Pennsylvania court asked to order state to release money for foster care services

Government And Institutions Associated Press

A child welfare advocacy group is asking a Pennsylvania court to order Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf's administration to release money for about 15,000 children in foster care that's being held up by an 11-week-old budget impasse.

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The Harrisburg-based Pennsylvania Council of Children, Youth and Family Services filed the lawsuit Tuesday in Commonwealth Court.

The organization says that child safety shouldn't be a "political hostage" and that holding up money is placing children at risk.

To keep the services running, counties and social-services groups are taking out loans, draining reserves or delaying bills to vendors.

The Wolf administration says the state isn't able to make county child welfare payments until a budget is approved. It accuses Republican lawmakers of shortchanging children and youth services by $172 million in their budget plan.