Guam – The Foster Child Health Insurance program will run out by the end of May which could potentially interrupt the delivery of health care services to over 200 children under foster care.
The insurance program was supposed to be funded in the FY 2019 budget. However, the number of children placed in the foster care system also increased this year which created a shortfall in the insurance funding.
Senator Amanda Shelton introduced Bill 139-35 on Wednesday to identify a solution. Through the measure, around $320,000 will be transferred from the General Fund to the Foster Child Health Insurance Program under the Department of Public Health and Social Services.
“We didn’t realize that there would be an increase in foster children that would deplete the money in the account so quickly, so we are transferring a little over $300,000 from the General Fund. That is in the intent of the bill – to continue their insurance coverage through the fiscal year,” Shelton said.
Shelton’s office said that their understanding is that the General Fund can cover the amount.
According to the Governor’s Communications Director Janela Carrera, the governor does have transfer authority to allocate funds for purposes under her organic authority but currently her office is reviewing the proposed measure.
She added; ” Session has been called for Tuesday, which would leave the Senator with only 4 days for a public hearing.”
According to Shelton’s office, they have every intention of having a public hearing on the bill so foster families can be heard..