- Published: Wednesday, March 22, 2017 04:17 PM
"[I] hope that pressure from our districts will spur action and help pass a budget that funds important services rather than cater to special interests.” - State Senator Dave Koehler (D-Peoria)
PEORIA – A Peoria social service provider that helps victims of domestic abuse is one of the many groups affected by a cut of $9 million in state funding.
The Center for Prevention of Abuse stands to lose $200,000 due to the cut. The organization was already owed over $400,000 by the state for previous programs the state never reimbursed them for.
Despite the lack of support from state agencies, The Center has been able to prevent service cuts thanks to conservative budgeting and community support.
Executive Director Carol Merna says The Center has had to dismantle some of their crucial services in order to cope with the budget cuts.
“The 20-month-long budget impasse in Illinois is taking a toll on our organization and those we serve,” Merna said. “Thus far we have been made to dismantle our ‘Safe from the Start’ program, a community response program dedicated to reducing trauma that very young children experience when they are exposed to violence, whether as a first-hand victim of abuse, neglect or maltreatment or as a witness of physical, emotional or sexual violence or a violent crime.”
State Senator Dave Koehler (D-Peoria) says many social service providers like The Center for Prevention of Abuse that have fallen victim to the impasse in Springfield would have been funded in the bipartisan budget plan negotiated by Senate President John Cullerton (D-Chicago) and Minority Leader Christine Radogno (R-Lemont).
“Cuts like those made to the Center are unacceptable,” Koehler said. “It is my hope that pressure from our districts will spur action and help pass a budget that funds important services rather than cater to special interests.”
Director Merna added that the Center’s programs are crucial for the state
“These programs, and others like them that are teetering on the brink represent people in crisis,” Merna said. “Instead of widening the divide, we absolutely must be the bridge that ensures well-being so that everyone can contribute to our communities.”
The Center has recently begun a social media campaign to raise awareness of the cuts by urging people to take a picture with a sign that says “#iamthebridge” and posting it to social media.