The Illinois General Assembly is in session this week, and they’re looking at actually putting more than $900 million back into the budget, a small piece of it intended for the Department of Children and Family Services. In a bill sponsored by House Majority Leader Barbara Flynn Currie (D-Chicago),
nearly $25 million would go to the Department of Children and Family Services [DCFS]. The agency’s budget had been reduced by nearly $90 million.
The increase would allow the agency to avoid deep layoffs that had threatened Director Richard Calica’s reorganization plan, agency spokesman Dave Clarkin said. The ongoing child welfare department shuffle includes shoring up the critical frontline with 138 additional child-protection investigators, reducing middle-management positions and deploying recruitment specialists across the state to help move children more quickly out of the foster care system and into permanent homes.
The Tribune has reported staggering DCFS worker caseloads, overdue investigations, a clogged child abuse hot line, untimely day care inspections and troubling child deaths that raised questions about whether more could have been done to intervene.
“Troubling child deaths…”.
If you live in Illinois, you can help by calling your state representatives to tell them you want to see the DCFS budget restored — and if you don’t know who your state representatives are, or what district you’re in (which I’d say is a pretty regular occurrence at the state level) you can call 217-782-4141 to find out. (Plus which: State legislators get a lot fewer calls than their national counterparts do – your call has an even bigger impact when you’re calling downstate). (Or upstate. You know).
- DCFS Report: Illinois Child Deaths Skyrocket in 2012
- “Twenty-two of the of the neglect and abuse deaths were homicides.” – WBEZ report
- Illinois General Assembly’s homepage
Please, please: Call.