Reporters, academics, lawmakers, and other great thinkers are debating the most complex elements of Governor Schwarzenegger’s May Revise, in particular borrowing against the state lottery or increasing the sales tax to help eliminate the budget deficit.
But there are other aspects of the May Revise that will even more immediately impact lives, and we should be talking about that too.
Under the proposed budget, monthly payments to foster families would drop from $530 to $477. That means that children who already lack a home, a family support system, any sort of constancy, will be devalued once again.
There are already far too few people willing to be foster parents. This budget proposal tells them – and their would-be foster children – that their well-being is worth even less in a budget crisis.
I drove a savvy foster child to and from a career day event yesterday…even the slickest politician wouldn’t have the nerve to try to convince her that there are simply no other ways to fill the budget shortfall. And the thousands of foster children who are moved from home to home, school to school wouldn’t believe it anyway.
These kids already know that after being abused, neglected and/or abandoned, they really couldn’t expect to be spared from the budget cuts that must be made.
Let’s tell them this: As soon as they are emancipated from the foster care system at 18 years old – many still without families – they will be eligible to play better, more exciting lottery games. With bigger jackpots!