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Watchdogs Urge State To Combine Social Service Agencies

A report by Massachusetts fiscal watchdog groups says the state could save $65 million per year by restructuring social service agencies.

The report, from the Boston Foundation and the Massachusetts Taxpayer Foundation, advocates closing state-run facilities for residents with developmental disabilities and consolidating offices in which Massachusetts residents receive state benefits.

Taxpayer Foundation President Michael Widmer says closing state-run facilities for the developmentally disabled could save the state more than $50 million per year while also helping the facilities' current clients.

"The key point is these individuals who are in the institutions can be better served in the community closer to the family, and this has been shown time and time again," Widmer said.

To meet the needs of developmentally disabled residents, Widmer said the state should use more contracted social service providers.

The report also advocates combining the state's nearly 150 social services offices into only a dozen locations, saying that change could net savings upwards of $15 million per year.

"The question is, is the state organized in a way to provide these services in the most helpful fashion and the most cost-effective fashion?" Widmer asked. "And the short answer to that right now is 'no.'"

This program aired on June 30, 2010. The audio for this program is not available.

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