Illinois DCFS Doomsday Budget Alert: DCFS Slashes Care; Quinn, Madigan, Cross, Cullerton and Radogno Still Have No Illinois Budget Agreement

TO: CCAI CEOs/POLICY COMMITTEE
FROM: MARGE BERGLIND, President, Child Care Association of Illinois
DATE : June 11, 2009
SUBJECT: STATE BUDGET ALERT

The Doomsday Budget for abused and neglected children comes July 1.

Although the Governor Pat Quinn and the 4 legislative leaders–Speaker Michael Madigan, House Minority Leader Tom Cross, Senate President John Cullerton, and Senate Minority Leader Christine Radogno–have conducted meetings during the last week, there are no new developments to report, and they are not scheduled to meet again until next Tuesday.

It now seems very likely that the spending and service cuts threatened by the Governor when the 50% operating budget was passed by the legislature, will now become our reality. Last week the Governor ordered all state agency directors to submit management plans to reflect the 50% cuts and 25% reserves.

Today, a top Illinois Department of Children and Family Services source reported that DCFS is in the process of finalizing decisions about how DCFS will manage its severe cuts totaling more than $461 million. At this moment, DCFS intends to notify private agencies within the next few days of the intended cuts. Among the cuts being considered are:

  • 50:1 worker-to-foster child caseload ratios in foster care (15:1 current ratio; 25:1 federal BH consent decree limit)
  • 50% reduction in cost of care reimbursements for 9,000 foster parents
  • 18% reductions in foster children residential rates
  • Drastic reductions or complete elimination of support and ancillary services.

There is no agreement between or among legislators and the Governor’s office about the problem, or its solution. There remains a disparity of opinions among legislators, and shows that it will continue to be an uphill struggle to convince lawmakers of the need for an income tax increase to avoid cuts.

However, CCAI must continue to press on, even with this grim picture. Over the next 2 weeks, CCAI is organizing press conferences in conjunction with our member agencies. The CCAI Policy Committee is working with us to advise and assist in the organization of the press conferences.  We need to highlight and engage those service recipients who will be hurt by the anticipated DCFS cuts as participants in the press conferences.  Because it is difficult for us to use children in care, we will be asking foster parents to help us with this task. The overall goal is to publicize the overwhelming difficulties across the DCFS system if cuts are made.

We also urge you as a CCAI member to stay committed to working with your legislators to continue to let them know about the specific impacts of the cuts to the children and families you serve.  We also need our member agencies to stay committed to working with each other as an association. Even in the doomsday climate there are some bright spots.

We will be celebrating our current legislative successes during our Annual Meeting on June 24 by recognizing some legislators who have been supportive of our issues.  Although this will be a very tough storm, we know by staying together that we will weather that storm.

Please call us if you have any questions.

Marge Berglind
President
Child Care Association of Illinois
Phone: 217-528-4409 x 7007
Fax: 217-528-6498

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Explore posts in the same categories: Governor Pat Quinn, Illinois Budget, Illinois foster parents, Illinois Residential Foster Care

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