What Rauner’s budget cuts could mean for families who depend on respite care

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CHICAGO — One of the social service programs on Gov Rauner’s chopping block is the respite care program.

Families already pushed to the limit could soon have an even tougher time.

Under the governor’s proposed budget, funding for developmental disabilities respite care would be discontinued.

More than 3,000 Illinois families currently depend on the program.

WGN’s Monica Schneider spent time with a a family that depends on the program for help.


The governor's office released a statement in response to this story saying, “Family members who care for a loved one with disabilities have a difficult job, and we appreciate the care they provide. Unfortunately, years of over-spending and financial recklessness left a $6 billion dollar budget hole. The governor had to make some very difficult decisions to put the state back on a fiscally-sustainable path.'

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  • disabilitymom3

    This is totally unacceptable. He promised not to do this and what is the first thing he does??? These are the individuals who are just that, the most vulnerable!!! Taking care of these individuals makes much more sense. Where do they end up, in Institutions, which cost tax payers MUCH more money. These individuals should be included in our communities, many have much to give!! Thank you WGN for doing this story. Hope to see more like this!

  • Shocked

    How can you balance the state budget on the most vulnerable individuals! Makes my blood boil! Shame on you Gov. Rauner. Illinois is already on the bottom of the list for adult disability services and you want to cut it even further. Are you kidding???? Your promises are worth NOTHING!

  • Sick of it

    The bigger picture is this. Rauner is massively cutting social services but increasing prisons dollars and wants to privatize them. Guessing his rich buddies might invest. People with DD will become homeless as will those with no mental healthcare. Crime will skyrocket and many more will be put in his friends prisons. Wake up people, we need to rise up and stop the narcissistic, entitled elite who are taking over this country. Now!

    • ed

      I’m not happy about this – but it seems to me it was “the narcissistic, entitled elite” who got us into this deficit mess – and we the public kept voting them in. So I guess we are the ones to blame.

  • Wow Rauner

    The comment from Rauner’s office has to be the best part. The person that released it is probably getting paid over $100,000 with all of his pay increases for his staff. Why don’t you throw a little bit of that cash to individual and programs THAT ACTUALLY NEED IT!!? Thank you to WGN for following this story and actually caring about people with DD

  • Kevin Sokol

    Hey Rauner, how about a pay cut for you & other government “officials” stop hurting people that are already hurting.

  • debmirabelli

    Gov Rainer
    Respite care and services for early intervention and early childhood are NOT the areas to balance budgets! Please keep your campaign promises and keep kids and their families in IL first. The monies spent now will save us in many other areas.

  • Lynn Cahill

    It seems every time there is a budget crisis, those who cannot speak for themselves, the most vulnerable, are the ones targeted for the biggest cuts. Institutions are not the answer – independent living is a Civil Right. Giving these families the respite care needed is a win-win situation. Placing these individuals in institutions in the long run will cost the state much more than if they provide the in-home respite care for these families. Thank you to WGN TV and the Bedard family for highlighting the need for these services which affect hundreds of families throughout the State of Illinois.

    • traci

      I used to work in a group home that homed 16 adults… 15 years ago they received only $25 dollars a month to buy themselves new clothes, buy hot lunch at workshop, pay for special rec activities etc… The group home takes their SSI benefits and all of them are on public aide healthcare. Sad how these people were treated back then as well as today. Another sad fact is when money is given by the state to go towards direct service care for the clients, the agency usually is looking for someway to use it to get them out of the red. Great group of people to work with and so rewarding yet still so much discrimination against them.

  • joan raux

    Cutting services for the developmentally disabled is short sighted. The monies spent now save us from much larger expenditures in other areas. Why target the most vulnerable? Weren’t campaign promises made NOT to do so?

  • John Neumann

    Makes no sense to cut HEALTH, EDUCATION or WELFARE. Justify the expenses. Get rid of the loop-holes. Primarily eliminate the boondoggle / pork barrel programs.

  • Mom Of 7

    Cutting services for people with Developmental Disabilities and their families is not acceptable, Governor! You should be ashamed of yourself. Find another way to fix the budget deficits caused by reckless spending. Don’t take funds away from those who need it most.

    Great reporting, WGN! These politicians need to be exposed when they are hurting DD citizens, who cannot speak for themselves.

  • macmic6

    Cutting care to the handicapped and chronically ill is shortsighted. It seems that he wants them to be forced into institutions and residential facilities. That will cost 1000 times what the few respite hours cost. Oh wait, doesn’t he have connections to the nursing home industry? Maybe he will make money from this too.
    Really, if Rauner wants to save money lets start with the raise his administration has gotten. Hypocrite.

  • Wayne

    Shame on you Governor Rauner!!!!! So we should send disabled people to a State Institution and taxpayers pay 20x more the cost? IDIOT! Visit a house with special needs.

  • libertarian

    Government should have never been in the business of charity or social services in the first place.
    That is the job of family, church, charity and local organizations.
    Having people becoming dependent on an unnamed “check” in the mail is one of the evils of our society.

  • pinkie

    Kill this war on drugs. Look how much is spent on the prisons! Then you wonder why we are so broke. Honestly think about it. The founding fathers had it right and read thebook called 5000 year leap. We need to go back to the basics.

  • Betty

    Families with a disabled child need a lot of help. It is not their fault they are disabled and they should not be penalized.

  • Pamela

    He wouldn’t be assaying that if he had children of special needs, and he wouldn’t do that if he didn’t have any money.. Why not make politicians higher up to pay taxes like everyone else.. that would make some income right there for the government..

  • Shelly

    He is nothing but an evil heartless man. Shame on him & everyone who voted for him. He needs to spend a day in one of these families homes to see how hard it is for them !!!!!

  • Shelly

    Discrimination against people with Disabilities!! He must not have a loved one, friend or family member with any disabilities!

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