|A personal touch from the victim I know|
|Mom threw boiling water on him while a DCFS agent was present|
“Who protects the children?” the demonstrators chanted. “We do! Save jobs! Save the kids!”
The rally at the Thompson Center was held less than two weeks before 375 positions at the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services are due to be eliminated.
A nearly $90 million cut in the agency’s budget this fiscal year has forced the layoffs.
DCFS Director Richard Calica said he has no choice but to cut caseworkers in the voluntary intact family services program, credited with helping to reduce foster care rolls through linking struggling parents with needed services.
Members of the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees said that without the program the alternative is to remove those at-risk kids from their homes at greater expense to the state.
|Was taken away from parents who abused drugs now she is dead|
Quinn signed the state budget in July but proposed shifting about $57 million to DCFS in savings that he said could come from his plan to close some state prisons and juvenile facilities.
His recommendation, though, needs legislative approval. Lawmakers, some opposed to closing facilities in their districts, won’t return to Springfield until after the layoffs in late November.
“I think children are far more important than keeping half-empty facilities open,” Quinn told reporters Wednesday. “I think it’s much better to help people than keep facilities open that aren’t needed.”
The demonstrators were joined by some Chicago Teachers Union organizers, who spoke of strength in solidarity.
Tammy Harvey, a longtime DCFS employee, clutched a doll that workers use when interviewing children as a tool to demonstrate abuse. She said her job is on the chopping block.
“I always say this job is like a calling,” she said through tears. “You really have to care about people and want to help them to make the change that will keep their family together.”
Last year, 4,600 families with more than 14,000 children received intact family services. DCFS workers handled 80 percent of the cases while the remaining 20 percent were referred to private agencies.
The Tribune reported earlier this month DCFS plans to lay off all state intact family workers and direct private agencies to handle all future cases.
At least 1,500 fewer families will receive the voluntary services as a result, the newspaper found, a 33 percent reduction. Calica agreed more kids will be removed from their homes as an alternative.
“Without us, vulnerable and needy families will be left without what is sometimes the only support they have,” said Sharon Moriarty-Cordin, who said this is the fourth time she has faced a layoff in her 12 years at DCFS.
DCFS administrators estimate 285 workers will lose their jobs along with another nearly 100 unfilled positions. There’s a chance administrators could delays