Family Counseling Center forced to make cuts - WSIL-TV 3 Southern Illinois

Family Counseling Center forced to make cuts

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JOHNSON CO. -- The Illinois state budget crisis packs another punch. This time it's to mental health services, and people in that field say could that affect all of us.

It's forcing cuts at the Family Counseling Center in Johnson County, but those trickle down to the people they serve who have developmental disabilities, mental health issues and substance abuse problems on top of programs they run for the elderly and child welfare. 

The trickle-down effect of the state's budget controversy has very real consequences for therapists like Patti Williams and her patients.

"The words he used to me was, 'You give me hope.' And I had to stop giving that child hope this morning due to our financial crisis," said Williams.

Within a month, the center's line of credit will be spent and they've already run through a 90-day reserve set aside for budget delays.

But that could have life-threatening effects, as some of Williams' patients have told her.

She shares a client's letter:

"I would be sad if I couldn't see my counselor anymore. I hate hospitalizations and counseling helps me stay out of the hospital. I use to have anger all the time. I'm pretty happy with myself, now."

Another client became so upset the student had to be taken out of the classroom. 

Executive Director Sherrie Crabb explains the center's money problem becomes their client's problem.

"There's no appropriation and a budget has not been passed so we don't know how to plan for our future, so what that means is that our clients don't know what their future looks. They don't know if we're going to have crisis intervention services, if we're going to be able to pick up the crisis line and help them or if our doors going to be open."

Last week, 35 employees were laid-off or had their hours cut, which Crabb says puts patients and the entire community in jeopardy.

"The one resource they have in their community is agencies like ours and if you take that out there will be more suicides, there will be more people in our community hurting others in our community. We will be in the national spotlight."

Crabb says she'll try to keep the doors open through the beginning of November. But she urges people to reach out to the governor's office to share their concerns.

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