Metropolitan’s CEO Discusses Dire State of Human Services

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Ten months of not having a state budget has taken a toll on the entire human services arena, including us at Metropolitan Family Services. Our CEO Ric Estrada joined CEOs Marca Bristo of Access Living and Wendy DuBoe of United Way of Metropolitan Chicago on March 28 at the City Club of Chicago to share stark facts related to “The Future of Social Services in Illinois.”

Ric shared that the continued state budget impasse means our agency will not be able to accept FY17 contracts for programs that have not been paid from FY16. Lack of payment has already forced three of our programs to close – Parents and Partners and All Our Kids, as well as Acute Community Services, the latter which provides intensive mental health services. If the funding situation does not change, more programs will cease operations as of June 30, including our two CILA (Community Integrated Living Arrangement) facilities, as well as the Healthy Families, Mental Health Juvenile Justice, and Safe from the Start programs. An estimated 900 clients and 38 staff will be affected.

Ric described multiple ways the continuing budget gridlock is impacting Metropolitan, the greater civic community and most importantly people – our clients and staff – who will suffer most.

“Nine months into the fiscal year the State still does not have a budget, and it can only be considered a destructive failure that is damaging our economy,” Ric said at the March 28 panel. “It is hurting thousands of people and is wreaking havoc on organizations like Metropolitan Family Services.” He later added, “I can’t express the urgency enough to you all. We need to do everything we can to make our leadership in the state understand that we need to find a budget solution.”

Click here to access the Future of Human Services audio recording and written transcript.

For those who want to help by speaking up for human services funding, visit Metropolitan’s Action Center.