Petition Closed
Petitioning Representative David Wu and 9 others

Stand with Big Brothers Big Sisters Columbia Northwest to stop the proposed federal budget cuts.

The U.S. House of Representatives voted to cut the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Mentoring Program budget by 45% and to eliminate funding for the Mentoring Children of Prisoners Program. An estimated 13,000 children in Oregon and 28,000 children in Washington State have one or both parents in prison or under some form of state or federal probation. We need your help to protect these two programs.

Locally our agency receives $1.1 million in federal funds which allow us to serve 1,000 children facing severe adversity.  If the proposed federal budget cuts are made, these children will lose their Portland metropolitan and SW Washington Big Brothers and Sisters. Additionally, many of the children on our agency’s waiting list will languish without ever being matched with mentors.

While we know that cuts must be made, we urge Congress to retain these cost-effective programs that prevent future generations from ending up in prison and dropping out of school. Our mentoring program is one of a very few programs proven to work. We ask the federal government to stand with kids, families and communities that rely on Big Brothers Big Sisters and to:

- Give children someone to talk to and confide in

- Expose children to new opportunities and positive lifestyles

- Look long-term: Big Brothers Big Sisters is proven effective 

Letter to
Representative David Wu
Representative Kurt Schrader
Representative Jaime Herrera Beutler
and 7 others
Senator Maria Cantwell
Senator Patty Murray
Senator Ron Wyden
Representative Peter DeFazio
Representative Earl Blumenauer
Representative Greg Walden
Senator Jeff Merkley
I stand with Big Brothers Big Sisters Columbia Northwest to stop the proposed federal budget cuts. We ask that you stand with kids, families and communities that rely on Big Brothers Big Sisters and continue to fund the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) Mentoring Program and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Mentoring Children of Prisoners Program.

An estimated 7.3 million children nationwide have one or both parents in prison or under some form of state or federal probation. Big Brothers Big Sisters Columbia Northwest receives $1.1 million in federal funds which allow the agency to serve 1,000 children facing severe adversity. If the proposed federal budget cuts are made, these children will lose their Portland metropolitan and SW Washington Big Brothers and Sisters. Many of the 2,400 children on the agency’s waiting list will languish without ever being matched with mentors.

According to a U.S. Senate Report, children of prisoners are six times more likely than other children to be incarcerated at some point in their lives. Without effective intervention strategies, as many as 70% of these children will become involved with the criminal justice system . Since the original report by Linda Jucovy in June 2003, the number increased to 80%.

Together we ask the federal government to stand with kids, families and communities that rely on Big Brothers Big Sisters and to:

- Give children someone to talk to and confide in
- Expose children to new opportunities and positive lifestyles
- Look long-term: Big Brothers Big Sisters is proven effective in statistically valid studies. The areas impacted DIRECTLY CORRELATE to incarceration trends. Children in our program are:

- Less likely to use drugs (46%)
- More likely to stay in school (52%)
- Less violent (33%)

We believe cutting funding for Big Brothers Big Sisters now would lead to much greater costs for future generations in incarceration, educational remediation and other economic consequences.
Stand with me and continue to fund the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) Mentoring Programs and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Mentoring Children of Prisoners Program.

Source: Senate Report 106-404: Departments of Commerce, Justice, and State, the Judiciary, and Related Agencies Appropriation Bill, 2001. September 8, 2000, p. 56.