New DCFS Audit Shows Alarming Problems Still Persist
A new report by the Auditor General shows problems within the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) still persist despite several calls from Senate Republicans to overhaul and reform the broken agency.
The audit, released on September 26th, revealed that the department repeatedly failed to immediately report evidence of abuse and/or accusations of abuse to state’s attorneys and other officials. The audit also specifically called out “misstatements” that it said were “both material and pervasive.”
Despite numerous promises from the Governor to improve the situation at DCFS, the most recent findings show an increase in the number of areas where the agency was found to be noncompliant to a total of 33, with 23 findings repeated from previous audits.
On top of numerous scathing audits and reports on DCFS, the agency and its director have also been found in contempt of court multiple times for failing to properly place children. So far, Governor Pritzker has stood by the embattled director of the agency.
State Senator Terri Bryant says the continued issues with DCFS are maddening, as the agency is tasked with protecting the most vulnerable children and families in Illinois. She once again urges the Governor to take significant steps to overhaul the agency before any further tragedies strike.
Congressional Committee Holds Hearing on Chicago Crime
Members of the U.S. House Judiciary Committee met in Chicago to discuss rising crime in the Windy City.
The committee, hosted by the Fraternal Order of Police, brought congressional members in to hear testimony from crime victims and retired officers including, retired Chicago Police Officer Carlos Yanez Jr., retired Chicago Police Department Lt. John Garrido, and Gianno Caldwell, whose brother was murdered last year.
Members of the committee heard their testimony and asked questions relating to policies and statistics involving crime, as well as the potential negative impact of the SAFE-T Act on police departments.
Committee Chairman Jim Jordan says the forum was the second stop in a series called “Violent Crime in Major Urban Areas.” During the hearing, he noted that Chicago has led the nation in the number of homicide cases for the past 11 years.
Applications for Illinois’ Electric Vehicle Rebate Program Open Soon
The Illinois Environmental Protection Agency will soon start incentivizing the purchase of electric vehicles with cash.
Starting November 1st, state residents can earn up to a $4,000 rebate for the purchase of an all-electric vehicle or a $1,500 rebate for the purchase of an all-electric motorcycle.
Applicants must apply for the rebate within 90 days of a vehicle’s purchase. The next application period will run from November 1, 2023, to January 31, 2024, or until funding runs out.
For a list of eligibility requirements for the rebate, click here. The application and instructions will also be included on the listed website starting October 18, 2023.
USDA Announces Grants to Enhance Rural Water and Waste Systems
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development has unveiled an opportunity for private nonprofit organizations to apply for grants aimed at enhancing water treatment and waste disposal systems in rural areas. This initiative, part of the Water and Waste Disposal Technical Assistance and Training Grants program, strives to improve essential facilities for households and businesses in rural communities.
Funds may be used for:
- Identifying and evaluating solutions to water problems related to source, storage, treatment, distribution, collection, treatment and disposal;
- Providing technical assistance and training to improve management, operations and maintenance of water and waste disposal systems; or
- Preparing water and waste disposal loan and grant applications.
Eligible areas for these grants encompass cities, towns, unincorporated rural regions with populations up to 10,000 residents, and tribal lands. Priority consideration will be given to projects serving areas with populations of fewer than 5,500 or 2,500 residents. Projects are expected to be completed within 12 months.
Applications will be accepted from now until December 31, 2023, on grants.gov. For more information on the USDA Rural Development’s priority points and updates, please visit https://www.rd.usda.gov/priority-points.
Upcoming Senior Fair
On Friday, October 6, State Senator Terri Bryant will be partnering with State Representative Dave Severin to host a Senior Health Fair at Frontier Community College in Fairfield.
The Senior Fair is completely free to the public and will have a variety of local vendors on hand to discuss programs and services that benefit seniors.