Alaska Governor Mike Dunleavy introduced $10 million to advance his number one priority of public safety by supporting the People First Initiative and assisting children, youth, and families through the Office of Children’s Services. This budget amendment is part of a package of FY 2023 budget amendments introduced to the Legislature today.
Governor Dunleavy introduced $7.2 million in undesignated general funds and $2.77 million in federal matching funds for the Office of Children’s Services, among other operating budget amendments.
Introduced in December, the People First effort is using a mix of statutory changes, new personnel, administrative orders, technology, and focused resources to address five areas where Alaska’s most vulnerable are at risk or are harmed.
- Domestic violence and sexual assault
- Human trafficking
- Missing and murdered Indigenous persons
- The foster care system
“Many 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 our most vulnerable, a pledge to do everything in our power to break these vicious cycles of violence, abuse, and despair. This amendment will fortify that effort by adding resources to the People First initiative.”
The funds will add support to the Office of Children’s Services to:
- Invest in frontline employees to promote recruitment and retention
- Expand support positions to broaden services
- Support foster youth and families
- Support youth with complex trauma
- Invest in evidence-based program development
- Develop vocational opportunities for youth
- Offer programs that manage traumatic stress for child welfare workers
“This strategic investment further demonstrates the administration’s commitment to Alaskan Children and Families,” said Adam Crum, Commissioner of the Health and Social Services Department. “This further supports our dedicated Office of Children’s Services workers and works to promote employment longevity and provide a stable workforce to strive toward safety and permanency for our children.”
Another operating budget amendment introduced today continues Governor Dunleavy’s effort to restore the Alaska State Troopers to staffing levels before 38 positions were cut in 2015-2016.
In January, James Cockrell, Alaska’s Commissioner of Public Safety, said the Governor’s FY 23 budget in December proposed the single largest funding increase to Public Safety over Cockrell’s 30 years with the Department, some $24 million.
This amendment fully funds eight trooper positions and eight other positions including court services officers and civilian support staff from the Governor’s FY21 budget. These positions were funded at 75 percent in the last budget until employees could be hired, and now those positions are staffed. The funding for 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 FY 2023 budget proposal that number will be higher in July.
“The Department of Public Safety remains committed to attracting high quality applicants into our ranks,” stated Commissioner Cockrell. “With our Spring 2022 academy starting in a matter of days our recruitment unit has made tremendous progress filling our open Trooper positions using attractive salaries, hiring bonuses, and the pro-law enforcement environment that our state is known for.”
For a full list of the FY 2023 budget amendments click here.