Palm Beach County children's programs in jeopardy

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - Programs that help thousands of children in Palm Beach County are in serious jeopardy. That's because the Children's Services Council says they don't want to raise taxes.

Once a week, Saniyah Gamble's daughter and her siblings have a visitor.

Lori Huertas is from a non-profit called Boys Town, which provides in-home counseling.

"Her teachers felt like she wasn't on her level for her age, her social skills, so they brought Ms. Lori in," said Carrie Gamble. "Her speech is getting a lot better. She plays games. She loves Ms. Lori. Ms. Lori loves her."

Today, the Childrens Services Council confirmed that Boys Town and seven other agencies would lose $4 million dollars in funding by the end of the year.

Staff at the council reviewed 48 programs and ranked their efficiency in three categories.

Forty were ranked green and yellow and have until March to find out if their funding will be discontinued.

The eight at the bottom, ranked red, only have a few months before they lose their funding. The funding will disappear in December.

At Boys Town, 81 counselors will lose their jobs.

Though Boys Town disagrees, the council says they were diligent in identifying inefficient programs. They say they have to, as they plan to lower the tax rate.

"Would I like to see there be more money? Yes. But at the same time, I also want to ensure that every public dollar is accounted for," said Tana Ebbole, the CEO of Children's Services Council.

Another losing a chunk of funding is the Guatamelan Maya Center in Lake Worth.

Lorenza Juan's family has no car, but the center's employees give them rides to medical clinics and help translate. Without them, she says, everything would collapse.

"Everything collapses on us," she said, through a translator.

Outreach worker Mara Martinez will lose her job by December. She says one woman's children would not be able to eat if she didn't have help filling out a food stamp form.

"They'll be completely lost. They'll have nowhere to go," said Martinez.

The council also says they will allow the agencies who are losing funding right away to apply for new grants.

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