Child advocates decry Senate budget cuts
This is just in from the good folks at the Covenant with North Carolina’s Children:
For Immediate Release:
Senate slashes infant mortality prevention programs:
Proposed budget draws ire from child advocates
RALEIGH, NC – The Senate’s proposed budget for 2012-13 would discontinue funding for all state-funded infant mortality prevention programs, according to the Covenant with North Carolina’s Children, a statewide children’s advocacy group.
“This is a terrible budget for North Carolina’s children,” stated Rob Thompson, Executive Director of the Covenant with North Carolina’s Children. “North Carolina has an abysmal history when it comes to infant mortality, but we’ve made substantial progress over the past two decades. Unfortunately, the Senate budget has the potential to undue all of that.”
The specific programs discontinued in the Senate budget were:
- The Safe Sleep program, which educates families, hospitals, child care providers and others about best practices to prevent SIDS.
- The ECU High Risk Maternity Clinic at Eastern Carolina University. This clinic serves women with high-risk pregnancies in 29 eastern counties. After funding cuts last year, the clinic has reduced staffing and services and has begun turning patients away. The cost of initial treatment for a baby born on the verge of viability is $290,000.
- The 17-Progesterone programs to prevent preterm births.
- March of Dimes Preconception Health Program
- The Governor’s budget included all of these items and the House budget included all items with the exception of the Safe Sleep program.
The Senate budget falls short in other important children’s issues as well:
- It fails to renew funding for any youth tobacco prevention programs.
- It sustains deep cuts to K-12 schools, reinstating just a fraction of what’s needed to avoid deeper cuts.
- It fails to restore adequate funding to NC Pre-K.
“If legislators believe that children are our future, then it’s time for them to start acting like it. With this budget, our children will be less educated, less healthy and less safe. That’s the wrong direction for North Carolina,” said Thompson.