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Schachtner defeats Jarchow in special election

Budget committee approves new Dept. of Children and Families

Wisconsin is one step closer to having a new state government agency to help children.

The Legislature's Joint Finance Committee voted 11-5 Tuesday in favor of Gov. Jim Doyle's budget proposal to create the Department of Children and Families.

The new department would take over the W-2 welfare to work program, child support and child welfare services. Those duties are now split between two agencies, health and workforce development.

The governor's people say it won't cost any more. In fact, they think it will save money by being more efficient.

Sen. Lena Taylor, D-Milwaukee, says the new agency will provide more access to the needy and she calls it a "great day" for Wisconsin families.

But some Republicans said the merger was not well thought out and it does not have a clear mission.

Rep. Scott Suder, R-Abbotsford, said "You can't achieve moral purpose without a plan."