In budget limbo, Ill. agencies begin cutting back -

In budget limbo, Ill. agencies begin cutting back

CHICAGO (AP) -- With the state budget held up by gridlock in Springfield, some groups that provide government-funded services are laying off hundreds of employees and cutting aid.

Maria Whelan, executive director of Illinois Action for Children, says government-funded care for 150,000 children statewide is at risk.

Progress Illinois is a Web site supported by the Service Employees International Union. It reports that as of July 10, 68 agencies had cut at least 1,420 jobs and halted services for nearly 13,500 people.

That includes 165 inmates in county jails around the state.

The nonprofit organization Treatment Alternatives for Safe Communities, or TASC, would normally evaluate those prisoners to see whether they could be sent to drug and alcohol treatment instead of jail. But because TASC has required two-week furloughs for many employees, the organization says no one can review those prisoners, leaving them sitting in jail at taxpayer expense.

(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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