SPRINGFIELD, ILL. - Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich today proposed a total fiscal year 2004 budget of $1.4 billion for the Department of Children and Family Services that includes $838 million from the General Revenue Fund. Demonstrating the governor’s commitment to the safety and well-being of the state’s most vulnerable citizens—abused and neglected children—the agency’s proposed budget mirrors its FY03 budget.
“This budget reflects my priorities for this agency—providing funding that ensures the appropriate level of direct service staff needs, while eliminating administrative waste. As we move into a new phase in child welfare, we will provide direction and investments designed to meet the growing challenges within the system,” Governor Blagojevich said.
The proposed budget will support the core mission of the department while providing greater efficiencies in service delivery that will reduce agency costs. Highlights include the following:
- $26.2 million in new spending to develop initiatives for children in the child welfare system who have severe emotional and mental health needs.
- $13 million in new spending designed to enhance training for private agency child welfare staff and care providers.
- An increase of $20.9 million, or 7.7 percent, for new adoptions and guardianships, reflecting the growing number of children leaving substitute care for permanent homes.
- $7.5 million in additional operations cuts achieved through the elimination of 110 non-direct staff positions, lease cancellation and reduced spending on targeted equipment purchases.
- A reduction of $30.1 million, or 8.7 percent, in foster care services achieved through the on-going efforts to reduce the size of the out-of-home population through various prevention and permanency strategies. By the end of FY03, the department anticipates an 11 percent reduction in foster care caseloads; an additional 8 percent is projected in FY04, bringing the number of children in foster care in Illinois to 16,650.