House Calls Herald 02 - June 2009, Emergency Edition

Proposed Funding Cuts Could Have a Devastating Impact on Our Children Greetings! Chances are, you've heard about the Illinois State budget problems. You've heard about how the current proposed budget significantly cuts services to the neediest members of our society by fifty percent. What you haven't heard about is my phone call to a foster parent yesterday. I called this dad to warn him against fulfilling his greatest wish, and the wish of his foster son, to formally, legally establish their forever relationship through the "subsidized guardianship" process. I cautioned him against it because I was told on Thursday by the Director of the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services (IDCFS), Erwin McEwen, that if the "fifty percent" budget currently being debated in Springfield passes, ALL the services to his foster son would be eliminated once the permanency process is completed. These are the services which kept his foster son in his home rather than sending him to residential placement over two years ago when DCFS administrators strongly advocated for the residential placement. These are the services that two years ago cost only $240 per week compared to over $240 a day for residential care - a savings of at least $75,000.00 a year. The services would only cost IDCFS and the State under $10,000 a year if this family achieved permanency and IDCFS paid for the services. But, perhaps you haven't heard, or realized, that if these services are cut, the professionals who provide the services will lose their jobs. Director McEwen suggested that 150,000 professionals around the state will lose their jobs. That would be 150,000 fewer middle-class individuals contributing to the tax base each year. And that suggests that with less revenue for the state, additional cuts may be necessary due to a shrinking tax base. I'm told it may have been over ten years since there has been revenue-generating legislation in our state, except for the riverboat casinos. Even if we "forget" about the neediest of our society who will lose the services that may keep them out of the expensive Department of Corrections and psychiatric hospitals, are we really going to gamble with losing the tax revenue of the professionals who provide the care to them? And, of course, we at House Calls Counseling can't forget the neediest of our society because we are fiercely committed to improving their lives. So please, do your part, come to one of the upcoming rallies, call your legislators, send e-mails, and talk with your neighbors, asking them to do the same. Sincerely, William S. Kaplan, LCSW President & Clinical Director
Monday June 29th: Candle Light Vigils Across Illinois! people_candlelight_vigilBring your flashlight, wear black, and speak out on behalf of clients directly impacted by the current state budget crisis. Locations: Chicago 8pm - 10:30pm at the Thompson Center, 100 W. Randolph Carbondale 7pm - 10pm at the public square, corner of Illinois and Main St. Champaign 7pm - 10pm at West Side Park Springfield 8:30pm - 10:30pm at the Lincoln Statue For more info, contact Dan Schwick at dan.schwick@lssi.org Peoria 7pm - 10pm at the library, 107 NE Monroe East St Louis 7pm - 10pm at Frank Holton State Park, right outside the Lighthouse front entrance located at: 5802 Lake Drive E. St. Louis IL. 62203 Tuesday June 30th: Rally in Chicago! 11:00 am -12:30 pm Mass Convergence at the Thompson Center. Join organizations from across the city to rally on the last day before the budget cuts hit. We'll be sending the message loud and clear that General Assembly leadership needs to stop playing numbers games with people's lives! Come out to help send a strong message that a temporary fix is no solution! For More Information: National Association of Social Workers - IL Chapter Eric at Grassroots Collaborative (312) 427-0353 eric@thegrassrootscollaborative.org