Posted tagged ‘Illinois foster parents’

Illinois Doomsday Budget Forces Quinn to Slash 9,000 Illinois Foster Parent Subsidies 50%, Many Foster Kids to be Returned Within 90 Days

June 18, 2009

(Chicago, IL) – Nearly 50 Chicago-area foster parents gathered for a press conference at the James R. Thompson Center today to denounce Governor Pat Quinn’s reduction of Illinois foster parent expense reimbursement by 50% and to implore that the legislature find the money to reverse the cuts.

Deputy House Majority Leader Lou Lang (D-Skokie)

Deputy House Majority Leader Lou Lang (D-Skokie)

“The Illinois ‘doomsday’ budget threatened by Governor Quinn have now become our reality,” said Marge Berglind, President of the Child Care Association of Illinois, commenting on budget cuts to the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS).

“Last week, Governor Quinn ordered DCFS to move forward and cut its budget by $461million,” said Berglind. “Starting on July 1, DCFS is reducing by 50% the expense reimbursement money to the Illinois’ 9,000 foster parents and eliminate support services.”

On May 31 the Illinois General Assembly approved a new budget which cut $7 billion from a range of state programs, imposing—on average—50% reductions on many human services programs.

Lawmakers cut $460 million from the $1.3 billion DCFS budget.

Berglind estimates that within 90 days after the reduced reimbursements begin and support services are eliminated that many of the foster parents will begin to return kids to DCFS

“Many foster parents will be unable to continue to feed and clothe foster children and within 90 days or so many foster parents will, painfully, begin to return the kids,” said Berglind. “Since there will be no available beds in residential facilities, the state will likely need to deploy cots in state buildings to house and monitor the kids.”

Foster parent Gladys Boyd, 59, of Richton Park reluctantly agrees.

“It breaks my heart,” said Boyd, president of Illinois Foster Parents Association. “I love my kids and I will keep them with me as long as possible, but without the full reimbursement and the support services after more than three months, I’ll have no choice but return them to DCFS.”

“These politicians should be ashamed of themselves,” Boyd added. “Completely ashamed.”

In addition to the foster parent subsidy reductions, DCFS’ other cuts being implemented are:

  • 50:1 worker-to-child caseload ratios in foster care (15:1 is current caseload;
  • 25:1 is permitted under a federal court consent decree
  • 18% reductions in residential rates
  • Drastic reductions or complete elimination of foster parent support and ancillary services.

“The failure of the Illinois General Assembly to agree to an income tax increase to avoid the gutting of care for abused and neglected children is a disgrace,” said Berglind. “Fortunately, lawmakers, such as Deputy Majority Leader Lou Lang possess the courage and leadership to put the interests of children before politics.”

Lang voted for a temporary income tax increase to fund foster child care and other human services.

Governor Quinn and legislative leaders–House Speaker Michael Madigan, House Minority Leader Tom Cross, Senate President John Cullerton, and Senate Minority Leader Christine Radogno–continue to discuss potential budget solutions but have so far failed to reach a deal.

The legislature returns to Springfield on Tuesday, June 23 to seek a budget solution.

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

June 16, 2009

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

Illinois House Approves Berrios Bill to Boost Foster Parent Reimbursement by One-Time $24 Million Grant; Schoenberg Senate Sponsor

April 2, 2009

(Springfield, IL) – The Illinois House on Tuesday endorsed a one-time $24 million grant to reimburse foster parents for increased expenses related to caring for the state’s abused and neglected children.

State Rep. Maria "Toni" Berrios

State Rep. Maria "Toni" Berrios

The Illinois House voted 76-40 to include the money in the state’s new Fiscal Year 2010 budget.

“Foster parents have had only two increases in eight years to pay expenses to feed, clothe, house, and transport foster children and inflation has deeply eroded the value of the state reimbursement,” said Marge Berglind, the President and CEO of the Child Care Association of Illinois, the bill’s chief supporter.

Berglind noted, on average, an Illinois foster parent spends $703 per month—of that $281 comes out of the foster parent’s pocket.

A national report on foster parent under-funding released two years  ago by two national organizations and the University of Maryland said Illinois’

Deputy Majority Leader Lou Lang

Deputy Majority Leader Lou Lang

average rates (for children 2, 9, and 16) were $380, $422, and $458 per month and they needed to be raised to $661, $757, and $830 to meet actual costs.

The legislation, House Bill 83, sponsored by State Rep. Maria “Toni” Berrios (D-Chicago), provides a one-time payment this year of $24 million to the state’s 7,500 foster parents. The payments would average $145 per foster child.

“It’s an embarrassment that DCFS seeks volunteer foster parents to care for abused and neglected children and then refuses to pay the full cost of care,” said co-sp0nsor Deputy House Majority Leader Lou Lang (D-Skokie). “This one-time $24 million grant attempts to address DCFS’ negligence.”

“We applaud Representative Berrios for her leadership and willingness to address the state’s under-funding of foster care,” said Berglind.

State Representatives Sara Feigenholtz (D-Chicago), Deb Mell (D-Chicago), Cynthia Soto (D-Chicago), Luis Arroyo (D-Chicago) and Eddie Washington (D-Waukegan) are the bill’s other sponsors.

The measure now moves to the Illinois Senate under the sponsorship of State Senator Jeff Schoenberg (D-Evanston).

Senate Approves Cronin Plan to Help Foster Parents Pay for the Actual Cost of Care of Illinois Abused and Neglected Children

April 2, 2009

(Springfield, IL) – The Illinois Senate on Tuesday night voted unanimously to require the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services to review and set cost reimbursements each year for foster parent cost of care for abused and neglected children.

State Senator Dan Cronin

State Senator Dan Cronin

The Senate approved 54-0 the legislation, Senate Bill 1576, sponsored by State Senator Dan Cronin (R-Elmhurst).

According to a national 2007 national study, The Foster Care Minimum Adequate Rates for Children (MARC,) revealed Illinois lags far behind the MARC suggested rate.

“Illinois currently provides an average reimbursement of $422 per month for a 9 year-old child in traditional foster care, but the typical Illinois foster parent costs are $703 per month—a gap of $281 that foster parents pay out of pocket,” Marge Berglind, President of Child Care Association of Illinois.

Despite the gap between foster parent costs and reimbursements, DCFS still

State Rep. Greg Harris

State Rep. Greg Harris

has no plan this year to reimburse foster parents for increased food prices, even though food prices jumped 8% in 2008 and forecast to jump another 7% to 8% in 2009, according to Berglind.

“With Senator Cronin’s bill, foster children will benefit by helping to expand the pool of willing and capable foster parents who currently are deterred by the out-of-pocket expenses,” said Berglind.

The bill is co-sponsored by Senators Kirk Dillard (R-Hinsdale), Jacqueline Collins (D-Chicago), and Dan Kotowski (D-Park Ridge).

The legislation now moves to the Illinois House and State Rep. Greg Harris (D-Chicago) will be the chief sponsor.

“We are grateful to Rep. Harris for his willingness to assume sponsoring of this bill,” said Berglind. “And we are confident that his stature and legislative skill will replicate the Senate outcome in the House.”

Senate Panel Approves Cronin Plan to Help Foster Parents Pay for the Actual Cost of Care of Abused and Neglected Children

March 12, 2009

(Springfield, IL) – The Illinois Senate Human Services Committee on Wednesday endorsed a bill to require the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services to review and set cost reimbursements each year for foster parent cost of care for abused and neglected children.

State Senator Dan Cronin

State Senator Dan Cronin

The Senate Human Services Committee approved 8-0 the legislation, Senate Bill 1576, sponsored by State Senator Dan Cronin (R-Elmhurst).

According to a national 2007 national study, The Foster Care Minimum Adequate Rates for Children (MARC,) revealed Illinois lags far behind the MARC suggested rate.

“Illinois currently provides an average reimbursement of $422 per month for a 9 year-old child in traditional foster care, but the typical Illinois foster parent costs are $703 per month—a gap of $281 that foster parents pay out of pocket,” Marge Berglind, President of Child Care Association of Illinois.

Despite the gap between foster parent costs and reimbursements, DCFS still has no plan this year to reimburse foster parents for increased food prices, even though food prices jumped 8% in 2008 and forecast to jump another 7% to 8% in 2009, according to Berglind.

“With Senator Cronin’s bill, foster children will benefit by helping to expand the pool of willing and capable foster parents who currently are deterred by the out-of-pocket expenses,” said Berglind.

The bill is co-sponsored by Senators Kirk Dillard (R-Hinsdale), Jacqueline Collins (D-Chicago), and Dan Kotowski (D-Park Ridge).

The members of the Human Services Committee include Senators: Mattie Hunter, Deanna Demuzio, William Delgado, Dan Kotowski, Heather Steans, Dave Syverson, Gary Dahl, Dan Duffy, and Dale Risinger.

The legislation now moves to the full Senate.

Illinois House Panel Approves Lang Bill to Boost Foster Parent Reimbursement by One-Time $24 Million Grant

March 6, 2009

(Springfield, IL) – An Illinois House legislative panel last week endorsed a one-time $24 million grant to reimburse foster parents for increased expenses related to caring for the state’s abused and neglected children.

State Rep. Lou Lang

State Rep. Lou Lang

The Illinois House Human Services Appropriations Committee voted 19-0 to include the money in the state’s new Fiscal Year 2010 budget.

“Foster parents have had only two increases in eight years to pay expenses to feed, clothe, house, and transport foster children and inflation has deeply eroded the value of the state reimbursement,” said Marge Berglind, the President and CEO of the Child Care Association of Illinois, the bill’s chief supporter.

Berglind noted, on average, an Illinois foster parent spends $703 per month—of that $281 comes out of the foster parent’s pocket.

A national report on foster parent under-funding released two yearsa go by two national organizations and the University of Maryland said Illinois’ average rates (for children 2, 9, and 16) were $380, $422, and $458 per month and they needed to be raised to $661, $757, and $830 to meet actual costs.

The legislation, House Bill 83, sponsored by State Rep. Lou Lang (D-Skokie), provides a one-time payment this year of $24 million to the state’s 7,500 foster parents. The payments would average $145 per foster child.

“It’s an embarrassment that DCFS seeks volunteer foster parents to care for abused and neglected children and then refuses to pay the full cost of care,” said Lang. “This one-time $24 million grant attempts to address DCFS’ negligence.”

“We applaud Rep. Lang for his leadership and willingness to address the state’s under-funding of foster care,” said Berglind.

State Representatives Sara Feigenholtz (D-Chicago), Deb Mell (D-Chicago) and Eddie Washington (D-Waukegan) are the bill’s co-chief sponsors.

The measure now moves to the full House floor.

Governor Blagojevich Urged to Sign Budget Bill for Abused and Neglected Children

November 4, 2008

(Chicago, IL) — The Child Care Association today called on Governor Rod Blagojevich to sign legislation to restore $21 million to the state budget for abused and neglected children.

Marge Berglind, CEO, Child Care Association of Illinois

Marge Berglind, CEO, Child Care Association of Illinois

“Like Illinois state parks and historic sites, Department of Children and Family Services programs for abused and neglected children have their own budget cut-doomsday scenario,” said Marge Berglind, CEO, Child Care Association of Illinois.”Unlike state parks and historic sites, however, if the DCFS budget cuts go unrestored, its programs’ physical presence will shrink by 40%.”

Most DCFS Systems of Care programs run by private agencies—whose budgets were cut more than 40% by DCFS—will shrivel. This program provides critical emergency counseling, crisis intervention, and concrete supports to foster parents when the children experience trauma and behavior problems.

“Without restored funding, care to nearly 1,200 children in this program will be lost. Employees will be fired. Office space shuttered. Programs closed,” said Berglind.

In September, the Illinois Senate voted 55-0 and the House 113-0 to restore funding to maintain this care for the 1,200 abused and neglected children.

“What we also know is that without the money these children will once again be victimized—but this time by the State of Illinois,” said Berglind

Berglind is urging the Governor to approve S.B. 1103 and restore the $21,219,715 budget cuts imposed on the Department of Children and Family Services as soon as possible.