State Budget Proposal Would Cut Boys & Girls Clubs; Some Could Be Forced to Close

Thomas A. Norman, who is in charge of government relations for the Mississippi State Alliance of Boys & Girls Clubs, told the Better Mississippi Report tonight that the compromise budget proposal would slash at least $1.5 million of $2 million in state funds the Boys & Girls Clubs receive annually for at-risk youth.

The budget proposal before lawmakers would eliminate almost all Temporary Aid to Needy Families, or TANF, funding for “at risk youth” – which is currently received from the Mississippi Department of Human Services. Norman says the Boys & Girls Clubs are the only agency even left in the compromise budget bill.

If the clubs lose the TANF funds, he said, look for severe problems for an organization that has a proven record of working with teenagers statewide. As Norman said, the Boys & Girls Clubs are more than just “an after-school basketball program like it was 20 years ago.”

“We teach life skills, abstinence, things like that,” Norman said. “Boys & Girls Clubs serve close to 60,000 Mississippi youth. We are a program that works. With funding cut, it’s going to be a disaster. Private giving is down because of the economic crisis.”

Better MS Report
4/20/10