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Morrison plans to use committee role to advance DCFS agenda

032113br0077rSPRINGFIELD – State Senator Julie Morrison (D-Deerfield) will serve as vice-chair of the Illinois Senate’s Human Services committee for the next two years, a position she intends to use to help get the troubled Department of Children and Family Services back on track.

“It seems like we hear new horror stories about DCFS every year,” Morrison said. “I’m committed to turning this important agency around, and I intend to use my new position on the Human Services Committee to help push forward an aggressive reform agenda.”

Morrison is planning to introduce measures to help protect abused and neglected children in the care of DCFS, partially in response to damning media reports that found hundreds of allegations that children in residential treatment centers are raped and assaulted by their peers while authorities fail to act.

Jones introduces measure to help families struggling with child care costs

childcareState Senator Emil Jones III (D – Chicago) is pushing legislation to provide $300 million for the gaping budget hole in Illinois’ child care program.

The Department of Human Services Child Care Assistance Program provides low-income working families with access to child care. It allows parents to continue working and contributes to the development of a child. Unfortunately it ran out of money and has been suspended.

“The suspension of this program brought hardship to working families in our communities,” Senator Jones said. “Families are being denied child care, and parents are afraid of losing their jobs because they have no other options.”

A family’s eligibility to participate in the program is based on its monthly income.  Families pay a copay based on family size and ability to pay.

The program also serves families with parents continuing their education to obtain better paying jobs and teen parents seeking a high school diploma or equivalency degree.

The suspension of the program is also taking its toll on the local economy as home day care providers are forced to turn children away. In October of last year, an estimated 195,000 children participated in the program. Federal funds help support the program. It’s the state’s share of the program funding that is running short in the current fiscal year.

“The need for this program is obvious. Parents can still support their families and local businesses continue to thrive,” Jones said. “It’s unfortunate that young families wtih young children are caught in this financial crossfire.”

If passed by the General Assembly and signed into law, this legislation will provide DHS with the dollars it needs to avoid service disruption and ensure payments are made to childcare providers.

Martinez urges governor to hire more Latinos in state government

martinez-012315Chicago — In the wake of reports that Latinos are being fired from positions in state government, Senate Majority Caucus Whip Iris Y. Martinez (D-Chicago 20) is urging Gov. Bruce Rauner’s administration to hire more Latinos.

According to a WGN-TV story, “19 out of 29 Latino staffers have been let go without an interview and only a couple have been replaced by other Latinos.”

Senator Martinez was featured in the WGN-TV report regarding concerns over Latinos losing jobs and the lack of diversity in state hiring.  

You can watch the report here: Some Latinos upset at Gov. Rauner's hiring practices

Stadelman appointed to rail commission

stadelman-railState Senator Steve Stadelman (D-Rockford) has been appointed to serve on the Midwest Interstate Passenger Rail Commission, a key organization that advocates for passenger rail expansion throughout the region.

“This is a great opportunity to continue advocating on behalf of one of my biggest priorities, bringing Amtrak to Rockford. Once it is completed, the new rail will be a tremendous boost to our economy, and I look forward to the resources and guidance this organization can provide to help get the job done,” said Stadelman.

The commission, originally formed in 2000, is made up of state legislators and gubernatorial appointments from Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota and Wisconsin. Stadelman was chosen for the appointment by the Illinois Senate because of his continued commitment to expanding Amtrak to Rockford. The two-year appointment ends in January of 2017. Stadelman will join Scott Bennett (D-Champaign) as one of two newly appointed representatives from the Illinois Senate on the commission.

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