Combine and Cut: Governor's Block Grant Plan for County Human Services

A blog post by Chris Lilienthal, originally published at Third and State.

A week after Governor Tom Corbett rolled out his state budget, many people are still trying to make sense of it.

Perhaps the biggest reshuffling in the Department of Public Welfare budget involves the expansion of the Human Services Development Fund, a flexible funding stream used for a wide variety of human services at the county level. This fund has been repeatedly reduced over the past few year. The new budget combines and cuts funding for other programs into a single Human Services Development Fund Block Grant.

All told, the new block grant is funded at nearly $674 million. That reflects a cut of more than $168 million, or 20%. Portions of a variety of health and human service programs ranging from homeless assistance to mental health services to protecting children from abuse would be impacted (see the table below).

DPW Programs transferred to Human Services Development Fund block grant (in $ thousands)

Portions of programs transferred to HSDF block grant:  
Medical Assistance - Outpatient ($14,727)
Behavioral Health Services (47,908)
Mental Health Services (550,469)
ID - Community Base Program (144,974)
County Child Welfare (48,533)
HSDF (14,956)
Homeless Assistance (20,551)
Total ($842,118)
Human Services Development Fund Block Grant Funding $673,695
Net Funding Reduction ($168,423)
Net Reduction Percent -20%
Compiled by the Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center
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