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DCFS sends layoff notices

SPRINGFIELD -- 600 DCFS employees started receiving layoff notices Friday.
SPRINGFIELD -- 600 DCFS employees started receiving layoff notices Friday. It's part of $50 million in cuts to the department's budget. The general assembly made the cuts before approving the budget at the end of May.

The department says of the 600, about 375 will lose their jobs. DCFS is currently restructuring its workforce, which will leave some open positions.

Losing so much of its workforce will mean some big changes for the department, which is already having trouble keeping up with federal mandates for caseloads. A spokesman says the department will cut mostly prevention programs like monitoring of intact families where a child hasn't been removed by the agency.

DCFS insists these cuts will allow it to keep up with court ordered mandates for caseworkers. Others aren't so optimistic.

"There is no sound reason for the governor to make these reckless cuts to child protection," said Henry Bayer, executive director of AFSCME Council 31.

Gov. Pat Quinn has made an effort to try to restore the funding at DCFS. He has directed the Department of Corrections to close two prisons and several juvenile centers. And he asked the legislature to move the funds saved to DCFS.

Lawmakers will decide whether or not to do that when they return to Springfield for veto session in November. The layoffs could be effective Oct. 1.
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