Dear FGP Directors and Supporters,
The National Association of Foster Grandparent Program Directors (NAFGPD) strongly rejects the President’s FY15 budget proposal for the Foster Grandparent Program. This ill-conceived and short-sighted proposal would “transition” FGP programs and funding to AmeriCorps. Imposing the AmeriCorps model on FGP programs will result in a huge reduction in the number of service hours that FGP volunteers can provide to the hundreds of thousands at-risk children across our country who need assistance.
Instead of honoring language in the Serve America Act increasing the FGP stipend from $2.65 to $3.00 an hour, this budget proposal would replace FGP volunteers’ hourly stipend with an annual “living allowance”, thereby significantly reducing the service hours FGP volunteers can provide while also undermining one of the core tenets of the FGP program, i.e, enabling low-income seniors to serve their communities.
The President’s FY15 budget proposal highlights the fact that transitioning FGP and SCP volunteers to AmeriCorps will help increase the number of AmeriCorps volunteers to a “record” 114,000 volunteers. Yet, the proposal will only transition 21,200 “Americorps Foster Grandparent members,” despite the fact that there were 28,250 FGP volunteers in FY12. Furthermore, the budget allocated for the new “Americorps Foster Grandparent members” is $92,806,000, but Congress enacted a budget of $107,702,000 for FGP in FY14. Again, for all of these reasons and more, NAFGPD will ask Congress to reject the President’s FY15 Budget for FGP.
As you have done so often in the past, we will need you to make your voices heard on the negative impact this budget proposal will have on your programs, your volunteers and the children served by FGP. Frankly, it is sad that we must face this on the eve on the 50th anniversary of FGP, but there has never been a time when the NAFGPD community has NOT made a difference in the wake of a challenge or an obstacle to our beloved program’s success.
I will be reaching out to you several times in the coming months with further information and ways we need to act in opposition to this budget proposal. Remember that the President’s Budget Request is the Administration’s budget recommendations to Congress, but it is Congress who will ultimately decide the fate of our program.
As always, I thank you from the bottom of my heart for all that you do for FGP.
Yours in service,
Kristen Tracy, NAFGPD President