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Suzanne Crouch calls for FSSA Audit

Source: WISH-TV 

INDIANAPOLIS–Indiana’s Lieutenant Governor Suzanne Crouch wants an independent outside audit of the Family and Social Services Administration (FSSA). That’s because the FSSA’s budget projects appears to have come up a billion dollars short of what was really needed.

The FSSA has considered program cuts by July to make up some of the budget shortfall.  FSSA representatives revealed the problem to lawmakers in December, claiming it was the result of an accounting error. The agency has proposed moving families to a new program called structured family caregiving, in which parents would be paid a daily stipend rather than getting paid by the hour.

Melanie Kandzierski said it wouldn’t begin to cover her needs. She has a three-year-old daughter named Rosie who was diagnosed with a rare form of epilepsy when she was a baby. Kandzierski says Rosie’s car is a 24-hour-a-day job.

“We never know when Rosie’s going to have a seizure and on her worst days, she can have up to 100 seizures per day. Every seizure propels us into a state of emergency and it becomes a race against time,” said Kandzierski at a Tuesday news conference.

Kandzierski says there is a shortage of medical professionals and it costs a lot of money to hire the ones who are available, so it’s better to let parents do the job and get paid.

“This is not a matter of preference or convenience. This is an absolute necessity,” said Kandzierski.

The stipend, she says, wouldn’t be enough.

“You wouldn’t even be able to afford a registered nurse for two hours,” said Kandzierski.

Crouch is also the chair of the Intellectual and Developmental Disability Task Force. She wrote a letter to FSSA and asked them several questions, one of which was how many kids with medically complex needs could be affected by program cuts. Crouch says she has not heard back from them.

“It’s not just about numbers. It’s not just about statistics. It’s not just about the bottom line. We are talking about real Hoosiers with real issues, with families that are trying to fulfill those needs,” said Crouch.

Kandzierski says lawmakers need to propose that these cuts to the programs be stopped and reviewed thoroughly.

“You pulled a rug out from underneath us and we’re not going to let that go. There are repercussions and we fully intend to take them, so do the right thing or someone will make you do the right thing,” said Kandzierski.

There was a proposed bill in the House demanding more transparency and accountability from FSSA, but it never made it to the floor.

The State of Indiana does have a budget surplus. Some lawmakers are demanding that money from the surplus should be used to offset the shortfall. Some Republicans have called that idea fiscally irresponsible.

“Yeah, how long does that last? If you’re talking about $984 million. That’s not the responsible way to do it,” said State Senate President Pro Tem Rod Bray.

The legislative session is now half over. It is supposed to end no later than March 14.

The post Why Indiana’s Lieutenant Governor Wants an Audit of the FSSA appeared first on WIBC 93.1 FM.

Why Indiana’s Lieutenant Governor Wants an Audit of the FSSA  was originally published on wibc.com