State to add up bill for DFYS proposals

Posted: Friday, October 04, 2002

ANCHORAGE - Gov. Tony Knowles has directed state agencies to figure out what it would cost to put in place the dramatically expanded services for troubled families that the Governor's Commission on Child Protection recommended this week.

The budget package "will be significant," said Elmer Lindstrom, deputy commissioner of health and social services and chairman of the commission.

The 17-member commission was appointed in August by Knowles. It unveiled its report Thursday, calling for the state Division of Family and Youth Services to put more emphasis on families, streamline record keeping, hire more caseworkers and provide additional services including alcohol treatment and counseling. In all, there are 35 recommendations.

Lindstrom said he anticipates a need for millions of dollars in new spending. But whether to support that will be up the new governor. Knowles leaves office Dec. 2.

Whoever wins the governor's race should sit down with the commission to discuss the group's recommendations, said John Pugh, a commission member. He is chancellor of the University of Alaska Southeast and a former director of DFYS.

Knowles spokesman Bob King said the information on costs will be provided with other budget documents to the next administration.

DFYS already is working on some of the recommended changes, said Theresa Tanoury, current division director and another commission member. DFYS supervisors at a meeting last week talked about how to better craft case plans that will more involve parents, she said.

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