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Families march to protest adoption-related budget cuts
ST. LOUIS -- The Davis family joined a few hundred people rallying downtown Friday on behalf of about 5,000 children who could lose monthly support payments under a budget proposal by Gov. Matt Blunt.
"We were preparing to adopt another child," said Leonard Davis, who along with his wife, Sheila, and 3-year-old son, Sammy, were protesting the possible loss of monthly adoption subsidies.
"With Governor Blunt's actions here, we don't think that'll be possible. That would deny another child a home," he said.
Many parents and guardians rely on the payments, which range from about $225 to $650 a month, to help cover costs of raising the former foster children, many of whom have disabilities.
Blunt's proposal would save the state about $12.5 million and end payments to families earning twice the poverty level, $38,700 for a family of four.
The governor's spokeswoman, Jessica Robinson, said Blunt's budget choices were difficult, but said his recommendations would ensure Missouri's adoption subsidy program is sustainable and available to families who most need it. Blunt's plan would cut payments only to children who don't qualify for federal money.
At the rally, dozens of people, such as Sammy Davis, held yellow balloons, some scrawled with messages like "Stop Cruel Cuts." They listened to speakers, including adoptive parents, and then marched through a section of downtown St. Louis with signs and chants to voice their views.
Leonard and Sheila Davis, who described themselves as working class, are employed as a firefighter and media relations worker. They said Sammy is a blessing in their lives, but said the subsidies helped them pay household expenses.
The couple called the governor's plan short-sighted, both saying it was "penny wise, but dollar foolish." Leonard Davis said, "We pay a little bit now, or we'll pay a lot later."