LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) - Federal budget cuts are hitting home in Arkansas and will affect the people that need help the most.
What are at stake here are vital resources for struggling Arkansas families, covering basic day-to-day life needs to helping children at risk of abuse. It's all part of about $2.2 that the federal government cut from the Arkansas Department of Human Services and takes effect July First.
Little Rock's Watershed is known for helping people who need it most. But on Tuesday, "You have a copy of the document," Reverend Hezekiah Stewart said to this staff.
Reverend Stewart shared some tough news with staff. Starting July 1st, they'll be out nearly $40,000 to help clients.
"When you hear a problem like this, you see a tragedy moving toward becoming a disaster for a lot of people," Rev. Stewart said.
The Watershed offers a Family Resource Center. It's one of nine centers state-wide losing federal funding this summer.
"Daycare services, we provide services against gang violence, we do light, water, gas, rental assistance, assistance for gasoline," Rev. Stewart said.
And that's not all facing cuts. The Department of Human Services will eliminate a child abuse prevention program. Employees work in 27 Arkansas school districts.
"They can interact with kids, intervene early to help families and children deal with stressors and strains that may ultimately cause or lead to abuse and neglect," DHS Spokeswoman Amy Webb said.
Webb says the affected schools include Franklin and Washington Elementary in Little Rock. She says, overall, that these cuts mean putting active cases before prevention and life assistance.
"In order to preserve those, we had to make this really tough decision," Webb said.
"Right now we can't take this news and lie down, this is the time to pick up new swords and deal with new battles," Rev. Stewart said.
Rev. Stewart says they'll work to find donor help to preserve its Family Resource Center beyond July 1ST. He says without that help, Watershed doesn't have much to do it on its own.
These resource centers are also in places like Pine Bluff, Arkadelphia and Mountain Home.
This money all comes from what's called TANF funding, or Temporary Assistance for Needy Families. It's a federal program that funnels money to the states. When it came up for re-authorization in Congress, Webb says that lawmakers decided to allocate less to the program for this next round of funding.
The Department of Human Services is also reducing funding for two other programs as part of these federal cuts. One supports the State Police Crimes Against Children division. The other is a family service program for at-risk abuse and neglect clients.
For a full statement from DHS, click here.