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New Report: Invest in Youth – Not Prisons
Putting youth in prisons is the most expensive and least effective way to respond to juvenile delinquency. Yet Illinois spends heavily on unnecessary prison facilities while neglecting community-based alternatives to incarceration, according to a new report from Voices’ Fiscal Policy Center. By shifting investment from youth prisons to research-backed, community-based alternatives, Illinois can help youth succeed, improve public safety, and save taxpayers money.
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Budget Crisis Update: Devastating Impacts Continue to Grow
The lack of a full state budget nine months into the fiscal year continues to have devastating impacts for children, families, and communities. In an update to its September 2015 report, the Fiscal Policy Center captures the damage occuring in 60 different public service areas. The resulting large-scale dismantling of vital parts of Illinois’ health, human service, and higher education systems is inflicting long-term damage that will take many years to repair.
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Voices’ New President: Tasha Green Cruzat
Tasha Green Cruzat joined Voices for Illinois Children as our new president on March 21. Tasha comes to Voices after serving as Chief of Staff to Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle. Previously, Tasha served in senior positions in the Governor’s Office of Management and Budget and Central Management Services, as well as the Executive Director of High Jump, a nonprofit that provides academic opportunities for low-income Chicago youth.

Issues In Focus

Kids Count Report: Illinois Kids Making Progress, But Many Face Challenges
2016KCDB_cover_150px Prior to the state budget crisis, Illinois kids were improving in important indicators of child well-being, including education and health, according to the 2016 KIDS COUNT® Data Book from the Annie E. Casey Foundation. However, one in five children in Illinois continued to live in poverty in 2014, and the number of kids growing up in high poverty neighborhoods has increased since 2008. 
Op-Ed: It’s Time to Close Kewanee ‘Youth Center’
Kewanee Youth Center Voices President Tasha Green Cruzat called for the state to close the Illinois Youth Center at Kewanee in a Chicago Tribune op-ed with Hoy McConnell, executive director of Business and Professional People for the Public Interest. The Kewanee Youth Center — in reality a prison for youth — leaves many youth “in worse condition than when they entered and be more likely to reoffend.”
Low-Income College Students Denied Tuition Assistance, By Legislative District
1443041953_graduation-cap Low-income college students throughout Illinois are not receiving tuition assistance through the state’s Monetary Award Program (MAP) that helps them afford college. New analysis released by Voices for Illinois Children and Women Employed shows that hundreds, even thousands, of students in every Illinois legislative district are being harmed by the lack of a state budget that raises the revenue necessary to fund vital areas like tuition assistance.
Medicaid at 50: Transforming Lives through Better Health
Medical-Symbol Medicaid has transformed health care for millions of Illinoisans–most of them children–over the past 50 years. To celebrate the anniversary of this critical program, we’ve created a new chartbook explaining Medicaid in simple terms, why it is so important, who is covered, and why it is such a good deal for Illinois–all with easy-to-understand language and infographics.