Governor reverses cuts to foster-care families
By SUMMER BALLENTINE
Jul. 20, 2017
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens on Thursday said he's reversing cuts to foster-care families that he had earlier approved, saying the proposal to cut their compensation had been "a mistake."
Cutting aid to families who care for foster children "was never our intention," Greitens wrote in a letter he sent to foster-care families. Greitens said he's now undoing a 1.5 percent funding cut those families faced.
"Missouri should not take money from them and their families, not even in these tough budget times," Greitens wrote, adding: "When something goes wrong, we take responsibility and we fix it."
Greitens in February recommended even steeper cuts of 3 percent to reimbursements for doctors and other providers who care for people on Medicaid, including to foster-care families.
Lawmakers softened those cuts to 1.5 percent.
Greitens signed a budget with those cuts in June. Citing sluggish revenue growth and rising health-care costs. He also went a step further than lawmakers and deepened provider-rate cuts to 3 percent for all providers except those who give child welfare services such as foster care.
The governor's spokesman, Parker Briden, said the roughly $370,000 in general revenue needed to avert the 1.5 percent cuts to foster-care payments is coming from savings expected to come from moving children more quickly from foster-care into permanent homes. That money also will draw down another roughly $258,000 in matching federal funding.
Greitens' earlier proposal to cut appeared to be at odds with his repeated public calls in support of foster-care children.
The new Republican governor and first lady have said helping foster-care children is a top priority for them, and Greitens often mentions that the couple hosted a group of foster children for dinner at the governor's mansion when he first took office in January.