HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - When Cindy Landry adopted her granddaughter out of a tense situation, she turned to Child and Family Service for help.
"The program had helped us before, during, and after the whole process," she said.
Landry is still eligible for support from the program, but come December the state Department of Human Services will terminate funding. The elimination of the program will affect Landry and dozens of other families.
'They're just really surprised and shocked. I think it's caused crisis for some of them," said Angie Doi, director of program services for Child and Family Service.
DHS will reduce or terminate Child Welfare Services contracts with more than a dozen providers, including Waianae Coast Comprehensive Health Center, Child and Family Service, and the University of Hawaii's School of Social Work. The state says the $5.8 million in reductions are necessary because of lagging state revenue.
"We started looking at our programs to carefully make a determination of what was absolutely essential for the health, well-being and safety of our children," Human Services director Pat McManaman said.
She said some programs, like Hale Kipa, didn't spend all the money they were allotted. So funding will be reduced. McManaman said other programs are expected to fill the gap left by those being terminated.
But the executive director of PHOCUSED, an organization that represents social service agencies, said the reductions join cuts to Medicaid and mental health services.
"It has continued to accumulate to the point where, for those of us who are advocates, we are saying it is beyond critical," Alex Santiago said.
McManaman said the reductions were made after careful study.
"We don't believe that those impacts on the community will endanger the health of any child," she said.
Landry fears as her granddaughter grows, so will the challenges of adoption.
"Those challenges will be really challenging for me, and I'm going to need that assistance," she said.
Beginning December 1, that assistance will have to come from somewhere else.