Posted tagged ‘Senate Minority Leader Christine Radogno’

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

Quinn Doomsday Budget Will Doom Care for Abused and Neglected Children, Feigenholtz and Trotter Need to Rally Madigan, Cullerton

May 21, 2009

(Springfield, IL)Governor Pat Quinn’s recent doomsday budget announcement offered no detail on the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services or on the child service budget lines within the Department of Human Services.

But we can offer an educated guess: a budgetary bloodbath.

Governor Pat Quinn

Governor Pat Quinn

At DCFS, if Quinn’s average 37% cut is applied across the board, its budget would end up at about $850 million—almost $500 million less than currently budgeted.

Last year, when DCFS weighed $75 million in cuts, those cuts would have eliminated 40% of system of care, threatening to explode caseloads.

Quinn is now talking almost 7 times that much.

The Child Care Association of Illinois would anticipate if that degree of cut was made, all child caseloads would have to be increased to the maximum allowed by consent decrees (20 for foster care) plus more in caseloads that are not subject to consent decree.

Under those conditions, the abuse and neglect suffered by children would simply be committed by the state of Illinois.

All programs with minimal or no federal funding stream would be cut—much of the family preservation line, certain counseling, quite a bit of training would be gone. Even with that amount cut, DCFS could not achieve the budget reduction goal. DCFS would need to decrease private agency rates too.

On the DHS side, Community Health and Prevention Division would decrease from $237 million to $149 million—a loss of $88 million. Some of the budget lines are so small they could not absorb a 37% reduction and still be viable. They would just be eliminated. If the private youth services agencies thought 10% would be the end of the program, a 37% cut would be unfathomable.

The Department of Juvenile Justice has not much to cut, unless they eliminate entire wings of facilities. If they eliminate all aftercare, they still would not make their budget cut share.

Juveniles would be released from corrections with no aftercare services, although it is unsure how much leeway Governor Quinn has on releasing either juveniles or adults who have been duly sentenced to specific timeframes under the law.

For the Illinois State Board of Education, we cannot even predict how they would cut. Another budgetary bloodletting.

The Chairs of the House and Senate Human Services Appropriations committee—State Representative Sara Feigenholtz and State Senator Donne Trotter—need to communicate to House Speaker Michael Madigan, House Minority Leader Tom Cross, Senate President John Cullerton, and Senate Minority Leader Christine Radogno that state human service agencies and the vulnerable citizens they would cease to exist in any recognizable form after such budgetary ax swings.

The members of Senate Appropriations Committee—Jeff Schoenberg, Jacqueline Collins, William Delgado, Mattie Hunter, Mike Jacobs, Emil Jones, Matt Murphy, Pam Althoff, Tim Bivins, Chris Lauzen and Dave Syverson as well as the House members Harry Osterman, Rosemary Mulligan, Patricia Bellock, Beth Coulson, Keith Farnham, Jehan Gordon, Deborah Graham, Elizabeth Hernandez, Eddie Jackson, David Leitch, Deborah Mell, Kathy Ryg, Angelo Saviano, Tim Schmitz, Darlene Senger, Ron Stephens, Mark Walker, and Eddie Washington—need to deliver the same message to legislative leaders.

Voters will be watching.