Wednesday, Jan. 19


Illinois increases public assistance staff by 10%, improving low-income services

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[JAN. 19, 2005]  CHICAGO -- Secretary Carol L. Adams, Ph.D., of the Illinois Department of Human Services announced Tuesday that the agency will hire 224 more human services caseworkers to assist low-income Illinoisans. While visiting the Englewood Family Community Resource Center, Adams said the additional workers will improve the department's ability to process food stamp applications and requests for cash and medical assistance as well as improving the department's ability to connect families to needed social, medical and family support services.

"For families living on the brink of poverty, time is of the essence," Gov. Blagojevich said. "They need help quickly to avoid crisis situations, and they need an assistance effort that takes into account their individual needs. By putting more workers on the front lines, we're improving the quality and timeliness of services we provide to citizens struggling to get ahead."

The Illinois Department of Human Services currently has 2,156 caseworkers at its 120 Family Community Resource Centers. Each caseworker has a caseload of approximately 850 to 1,200 customers. The additional caseworkers will boost the department's front lines by 10 percent and are expected to help reduce individual caseloads by 25 percent to 50 percent.

The Englewood office at 5323 S. Western is one of the department's largest and has a significant number of Spanish-speaking customers. Englewood will receive 25 new caseworkers to improve services to Hispanic and all other customers.

"Our caseworkers are key to assisting low-income families with self-sufficiency," Adams said. "They process and approve applications and assist families with education, training and employment programs. They are the front door, connecting families to various other services. The additional staff will bring us closer to our mission of having customer-friendly and family-centered offices where people want to come in for assistance."

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The department's Division of Human Capital Development serves over 1 million customers each month through income supports, including cash assistance, food stamps, medical programs, employment and training programs, help with child care, emergency assistance, refugee and immigration services, homeless services, and specialized social services.

In July, the department received a near-$1 million grant to improve food stamp participation.

In September, due to the diligence and commitment of the casework staff, the department received a $4.3 million bonus from the U.S. Department of Agriculture for food stamp accuracy.

The public can access an online application for cash, food stamps and medical assistance through The website also provides a calculator for users to determine their potential food stamp benefit amount.

[Illinois Department of Human Services news release]

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