States' budget woes hitting programs for kids hard

CHICAGO (AP) - As the Great Recession drags into its third year, states are having to cut services to the one population they've long protected: Children.

All over the country, the financial crisis has forced states to make historic cuts to close what the National Conference of State Legislatures found was an overall budget gap of $174.1 billion this fiscal year. And lawmakers are looking to trim another $89 billion next year.

Advocates say the scope of the cuts to services that help children are unprecedented. Hit are programs that addressed everything from childhood obesity to child abuse and from prenatal care to preschool inspections.

Some can't serve as many kids, while others are forced to deal with monthslong delays and many programs simply disappear.

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