How Poor Children Are Bearing the Brunt of Austerity Cuts

The Illinois budget impasse is being used to erode childhood development programs for poor families.

In These Times and Kartemquin Films

Rachel Deitsch is a 23-year-old participant in Healthy Start, which is being cut because of the Illinois budget impasse.

Being a new mom is hard, and being a young mom is harder,” says Rachel Deitsch, a 23-year-old participant in Healthy Start, an early childhood development program that serves low-income families. She is one of countless residents facing devastating austerity cuts, as Illinois lawmakers continue to fail at passing a real budget.

Illinois has not passed a real budget in nearly two years, the first state to go that long without a budget since the Great Depression.

The erosion of childhood programs is devastating in a state where, as of 2014, 41 percent of children under the age of 3 lived in low-income families. This video shows how young mothers in Illinois are left to fend for themselves, thanks to the erosion of vital public services.

Illinois has not passed a real budget in nearly two years, the first state to go that long without a budget since the Great Depression. Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner has refused to sign off on any budget that doesn’t also curtail collective bargaining rights, leading to a showdown with the state’s Democrats. 

Stranded by the State—an 8‑part video series produced in partnership with Kartemquin Films — follows the families, workers and students living through these de facto budget cuts, showing the ways they deteriorate the fabric of Illinois communities. The series incorporates data connecting the situation in Illinois to long-term trends of austerity nationwide, including the staggering cuts proposed in President Donald Trump’s first budget.

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