Metro East Law Enforcement, Providers, & Families: Restore Services

Submitted on Thu, 02/18/2016 - 14:40

 

Catey and mother.PNGLaw enforcement officals joined local providers and families  at a Responsible Budget Coalition press conference in Alton a day ahead of the Governor's Budget Address.  The group is fighting to get the Governor and lawmakers to restore funding for vital services that improve public safety, save taxpayers money, and provide support and independence for persons with disabilities and seniors. Law enforcement officals spoke about the need to fund services for runaway and homeless youth.  From the St. Louis Dispatch... 

 “Just because we’re the police and carry handcuffs doesn’t mean that’s our only option. Working with these agencies is what we prefer,” said [Alton Police Department] Lt. Stinnett. [Granite City Police Department] Capt. Knight added, ‘Without their resources, we’d really be in dire straits.’

The Edwardsville Intelligencer captured what the event was all about...

Choose revenue. 

That was the rallying cry at a news conference Tuesday in Alton organized by social services groups that are increasingly being squeezed by the failure of Gov. Bruce Rauner and legislators to come up with a state budget.

While the speakers – eight in all – took pains not to take sides in the political fight, Cathy Contarino, executive director of Impact CIL, said she would prefer increased tax revenue to cuts. The agency’s center, at 2735 East Broadway, recently furloughed 18 of its employees and now closes its office on Fridays. 

“It’s time to put families and communities back on the agenda. Please put the citizens of Illinois first,” Contarino said. 

Youth services that have been cut are going to cost the state millions and leave kids without hope according to Linda White of Children Home + Aid. From the RiverBender...  

Our CCBYS Comprehensive Community based Youth Services program helps 24 hours a day, seven days a week to bring youth into alternative homes. These are boys and girls that without these services, are hopeless. It cost $1,011,000 a year to imprison these youth we are saving the state millions of dollars. These programs helped 500 youth last year and if we don’t continue their lives are at risk."

CHA_logo_blue.gif

 

A formerly homeless 18-year-old from Granite City was one of eight speakers who urged Gov. Bruce Rauner and Illinois lawmakers to end an eight-month-old budget crisis . Marvin Thomas described how the help of Children's Home + Aid changed his life to the Alton Telegraph....

“This program helps kids avoid the dark side and get the closure they need from past issues to move on to better things,” Thomas said. “If it wasn’t for the program, I’d probably still be walking the streets, not going to school, and trying to figure out what I was going to do get by that day.”

When youths such as Thomas run away, police often bring them back to their home rather than simply leaving them on the street, said Alton Police Lt. Seth Stinnett. 

Alton recorded nearly 300 runaways last year, a total that ranks among the city’s highest ever. Without intervention by groups like CHA, more and more youth will end up incarcerated rather than helped.

The press conference was hosted at IMPACT CIL.  Julia Johnson Wood, mother of Catey, who was born with only 50 percent of her brain, was among them.  Wood says the 20% cut to IMPACT CIL’s services takes away the only chance Catey has to socialize with her peers.  Cathy Contarino, Executive Director of IMPACT CIL, told CBS that the cuts rob her clients of their independence.  From CBS KMOV 4 News...