DCFS restructuring could hurt client services

Published 10/12 2012 04:12PM

Updated 10/12 2012 05:38PM

SPRINGFIELD -- Nearly 400 DCFS workers will get to keep their jobs. They were told in July they'd be laid off because of budget cuts. WCIA-3's Ashley Michels finds out what happens next for the department.

State officials say everyone's job is safe, but DCFS will do some restructuring. It's good news for unions because no one gets laid off, but the new plan has some workers concerned about the future quality of the program.

"It's been very stressful. It's just unbelievable because no one seems to know what the answer is."

Kris Charles has been in limbo all summer, ever since DCFS announced it was shutting down his division.

"We basically keep the families in tact and together while putting services in place."

You'd think he'd be happy to keep his job, but, "for me, personally, I'm not very happy about it. We're not here because of the money. We're here because we want to help the families."

That could get tougher though. In an email to all DCFS employees, the director outlines changes to the program. It calls on lawmakers to dish out more than $45-million to save jobs.

But, there's a flip side. The Intact Families Division is going to see some changes. It will provide counseling and keep families together. This change cuts the number of workers there from almost 300 to just 96. The others will be moved to other parts of the agency.

Plus, it could only take on "high risk" families, meaning only cases with kids under age 6. So, workers say it's only go to hurt more than it will help.

"The children will more than likely have to be taken out of the homes and put in foster homes."

Something Charles says he doesn't want to see happen.

"I just hope I can get those families back and help them again."

The director of DCFS says he's already been in talks with both democrats and republican lawmakers about getting the department the money it needs.

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