Stateline social service agencies speak out about their $100M la - – Rockford’s News Leader

Stateline social service agencies speak out about their $100M lawsuit


Nearly five dozen social service agencies filed a lawsuit against Illinois' Governor Bruce Rauner this week. 

The agencies formed a coalition called, Pay Now Illinois. Local stateline agencies have joined this coalition including Sinnissippi Centers, Rockford Sexual Assault Counseling, Lutheran Child and Family Services in Belvidere and Stephenson County Health Department.

Sinnissippi Centers is a behavioral health center in Dixon. Patrick Phelan, CEO of Sinnissippi Centers, says the agencies are no longer waiting for the budget stalemate to end. He says the state signed contracts stating they would pay social service agencies more than $100M last July. 

"This really is about a breach of those contracts because we have not seen any of the money promised," Phelan said. "This is then causing our inability to fulfill our end of the contact."

This lawsuit is not about politics according to the local agencies 13 News spoke to. They say the Governor's name is on it because he is the one who signs the contracts.

Gov. Rauner's office responded to the suit stating;

"While we understand that frustration is driving many worthwhile organizations to seek solutions anywhere, including the courts, the only solution is for the General Assembly to pass a balanced reform oriented budget as soon as possible."

The agencies involved in the lawsuit against Gov. Rauner says they have gone without state funding for 10 months. Rockford Sexual Assault Counseling has had to cut programs and staff because the state owes it $170,000. 

Executive Director of RSAC, Maureen Mostacci, says without the promised money they are going to have to make even more serious cuts.

"That is when we could have to cut our 24-hour hotline for when people are in crisis," Mostacci said. "People call this line when they might be in a self harm crisis or even suicide crisis."

Pay Now Illinois is hoping this lawsuit pressure the Governor to pay them so they can continue to serve the most vulnerable populations in our communities. 

"We want Illinois to be vibrant and working and sometimes people just need a little bit of help," Mostacci said. "And that is what this network of services do."

Pay Now Illinois is still waiting to hear when it will have it's day in court.

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