ChildLaw Policy Institute
ChildLaw Policy Institute Overview
The Civitas ChildLaw Center’s Policy Institute seeks to improve the lives of children and families in Illinois through systems reform and legislative advocacy. The Policy Institute develops and promotes child-centered laws, policies and practices, and builds coalitions and partnerships to improve the functioning of the legal, social welfare, juvenile justice, health care and other systems that impact underrepresented children and families. Policy Institute faculty promote the increased use of interdisciplinary collaboration, public-private partnerships, and child development principles in fashioning policies relating to children and families. In addition, the Institute serves as a resource for lawyers, judges, legislators, public officials, child welfare specialists, health professionals, educators, social scientists, and others.
16 Months – Illinois Still Without a Budget: The Current Landscape
After spending the entirety of fiscal year 2016 without a budget, Illinois now is in its fourteenth month without a resolution. The harm is widespread, but elimination of programs or cuts in services especially impact underserved and underrepresented children, families, the elderly and the disabled.
These cuts include community-based youth crisis interventions, programs to reduce incarceration of youth, services to homeless youth, programs for healthy pregnancies and babies, teen pregnancy prevention and services for teen parents, developmental therapies for children under four years of age, home visiting programs, child care assistance, after school programs, violence protection for families with young children, sexual assault services and prevention programs, substance abuse treatment and prevention programs, and aid to public colleges and universities and student grants.
Illinois’ current appropriation for human services:
At the end of June, Illinois lawmakers passed, and Governor Rauner signed, a “stopgap” spending measure intended to pay human service providers for some of their expenses over the last fiscal year and to fund some services for the first six months of this fiscal year. This stopgap measure, however, only covers 65% of needed funds for that 18-month period (July 1, 2015 – December 31, 2016), and it is still unclear which agencies will be paid, how much, or when. This appropriation is neither responsible, nor sufficient:
- It fails to cover the expenses of service providers.
- It fails to provide the certainty service providers need to effectively provide services.
- It fails to repair the short and long-term damage the budget impasse is causing the state of Illinois.
For more details about the “stopgap” measure, see http://www.responsiblebudget.org/.
Litigation: Plaintiffs in a lawsuit against the State are deciding whether or not to appeal a decision entered August 31 by Judge Rodolfo Garcia of the Chancery Division of the Circuit Court of Cook County. Judge Garcia dismissed a lawsuit brought by 97 Illinois-based human and social services agencies seeking payment of more than $100 million for work already undertaken. The lawsuit alleged in part that the Governor and other state officials acted illegally by failing to make payments on contracts while continuing to enforce them. In his decision dismissing the case because it was in the wrong venue, Judge Garcia urged the plaintiffs to appeal to a higher court. For more information on the litigation, go to http://www.paynowillinois.org/legalAction.html.
Legislation: Advocates are working to ensure the General Assembly overrides Governor Rauner’s August 26 amendatory veto of the Social Services Contract Act, Link to Social Services Contract Act http://ilga.gov/legislation/99/HB/PDF/09900HB0581lv.pdf
a bill that would have required the State give non-profit agencies delivering state services 30 days’ notice before a contract can be reduced or ended. Under current law, the state can eliminate services without notice to the service provider. This not only causes turmoil for families and communities when services are abruptly ended, but creates chaos for the service providers trying to responsibly run an agency. The Act would also have required 120 days’ notice to the General Assembly, allowing the legislature and Governor to work collaboratively to possibly reallocate resources. The General Assembly will consider the bill during its veto session in November.
Follow our updates and Action Alerts on Illinois’ state budget crisis and its impact on children and families on the Civitas ChildLaw Center’s website.
Contact Professor Anita Weinberg at firstname.lastname@example.org if you’d like more information.