Let Counties Determine Demand for Services in Their Community

MACo Legislative Director Natasha Mehu testified in opposition to House Bill 1577, “Human Services – Family Navigation Services – Provision and Funding”, before the House Appropriations Committee on February 27, 2018.

This bill would carve out funding for the provision of family navigator services and require the governor to fund each local program annually at no less than $1,665,915. Blocking off funding for one program from Local Management Boards usurps local authority and likely has the unintended consequence of fencing off funding for one program that could hinder funding for other local programs across the board.

From MACo Testimony:

HB 1577 would formally establish and “fence off” a Family Navigator Services program under LMBs. The bill requires the governor to fund the program annually at no less than $1,665,915.  The funds are to be provided to the LMBs through the Governor’s Office for Children. LMBs would have the ability to decide whether to accept the funds and if they do accept to determine which family navigators to fund.

Counties are concerned that the governor’s budget for LMBs in future years would be reduced equivalent to the required funding for the Family Navigator Services program. The funding level set in the bill corresponds to the amount of money LMBs have collectively spent on family navigators in past years. Rather than creating a new source of funding it could have the effect of fencing off existing funding for a select program. Not only would this reduce LMBs’ funding overall, it would undermine their authority for determining which programs and services within their purview warrant funding from their budgets. This runs counter to the entire “community based” LMB principle.

HB 1577 would have the unintended consequences of reducing funding for LMBs, and restricting their ability to fund other programs and appropriately target resources for the needs of their communities.”

For more updates, follow MACo’s advocacy efforts during the 2018 legislative session here.