SPRINGFIELD – Since Illinois’ budget impasse began more than eight months ago, more than 1,500 youth across the state have been kicked out of after-school programs that previously received funding from the Teen REACH program. Teen REACH provides grants to support local communities’ after-school programs that serve at-risk youth age 6 to 17.
“Study after study highlights the direct link between investing in after-school programs and higher levels of student success and lower rates of crime,” State Senator Toi Hutchinson (D – Chicago Heights) said. “This is especially true in some of our most impoverished neighborhoods and communities.”
Hutchinson passed a plan out of the Senate yesterday that ensures the state makes quality after-school programs a priority, requiring the Department of Human Services to award grants to community-based agencies providing after-school services to youth. Teen REACH funding has been cut off since Illinois’ budget impasse began in July and was not included in the governor’s budget proposal for Fiscal Year 2017.
“Funding after-school programs makes sense, both morally for the thousands of children served as well as economically for the state of Illinois,” Hutchinson said.
Senate Bill 2407 passed the Illinois Senate Tuesday afternoon and heads to the Illinois House for further debate.