HOW TO STARVE, THEN FINISH OFF A FEDERAL SENIORS & CHILDREN’S PROGRAM
Obama’s 2015 proposed budget has something for most, but not all programs. The Foster Grandparent program, under Council on Aging, is under the knife. These voluntary folks work with school children, with both special needs kids as well as ordinary students at the elementary and Middle School level. This includes special tutoring, offering a missing non-threatening adult often missing at home, and building a relationship one on one.
Foster Grandparents must be at least 60 years old, be income restricted, and go through training and security screening. Most are over 70, and at least a few pass 90. As of 2014, about 24,500 are involved.
Under the proposed budget, 1800 FGs get immediately axed. The rest are limited to about 5 months rather than the entire school year.
Well, the proposed saved dollars are to be given to the Americorps programs. This much larger organization has a host of various programs, and is the organization with which Michelle Obama was connected, and today wholeheartedly promotes.
After three years, such support as given Foster Grandparents will be subject to bidding from all government educational programs for the same dollars. As a smaller program serving urban cities as well as rural counties, it is highly likely that the more glamorous programs in the larger cities or “hot” problem areas will get those funds.
Foster Grandparents are an extremely low cost program which benefits both the FGs and the students. When it disappears the loss will be heavy both for those seniors as well as the needy children.
One of our problems is that, as one politician said, 25,000 Foster Grandparents are too small a group to pay attention to. Not enough of us to matter, I guess.