On Wednesday, state lawmakers passed an amendment to put more than $1 million back into child and family service programs in West Virginia
The “Our Children, Our Future” campaign has been working to get the governor’s attention on the issue.
They issued a statement this afternoon which said in part “This action will save 80 jobs statewide, and most importantly, it will save lives and protect children from harm.”
The governor must still sign off on the amendment, before is will take affect.
The Our Children, Our Future Campaign held a media conference call Thursday. The campaign is making a last stand to save 80 jobs that are on the chopping block and to get a $1 Million restored to the family programs in the state.
Families are voicing their concerns about the cuts and hoping the Governor will listen.
Sabrina Shrader read a letter she wrote to Governor Tomblin.
"As a child I did not know how to defend myself," said Sabrina Shrader from Greenbrier County, who suffered through domestic violence as a child. "I want you to know that severe harm was done to me and because that there was not any help for me I have suffered."
Julie Witt explained that she received help from the Family Resource Center in Tucker County.
"When I enrolled in their program they came to my home and provided with the resources I needed," Witt said. "It helped me to understand my child's behavior and connect me with the resources needed to get Evan's diagnosis with Autism."
"As a child you're afraid that maybe you're not giving the right answer and you want to tell the professional what he or she needs to hear," said Roger Lockridge, a child abuse survivor and a Child and Youth Advocacy Center advocate. "These things were understood in my mind as a child survivor."
These are just a few examples of people that were helped or are being helped by vital family support programs in the state.
Governor Tomblin used his line-item veto power to make one million dollars in cuts to these programs.
The Our Children, Our Future Campaign sent a letter to the governor in March and has sent several more since then asking he meet with them. The campaign said he didn't responded until after the media conference call.
"Next week is the deadline for action. We are asking the governor to take a courageous step with us," said Jamie Gudiel, a member of the Our Children, Our Future Steering Committee. "We are asking the governor to tell these families that they will still get a hand up out of poverty."
Both democrats and republicans are coming together on the issue and standing up for the work the programs provide.
"If we can capture those children on the front end and change their lives and help them to realize that even though they've had bad experiences that doesn't have to shape and define their future, then we've accomplished a wonderful things," said Amanda Pasdon, (R)-51st District. "From a fiscal stand point and from a state budgetary stand point, saved ourselves hundreds of thousands of dollars later down the road."
Families, the programs, and the Our Children, Our Future Campaign are all planning to be at the capitol May 20 to hopefully celebrate the money and jobs being saved. Not Protest.
WBOY reached out to the Governor's office and it released this statement:
"Our office has received calls from advocacy groups, citizens and legislators. Tomorrow (May 16, 2015), the Governor's Office will host a meeting with members of the Our Children, Our Future Campaign-as they requested-to discuss their concerns," said Hallie Mason, Director of Public Policy.