human services

Bruce Rauner
Brian Mackey / WUIS

Governor Bruce Rauner officially opened the Illinois State Fair Friday morning. But there is still no state budget in place, and Rauner would not say how Illinois is paying for the fair.

There were all the trappings of the usual fair grand opening: politicians, a Lincoln impersonator, a ribbon cutting.

But an impasse between Rauner, a Republican, and Democratic majorities in the legislature means Illinois has no legal authority to pay for the fair. Rauner, however, refused to answer questions about that — or anything else.

Al Riddley
Brian Mackey / WUIS

Non-profit groups say the ongoing fight over the state budget could lead to tragic consequences for thousands of Illinoisans.

The agencies have state contracts for everything from taking care of people with disabilities to placing children in foster care. But the partisan fight over state spending means they're not being paid.

Al Riddley, on the board of the Illinois Partners for Human Service, says the groups are being led on a "death march."

"Perhaps it's time to change our state motto from 'Land of Lincoln' to 'We Don't Care,'" Riddley says.

quad stroller
Bill Barber /

The ongoing budget clash between Democrats and Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner has complicated financial planning for non-profit organizations across Illinois.

 Some Lawmakers say that they believed certain programs had been protected under a budget deal recently struck with the governor to fund state services through the rest of the fiscal year. But Gov. Bruce Rauner froze several human services grants earlier this month — including support for people with autism.

Now a Senate budget committee is calling on members of the administration to explain the cuts. Democratic Sen. Dan Kotowski, who chairs the committee, says the money should be restored.

Despite years of cuts to the Illinois state budget ... even more are ahead.  Legislators are still deciding where else they can slash spending.


"Human services" is a legislative phrase Rep. Greg Harris (D-Chicago) says covers:

HARRIS: "All the state departments  dealing with health care, senior services, children services, so the Department of Healthcare and Family Services, Medicaid, human services, mental health, substance abuse, Department of Aging, DCFS, public health and veterans... "

Joyce Newman of Jacksonville holds a sign supporting Senate Bill 2256, seeking funding to help children with developmental disabilities receive an education that's not segregated from the rest of the students.
Bethany Jaeger / WUIS/Illinois Issues

Amy Hickman, a single mother of two in central Illinois' Jacksonville, lives with multiple sclerosis and is wheelchair-bound after a car accident. She relies on her home health aides to get her out of bed every day. 

David and Beverly Pryor of Arcola have a daughter, Mandy, with severe autism. She lives in a CILA, or a community integrated living arrangement, in Charleston. But they want the state to fund more CILAs to help clear a waiting list so other children and adults can have the same opportunity. 

Dana Heupel
WUIS/Illinois Issues

This month, we report on two issues that should make us ashamed as Illinoisans. 

One article illustrates a situation we have a moral obligation to remedy; the other points to a practice that time and again has proved to be irresponsible — and too often criminal. 

On page 16, Statehouse bureau chief Bethany Jaeger writes about how human services always end up last in line for state funding, especially during tight budget years. And on page 24, my Q&A with political scientist Kent Redfield focuses on Illinois' anything-goes system of financing election campaigns.