2010-2011 Executive Budget – Briefing Book

Human Services

I. Overview

New York’s human services programs promote the safety and well-being of the State’s most vulnerable citizens.

Programs funded through the Office of Children and Family Services (OCFS) and the Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance (OTDA) include cash assistance to elderly and disabled persons who are unable to work, supportive services to public assistance recipients while they secure employment, child support enforcement, child care subsidies to assist low-income working parents, and various child protective and adult protective programs.

Programs funded through the Department of Labor (DOL) protect workers, promote workforce development, and operate the State’s Unemployment Insurance System.

Programs funded through the Division of Housing and Community Renewal (DHCR) preserve and create affordable housing.

Programs funded through the Division of Human Rights protect civil rights in the areas of employment, housing, public accommodations, education, and credit.

Programs funded through the Office of National and Community Service (NCS) support community service grants that provide youth education, assistance to individuals with disabilities, public health services, and disaster preparedness.

The Office of the Welfare Inspector General (OWIG) investigates and prosecutes welfare fraud, waste, abuse and illegal acts involving social services programs at both the State and local levels.

II. History/Context

Between the August 1996 enactment of landmark Federal welfare reform and September 2008, the State’s public assistance caseload declined by approximately one million recipients. However, since the third quarter of calendar year 2008, the number of people receiving public assistance has increased by nearly 44,000 to the current level of approximately 545,000 recipients, due to national and State economic conditions. As a result, gross public assistance expenditures are expected to be more than $2.5 billion — or six percent higher — in 2010-11 than in 2009-10.

New York’s Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program provides State-funded benefits to low-income elderly, blind, and disabled persons that supplement individual Federal SSI benefits. Expenditures for the State supplements have increased from $624 million in 2004- 05 to approximately $700 million in 2009-10. The 2010-11 Executive Budget maintains full funding for these benefits.

New York State’s child welfare programs are monitored by OCFS and administered by 58 local social services districts (LSSDs), which are responsible for conducting direct investigations of alleged child abuse, as well as providing preventive services to at-risk youth and families. The Child Welfare Services program supports approximately 160,000 child protective services investigations and 49,000 mandated preventive services cases. This program is financed 64 percent by the State and 36 percent by the LSSDs, net of available Federal funding. This open-ended funding stream, authorized in 2002-03 through Child Welfare Financing Reform, provides an incentive to use preventive care services to keep families safely intact and to avoid unnecessary foster care placements. There is evidence that this front-end investment is paying dividends, as the foster care caseload has dropped by 30 percent since 2002-03 — from 34,900 to 24,600 in 2009-10.

OCFS youth facilities currently operate at approximately 70 percent capacity (1,389 beds with a population of 977). After reforms proposed in the 2010-11 Executive Budget, these facilities would operate at 81 percent capacity (1,209 beds, with a population of 977).

III. Proposed 2010-11 Budget Actions

The 2010-11 Executive Budget protects critical human services expenditures, including public assistance payments and supplemental SSI payments; protects local governments that are the front-line service providers for human services programs; makes critical investments in State-operated juvenile justice facilities; and reduces spending for programs that are not central to agency core priorities. After these proposed changes, the Executive Budget would provide $9.7 billion for human services programs.

IV. Summary of Spending (All Funds)

Category 2009-10
($ in millions)
($ in millions)
(in millions)
Human Services 10,508 9,687 (821) (7.8)
OCFS 3,270 3,375 105 3.2
OTDA 5,366 5,108 (258) (4.8)
DOL 913 732 (181)* (19.9)*
DHCR 920 432 (488)* (53.1)*
*Decline is primarily due to one-time funding in 2009-10 from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

V. Major Initiatives

Gap Closing Actions

Proposal 2010-11
($ in millions)
($ in millions)
Delay Full Implementation of the Public Assistance Grant Increase 14 36
Discontinue Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) Funding of Certain Programs 69 69
Utilize TANF Contingency Funds 261 0
Align Adult and Family Shelter Program Financing 36 36
Shift General Fund Costs to Earned Revenue 8 8
Authorize State to Administer SSI Supplementation Program (1) (11)
Invest in Juvenile Justice Programs (9) (45)
Rightsize Residential Juvenile Justice System 3 15
Utilize Federal Funds to support the Adult Protective/Domestic Violence Program 18 18
Cap Safe Harbour Funding 7 7
Implement Child Welfare Performance Initiative 5 5
Collect Past Due Local Reimbursement for State Juvenile Justice System Costs 27 9
Reduce Local Assistance Funding 8 11
Consolidate State Housing Administrative and Program Operations 4 4
Eliminate State Operating Subsidy for the New York City Housing Authority 3 3
Merge State Employment Relations Board into Public Employment Relations Board 1 1
State Operations and Other Miscellaneous Actions 23 18
Total 477 184

Other Budget Actions


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