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Issue Home September 2, 2009 Site Home

Budget Impasse Leaves Children In The Lurch
Giant Sundae Served At Harford Fair
Caregiver Support Program Offered
4-H Rabbit Roundup Held

Budget Impasse Leaves Children In The Lurch
Submitted By Stephnie Thornton

The director of Children’s Palace in Great Bend starts every day wondering just how to make ends meet. The facility, recognized by the state as a Keystone STAR rated early learning program is caught in the middle of a political battle based in Harrisburg: no state budget.

“We are in a desperate situation” explains Lynnette Ryman. “Many of our families depend on state assistance through programs such as Child Care Works, but now they aren’t getting that subsidy, so they can’t pay us.” Child Care Works is a state funded program providing financial assistance to working families to help cover the costs of child care. Without a state budget, there is no more money coming from the state.

With a facility that provides quality child care to 36 children, Ryman is left struggling to find ways to pay staff, pay bills and keep in business.

Pennsylvania was supposed to have a state budget in place by July 1. Weeks later, it appears lawmakers are no closer to agreeing on a spending plan. While the budget debate continues, children are losing out.

At Mountain View School District, a classroom ready for four year olds sits empty. The pre-kindergarten program that is supposed to offer free quality education to 20 ‘at-risk’ children can not start. It is funded through a state initiative called Pennsylvania Pre-K Counts. Again, no budget, no Pre-K Counts money.

“We have families left wondering what to do,” says Susan Pipitone, Mountain View Elementary Principal. “When school started they thought their child would be here, but we can not begin without state funding.”

It is a similar situation in Montrose. Treasure House Child Development Center also provides a Pre-K Counts classroom. Their decision is to delay the start of class until mid-September in the hopes a state budget will be decided.

In Springville, Colleen Clark is hoping something happens before that. She runs a Keystone STAR rated early learning facility. She has had to tell parents who depend on state subsidy she can’t continue to take their children unless they cover the costs. She has even had to cut staff.

“I’m sickened by this!” says Clark. “People need to know the lack of a state budget is really hurting not only my business, but employees, families and their children.”

Susquehanna County isn’t alone. It is estimated across the state more than half of the classrooms funded though Pennsylvania Pre-K Counts are not starting. That affects more than 5,000 children. Hundreds more are hurt because there is no more subsidy under Child Care Works. Some providers have already closed their doors, waiting until a state budget is approved.

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Giant Sundae Served At Harford Fair

Susquehanna County Dairy Promotion girls put the finishing touches on a giant sundae served up in the 4-H Building at the Harford Fair. Pictured above are: Dairymaids Mariah Tompkins, Madeline Mitchell and Ali Teel; Dairy Ambassadors Olivia Mitchell and Callie Curley; and Dairy Princess Daisy Matulevich.

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Caregiver Support Program Offered

Your older loved one is no longer able to live independently. You want to bring him into your home and care for him yourself, but you have questions. Area Agency on Aging can help. The Family Caregiver Support Program through your local Area Agency On Aging can help you be the best caregiver you can be.

The Family Caregiver Support Program can provide the following.

With advice and counseling in which caregivers are informed of the benefits available to them including assessments of caregiver and older relative’s needs; counseling on services available through local, state, and federal programs; assistance in completing benefits and insurance forms; referrals to family support or disease-specific organizations.

With up to $200 per month to help qualifying families with out of pocket expenses through a cost sharing approach, to provide caregiver relief through respite care and to purchase needed supplies and/or services to care for frail senior.

With one-time only grants of up to $2,000 that can be given to families who qualify for home modifications to bathrooms, doorways, entrances, adding ramps, etc.

The Family Caregiver Support Program is the first program of the Pennsylvania Department of Aging to provide financial assistance for essential purchases. In addition to basic services offered at no cost to families, financial assistance is available on a cost- sharing basis to help families with out-of-pocket caregiving expenses. Actual expenses and family income determine what financial assistance is available to you. Established income guidelines are above poverty level to enable more middle-income families to participate.

The Family Caregiver Support Program allows you to choose the service needed to help care for the senior loved one in your home.

Provide the best care possible for your loved one by calling your local Area Agency On Aging, Montrose at 570-278-3751 or 1-800-634-3746 (toll free).

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4-H Rabbit Roundup Held
Submitted By Susquehanna County Cooperative Extension

On Sunday, August 16, the Susquehanna County 4-H Rabbit Roundup was held at the Harford Fairgrounds in the rabbit barn. Five 4-H members exhibited eight rabbits for judge Helen Brose of North Carolina. The Best in Show rabbit was a broken Mini Rex shown by Morgan Updyke, and the Reserve Best in Show was a white Mini Rex exhibited by Jared Updyke. Also exhibiting rabbits were members Betsy and Katie Warner and Maggie Kowalewski. Following the breed shows, members participated in showmanship. They were required to answer questions and properly handle their rabbits. The Grand Champion Showman was Morgan Updyke, and the Reserve Champion Showman was Maggie Kowalewski. Trophies were donated in memory of Bill Goff, Jr., who served as the Superintendent of the Rabbit barn for many years. He was a big supporter of the Susquehanna County 4-H Program, and willingly served as a rabbit judge and advisor to 4-H members.

4-H members that take the Rabbit and Cavy project are required to show their rabbits to complete their project. This is done every year on Sunday of the Harford Fair. If you are interested in getting involved in 4-H, please contact the Susquehanna County Cooperative Extension Office at (570) 278-1158 with any questions.

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