State Didn't Apply for Some Grants to Aid Children

AP

NASHVILLE (AP) – A report by the Tennessee Commission on Children and Youth finds the state didn't apply for some competitive grants that would have benefited programs.

According to The Tennessean, the study did quantify the state receives huge shares of funding from the federal government.

The report said Tennessee spent more than $9 billion on programs for children and families. Of that amount, $3.9 billion came from the federal government.

But the commission said Tennessee's government grant writers encounter obstacles in trying to compete for funds that would aid children and families. The obstacles could include being short staffed, not having sufficient time or not being able to come up with matching state funding.

"The departments are fairly aggressive about (grants) that meet their main mission, but because we are a fairly lean government, we don't have additional staffing and time to branch into other areas," said Linda O'Neal, commission executive director. "There are opportunities that they see from time to time that they think are good ideas but realize just aren't practical."

The report did not attempt to estimate the amount of grant money not sought.

The study will allow the commission to try to determine how best to pay for programs and reduce waste.

"There's always this perception that there's this huge duplication of services in government," O'Neal said. "Through this process, we have not been able to identify substantial duplication."

The study found Tennessee relies heavily on federal funds. More than 90 percent of spending on children was built on federal dollars and the matching state funds required to quality for them.

"We're very reliant on federal funds. All states are," O'Neal said. "We may be more reliant than some."

Information from: The Tennessean, www.tennessean.com

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