Illinois human service agencies ready for budget battle

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Illinois service providers are bracing for cuts under a new era in Springfield.

While the push is on to correct the state's financial mess, some local agencies worry about losing programs.

There was shock when a local woman was shot to death in her home.

"What it can do to a family is unbelievable," said a relative at the time.

The victim's young daughter walked into the tragic scene.

"It's a terrible position," said Angie Kendall, Child Abuse Council.

Now, a program that helps victimized kids is in jeopardy itself.

"Safe from the Start," offered by the Child Abuse Council, is a victim of Illinois' money woes.

Programs like it are having to borrow or use credit to keep operating.

"How do you look at a three-year-old and say you can't get services any more for this terrible thing that was not your fault and done to you," said Kendall.

Reasons why a half-dozen local agencies joined forces with Illinois lawmakers on Monday in Rock Island.

As Governor Bruce Rauner introduces a new era in Springfield, human service agencies are fighting for funding.

"We've got to be realistic about how much we have in terms of funds available," said State Rep. Don Moffitt, (R-Gilson).  "Not overpromising, being realistic and saying what we can do and deliver that."

While Moline's Skip-A-Long Daycare Center is expanding to meet the growing need for services, state payments may once again face six month delays.

"We are accountable," Marcy Mendenhall, Skip-A-Long's CEO.  "We're following through with what they're saying.  But cutting budgets only decreases the quality of life in our community."

Governor Rauner's plan to shake up Springfield is both exciting and terrifying for service providers.

Agencies must plan for the worst, yet hope for the best.

February 4th is the day Gov. Rauner expects to reveal more information about agency funding.

"They are about quality of life in our communities," Rep. Moffitt concluded.  "We need their programs. We want to keep them."

Partnerships and public input will be more crucial than ever as Illinois watches its wallet.

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