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Family Support Program Numbers in Spotlight

June 30, 2009

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Advocates for the state's Family Support Program are concerned that some media reports have included inaccurate information about money spent in the program, which includes services for thousands of children with severe disabilities. Jan Coatney, the state coordinator for the Family Support Program, doesn't speak as a supporter for Family Support, but says the expenditures are public record.

Coatney says the average amount of money spent annually on an individual helped by the program has been about 1,500 dollars.

"Fifteen-o-seven for the last full fiscal year."

Some reports have claimed as much as 10,000 dollars is spent per person in the program. Coatney says there is a cap of 4,000 dollars annually in services for any individual.

Coatney also points out that the agencies providing services for Family Support are limited to charging 15 percent for administrative costs.

"These agencies, they use 85 percent for direct services."

Advocates are concerned that a year hence, after seven million dollars in stimulus funds runs out, the program is set to lose more than 90 percent of its budget.

Dan Gordon, Public News Service - TN