The Department of Human Services has prepared a list of basic programs it plans to eliminate if additional money isn't available from the Legislature in January.
The priority reduction list was part of department Director Norman G. Angus' presentation to the governor and his budget advisers on Thursday. The governor is preparing his fiscal 1992 budget recommendations for the Legislature after consulting with the heads of departments.Angus' presentation included $15 million in building blocks (money needed besides the base budget) and about $2.8 million in supplemental money for fiscal 1991 to cover a welfare caseload increase, rising child-care caseloads, mental-health waiting list costs and a Utah State Hospital cost settlement for 1989.
Officials have indicated Human Services will receive about $2.8 million for building blocks. After several federally required costs are paid, and inflation adjustments made, that amount will not even cover the cost of the increased Aid to Families with Dependent Children and General Assistance caseloads.
Angus said the inflation adjustments are necessary unless he wants to reduce staff. "We've taken staff cuts as far as we can. I can't continue to say I can eat" reductions, he said.
Caseloads in entitlement programs have risen drastically in the past eight years. Welfare programs are up 65.31 percent and eligibility workers have only increased 15.6 percent. Child-welfare cases, including abuse victims, sexual-abuse victims, investigations and out-of-home care have risen 137 percent since 1982. The child-welfare staff has increased only 15 percent. Angus said the state is able to treat only one-third of the children who have been abused.
Adult protective-service cases have increased 89 percent and staff 10 percent. Services to the Handicapped cases are up 146 percent and staff 14 percent.
The caseloads have lead to tremendous staff turnover, Angus said. "We're at a point right now where in Salt Lake County we hired 49 workers since July. We've lost 30. They quit us almost as fast as we can hire them."
To meet the caseload increases, if no additional money is available, Angus recommended the state drop its Emergency Work Program for singles and couples, eliminate the $6 stipend for individuals who receive Supplemental Security Income, drop the General Assistance Self-Sufficiency Medical Program, reduce general assistance grants, reduce interim assistance for people who are waiting to receive SSI, eliminate the General Assistance program (which serves people who are permanently and totally disabled while they wait for SSI) and several other cuts.
Meanwhile, he said, programs are not even able to keep up with need. Waiting lists include 104 people who need family support services, 500 in need of residential care and 300 who need day treatment.
There are other needs as well, including about 13,000 youths who need substance-abuse intervention, for which "we have little resources," Angus said, a need to enhance security at the State Hospital, services to kids with mental-health problems and more funding for foster care. The state also should provide guardians to 350 adults at the Training School who have no family to assume the role.
Gov. Norm Bangerter pointed out that budget projections look tight financially and will only be worse if the sales tax is removed from food.