Loyola University Chicago

Civitas ChildLaw Center

School of Law

ChildLaw Policy Institute

9 Months without an Illinois State Budget – Action Needed

Even as the General Assembly begins to debate a budget for fiscal year 2017, lawmakers have not agreed to a budget for this fiscal year, which ends June 30, 2016.  The harm is widespread, but elimination of programs or cuts in services especially impact underserved and underrepresented children, families, the elderly and the disabled. 

Organizations are folding, others are cutting staff.  The impact of these cuts include: programs for healthy pregnancies and babies, services for teen pregnancy prevention and for teen parents,  developmental therapies for children under four, home visiting programs, child care assistance, after school programs, violence protection for families with young children, community-based youth crisis interventions, programs to reduce incarceration of youth, sexual assault services and prevention, substance abuse treatment and prevention programs, aid to public colleges and universities and student grants, services for homeless youth. 

Recent examples of specific program cuts that provided life supports for struggling children and families include:

-         Metropolitan Family Services in Chicago eliminated services for 80 mothers and infants;

-         9,600 children statewide, previously eligible for child care subsidies, are not able to access quality child care

-         Children’s Home + Aid suspended state-mandated 24-hour crisis services, cutting off crisis intervention services for runaways in Englewood and West Englewood;

-         Thirty-three counties can no longer serve youth through cost-effective programs that divert youth away from costly incarceration;

-         After school programs serving 14,000 teens statewide are eliminated;

-         Rape crisis centers are turning away thousands of victims of sexual violence who need advocacy and counseling;

-         Statewide over 900 individuals have been cut from substance abuse treatment programs because of cuts by Lutheran Social Services;

-         Haymarket Center in Chicago can no longer provide its detoxification program, which last year served 903 people;

-         Wells Center in Jacksonville no longer provides medically supervised alcohol and drug detoxification services; last year 360 people were served by its program;

-         An estimated 47,000 individuals statewide have been denied services or received reduced substance abuse and prevention services as a result of no payments being made for non-Medicaid patients;

-         Over 14,500 units of affordable housing are not being made available.

The list goes on.  For details about these cuts and to learn about others, see the March 2016 Issue Brief Update by Voices for Illinois Children. 

What You Can Do NOW:

- Register now for March 7th webinar. Get involved in challenging the current budget impasse in Illinois that is impacting our entire state, and especially underserved and underrepresented children and families.  The Responsible Budget Coalition (RBC) is offering a webinar on Monday, March 7 from noon – 1 pm to help folks understand the current budget impasse and Governor Rauner’s budget proposal for the next fiscal year, which begins July 1, 2016.  The webinar is intended to empower individuals with useful information and tools in order to be able to take action.  If you are not available on March 7, the RBC will be holding these webinars monthly to provide updates on the impact of the impasse and any movement toward a budget. 

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

- These devastating cuts were preventable.  They are a result of lawmakers’ failure to prevent 25% in income tax cuts from taking effect in January 2015.  Since then, the state has lost an estimated $5 billion in annual revenue.  Contact your legislators and the Governor. Tell them the revenue needs to be restored and Illinois needs a fully funded, year-long budget.  

- The RBC has endorsed H.R. 922, the Responsible Budget Resolution.  H.R. 922 calls on the General Assembly to modernize and reform our tax code in order to raise the revenue necessary to invest in families, communities, and the economy. Click here to learn more about the H.R. 922. The link allows you to download a fact sheet and the full-text of the resolution.

- 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:

See Voices for Illinois Children’s Fiscal Policy Center March 2016 Issue Brief. Update for a detailed breakdown on services being cut or eliminated. 

The Responsible Budget Coalition produced a one-page fact sheet on the harm being done to Illinois due to the budget impasse.  

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 parts of state government and social services continue to operate due to court orders, federal pass through funding, and piecemeal legislation, the devastation of the budget impasse is being felt across the state, dismantling critical services, and will take years to repair.

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.