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Family Resource Networks Face Big Budget Cuts

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Representatives from Family Resource Network locations around the region met in Clarksburg to discuss how they should deal with proposed cuts in this year's state budgets. Harrison County Director Elizabeth Shahan said it's not a one-size-fits-all answer.

"We're all unique around the state in that all of our services are different, meaning that we address the need in that community. So whatever that need may be is what we're addressing. So my need is in Harrison County is going to be very different that what Taylor County or Randolph County looks like," said Shahan.

Some of the most successful programs across the state face cuts, including the relatively new in-home family education program that gives new parents and families the resources they need to raise their families successfully.

"We're actually going in and building capacity in the family and those programs are being undermined directly, a 25 percent cut in in-home family education, and then the family resource centers are being cut 8 percent along with us," said Tucker County Director April Miller.

Area families who have helped guide the networks since they were formed in the nineties said that no matter where they are, there's a great need for the services the Family Resource Networks supply.

"A lot of them don't know where to find the resources they need to help them through their daily lives. And what is really, really important is the connection between all the different agencies," said Joyce Floyd, who works with the FRN and other services in the Randolph County area.

Each Family Resource Network runs on a budget of less than forty thousand dollars from the state. Shahan said it will be very hard if that number gets much lower.

"We're very dedicated and believe in meeting the needs of our communities. We're very dedicated to that. We wouldn't be in the job we're in because of the money, we're here because of our passion. When you continue to cut money though, it doesn't matter how much passion we have, we still can't do it," said Shahan.

Randolph County Director Rebecca Vance said she and her fellow directors hope to be able to work with the legislature to keep their services alive and well.