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Fairfax seeks $1m from state for children's program

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Local,Virginia,Taylor Holland

The Fairfax Board of Supervisors is asking Gov. Bob McDonnell for $1 million for the county's Infant Toddler Connection program, which provides early intervention services to developmentally challenged children up to 3 years old.

The county is seeking the state's help in plugging a $9.5 million shortfall in the budget of its own social services board. That shortfall is endangering funding to the infant-toddler program.

The infant-toddler program's annual budget is $8.6 million, including federal, state and local funding and payments from insurance companies. But it will need an additional $1 million to keep up with increased demand for the program's services.

"Now we just have to wait and see," Phillips said.

McDonnell, he said, can tap the $129 million surplus he has from last year's budget to help Fairfax or try to amend the current year's budget to provide the funding.

But Supervisor Pat Herrity, R-Springfield, warned it was unrealistic to expect state funding.

"If our plan is to wait for state funding, we don't have a very good plan," Herrity said. "We're going to have to fix this ourselves."

The county board will vote at its next meeting on Sept. 11 whether to use a $3.5 million surplus from last year's budget to offset the shortfall in its social services budget, he said.

The Fairfax program treats an average of 1,155 children a month, a 38 percent increase in enrollment since 2010. Without additional funding, more families will end up on a waiting list, the board said in its letter to McDonnell.

McDonnell's office did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

"We are requesting that the state meet its responsibility to the many developmentally disabled children across the county and state by funding early intervention services," said County Board Chairman Sharon Bulova. "We are committed to working with the state to find a solution to this problem."

tholland@washingtonexaminer.com

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