Secretary of Health and Human Services Richard Schweiker announced yesterday after a half-hour meeting with D.C. Mayor Marion Barry that he will form a special task force to help the District restructure its human services programs in light of the Reagan administration budget cuts.
"We want to find ways to help them and work around the budgetary problems," Schweiker said. "We believe we do have a special relationship with the District."
Barry, who estimated that the city would lose more than $40 million in federal funds because of the cuts, said he welcomes the task force. A spokesman for Schweiker said that the unit would be headed by Assistant HHS Secretary Edward Brandt, and that other members of the team would be named soon.
D.C. Department of Human Services Director James E. Buford, who attended the meeting, said the task force "will be looking at how, with the resources we now have, we can maximize services."
He said the unit will study the city's Medicaid and Aid to Families with Dependent Children programs, as well as the city's efforts to reduce infant mortality and provide services to senior citizens, among others.
"The city administrator [Elijah B. Rogers] suggested during the meeting that there were a number of new approaches the federal government might take, and that they might want to view the District as a place to demonstrate them," Buford said.