WBEZ | state government http://www.wbez.org/tags/state-government Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Illinois announces upgrade to child abuse hotline http://www.wbez.org/news/illinois-announces-upgrade-child-abuse-hotline-104100 <p><p>SPRINGFIELD, Ill. &mdash; Illinois&#39; child welfare agency has launched a new computerized child abuse hotline in response to complaints its old system was failing to handle the volume of calls.</p><p>The Illinois Department of Children and Family Services announced the new $474,000 system Wednesday.</p><p>The department received more than 250,000 calls last year, but a majority of the callers didn&#39;t immediately reach a child abuse expert and had to be called back.</p><p>The department&#39;s new director, Richard Calica, says the hotline&#39;s problems meant unacceptable delays in sending investigators out into the field and getting help to children and families. Calica says replacing the old hotline is a smart investment.</p><p>The hotline is staffed 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The toll-free number is 1-800-25-ABUSE (1-800-252-2873).</p></p> Thu, 29 Nov 2012 09:25:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/illinois-announces-upgrade-child-abuse-hotline-104100 Proposal for Illinois to borrow $4B to pay bills http://www.wbez.org/news/proposal-illinois-borrow-4b-pay-bills-104052 <p><p>SPRINGFIELD, Ill.&nbsp; &mdash; A state lawmaker is proposing Illinois borrow $4 billion to pay its overdue bills, saying agencies and vendors who do business with the state are in dire straits and need to be paid.</p><p>The bill from Rep. Esther Golar, a Chicago Democrat, would allow Illinois to borrow the money and use it toward bills more than a month past due as of September.</p><p>But Republican Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka said Tuesday the worst thing the state could do is take on more debt.</p><p>Topinka said her office currently has nearly 170,000 outstanding bills totaling $7.1 billion. But she said as the economy improves, the state is making progress paying down the backlog.</p><p>Golar asked for more time before the House Executive Committee votes.</p></p> Tue, 27 Nov 2012 16:41:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/proposal-illinois-borrow-4b-pay-bills-104052