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Quinn cuts $57 million from state budget

Gov. PQuinn adresses mediregards Fiscal Year 2013 budget Saturday June 30 2012 Chicago. | Chandler West~Sun-Times

Gov. Pat Quinn adresses the media in regards to the Fiscal Year 2013 budget on Saturday, June 30, 2012 in Chicago. | Chandler West~Sun-Times

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Updated: August 2, 2012 10:41AM

You might say Illinois’ latest budget battle boils down to jails vs. abused kids.

On Saturday, Gov. Pat Quinn signed a state budget that closes or consolidates 57 correctional, juvenile justice and Human Services facilities in a bid to transfer $57 million in funding to the Department of Children and Family Services, which he said would be decimated by $50 million in cuts by lawmakers.

“Are we going to keep outdated, half-full facilities, which were fully funded by the legislators . . . . or are we going to invest and make sure we protect vulnerable children?” Quinn asked.

“We need to make sure we protect our children in Illinois through the Department of Children and Family Services. We cannot afford to have literally hundreds of workers there who deal with child abuse let go, and we maintain facilities that are half-empty.”

The governor said he’ll try to persuade lawmakers to restore DCFS funding when the Legislature returns in November. “I have a firm resolve with respect to all these closures,” Quinn said at a news conference Saturday at the Thompson Center.

The $33.7 billion budget trims spending, pays bills and reforms Medicaid, but the need for pension reform is still urgent, the governor said.

The budget would close Tamms Correctional Center; Dwight Correctional Center; Southern Illinois Adult Transition Center; Decatur Adult Transition Center and West Side Adult Transition Center in Chicago, as well as the Illinois Youth Center in Murphysboro and the Illinois Youth Center Joliet.

Several DHS facilities would also close: Tinley Park Mental Health Center, Singer Mental Health Center and Jacksonville Developmental Center, and, eventually, Murray Developmental Center.

Contributing: Dave McKinney

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