Proposed State of Illinois Budget Jeopardizes Human and Health Services for Thousands of Chicago's Neediest Residents
July 2, 2009 - Today, the Chicago Department of Family and Support Services (DFSS) and the Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH) joined local health and social service providers at the Garfield Community Service Center, 10 S. Kedzie Avenue, Chicago, to address the proposed State budget cuts and the potentially devastating effect on Chicago's health and human service delivery systems. Together, City officials and community-based service providers will call on the General Assembly to examine other ways to prepare the State budget in a manner that does not weaken the delivery of services depended upon by so many in Chicago.
The Chicago Department of Family and Support Services, which provides a range of direct and indirect services to Chicago's vulnerable residents, may lose up to 17 percent in State funding to areas including child care, juvenile justice intervention programming, homeless services, domestic violence services and senior services.
"During a time when a growing number of Chicagoans are dependent on the support of our human service safety net, it is critical that the General Assembly make it a priority to maintain our levels of service,¨ said Mary Ellen Caron, Commissioner, Chicago Department of Family and Support Services. "These cuts do not only threaten the well-being of our residents, but the stabilization of families and the communities in which they reside.¨
Affected human service programs as administered by the Chicago Department of Family and Support Services and its network of approximately 350 community-based human service providers include:
Child Care Assistance Program: Proposed $4.5 million, or 11 percent, reduction in funding will eliminate child care for 900 children from low-income working families immediately and jeopardize child care to tens of thousands more by January 2010.
Child Care Reimbursement Program: Proposed $2.2 million, or 100 percent, reduction in funding will eliminate child care for children with special needs.
Juvenile Intervention Support Center: Proposed $674,000, or 100 percent, reduction in funding will eliminate juvenile justice system diversion programming for 350 non-violent youth.
Homeless Service: Proposed $2.5 million, or 54 percent, reduction in funding will eliminate the availability of 300 shelter beds citywide.
Red Tape Cutters: Proposed $603,000 or 100 percent, reduction in funding will eliminate programming which helps 11,000 seniors gain access to benefits.
Circuit Breaker: Proposed $573,000, or 100 percent, reduction in funding will eliminate program for seniors and the disabled which helps 11,000 with State benefits - tax, prescription drugs, insurance, etc.
Domestic Violence Help Line: Proposed $20,000, or 10 percent, reduction in funding will reduce help line services.
State Match for Area Plan: Proposed $2.1 million, or 50 percent, reduction in funding will eliminate and reduce homecare services for seniors, transportation to life-sustaining treatments, home delivered meals and respite care for seniors.
The Chicago Department of Public Health, which provides direct health services to thousands of Chicagoans and which protects all Chicagoans (and millions of others who work in and visit the city every year) from outbreaks of disease, may lose roughly 27 percent in State funding to vital services such as mental health, vaccinations for infants and young children and medical care for people infected with sexually transmitted diseases.
"When it comes to public health, the General Assembly's proposed budget is a prescription for disaster---in Chicago, in the suburbs, and statewide," stated CDPH Commissioner Terry Mason, M.D., Chicago's Health Commissioner, "I call upon the members of the General Assembly---Democrats and Republicans alike---to work with the Governor, re-think these cuts and come up with a budget that enables us to protect the public health.¨
CDPH services that will be reduced by the proposed FY 2010 state budget cut of $8.5 million include:
Food Safety Inspections: There will be 5,700 fewer inspections of restaurants, grocery stores, bakeries, delicatessens, school cafeterias, wholesale operations and food processing plants.
Infectious Disease Control: There will be 8,000 fewer case investigations of such dangerous diseases as salmonella, e.coli, hepatitis, meningitis, rabies, MRSA and influenza (including swine flu).
Sexually Transmitted Disease Control: CDPH anticipates providing 6,000 fewer clinic visits to treat Chicagoans infected with syphilis, gonorrhea, Chlamydia and other sexually transmitted diseases.
Child Vaccinations: There will be 5,000 fewer vaccinations of infants and young children against such dangerous diseases as measles, mumps, rubella, polio, diphtheria, tetanus, whooping cough, meningitis, polio and more.
Mental Health: CDPH anticipates a reduction of 3,100 visits to its mental health clinics that serve Chicagoans with chronic mental illnesses.
Lead Poisoning: There will be over 1,100 children not screened for lead poisoning, and over 5,700 fewer homes inspected for lead hazards.
Cancer Detection and Prevention: CDPH anticipates providing 1,200 mammograms and 250 fewer screenings for cervical cancer.
Addictions Treatment and Violence Prevention: There will be fewer treatment slots available to Chicagoans in need of substance abuse recovery services, and there will be fewer resources to prevent cancer by preventing tobacco addiction.
The Chicago Department of Family and Support Services is dedicated to supporting a continuum of coordinated services to enhance the lives of Chicago residents, particularly those most in need, from birth through the senior years. For more information about DFSS, call 312.743.0300 or visit www.chicago.gov/fss.