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Gov. Quinn to divert prison money to DCFS

Updated: August 1, 2012 6:17AM

SPRINGFIELD — Gov. Pat Quinn intends to divert funding state lawmakers set aside to fund the prisons he wants to close to the state’s cash-strapped child-welfare agency, an aide confirmed Friday.

The governor’s office received the state budget from the General Assembly Friday and issued an advisory indicating he intends to take action Saturday on the spending plan.

Lawmakers trimmed funding for the Department of Children and Family Services, which operates under a federal consent decree, by $50 million in the budget that takes effect Sunday.

“The governor would like to find ways within our spending limits to put a priority on DCFS and children at risk who have been abused and neglected,” Quinn spokeswoman Brooke Anderson said.

Quinn wants to offset the cuts to DCFS, which could have to lay off nearly 400 caseworkers if the blueprint is followed, through funds lawmakers attached to keep prisons open in Tamms and Dwight, which the governor wants to mothball.

Juvenile detention centers in Joliet and Murphysboro, along with three transitional centers for released inmates would be closed under the governor’s plan, as well.

Dave McKinney

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