WEEKLY NEWS DIGEST (April 18-24, 2011)

HUMAN SERVICES

An old charity finds hope in a new generation; A high school student who has spent his whole life trying to ‘change the conversation’ about domestic violence upstaged Halle Berry and Jamie Foxx at this weekend’s fundraiser.” By Sandy Banks. Los Angeles Times. April 19, 2011. I’ve been a fan of Jenesse since it was launched 30 years ago by five women who’d experienced domestic violence. It began as a bare-bones shelter and tiny thrift shop with a leaky roof, on 81st and Broadway. Now it’s a $3-million operation with programs scattered across South Los Angeles and Halle Berry as its biggest booster. Berry came to Jenesse 10 years ago to do community service for a traffic incident. It has been her mission since; she doesn’t just sing its praises in public but privately visits women and children to let them know “you can survive this.” She was also honored this weekend for enlisting a design team to renovate and decorate shelter apartments. They want to take the sting out of shelter living. “We hear so many woman say ‘I can’t leave. I’ve worked too hard for what I have; I’m not going to start over.’ We can’t have that be a reason to stay in an abusive relationship,” said Jenesse Director Karen Earl. “Our families deserve nice things, comfort, the understanding that someone cares. That helps empower them to leave. That’s the first step toward building a new life.”

Planned Parenthood move could cost state $4M in fed funds.” By Heather Gillers and Shari Rudavsky. Indianapolis Star. April 22, 2011. The head of Indiana’s social services agency expressed concern Thursday that the state could lose all $4 million of its federal family planning money if lawmakers cut off funding to Planned Parenthood of Indiana. The Senate voted Tuesday to cut off support to Planned Parenthood as part of an anti-abortion bill. Supporters said they did not want to help fund an organization that provides abortions. Federal law, however, prohibits states from picking and choosing which providers can offer family planning services to Medicaid patients. Violating that law could jeopardize federal money for other family planning providers. Family and Social Services Administration Secretary Michael Gargano said Thursday he has asked the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services about the issue, and he expects a response today. But he’s concerned. “If funding is cut off, CMS could look at that, and that could jeopardize the other funding that we get from them around family planning services,” Gargano said. “That’s our concern — that they would cut those funds off.” Gargano said his agency has not taken a position on the bill itself. If it went into effect, Indiana would become the first state to prohibit Medicaid recipients from seeking care at Planned Parenthood.

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