Archive for April 2010

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

April 27, 2010

Governor Pat Quinn

(Springfield, IL) – Governor Pat Quinn’s budget proposal that slashes additional $4.1 million from Illinois child welfare agencies serving troubled Illinois teenagers will undermine care and after school programs for at least 17,000 children, according to advocates today who appeared at an Illinois Senate panel hearing.

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

According to Berglind’s analysis of Quinn’s budget under the Illinois Department of Human Services, headed by Secretary Michelle Saddler, Early Intervention, Homeless Youth, Healthy Families, Parents Too Soon, Redeploy Illinois, Teen REACH, Teen Parent Services, and UDIS were reduced 10% this year and 20% in the last two state budgets.

“The Governor is gutting these after school and supplemental school programs year after year after year with brutal cuts totaling 30%,” said Berglind. “Shrinking these supportive school programs is an invitation to a graduation rate collapse.”

Berglind made her comments as the Illinois State Senate Humans Services Appropriations Committee today took budget testimony at its hearing from youth service advocates.  Senate Committee members include: Chairman Donne Trotter (D), Jeff Schoenberg (D), Jacqueline Collins (D), William Delgado (D), Mattie Hunter (D), Mike Jacobs (D), Emil Jones, III (D), Matt Murphy (R), Pamela Althoff (R), Tim Bivins (R), Chris Lauzen (R), Dave Syverson (R).

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 budget, 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.

Illinois House Sends Gov. Pat Quinn Lyons-Kotowski Bill to Secure $17 Million from Federal Government for Illinois Foster Care

April 22, 2010

State Rep. Joe Lyons

(Springfield, IL) — April 22, 2010. The Illinois House today unanimously approved a bill that would enable the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services to capture an additional $17 million from the federal government to help pay for Illinois foster children care.

The House backed the legislation, Senate Bill 3420, sponsored by State Rep. Joe Lyons (D-Chicago) and State Senator Dan Kotowski (D-Park Ridge), 113-0.

“The economic crisis has undermined a DCFS fund that pays for care of abused and neglected children and it can no longer generate enough money to sustain current spending,” said Marge Berglind, President of Child Care Association of Illinois.

“The legislation will cost the state nothing. All the new money would come from the federal government.”

DCFS has asked private child welfare agencies to voluntarily convert foster care and counseling services into Medicaid-claimable programs.

In addition to Lyons, House sponsors include: Naomi Jakobsson (D), Sara Feigenholtz (D), Pat Verschoore (D), Jehan Gordon (D), David Leitch (D), Paul Froehlich (D), LaShawn Ford (D) and Tom Holbrook (D).

The measure now goes to Governor Pat Quinn for consideration.

Rep. Sara Feigenholtz Bill to Grant Illinois Adult Adoptees Original Birth Certificate Heads to Gov. Pat Quinn’s Desk

April 22, 2010

State Rep. Sara Feigenholtz

(Springfield, IL) – April 22, 2010. The Illinois Senate yesterday approved legislation that would enable adult adoptees to secure their original birth certificates unless the birth parents object.

Following on the heels of Illinois House passage last week, the Senate approved the plan 36-16. The legislation, House Bill 5428, sponsored by State Rep. Sara Feigenholtz (D-Chicago), now goes to Governor Pat Quinn, who is expected to sign the legislation.

With Quinn’s signature, the law will take effect in November 2011.

In the meantime, a yearlong informational campaign will alert birth parents that their names would become available to their adopted children, 21 and older, unless they file a formal denial form.

Sen. A.J. Wilhelmi (D-Crest Hill) served as the chief Senate sponsor. Other Senate sponsors included Democrats: Ira Silverstein, Iris Martinez, William Delgado, Mattie Hunter and Donne Trotter.

Feigenholtz, an adoptee who has met her birth mother and labored for more than a decade in the legislature to advance the cause of adoptee rights, said the current system of birth certificate denial to adults, such as herself, is wrong and birth-parent anonymity was relic from generation that sought to hide out-of-wedlock births and adoptions due to stigma.

“Times change,” said Feigenholtz. “Adopted families have to close the book on the stigma.”

Other House sponsors included Democrats: Naomi Jakobsson, Chuck Jefferson, Carol Sente, Karen Yarbrough, Esther Golar, Susana Mendoza, Elaine Nekritz, Julie Hamos, Eddie Jackson, Bob Rita, Mike Smith, Monique Davis, Deborah Mell, Dan Burke, Karen May, Cynthia Soto and Eddie Washington. Republican  Angelo “Skip” Saviano was also a House sponsor.

The Child Care Association of Illinois backed Feigenholtz’s bill.

Illinois House Panel Advances Rep. Joe Lyon’s Bill to Win $17 Million from Feds for Illinois Foster Children Care

April 14, 2010

State Rep. Joe Lyons

(Springfield, IL) — April 14, 2010. An Illinois House panel today unanimously approved a bill that would enable the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services to capture an additional $17 million from the federal government to help pay for Illinois foster children care.

The House Human Services Committee backed the legislation, Senate Bill 3420, sponsored by State Rep. Joe Lyons (D-Chicago) by a 7-0 bi-partisan vote. Committee members include: Naomi Jakobsson (D), Connie Howard (D), Patty Bellock (R), Sandy Cole (R), Annazette Collins (D), Mary Flowers (D), and Tim Schmitz (R).

“The economic crisis has undermined a DCFS fund that pays for care of abused and neglected children and it can no longer generate enough money to sustain current spending,” said Marge Berglind, President of Child Care Association of Illinois.

“The legislation will cost the state nothing. All the new money would come from the federal government.”

DCFS has asked private child welfare agencies to voluntarily convert foster care and counseling services into Medicaid-claimable programs.

In addition to Lyons, House sponsors include: Naomi Jakobsson (D), Sara Feigenholtz (D), Pat Verschoore (D), Jehan Gordon (D), David Leitch (D), Paul Froehlich (D), LaShawn Ford (D) and Tom Holbrook (D).

The legislation now moves to consideration by the full House.