Those who work for Illinois organizations that provide services to survivors of domestic violence say the fact that there’s no funding for them in the soon-to-expire state spending plan was an unfortunate surprise.
The stopgap budget, which is set to run out at the end of this month, doesn’t have a line item for domestic violence programs. But directors of those agencies say they thought they would be paid out of the Illinois Department of Human Services’ budget.
They found out otherwise just a few days ago. Margaret Duval, executive director of the Domestic Violence Legal Clinic in Cook County, says providers are used to long delays in payment, but now they have to cope with the fact that the money isn’t coming at all.
“We’re scrambling now to figure out what to do next. I’m not sure that anyone was counting on being paid 100 percent, but this is new information that we have to grapple with,” she says.
Duval says that she realizes putting together a budget might require some cuts, but she says the lack of communication and transparency is frustrating and makes it nearly impossible to plan. “Right now it just appears that not only is there no movement toward compromise (on the budget), but the communication and the way that it is being rolled is the definition of dysfunction,” she says.
The Department of Human Services says it does plan to pay these providers, eventually. “We fully intend to pay all domestic violence programs that have contracts with the state in full once the General Assembly works with the Governor to pass a balanced budget alongside meaningful structural reforms.”