Human Services System Research

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The Social IMPACT Research Center engages in human services system research with multiple partners in order to improve the quality of services and service delivery.

New Report Release!

On March 22, 2012, The Center for Tax and Budget Accountability (CTBA) and the Social IMPACT Research Center released a new analysis that highlights how large cuts to human services, which provide supports for some of the most vulnerable people in the state, will send shockwaves through the state’s economy. The new research, entitled Ramifications of State Budget Cuts to Human Services: Increases Job Loss, Decreases economic Activity, Harms Vulnerable Populations, shows these cuts could result in nearly 4,000 lost jobs and a $458.5 million loss to Illinois’ economy.

While budget discussions are just beginning, the three year budget projection issued by the Governor’s Office of Management and Budget as part of the new Budgeting for Results process indicates that the human services budget area will receive a significant cut of $350 million dollars from FY2012 to FY2013. This cut continues the pattern of human services taking the brunt of budget cuts. Faced with cuts of this magnitude, human services providers will reduce hours, lay off staff, close facilities, or do all of these things. Not only does this impact thousands of Illinoisans who rely on these programs, but the cuts will have a direct economic consequence on our state.

Read the report.

Illinois Human Services Commission

Need for Human Services CoverIMPACT developed a report to support the work of the Illinois Human Services Commission in its effort to fulfill its charge to “undertake a systematic review of human services programs with the goal of ensuring their consistent delivery in the State of Illinois” and to “make recommendations for achieving a system that will provide for the efficient and effective delivery of high quality human service.”

The report includes basic population and demographic trends that impact human services and identifies who is in need of services and how current realities and trends may impact need going forward. The report demonstrates how relatively simple data can inform program and policy decisions, which are far too often made in information voids. It concludes with a detailed account of how all need estimates in the report were developed and practical recommendations for how the state can incorporate this type of analysis into regular planning.

Read the report.

The Social and Economic Value of Human Services

Additionally, IMPACT wrote a report that examined publicly-funded services and highlighted a body of evidence that speaks to both the social and economic value for society when investments are made into human services. The story that emerged points to the advantages of investments in human services in three distinct ways:

  1. Human services provide a lifeline for many of the state’s most disadvantaged residents—seniors, people with disabilities, people who are poor, those experiencing homelessness, children—thereby honoring concepts of human rights, equality, and the inherent dignity and worth of each and every individual.
  2. There are a variety of documented positive impacts of a variety of human services programs including enhanced quality of life and stronger and more economically competitive individuals, families, and communities.
  3. Such programs are wise investments, staving off the much larger immediate and/or future costs that would be incurred if the social problems they address were left unchecked.

Illinois Partners for Human Service

IMPACT provides data and research support to Illinois Partners for Human Service. In addition to ongoing technical assistance, IMPACT recently coordinated an effort to survey human service organizations in Illinois to understand the impact of state budget cuts and late state payments on the sector.