The Illinois state budget crisis is imperiling intervention programs that seek that provide alternatives to drugs and violence for the state’s at-risk youths, reports the Chicago Tribune. Illinois owes its vendors – most of them nonprofits – more than $3.7 billion, according the state’s comptroller’s office. Many operate anti-violence programs that have cut back drastically or shut down during the summer months, when violence peaks.
Last week, Gov. Pat Quinn, acknowledged the problem when he announced the formation of an anti-violence commission to take testimony from those affected by violence. Advocates say that kids who have nowhere to go are more likely to fall into gangs. “Unfortunately, lots of programs are cutting back on staff,” said Alan Henry, a spokesman for the comptroller’s office. “There’s only so much money, and it runs out very quickly.”