Legislators Stand By DCFS Budget Cuts

Governor Pat Quinn says the budget legislators approved for the state’s child welfare agency is ” not acceptable.” But lawmakers defend their decision. Amanda Vinicky reports.

The Department of Children and Family Services is sounding warnings about the consequences of an 85 million dollar budget cut.

“Very important work that protects children and prevents them from having to enter foster care, such as child abuse prevention, such as serving families that are still together, still intact, may have to be significantly reduced, nearly eliminated in order of us to meet this server budget cut from the General Assembly,” DCFS spokesman Kendall Marlowe said.

Marlowe said the reduction means 12% of the agency’s employees could be laid off. The Governor says he’s unhappy with the cuts, and hinted that he’ll do something to try to prevent them when he acts on the budget later this month.

But legislators on the House committee in charge of funding for human services stand by the reductions. Democratic Representative Sara Feigenholtz of Chicago, who chairs the panel, says legislators protected services directly affecting children. But she says they cut personnel funding after learning the agency gave its employees what she called “significant” raises.
“It was a little disappointing to some of our committee members who vocalized that the department needs to restructure its priorities. There were a lot of very unhappy committee members,” Feigenholtz said.

DCFS says it had no choice because the raises were contractually guaranteed, but Quinn has made the opposite argument in court, after last summer cancelling raises guaranteed to employees of other state agencies.

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5 Responses to Legislators Stand By DCFS Budget Cuts

  1. AND you are correct, David! Fixing that now. My apologies.

  2. Mary Conley says:

    Didn’t Marlowe just get a huge raise as part of the proposed reorganization of DCFS by its latest director. DCFS is not an investment bank but newly appointed director Calica and his favored executives, several of whom got raises in the 30 to 40 percent range as recently as last month, are sure acting like is. And we, the taxpayers, are the happy “investors.”,

  3. Roy Harley says:

    Such a substantial cut in child protective services will have serious long term consequences for families and children which wil be costly both financially and socially for the state. Similar deep cuts in the Illinois State Board of Education and in Department of Human Services will have similar unfortunate long term consequences.

  4. Christina says:

    But its acceptable to cut medicaid for children on vents and put them in ICUs around the state costing IL 3x as much. Its acceptable to cut prescription benefits for 200,000 seniors. Or medical benefits for 150,000 working IL residents.

  5. Mary Conley says:

    I didn’t think that DCFS could cut its contractually agreed upon raises for union staff. Quinn, as governor, presumably could have done so, but he didn’t, although he cut other agencies this year.. But DCFS went overboard in awarding 30 and 40 percent raises to executive staffers favored by the director and in hiring overpriced contractors. This is what the Legislature should be looking at. We’re talking total compensation (including health insurance and lush pension credits) of $150,00, $160,000 here. And not much to show for it, given the appalling case histories we read about in the papers frequently, in which DCFS clearly did not do its job. Quinn messed up here, but so does DCFS Executive Management–continually. . .

    Meanwhile, reporters for WUIS should look into these issues more carefully instead of accepting whatever the DCFS and guv’s office is putting out on a particular day. DCFS has a lot of things to hide. The enrichment of high level executives, many politically connected, is one of them.

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