The Department of Children and Family Services says they need a 13-million dollar funding increase over the current fiscal year to meet their budget needs, or the food stamps program could be shut down.

Secretary Marketa Garner Walters says the department is seeing increased expenses and the only program that could absorb millions in reductions is SNAP.

“I’m not trying to be melodramatic, I’m not trying to overstate a case, there is no fat in the DCFS budget.”

The House Republican budget propoosal does not include any funding increase for DCFS.

SNAP is not the only program under DCFS, but Walters says most of them draw federal matching funds, so any cuts would just cost more money, and others, like Child Welfare Services have been trimmed to the bone.

“The total number of people that we are serving in Child Welfare has gone up radically while our staff has been decreased by 500 people. I cannot, and will not cut Child Welfare one nickle.”

Walters acknowledged that DCFS does have a few million that has yet to specifically be dedicated, but that’s being set aside as disaster relief money, and cutting back on disaster relief dollars is asking for trouble during hurricane season.

“We have emergency preparedness that is only about three million, and entering hurricane season is never a good time I think to make a cut.”

Walters made the statements at a House Appropriations Committee meeting.

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