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years of placing children in alternative situations have

returned to Weeks a certain population for whom there apparently

was no appropriate alternative placement

a population for whom

Weeks is at least more appropriate than any existing alternative.

This situation then causes us to ask certain questions:

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generally speaking, are bad places to put kids.

Our commitment

however is not a blind one for we are accountable, not only to

the state, but to every one of those children who will be affected

by the decisions we make.

We will not make those decisions on

the basis of vague, good philosophies, but will predicate them

upon knowledge of the clientele, its needs, and the quality of

all resources we might apply to meeting those needs.

In short,

we commit ourselves to this:

if we take all kids out of the

institutions, we will guarantee that they will be better off,

not worse.

It is this commitment that caused us to participate in

PL 93-415.

We believed it would provide us with the resources

to buy the time and opportunity to make a rational decision

concerning both Weeks and alternative care.

We proposed allocating

most of the formula monies available under the statute to in

creasing Purchase of Services so that the decision regarding

Weeks could be based upon empirical data pertaining to both

Weeks and alternative care.

Purchase of Services allows the oppor

tunity to place children in alternative care situations, an

opportunity which will be nonexistent without PL 93-415 funds.

To date, Vermont has not received any of the block monies

appropriated under PL 93-415. A $15,000 planning grant was

awarded but the $200,000 for each of Piscal Years 1975 and 1976

has not been awarded although we expect to receive that $400,000

by June.

During the past year the planner employed under the $15,000

planning grant, has been required to dedicate at least half of

her time to dealing with the administrative nonsense resulting

from LEAA's confused attempts to implement PL 93-415. LEAA misinterpreted Congressional Intent and exceeded its statutory auth

ority in requiring cash rather than in-kind match.

The war which

resulted from our conviction that although we are a small state,

we are as able as LEAA Central to read statutes, has been costly

in terms of time and manpower.

At this point we are engaged in something of a stand-off

with LEAA Central.

That agency has provided for a waiver pro

cedure by which in-kind match might be allowable.

Although the

agency was acting beyond the authority of the statute in requiring

the waiver, we chose to apply.

We did so and at the same time

filed a disclaimer stating that the application should not be

construed as recognition of LEAA's authority to require a waiver.

We could not recognize LEAA's authority to require it.

We expect to be granted the waiver.

We expect to receive

a total of $400,000 during the month of June.

If we do not,

there will be no monies available in this state for alternatives

to institutional placement for juveniles.

The truth is, however,

we have done nothing but expect since September of 1974 when

PL 93-415 was adopted.

To date, our expectations have come to

naught.

During all this "expecting" certain incidents occurred which

we did not expect.

We did not expect $15,000,000 of the FY 1976

appropriation to become subject in January to a Presidential

Deferral Request.

When Congress rejected the request, we did

not expect the President's Budget for FY '77 to propose a funding

level of $10,000,000.

When that happened, we did not expect any

Congressional body to take that seriously.

To reiterate, we believe that 93-415 represents Congressional

effort to make the future different from the past for this country's

juveniles.

After a year of dealing with an administrative iron

curtain, we have come finally to a point where we might receive

93-415 funds to implement its intent only to face the real

possibility that monies may be diminished substantially.

If the act if funded below $18,000,000, the bottom line

formula will be cut.

If that is the case, the process created

to provide a rational base for our ultimate decision regarding

juvenile placement

will be aborted and children will be returned

to institutions.

We believe in the intent of the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency

Prevention Act.

We also believe it can be implemented.

Now that

such implementation is within the realm of the possible and over a

year has been dedicated to reaching that point, withdrawing funds

would represent the cruelest of all possible blows.

If that with

drawal were to occur, the major effect of 93-415 would be to have

trained a vast number of people to deal with LEAA's interpretation

of the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act; people who

much prefer and are now ready to deal instead with juvenile justice.

If Congress truly intends to make the future different from

the past, it must demonstrate that intention by continued funding

at a meaningful level of PL 93-415.

LETTER FROM SENATOR WEICKER

United States Senate

COMMITTEE ON
GOVERNMENT OPERATIONS

May 28, 1976

Dear Mr. Chairman:

It is important that the United States initiate efforts now to obtain the undersea technology to support research related to better management of our fisheries resources, especially in the New England area. NOAA has learned from using the most advanced underwater laboratory in the world, the "Helgoland" operated by West Germany, that marine research in cold, turbid water is critical to undersea safety.

The Oceanlab as proposed by NOAA would be the focal point for programs to utilize diver-scientists to study and assess the fish stocks of the Continental Shelf.

The waters adjacent to New England, some of the most prolific in terms of living resources in the world, have been seriously overfished in the past few years by foreign fisheries. With the adoption of the 200-mile jurisdiction zone, the United States must be prepared to assure that the remaining fish stocks are allowed to increase to levels that will sustain a maximum U.S. fishery production. The Oceanlab and related programs can be seen as important tools in these studies. These studies would include population dynamics, life history studies, habitat assessment and aqua culture in the open ocean. Further, if energy development advances in our offshore areas as in the North Sea, we must achieve undersea technical capabilities to update research in man's ability to work in these environments.

I fully support Congressman Alexander's request in the House Appropriations Committee to fund the Oceanlab program. I understand, however, that economic and budget considerations have led to the House action limiting the first appropriation to $1.5 million. This will not be enough to start the Oceanlab on its proper course.

I urge, therefore, that the full $5 million be considered by the Appropriations Committee to assure that a most important national oceans project be started.

I very much appreciate your consideration of this important issue.

With kind regards.

Sincerely,

uwe

Loweli Weicker,
United States Senator

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We are writing in support of the Legal Services Corporation's request for an appropriation of $140.3 million for fiscal year 1977. This is also the amount that the Labor and Public Welfare Committee included in its recommendations and estimates to the Budget Committee for the Corporation's fiscal year 1977 appropriation level. Although this is a substantial increase over this year's level, we believe it is necessary if we are to move toward realization of the Congressional mandate to "provide equal access to the system of justice in our nation". Thus, we urge this substantial increase in appropriations for

two reasons:

First, legal services programs throughout the country are now operating on a budget that, until fiscal year 1976, had not been increased for four years despite the ravages of inflation and the increased number of potential clients resulting from high unemployment levels. Because of these factors, legal assistance to the poor is nominal in many areas, despite the efforts of dedicated attorneys. It is clear that the capabilities of these programs must be strengthened.

Second, the Legal Services Corporation estimates that twelve million of the Nation's poor live in areas where there are no legal services programs at all. Yet these people are subject to the same legal problems as are those in areas now covered by legal services programs.

Unless service is extended into these areas, many Americans will be denied legal services and thus access to the legal system itself.

Mr. Chairman, the need for high quality and accessible legal services programs cannot be over-stated. Our system of justice rests upon a fundamental notion that all Americans must have equal access to our judicial system. In order for that access to be meaningful, in the context of an adversarial system, the adversaries must have roughly equal representation. Moreover, the potential consequences of failure in civil litigation are often grave, and may have a profound impact upon the lives of those involved. Examples include child custody cases, civil commitment, contested divorces, and loss or impairment of housing, public assistance, or employment. Each of these problems are sufficiently serious to require representation by counsel. Our system of justice demands no less. The Legal Services Corporation Act envisioned no less.

Mr. Chairman, we also wish to note that while the Legal Services Corporation Act allows the Executive Branch to comment upon the Corporation's request, any comments or recommendations that may be submitted should not be viewed as the corporation's official request. Although the President's budget for fiscal year 1977 contains an appropriation level of $80 million for the Corporation (a reduction of $8 million from the FY 76 level), and makes no reference to the Corporation's request for $140.3 million, in our view the official budget request now pending before the Congress is $140.3 million-- the figure we strongly support.

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