After nearly a year without money from the state, Kankakee County Center Against Sexual Assault (KC-CASA) and Iroquois Sexual Assault Services (ISAS) Board of Directors were forced to lay off staff and implement pay reductions for the remaining staff beginning in June. By taking this drastic step now the agency hopes to have enough resources to remain open through the state budget impasse.
KC-CASA and their satellite office in Watseka (ISAS) have gone from a staff of 15 to now a staff of just 7. While these staff reductions are temporary and directly tied to the State budget, they create limitations in services provided to survivors of sexual violence and the community as a whole.
KC-CASA/ISAS will continue to provide survivor services in Iroquois County through the 24-hour hotline, counseling, advocacy, and limited prevention education; however office hours will be reduced to 2 days per week (Tuesdays 9 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. and Wednesdays 9 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.). During this temporary change, staff and volunteers from the Kankakee site will be servicing to Iroquois County.
Survivor services will also continue in Kankakee County through the 24-hour hotline, counseling, advocacy, and prevention. Staff reductions have resulted in a counseling wait list for victims of sexual assault and their significant others. In the last year alone KC-CASA and ISAS have provided 950 hours of criminal justice advocacy to over 100 clients. The counseling program served 156 clients with over 1,200 hours of counseling and therapy. Prevention staff provided over 550 presentations and professional training to over 110,000 participants. Unfortunately, violence against women and children in our community has definitely not stopped. If the budget impasse isn't resolved soon, crucial services to victims of rape would be discontinued in Kankakee and Iroquois Counties.
KC-CASA will continue to service victims and families as long and as effectively as they can. Without a State Budget, victims suffer, families suffer, and communities suffer. Please consider advocating for the survivors KC-CASA and ISAS serve by calling the offices of Governor Rauner and Speaker Madigan to implore them to end the state budget impasse.
Illinois State Police are continuing Special Traffic Enforcement Patrols (STEP) this week. Troopers from District 21 (Ashkum), District 10 (Pesotum) and District 5 (Pontiac) are keeping a close eye out for drivers speeding, failing to buckle up, and other driving offenses. The enforcement crackdown continues thru Memorial Day on May 30th.
Speeding is a contributing factor in 31-percent of all fatal crashes nationwide. In Illinois, speed-related crashes account for 37-percent of all traffic fatalities.
Meanwhile Triple-A projects more than 38 million Americans will travel this Memorial Day weekend. That is the second-highest Memorial Day travel volume on record and the most since 2005. Spurred by the lowest gas prices in more than a decade, about 700,000 more people are expected to travel this year than during the Memorial Day weekend last year.