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Julie Morrison

SPRINGFIELD — Following years of underfunding at the Department of Children and Family Services, State Senator Julie Morrison (D-Lake Forest) is pleased her colleagues and the state realized the financial despair the agency faces — leading it to receive $1.4 billion in the Fiscal Year ’21 budget. 

“DCFS has experienced more turmoil in the past decade than any other state agency,” Morrison said. “While not all of the agency’s problems revolve around funding, many of the high-profile failures come from funded lack of resources.” 

Morrison has been a constant advocate for more funding and oversight for DCFS following years of reporting issues, understaffing and mistreatment of children in the system. The $178.5 million in additional funding compared to Fiscal Year ’20 would be used to boost the workforce, which would reduce caseloads for investigators and allow more attention to go toward the high demand of services.

“There is no question the agency needs more employees and resources to hire highly trained workers who have the determination and emotional stability to take on one of the toughest jobs,” Morrison said. 

Additionally, the funding could be used for more safety measures to keep DCFS workers from being exposed to COVID-19, as their jobs are at a higher priority while more children are home. Employees of DCFS need more protective gear, like masks, gloves and other PPE. 

“No child should have to worry or suffer, and this additional funding will allow for more caseworkers, services and investigators to protect them, ” Morrison said. “I applaud the General Assembly’s commitment to help this already at-risk group of children.”

The budget now heads to Governor JB Pritzker for final approval and will take effect July 1, upon his signature.

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