News From Terre Haute, Indiana

February 27, 2013

Federal budget sequester would impact all WICAA programs

Sue Loughlin
The Tribune-Star

TERRE HAUTE — A sequester would impact all programs offered by Western Indiana Community Action Agency, which serves the low income, elderly, and the physically and mentally challenged, said Carole Barr, executive director.

But the extent of the impact is not yet known, she said. “Until we have more details, we don’t know how much,” she said Tuesday.

Also, there wouldn’t be any immediate impact, even if the sequester takes effect Friday. Any cuts would take effect gradually, as the programs have different fiscal years with different start and end dates. For some the fiscal year starts July 1, and for others it is Oct. 1 or April 1.

“Until we know what the rules are and specific cuts, there’s no way to prepare,” Barr said.

WICAA programs include Head Start; Indigent Medical Care; Women, Infants and Children; Energy Assistance; Foster Grandparents and Retired Senior and Volunteer Program.

It also offers a School Age Child Care program at several Vigo County School Corp. elementary schools; the child care program is offered before and after school, depending on the site.

WICAA’s total budget for all programs is about $5 million, and it serves about 20,000 clients annually in Vigo, Clay and Putnam counties.

“We’re very concerned about our clients because we don’t know what services may be cut,” Barr said. Those in charge of the agency’s programs are “very aware” of potential cuts.

“It’s so uncertain. One day, we hear it won’t happen, but the next day, we hear it probably will happen,” she said.

According to a state-by-state report provided by the White House, Head Start and Early Head Start services would be eliminated for about 1,000 children in Indiana, reducing access to critical early education.  

Sue Loughlin can be reached at 812-231-4235 or