Loyola University Chicago

Civitas ChildLaw Center

School of Law

ChildLaw Policy Institute

7 Months Without an Illinois State Budget – Springfield Rally scheduled for January 27

Neither lawmakers nor advocates appear optimistic about any budget, let alone a responsible budget, before mid-year.  Organizations that meet the needs of underserved children and families are folding, others are cutting staff.   Service providers report that the impact of the budget impasse is having a disproportionate impact on women, including burdening women caregivers, decreasing sexual assault services, and increasing homelessness and poverty for women and their families.

Illinois is in its 7th month without a state budget.  Human services are being devastated.  Organizations that meet the needs of underserved children and families are folding, others are cutting staff. 

Most recently, on January 25th, Children's Home + Aid announced that beginning February 15th, it will suspend crisis intervention services for runaways and youth at risk of delinquency in Englewood and West Englewood.  The services were on track to serve an estimated 70 young people this year. 

On January 22nd, Lutheran Social Services of Illinois, the State's largest provider of social services, and founded in 1867, announced that as a direct result of the budget impasse, it is closing over 30 of its programs and eliminating more than 750 positions (43% of its total employees), which will result in approximately 4,700 people no longer receiving its services.  Programs affected include mental health counseling for children, youth, adults and families; school-based counseling and a youth emergency shelter; re-entry services for former prisoners and their families; respite services supporting veterans and their families; and residential rehabilitation for alcohol and drug treatment.  

Last month, Redeploy Illinois, a program that saves the state millions by diverting youth from incarceration in the Department of Juvenile Justice (DJJ), was shut down in 23 counties. Six additional counties are considering closing their operations. Last year, 316 youth were successfully diverted from the DJJ system.  Elimination of the program entirely would lead to a roughly 45.6% increase in the DJJ population. 

In addition, an estimated 10,000 children remain ineligible for child care due to rules instituted by Governor Rauner in July, despite that the administration restored eligibility to most families in November.   The impact of the budget impasse continues to grow.  The dire consequences become even greater each day we go without a budget:  every day we go without a budget, the less revenue is collected, the fewer dollars available to cover needed services for the remaining fiscal year, which doesn’t end until July 1.

What You Can Do NOW:

- Join the Responsible Budget Coalition (RBC) at a rally in Springfield on January 27 at 11 a.m. to protest the budget impasse and call for a responsible budget that responds to the human service needs in our State.  The RBC is planning a State of the People rally in response to Governor Rauner’s State of the State address the same day.  The start of the legislative session – mid–January – is a critical time to gather and be heard as a collective voice about the harms being caused by the budget cuts. If interested in joining the Legislation and Policy Clinic in Springfield on the 27th, contact Professor Weinberg at aweinbe@luc.edu or 312-915-6482.

- Consider reaching out to your legislators and meeting with them to discuss your concerns. See Talking Points and a Lobbying Guide prepared by the Responsible Budget Coalition.  Remind lawmakers that Illinois has been without a budget for almost 200 days.  This length of time is unprecedented for the state.  Tell them that human services require revenue.  Tell them you want a state budget that includes revenue to support the underserved, including children and families.  Tell them this is a top priority and other agendas should not hold up revenue for human services.

- If you represent an organization, join the Responsible Budget Coalition.

- 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 aweinbe@luc.edu if you’d like more information.

Recent Reports Related to the Budget Cuts:

In December, the Responsible Budget Coalition released a new report detailing how services cut as a result of the budget impasse disproportionately impacts women. The report identifies programs that are being severly underfunded because of the failure to pass a budget with adequate revenue, including programs that promote access to higher education for women, assist single working mothers with expensive childcare costs, and ensure the safety and independence of survivors of sexual violence.  Read the full analysis at http://bit.ly/1YliV9g.

Background:  As of July 1 Illinois stopped funding vital services for children, families, and communities because Illinois legislators and Governor Rauner could not agree on a budget that would support essential services.  While significant parts of state government continue to operate through legal mandates, appropriations and court orders, community-based services remain in limbo with critical services being reduced or not delivered, including child care, domestic violence services, mental health services, and homeless youth services.   Jobs are being eliminated.  Some agencies have had to close their doors.

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.