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Paul Murphy / Eyewitness News
Email: pmurphy@wwltv.com | Twitter: @pmurphywwl

BATONROUGE -- Agencies that help battered and abused women in Louisiana are facing what providers call a budget crisis.

The state recently notified them of mid-year cuts that could jeopardize their ability to shelter victims across the state.

The spending reductions hit close to home for the Metropolitan Center for Women and Children in New Orleans which gets about 500 calls a month from woman victimized in their own home.

'It may be for information. But, a lot of them are actually crisis calls saying I'm being abused or I've recently been assaulted, I don't know what to do,' said Metro Executive Director Dale Standifer.

Standifer says the state cut her budget by more than $60,000. That's roughly 16 percent of the money the state promised Metro to provide emergency shelter to battered women.

'We're not going to be able to provide the number of slots that we need to house women,' said Standifer.

The state Department of Children and Family Services cut close to a million dollars from domestic violence providers across the state.

It's part of the mid year reductions ordered by the Jindal Administration to bring the state's $25 billion budget back into balance.

'We have reduced as much as we can, internally and next we had to go and start looking at some programs,' said DCFS spokesman Trey Williams.

Williams says the department is looking at ways to move away from a residential care type strategy and more towards a program based on an Ohio model that focuses on getting the offenders off the street.

'This allows the mom and the child to remain in their home. The reason that's some important is it's less disruptive on the family and it provides a more stable environment for the child.'

Back at Metro, Standifer says her agency hopes to find some way to fill the gap in funding.

'I think social service agencies are going to have to come together and help each other, turn to maybe more to churches and fundraising and community awareness.'

We also heard from a domestic violence shelter on the Northshore.

Safe Harbor says it is losing about $40,000 in grants from the state. It is now looking for donations to help pay for ongoing services.







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