Illinois human service directors plea to state for help

Five months into the Illinois budget impasse, some human services directors are concerned their calls for help are falling on deaf ears.

A state committee came to Southern Illinois University to hear the issues created in vital human services during the impasse.

However, only one of the nine committee members showed up, flanked by local senators Gary Forby and Dave Luechtefeld.

After asking for help from the state over and over again, Jackson County Health Department Director Miriam Link-Mullison says she’s sick of getting the same questions.

"My concern is that somehow we’re not getting across that we’re hanging on by our fingertips over the side of a cliff," said Link-Mullison.

John A. Logan Child Care Resource Center Director Lori Longueville says three daycares have already closed.

Centerstone CEO John Markley says their crisis center is now open 8 hours a day instead of 24.

"We have been denying eight out of every 10 applications," said Longueville.

"The alternatives for some of these people is either commit suicide, or hurt someone else,” said Markley.  “It’s putting our communities in danger."

A combination of cuts, federal funding, and layoffs have allowed some to keep moving forward during the impasse, but Markley says morale is at an all-time low, making it harder to keep the doors open.

"You have to do what you have to do for your family,” said Markley.  “Many of our staff have been put in a situation, as we’ve been put in a situation, of the great unknown.  What’s going to happen to these services?  What’s going to happen to my job?"

Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner’s administration reversed course on childcare assistance.

A single parent with two kids making less than $15.50 an hour is now eligible for assistance.

They say once a budget is passed, that figure will return to pre-cut levels.

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