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Learn about the value of human services, the lasting effects of ongoing budget cuts on community well being and the efficiency of our sector compared to other Illinois industries.

It is Time to Fully Fund Human Services in Illinois

To serve Illinoisans well, the human service sector must be funded appropriately and human service professionals paid fairly. This infographic (with links to supporting research) shows that to keep up with the rising costs and greater demand for human services, state government must stabilize the sector through a fully funded budget. Learn more about funding shortages over the past 20 years, how the sector drives job growth, the impact of the new minimum wage law and what must be done to stabilize human services in Illinois.

5 key facts about the importance and value of investing in human services.

The Relationship Between Low Wages, Employee Turnover and Community Well-Being

Organizations benefit from some employee turnover, including adding talent with new ideas and skills. Yet high employee attrition and high employee turnover have serious and lasting implications on organizational effectiveness and community well-being. This study illustrates that the connection between low pay and employee turnover in human services has reached a critical juncture in Illinois, and offers solutions for providing a continuum of reliable services in the state.

Impact of low pay, employee turnover on human services.

Impact of Illinois’ New Minimum Wage Law

Illinois Partners, in collaboration with human service trade associations, conducted a survey of organizations throughout Illinois to demonstrate the financial impact of the state’s new minimum wage law on the sector. The results:
→ Mandated wage increases by 2025: $1.3 billion
→ Wage increases, including the cost to offset wage compression: $4.6 billion

Cost increase to the human services sector.

Create a Better Illinois: National Analysis Makes Case for Reassessing Human Service Reimbursement Rates

A strong and stable human services infrastructure fosters potential and builds strong, thriving communities. This new reports makes the case for further exploring how paying Illinois providers too little for what they do affects community well-being and challenges policymakers to adequately fund human services.

Importance of increasing reimbursement rates. 

Government is the Foundation of Well-Being: Why Philanthropy Cannot Replace Government in Helping Illinois Communities Reach Their Potential

Historically, government and the philanthropic community have stepped up to promote the wellbeing of its citizens, each fulflling an essential and critical role. This research demonstrates why philanthropy should not, and cannot, fill the resource gaps created by lack of government support.

Why philanthropy cannot replace human services.

Lean as Anyone Else: How Operational Efficiency of Human Services Compares Among Illinois Industries

The ongoing budget and financial issues in our state have put tremendous pressure on human service, education and health care providers to operate as efficiently as possible as slowed payment or nonpayment for services places unprecedented pressure on cash flow. How efficiently do nonprofits run? How do human service enterprises and industries compare organizationally to other industries where few observers advocate for shakeouts or mergers? This study shows that on average, Illinois human service organizations operate as efficiently, and in some cases more efficiently, than other Illinois industries.

Establishments and employment per firm.

Damage of Illinois Budget Impasse: Community by Community Heat Map

Illinois’ budget impasse caused lasting damage on human service organizations as many are still being forced to cancel programs, lay off staff, and close their doors while others continue to experience delays in payments, as well as uncertainty on whether their contracts will be issued.

As fewer people have access to services, the well-being of our community declines. Our report, released in August 2016, provides a full and clear picture – community by community – of the damage and impact of the recent budget crisis.

A heat map of affected providers.

Analysis: Declining Value of Human Services Reimbursements

Several human services programs receive state funding through reimbursement rates, which are intended to cover the costs of providing services. Service providers in many fields report that current rates fail to keep up with actual costs, which include staff wages and benefits, facility costs and transportation costs. Most providers have little choice but to accept contracts that end up forcing them to cover the difference between what the State of Illinois will pay for a service and the actual cost of providing the service.

This February 2016 report provides insight into reimbursement rates across the human services sector, along with a comprehensive review of reimbursement rates and answers key questions: How long have rates remained unchanged? How far behind the cost of living have the rates fallen? What challenges do stagnant rates present for service providers?


The true cost of providing services. 

Human Services as an Economic Engine

What is the impact of human services to the vitality of communities in our state? Providers in counties throughout Illinois make a major contribution to the state economy generating $4.5 billion a year in spending – economic activity that generates some $597 million in state and local taxes, as our May 2016 report demonstrates. It is an industry full of small businesses serving as an important job creator. Contrary to public perception many human services workers are well educated: 36% have a college degree yet they are poorly paid earning less than two-thirds of what workers overall with similar education earn in Illinois.

Making an impact in your district.

Research from Partner Organizations

See all research

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Make Your Voices Heard

Our sector is stronger when it speaks with a shared voice. From advocacy tools to reframing human services, find the resources you need to engage leaders and change the conversation on human services.

Contact Us

33 W. Grand Ave., Suite 300, Chicago, IL 60654 Phone: 312-243-1913 Web:

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