A Response to the Budget and Social Service Crisis in Illinois

August, 2009

The issue of responsibility, individual and shared, is at the very core how a society defines itself. Will the inescapably traumatic events that befall its members become a shared moral and financial burden, or will victims be held responsible and left to fend for themselves?

– Bessel van der Kolk, Traumatic Stress, 1996

Dear Colleagues,

It is with great sadness and dismay that we are now witness to the disabling cuts to human services in Illinois. Those of us who have worked to support families and communities under duress know that the strength, integrity and generosity of a family, community, or society can be measured by how they respond to their most vulnerable members. Programs in Illinois that serve those that are easily marginalized and in need are precisely the programs that are now at risk or being compromised and in some cases eliminated.

Our friends and colleagues whose life’s work and mission are to serve those who have experienced trauma, loss and abuse are losing their jobs as a result of these cutbacks. This is demoralizing to them not only financially but also emotionally, and spiritually. Others are being asked to step up to compensate with crushing expectations that compromise the quality of the care that they are committed to provide.

We are being asked to turn our backs on people experiencing homelessness, children and adults with disabilities, people with serious mental illnesses, the uninsured, immigrants, and in general, children and women at risk.
Something has gone terribly awry.

At Womencare, we are committed to voice our outrage and concern through joining with others to keep the pressure on the legislature. We will offer more scholarships for training to therapists who have lost their jobs and to agencies that have had their training budgets cut. We will not be silent and we wish to be in community with others who also refuse to turn away when there is so much at stake.

With Care and Concern,
The Womencare Staff