State payment delays lead to Family Focus layoffs


The social service agency Family Focus, which has one of its seven Chicago-area centers in Evanston, says it plans to lay off 71 percent of its workforce on July 1 because Illinois is $2.7 million behind in paying for work the agency has already performed.

In a letter to friends of the organization Monday, Family Focus President and CEO Merri Ex said 100 employees, all of the organizations direct program staff, will be hit by the layoffs.

The Family Focus center at 2010 Dewey Ave, in Evanston (Google Maps image).

In the letter Ex says that families who count on the agency “for critical services and help ensuring their children are ready for pre-school are being left behind.”

“The impact of this gap in services cannot be overstated, and time cannot be rolled back for children being impacted now,” she added.

She says the agency had adjusted its expectations to allow for longer gaps in payment from the state, but that last month “the payments nearly stopped altogether, creating a cash flow crisis we could no longer manage with our reserve and endowment.”

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