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Our Children, Our Future Campaign continue to ask for restoration to cuts

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CHARLESTON, WV -

The Our Children, Our Future Campaign is stepping up to call on the governor to restore cuts made to children and family programs.

They said they sent him a letter calling on him to respond in five different opportunities where his office declined each time. One of those opportunities included taking the governor on a tour of a center providing after school care to children of working families.

If Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin does not make them aware he has heard their voices, they say they will have to get a little louder.

“We’ll lift our voices to show our support for these programs,” said Jim McKay, state coordinator for Prevent Child Abuse West Virginia.

On May 20 the campaign plans to take to the Capitol building in order to celebrate the restoration of these funds, or continue to ask for them to be.

“He’s the governor and it’s in his hands to address the issue,” McKay added.

Advocates say when Tomblin announced he had restored some of the funding to the programs, he really just moved the money around.

“That’s what he did -- he moved money around,” McKay said. “He pulled $150,000 in one-time withdraw to offset a portion of cuts to home visiting programs.”

McKay said what the governor did was actually move money from one government account to another, to in a sense give that program more money while jeopardizing the future of the existing fund.

“It’s not a long-term solution,” he added.

Several survivors of domestic violence spoke up during a media conference call on May 15 to show the public just how this effects West Virginia families.

Celena Roby, of Wood County, has spoken before but her story rings true to so many in the state.

Roby was in an abusive relationship for over 10 years before she finally relieved herself and her young children of the control her abuser had on them.

“I can now stand on my own two feet and provide a happy, healthy environment (for my children),” Roby said. “I was informed of the local domestic violence program (that) offered counseling for myself and my boys.”

McKay said as of May 15 there was no indication the governor would be restoring any funds during the special session set to begin May 19.