ChildLaw Policy Institute
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.
Illinois Enters its 20th Month without a Budget – Take Action
Illinois enters its 20th month without a state budget, except for a brief six month spending plan that ended in December 2016. Illinois has a backlog of $11 billion in unpaid bills, and unless new revenue sources are identified, it likely will end the fiscal year in June 2017 with a $5.3 billion deficit.
What is the impact of this?
An eroding social service and higher education infrastructure: social service agencies, colleges and universities, and local governments and state contractors are providing services without payment and have been cutting back on services; many others are folding because they cannot operate without state dollars. A survey of service providers, commissioned last summer – when the state had been without a budget for one year) found that over one million Illinoisans had lost services due to the impasse. That number is only increasing as Illinois continues without a spending plan and budget.
Just some examples:
Redeploy Illinois, which diverts non-violent juvenile offenders from the Department of Justice into community programs (saving taxpayers millions of dollars), has been forced to cut services and reduce enrollments;
Domestic violence shelters are going unfunded;
Survivors recovering from sexual assault, families struggling with mental illness, and young people experiencing homelessness continue to lose services.
Cook County officials made cuts to critical programming, such as child support enforcement and vision and hearing screening for the needy, because they were owed tens of millions of dollars;
Many Illinois universities that floated grants for low-income students in the fall will not or cannot commit to do so for the spring.
Take Action: Contact the Governor and your legislators – by phone or email – with a simple message: Illinois needs a fully funded, year-long, responsible budget that provides sufficient revenue to stop making cuts, repairs previous damage, and makes smart investments. For contact information for the Governor and your State Senator and State Representative, https://salsa4.salsalabs.com/o/50920/getLocal.jsp.
For more information about the budget impasse and what you can do, contact Professor Anita Weinberg at firstname.lastname@example.org.