BLOOMINGTON — As the General Assembly and the governor reached the end of the legislative session Wednesday without a state budget for the third consecutive year, weary Central Illinois human services professionals braced for more cuts and cut loose on legislators and the governor.
"The situation is one of egregious negligence by the Legislature and governors for years," Tim Glancy of Center for Youth and Family Solutions told The Pantagraph. "Everybody is at fault.
"The inability to reach a productive, long-term solution for the state budget is the product of destructive political posturing for decades."
House Speaker Michael Madigan, D-Chicago, said there would be no vote on a Senate-passed budget proposal by the 12:01 a.m. Thursday deadline, but he added compromise remained possible before the July 1 start of the fiscal year.
"Our leaders should not be allowed to leave Springfield until they reach a solution," continued Glancy, whose agency is owed $1.1 million for services in 37 Central Illinois counties. "When we have an emergency call in the middle of the night for an abused child in crisis, we respond. ...The leaders of Illinois have also accepted their duty and they do not have a choice either."
Lisa Pieper of Children's Home + Aid, whose Healthy Start and Butterfly Project programs have been reduced, resulting in staff cuts and fewer people served, said, "It is inconceivable to me that the same people constitutionally charged with protecting and serving the citizens of Illinois have allowed this debacle to continue for 700 days."
Numerous McLean County human services agencies have made cuts because there's no state budget, meaning the agencies are being paid late, less or not at all.
The Baby Fold is owed $911,332 by the state, about half for residents of its residential treatment center and half for adoption preservation services for adoptive families of children impacted by trauma and mental illness, said The Baby Fold's Dianne Schultz.
The Baby Fold announced last week it will close its residential treatment center June 30, affecting 14 children and 43 full- and part-time employees.
"The system of care for children, youth and families continues to be deeply eroded by lack of funding from the state" for services they are obligated to pay based on contracts they have signed with service providers, Schultz said.
YWCA McLean County is owed $400,000 and recently laid off four full-time employees, meaning 13 employees have been let go since the budget stalemate began, said YWCA's D. Dontae Latson.
YWCA recently placed a cap on the number of clients served through Home Care Services and reduced Medivan transportation service days from six to three, Latson said.
"In the past 22 months without a budget we have used our reserve funds to fill gaps and can no longer continue such a pattern," Latson said. "We are operating on a shoestring budget and the only direction left to go is to cut more services and more jobs."
"The polarization we see in our state Capitol and the inability for our elected officials to come to a fair and equitable agreement is disgraceful," Latson said.
LIFE Center for Independent Living is owed $123,170, has not filled vacant staff positions, discontinued educational advocacy services and asked some consumers to wait for services, said LIFE-CIL's Gail Kear.
"A strong and effective human services network saves lives ... and ultimately saves the state a great deal of money by reducing the need for higher-cost services down the road," Kear said.
Collaborative Solutions Institute is owed $29,900, has received no state money for 11 months, has not replaced two employees who left and reduced hours of a domestic violence offender counselor, said Cheryl Gaines.
"Those that have mental illness, are dealing with trauma, are unsafe in their homes etc. are those who are suffering due to fewer services available everywhere," Gaines said.