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Pennsylvania court asked to order release of foster care aid

Written by The Associated Press | Sep 15, 2015 2:44 PM
fostercare_hug.jpg

(Harrisburg) -- A child welfare advocacy group is asking a Pennsylvania court to order Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf's administration to release money for about 15,000 children in foster care that's being held up by an 11-week-old budget impasse.

The Harrisburg-based Pennsylvania Council of Children, Youth and Family Services filed the lawsuit in Commonwealth Court.

The organization says holding up money is placing children at risk. Lawyer Joel Stein says the Wolf administration can declare the services to be essential and release the money.

To keep the services running, counties and social-services groups are taking out loans, draining reserves or delaying bills to vendors.

The Wolf administration says it legally cannot reimburse foster care costs without an approved budget because it is a county-run program and the state government doesn't directly provide the services.

An earlier story is below:

A child welfare advocacy group is asking a Pennsylvania court to order Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf's administration to release money for about 15,000 children in foster care that's being held up by an 11-week-old budget impasse.

The Harrisburg-based Pennsylvania Council of Children, Youth and Family Services filed the lawsuit in Commonwealth Court.

The organization says that child safety shouldn't be a "political hostage" and that holding up money is placing children at risk.

To keep the services running, counties and social-services groups are taking out loans, draining reserves or delaying bills to vendors.

The Wolf administration says the state isn't able to make county child welfare payments until a budget is approved. It accuses Republican lawmakers of shortchanging children and youth services by $172 million in their budget plan.

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