SPRINGFIELD, ILL. - Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich today proposed a fiscal year 2004 budget of nearly $5 billion for the Illinois Department of Human Services (DHS), an $88 million increase over FY03. The governor’s proposal includes $3.6 billion in General Revenue funding, up $66 million over last year.
“This budget reflects the state’s economic realities at this time, saving important dollars in administrative areas, while maintaining and in some cases, increasing services for the people we serve,” said Carol L. Adams, DHS Secretary. “We’ll also take aggressive action to maximize federal revenues to bolster DHS services.”
The governor’s request includes nearly $1.2 billion from the General Revenue Fund (GRF) for services to persons with developmental disabilities. GRF funding for mental health services totals $533 million; $164.5 million will go to community health and community youth services programs in FY04.
The budget includes $164 million in GRF funds for substance abuse treatment. Addiction treatment programs will increase by 11 percent, providing an additional $9 million in Medicaid funding for community-based treatment programs.
“These additional funds will allow the Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse (OASA) to serve areas that have an unmet need,” Adams said. “The state’s General Revenue Fund will also benefit through the federal Medicaid match funding.”
Under the governor’s proposed budget, the Home Services Program, which provides in-home services to more than 31,000 persons with disabilities, will grow by $56 million.
As recommended by the governor, funding for state-subsidized child care will increase by approximately $49 million to $538 million. The program will serve 195,000 children in FY04.
The governor’s plan calls for the transfer of the Department of Children and Family Services’ (DCFS) Community Integrated Living Arrangement (CILA) clients to the DHS CILA program.
The residential program for young persons with disabilities will cost $10.5 million in FY04.
The Philip J. Rock Center, a Chicago school for young persons between the ages of 3 and 21 who are visually or hearing impaired, will be transferred from the Illinois State Board of Education to the DHS Office of Rehabilitation Services, which already operates similar types of schools. The budget for the program is $2.9 million. The transfer will allow improved service delivery to these populations.
The state’s current fiscal situation requires that some programs be reduced or eliminated. One program slated for elimination is the Workforce Advantage program, for a savings of $6 million.
Because of the continued success with welfare reform, the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) caseload continues to decline, thereby allowing funding for the program to be cut by nearly 20 percent in FY04 without affecting services to the remaining clients. Over the past five years, Illinois’ TANF cases have declined by nearly 80 percent, to 41,745 in March 2003.
Administrative costs at DHS are being cut by $43 million. Much of the savings will be achieved by reducing the agency’s staffing level from slightly more than 18,000 employees in FY03 to approximately 16,000 in FY04. Much of the decrease can be attributed to last year’s early retirement incentive.
“In addition to the headcount reductions, we’ll reduce administrative costs for equipment, contractual services, telecommunications, travel, office and lease agreements and grant reductions not related to program services,” Adams said. “Every employee in the department will be asked to do more with less and still maintain a high standard of quality services for the citizens of Illinois.”