I am a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and until recently, I worked at the First Step Resource Center at St Patrick’s Hospital, one of many Child Advocacy Centers in Montana.
Because the Legislature has not raised taxes for those who can afford it, the budget is being “balanced” on the backs of those who are the most vulnerable: young mothers; abused or assaulted youth and adults; and children and parents who have had interactions with the foster care system.
These cuts will erode programs for teen parents and victims of domestic violence. They will curtail access to mental health crisis intervention and through reduced Medicaid reimbursement rates, access to basic medical and mental health care. Immediately and directly, it will be harder for women and children to escape violent and abusive situations, receive trauma-informed care, and rebuild healthy lives.
Immediately and directly, service workers will lose solid jobs and there will be increased homelessness, undisclosed abuse, victimization and poverty.
These cuts are both cruel and short sighted. We will all feel them in our schools, shuttered shelters, reduced rural health care.
I urge Montanans to call our elected officials legislators to demand that they raise revenue and stop these cuts.