Message from the Secretary
Happy (almost) Spring - and happy legislative/budget season!
It's a busy time at the Capitol and throughout Illinois as DHS and its community partners and sister agencies work to ensure the health of those in our care in the context of the spread of the Covid virus (clean this up). DHS will continue to send updates and guidance, but we recommend that organizations continue to monitor the IDPH and CDC websites (hyperlinks).
Our collective important work continues, and we have the added responsibility of ensuring a complete Census count in Illinois. The FY'20 budget included $29 million in funding to support these efforts. Governor JB Pritzker signed the Census EO on June…; and since that day, DHS and the two Census Co-Directors, MW and OA, have launched a comprehensive plan. These efforts have resulted in the funding of 30 RIs who are working with 310 sub-grantees to ensure that the "hard-to-count" communities across the state are reached. Please text 987-987 to submit your pledge to complete the Census and with any questions you have. Visit the www.websiteXX for updates and to connect with the RI near you. Everyone has a role to play! Census Day is just around the corner: April 1.
There is a lot of information in this issue, including an overview of DHS' FY'21 proposed budget highlights, a snapshot of our recent accomplishments, and other stories that will provide you with a glimpse into the agency. We welcome your thoughts and feedback on future content.
Thank you for your partnership; we value and rely on you to meet our mission. The Governor spoke boldly about our work during his budget address (hyper-link), and he spoke about optimism and the pursuit of happiness. I was moved by his words as I truly believe that human services professionals are drawn to our work, because we are optimists - and because we believe that we can help others in their pursuit of happiness.
Grace B. Hou
Illinois Department of Human Services
New Funding Opportunities
IDHS issues many Notice of Funding Opportunities (NOFOs) throughout the year for our programs. You can always explore these opportunities on the IDHS Grant Opportunities web page. Below are several new opportunities.
This NOFO will allow licensed substance use disorder treatment providers to apply for funding to deliver gambling disorder treatment services. The NOFO also provides an opportunity for other community-based organizations to apply for funding to provide aggressive outreach to populations and areas of the state that are most impacted by gambling in Illinois. This opportunity is posted on the Gambling Disorder NOFO web page.
Expansion of Oxford Houses
Oxford Houses are democratically-run, self-supporting, alcohol and drug-free houses that address many of the challenges to successful, long-term recovery-facing individuals with substance use disorder (SUD). This NOFO aims to increase access to Oxford Houses for Illinois residents with SUDs by funding two (2) Project Management Organizations (PMOs) that will be responsible for establishing five (5) Oxford Houses per year. We encourage organizations in central and southern Illinois to apply, although providers throughout the state are also encouraged to apply. This funding opportunity will be posted on the SUPR Grants Web Page soon.
Recovery-Oriented Systems of Care
The Recovery-Oriented Systems of Care-Illinois Statewide Network (ROSC-ISN) Grant establishes multiple, networked, geographically distributed ROSC Councils to assist communities with building local recovery-oriented systems of care and will network with the eleven previously funded ROSC Councils and the statewide ROSC. This funding opportunity will be posted on the SUPR Grants Web Page soon.
Transitional Services to Support Community Engagement
Our Division of Mental Health (DMH) is introducing three new programs designed to respond to the unmet needs of individuals experiencing mental illnesses. DMH will ensure access to necessary services and supports along the continuum of State Operated Psychiatric Hospitals (SOPH) to community services and will foster partnerships between SOPH staff responsible for discharge planning and community providers of services. The involvement of Consumer Operated Service Providers, including subcontracting relationships, is strongly encouraged to meet the goals and objectives of this project. These three opportunities are posted on the Mental Health Grant Information Page.
Crunching the Numbers | FY21 IDHS Budget Request Highlights
On February 19, Governor JB Pritzker presented a proposed state FY21 budget plan. It included:
- Investment in Community-Based Service Wages - impacting over an estimated 100,000 front line staff
- Child Care Assistance Program funding of $69.0M to support increase in provider rates
- $96.0M for front line staff serving persons with developmental disabilities
- $46.0M to support wage increase for individual providers serving customers of the Home Services Program
- $11.8M new funds requested to address minimum wage increases
- Continued investment in the Olmstead Consent Decrees
- $28.5M for Ligas annualizations and new placements
- $8.0M additional funding for Comprehensive Services Pilot for Williams and Colbert class members
- The IDHS budget also reflects the movement of $10.0M from the Department on Aging to support the implementation plan for the Colbert consent decree
- New $2.0M investment to expand the Healthy Families and Parents Too Soon programs
- IDHS operations continues to aggressively address the Medicaid application and re-determination backlogs
For more information on the FY21 IDHS Budget request.
Fighting the Opioid Crisis and Reducing Racial Disparities
On Monday, January 27th, IDHS Secretary Grace B. Hou joined Governor Pritzker as he signed Executive Order 2020-02 to better address racial disparities in responding to the opioid crisis.
Governor Pritzker also announced his new Opioid Overdose Prevention and Recovery Steering Committee and $4.1 million state dollars to expand recovery and prevention services for individuals with opioid use disorder in all corners of the state.
This year, Illinois saw the first decrease in five years in opioid overdose deaths. Despite this decrease, opioid overdose deaths among white residents in Illinois decreased 7% in 2018 while deaths among African Americans increased 9.1% and deaths among Latinos increased by 4.3%.
"This executive order begins an effort to achieve social equity as we work to end the opioid crisis in Illinois," said Governor JB Pritzker.
If you or someone you know is experiencing opioid use disorder or other substance use disorders, call the Illinois Helpline for Opioids and Other Substances at 1-833-2FINDHELP or visit HelplineIL.org.
Continuing Our Work Towards a Complete Count
On Thursday, February 6th, IDHS announced our new partnerships with UIC and CommunityConnect Labs to improve census outreach to hard-to-count communities and strengthen our ability to ensure every person in Illinois is represented in the 2020 Census.
Read the full press release about this new partnership
Now Open! Applications for the 2020 Michael Curry Summer Internship Program
The Michael Curry Summer Internship is now open for applications!
The program offers college juniors, seniors, and graduate students in all disciplines (including law) an opportunity to work in one of the agencies under the jurisdiction of the Office of the Governor on a full-time basis for ten (10) weeks during the summer. Positions are available in both Springfield and Chicago.
- Eligible applicants must be Illinois residents who have not previously participated in the Curry Internship Program.
- Curry interns will receive a stipend of $1,632.00 per month.
- The application is now available online; all applications must be submitted before March 20, 2020, at 11:59 p.m.
Click here for the complete submission instructions: Summer 2020 Curry Internship Application
Key Accomplishments from 2019
2019 marked the first year of the Pritzker administration under the leadership of Secretary Hou and we saw some positive change for the department. Take a look at some of our accomplishments below.
- Diverse senior leadership team, of which 54%are people of color.
- Awarded 31 Regional Intermediaries that subcontracted with over300community partners to reach hard to count populations
- 2 new downstate processing centers an a new call center on state properties, hiring 130 staff
- Increased enrollment in the CCAP by 20,000
- Decreased Medicaid backlog by nearly 50%
- SNAP timeliness improved from 63% to 94%
We're Committed to Doing Better
Restoring Immigrant and Refugee Services
Much has been done to restore services for immigrants and refugees, and to respond to the Trump Administration's policy changes that harm immigrant families, like the public charge rule that went into effect in Illinois last week. So, what has been done you might ask?
- Created the Office of Welcoming Centers for Immigrant and Refugee Services, the first office of its kind in the U.S.
- Distributed $1.4M to community partners to provide outreach, education, and counseling in 55 different languages regarding the impact of the Trump Administration's public charge regulations, combined with ongoing efforts to mitigate the harmful effect of the public charge rule through training all IDHS caseworkers.
- Funded 17 welcoming centers operated by community partners across all regions of the state, targeting areas where services are needed, including counties with nascent immigrant populations ($1.6M).
- Establishing four state-operated welcoming centers, two of which are slated to launch in fall 2020. Special investments will be made to recruit, hire, and train bilingual and bicultural staff.
- Funding (approximately $4M) for the New Americans Initiative to support lawful permanent residents in becoming US citizens and the Immigrant Family Resource Program, which provides case management, outreach, interpretation and translation specifically for IDHS services. Additionally, the Office is investing in efforts to promote enrollment in SNAP and WIC among refugee and immigrant families.
The state's commitment to serving this population is especially critical in the context of the federal government's disinvestment in refugee services and its anti-immigrant policies. Illinois is a welcoming state and will continue to support immigrants and refugees in Illinois.
In the Spotlight
Andre Jordan, Director of Legislation for IDHS
Our Director of Legislation for IDHS, Andre Jordan, was interviewed by our team. Check out his answers below!
What drew you to work for IDHS?
Getting the opportunity to be an advocate, a change agent, and a voice for the voiceless is what drew me to work for IDHS. Investing back into the communities that many of us have lived in, worked and were informally and formally educated, is vital to me. Our agency's mission is truly at the intersection of state policy and local realities. The public need is great and the state's resources are scarce. This is what makes our programs and services a beacon of help and hope for our residents in need.
What's something you want to do in the next year that you've never done before?
Although it is still early in the New Year, the running craze has me thinking about a 10K or half-marathon before the year is over; maybe in a foreign country.
What's the greatest bit of advice you've received?
Opportunity or obstacle; the difference is perspective. When you climb to where you're going, leave the ladder up for someone else.
What's your favorite movie quote?
"This is the business we've chosen. I didn't ask who gave the order, because it had nothing to do with business!" The Godfather: Part II
What message would you like to share with our stakeholders?
We are not perfect. Nobody is. We don't have all the answers. Nobody does. We can't solve every problem. Nobody can. But, we are here to serve the public good, not to be served. Let's work together to change the narrative about our great state.
Work for IDHS!
Become a Human Services Caseworker - Here's How!
- Go to the Work4Illinois website. This page will provide information on the hiring practices in the State. Click on "Job Postings." This will take you to a page where you can search any job in Illinois. There are several search criteria that you can select. The number next to each item shows the current number of jobs posted in those categories.
- For caseworker positions, the position titles to select are "Human Services Caseworker (HSC)" or "Social Services Career Trainee (SSCT)." SSCT is merely the trainee title for HSCs. One note - Anything that says "Opt SS" at the end of the position title means that the position requires the candidate to speak Spanish.
- Once you select a record, it will take you to the job description and tell you how to apply.
- To be a DHS caseworker, the applicant will need to take a test and get a grade. The instructions for taking the test can be found online.
- Each applicant will need to fill out a CMS100 form. Information on how to fill out the CMS100 can be found on the Work4Illinois website.
Other New Job Openings
We have many openings for positions across the state. Visit the Illinois state jobs' website for all IDHS open positions.