Tension Mounts For Social Service Providers As Illinois Budget Deal Collapses

(CBS) – It’s nail-biting time again for those who care for the most vulnerable in Illinois.

Movement toward a  “grand bargain” budget compromise in Spingfield has collapsed. That leaves social service agencies once again facing uncertain funding.

CBS 2 Political Reporter Derrick Blakley reports on who’s getting hurt.

The Children’s Place Association provides early-childhood education for 78 kids from low-income families with unique medical and emotional needs. State funding of $400,000 helps provide a full-time nurse, counselling and support.

“Those are the most vulnerable kids in Illinois, and to cut off services for them is just unconscionable,” President and CEO Cathy Krieger says.

Future funding for Children’s Place and dozens of other service agencies is once again in question, after a state budget compromise collapsed, again, in the Illinois Senate.

“This two years without a budget is really taking a toll on the human services and non-profit sector and on the clients we serve,” says Theresa Nihill of Metropolitan Family Services.

For 160 years, the agency has assisted immigrants and the needy, as well as providing pioneering legal services for the poor. But it had to close an early-childhood education center for 60 children when state funding evaporated.

“That’s 60 families paying who are taxes in this state who don’t have the supports they need to continue working,” Nihill says.

Without a new budget deal, funding will run out in June, when the current “stopgap” budget expires.

Kreiger’s advice to elected state leaders: “Figure something out. Because this has gone on a long time.”

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