Governor Pat Quinn’s Budget Jeopardizes 24-Hour Crisis Intervention, Mental Health Care, After School, Special Ed for 17,000 Troubled Teens

Governor Pat Quinn

(Springfield, IL) – March 5, 2010. Governor Pat Quinn’s budget proposal that slashes $20 million from Illinois child welfare agencies serving troubled Illinois teenagers—on top of a $20 million cut last year—will undermine care and after school programs to at least 17,000 children, according to advocates.

“Governor Pat Quinn delivered a brief but a dismal budget message,” said Marge Berglind, President of the Child Care Association of Illinois. “And that message says the state will slash care to more than 17,000 troubled Illinois teenagers.”

“Governor Quinn’s proposed cuts to youth services will also eliminate approximately 1,075 professional and administrative jobs related to youth programs.”

According to Berglind’s analysis of Quinn’s budget, Early Intervention, Homeless Youth, Healthy Families, Parents Too Soon, Redeploy Illinois, Teen REACH, Teen Parent Services, and UDIS were reduced 10%.

“The Governor is gutting these after school and supplemental school programs year after year after year with brutal cuts,” said Berglind. “Shrinking these supportive school programs is an invitation to a graduation rate collapse.”

Additionally, Berglind noted that Illinois Department of Human Services officials said that 4,200 children would lose care due to Quinn’s cuts to Mental Health Community Based services.

“Eliminating mental health care for 4,200 children will likely doom their academic performance,” said Berglind.

Finally, Berglind noted that the state special education budget took a huge hit of almost $67 million in Quinn’s budget. In the this budget, which serves DCFS youth with behavioral and learning problems, the Regular Orphanage Act line is down 25.44%, the Special Ed Orphanage Act line is down 32.13% and the Private Tuition Line is down 13.78%.

“State support for special education is down, down, down the drain,” said Berglind.

“We urge the General Assembly to develop a budget that reverses the massive cuts to care, after school, and special education programs for troubled youth,” said Berglind.

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