Yakima Assistance Program Could Face Big Budget Cuts - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Yakima Assistance Program Could Face Big Budget Cuts

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YAKIMA, Wa.- Budget cuts are still underway in Olympia and now there are big concerns over the state's Early Childhood Education Assistance Program or ECEAP.

Over 150 low-income families in Yakima County use the program and half of those families make less than $15,000 every year.

It helps pay for basic needs like food, medical care and education.

Governor Christine Gregoire originally said this program was a priority and wouldn't be cut but now with the worsening economy, ECEAP directors say that's not the case.     

This could be devastating for many families in Yakima.

"It just seems to me that it's an ironic tragedy that when cuts come it's often those that are in need that get their services reduced first," said Steve Mitchell, the Chief Executive Officer for EPIC.

Over the past year the number of families on the waiting list for ECEAP has doubled. Families hope the governor will be able to make cuts elsewhere but the regional director says right now it's not looking good.