Harriet Boorhem: Youth Today’s Diarist

Print More

I know I’m preaching to the choir here, but at least y’all will listen to my rant about the slicing, dicing legislatures at all levels of government in this country of ours.

There is SO MUCH getting gutted that I can’t even keep up! Every day I get at least three legislative alerts about MORE cuts, the latest including the entire federal Office of Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention Programs!

What is with these people? 

What is most troubling to me, in Texas at least, are the proposed cuts to services for kids who have been removed by the state! Through no fault of their own, they have been ripped from their homes by the state, probably shuffled around the system ad-nauseum by the state and now will receive even less help from the state. How does that make sense?

I just can’t get my head around this total lack of compassion, this total unwillingness to raise even one iota of taxes – not on cigarettes, not on alcohol, not on gasoline, chocolate, soap, toys – nada, nothing, in order to shrink these deficits. Even worse, Rick Perry, Governor of Texas, claims the budget deficit is “not that big of a deal”.  According to him, “The sky is not falling,” and there is no need to do anything but cut, cut, cut. 

Well, for these kids the sky has already fallen, and they will now be in the dungeon where there is no sky at all!

I’m going to Austin Monday as part of a big Prevention Day at the Capitol. I gotta say, though, I have never been more discouraged, less hopeful, or more frustrated at the immovability of our legislature. I need Norman Vincent Peale or Pollyanna to help me get in a more positive frame of mind before I try and talk to these folks. 

Why won’t they get it? Why won’t they GET that prevention programs are SOOO much cheaper and more effective than jails or juvenile detention? WHEN will our legislators get that we will NEVER end homelessness until we stop the primary pipeline into homelessness…..kids aging out of systems like foster care and juvenile justice?

And most importantly, WHY won’t they understand that cutting or reducing funding for these programs costs us so much more in the long run?

It makes me crazy…..gives me apoplexy….makes me want to go sell shoes.  I think I need a good therapist.

Harriet Boorhem is the president of Promise House, which provides a multitude of services to homeless youth in the Dallas area, and Youth Today's first online diarist.