Alaska Governor Mike Dunleavy introduced $10 million to advance his number one public safety priority by supporting the People First initiative and helping children, youth and families through the Office children’s services. This budget amendment is part of a package of fiscal year 2023 budget amendments introduced in the Legislative Assembly today.
Governor Dunleavy introduced $7.2 million in general unrestricted funds and $2.77 million in federal matching funds for the Bureau of Children’s Services, among other operating budget changes.
Introduced in December, the People First effort uses a mix of statutory changes, new personnel, administrative orders, technology and targeted resources to address five areas where Alaska’s most vulnerable are at risk or injured.
- Domestic violence and sexual assault
- Human trafficking
- Missing and Murdered Indigenous Peoples
- The foster care system
“A lot of these issues have been with us for so long that they’ve almost been normalized in Alaska, as unsolvable,” said Governor Dunleavy. “We owe Alaskans, especially the most vulnerable, a commitment to do everything in our power to break this vicious circle of violence, abuse and despair. This amendment will strengthen that effort by adding resources to the People First initiative.
The funds will add support for the Bureau of Children’s Services to:
- Investing in frontline employees to drive recruitment and retention
- Develop support positions to expand services
- Support young people and host families
- Supporting young people with complex trauma
- Invest in the development of evidence-based programs
- Develop professional opportunities for young people
- Provide traumatic stress management programs to child protection workers
“This strategic investment once again demonstrates the administration’s commitment to Alaska’s children and families,” said Adam Crum, commissioner of the Department of Health and Human Services. “This further supports our dedicated employees at the Office of Children’s Services and works to promote employment longevity and provide a stable workforce to strive towards the safety and permanency of our children.”
Another amendment to the operating budget introduced today continues Governor Dunleavy’s efforts to restore Alaska State Trooper strength before 38 positions were cut in 2015-16.
In January, James Cockrell, Alaska’s public safety commissioner, said the governor’s budget for fiscal year 23 in December proposed the largest public safety funding increase in Cockrell’s 30 years on the job. of the department, some $24 million.
This amendment fully funds eight troop positions and eight other positions, including court services officers and civilian support staff from the Governor’s FY21 budget. These positions were 75% funded in the last budget until employees could be hired, and now these positions are filled. Funding these employees would increase the budget by $171,000 to fully fund all 16 positions.
The Dunleavy administration has authorized 20 additional Trooper positions since taking office, and if the Legislature approves the governor’s budget proposal for fiscal year 2023, that number will be higher in July.
“The Department of Public Safety remains committed to attracting high-quality candidates to our ranks,” said Commissioner Cockrell. “With the start of our Spring 2022 Academy just days away, our recruiting unit has made tremendous strides in filling our Trooper vacancies using attractive salaries, hiring bonuses and the application environment of the law our state is known for.”
For a full list of amendments to the budget for the financial year 2023 Click here.