support the recommendations issued by the Council on Reform,” Gov. Wolf said. “And will truly make a difference in the lives of the Pennsylvanians who need help the most. I look forward to working with the General Assembly to enact a budget that supports all Pennsylvanians, including our most vulnerable.”

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