Illinois Lawmakers Preserve “Essential” Funding for Abused and Neglected Children Care

(Springfield, IL) – May 13, 2011. Coming on the heels of Illinois Senate budget action last week, the Illinois House today approved its version of state human service budgets, preserving core Illinois Department of Children and Family Services funding, according to the state’s top child welfare advocate group.

The House Human Services Appropriations Committee, chaired by State Rep. Sara Feigenholtz (D-Chicago), reduces the DCFS budget below the Senate’s levels, but preserves “essential” funding, according to Margaret Berglind, President of the Child Care Association of Illinois.

The House today approved, 83-25, the committee budget plan.

“Both the House and Senate have responded to our advocacy to assure essential services for DCFS wards are provided,” said Berglind. “We appreciate Rep. Feigenholtz and Senator Heather Steans’ leadership.”

Berglind noted, however, there is still some concern in the House version.

“Clinical services are cut 65%,” said Berglind. “These are services such as Integrated Assessment and Child and Youth Investment Teams that are critical to making foster care or high-end residential placement decisions.”

Other smaller reductions in areas such as counseling, residential treatment and foster care could be managed by DCFS internally, Berglind claimed.

“As long as DCFS understands that there should be no decrease to direct care,” Berglind said.

The House budget plan, House Bill 3717, reduces foster care by 1.5%, residential .63%, adoptions or guardianships .7%, and counseling 1.5%.

“Though the budget-making is far from over, we are cautiously optimistic at this point,” said Berglind.

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