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Human Services Changes Delayed To Solicit Public Input

The deadline for completing a reorganization plan for parts of the Agency of Human Services has been pushed back.

The decision came after an anti-poverty group established by the governor asked for the delay.

The reorganization follows the deaths of two children whose families were being monitored by the Department for Children and Families. 

The deaths prompted a legislative committee to hold public hearings on DCF.

The council asked the governor last week to delay the deadline for the reorganization plan in order to give the public a chance to weigh in.

But Christopher Curtis, who co-chairs the Pathways from Poverty Council, says his group is concerned about the ripple effects of any changes, which weren't the focus of the earlier public hearings.

“The Poverty Council’s emphasis is a little different and a little broader,” says Campbell.

“If and when changes are made with respect to child protection, that may have impacts on other families or it may have impacts on families who are currently accessing more than one service, whether its family services or economic services.”

The council asked the governor last week to delay the deadline for the reorganization plan in order to give the public a chance to weigh in.

In response Gov. Peter Shumlin said he is pushing back the deadline from August 1 to October 1. 

Curtis says he hopes the Agency of Human Services will hold public hearings and solicit written comments between now and the new deadline.

The Pathways from Poverty Council was created  last winter. It grew out of an ad-hoc group of advocates organized in the fall.

Curtis says the group has had success helping bring about changes like doubling the Vermont rental subsidy and eliminating problems with the food stamp program.

Steve has been with VPR since 1994, first serving as host of VPR’s public affairs program and then as a reporter, based in Central Vermont. Many VPR listeners recognize Steve for his special reports from Iran, providing a glimpse of this country that is usually hidden from the rest of the world. Prior to working with VPR, Steve served as program director for WNCS for 17 years, and also worked as news director for WCVR in Randolph. A graduate of Northern Arizona University, Steve also worked for stations in Phoenix and Tucson before moving to Vermont in 1972. Steve has been honored multiple times with national and regional Edward R. Murrow Awards for his VPR reporting, including a 2011 win for best documentary for his report, Afghanistan's Other War.
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