To the editor:
It has come to my attention that the governor's proposed budget for 2005-2006 does not include any funding for child advocacy centers in Missouri.
Child advocacy centers provide a variety of services including forensic care, advocacy and counseling to children who have been sexually or physically abused.
The child advocacy center in Cape Girardeau, the Southeast Missouri Network Against Sexual Violence, provided those services to over 500 children in Southeast Missouri last year.
In years past, there has been a set amount of money in the state's budget allotted for the 15 centers in the state to share, divided up according to the number of children that they serve. That funding, although a fraction of Missouri's overall budget, is a huge part of many of the centers' budgets -- and often their entire budget. Losing this funding would cause many centers to close, leaving thousands of abused children without services.
Please let the governor and state legislators know that these budget cuts are unacceptable and that protecting children is a priority to Missouri residents.
KENDRA EADS, Cape Girardeau