We have to enhance the social services infrastructure throughout the near west suburbs in response to population movements that have taken place over the last ten years. We also have to work with the Administration to re-vitalize our state's Department of Human Services. The Department could function much more efficiently if service providers and advocates could file requests on line. Staff would also benefit if the state made certain technology upgrades.
Rory Hoskins' Views on Expanding Social Services
Rory Hoskins believes that we must streamline and expand the delivery of social services, throughout the Proviso area, due to population movements that have taken place over the last ten years. Our communities need more programs to address unemployment, homelessness, drug addiction, and chronic hunger. Proviso has many new residents who are not necessarily rooted in the community. Service providers should be available to help vulnerable people to access programs and services. Hoskins also believes that the multi-lingual capability of social service agencies should be increased. As a legislator, Hoskins will advocate for expansion of social services such as job-training for young persons and drug-awareness programs, and other prevention programs, that are intended to discourage youth from experimenting with illegal drugs. Hoskins believes that sobriety is the first step to employability.
Hoskins' Lifetime Commitment to Social Services
Rory Hoskins began his career as a foster care caseworker in 1994. Employed by Association House of Chicago, he worked with children and families in Chicago and in Proviso Township. Hoskins later held an administrative position in Head Start, which is a federally funded early childhood education program. Hoskins served as the health and disability coordinator when the program began the process of becoming accredited by the Illinois Association for the Education of Young Children in1999. Hoskins holds a masters degree in social work (Loyola University Chicago, 1999) and continues to work with advocacy groups including Voices for Illinois Children. Hoskins is aware of the needs of the provider community. He regularly interacts with providers who specialize in fields such as early childhood, who work as primary school educators.
Rory Hoskins and his wife (Monique) are foster parents, licensed by the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services. The Hoskins' three biological children have all been served by early intervention programs such as speech therapy. They are currently adopting a baby boy who receives additional services such as nutrition services and motor therapy. Monique has taught Spanish in the public schools for 12 years. Prior to teaching, Monique Hoskins worked as a bi-lingual caseworker in a group home for girls, and later held a similar role in a young women's independent living program. The Hoskins are committed to eliminating any stigma attached to therapy and mental health services.
Hoskins is a member of the National Alliance for Mental Illness (NAMI) Metro Suburban. NAMI is a self-help support and advocacy organization working to improve the lives of people with mental illness. NAMI serves consumers as well as their family members and friends through education courses, support groups and public presentations. NAMI advocates for equitable public and private sector policies, encourages research into causes of brain disorders, and is working to eliminate the stigma toward persons affected by severe mental illness.
Hoskins has worked with a range of advocacy organizations including the Illinois Childhood Trauma Coalition and supports funding Crisis Intervention Teams (CIT) for Youth. CIT for Youth provides an opportunity to prevent the tragic consequences of undiagnosed and untreated mental health issues in youth by training law enforcement officers on preventing mental health crises and on de-escalating crises when they occur. It is also a dynamic collaboration between law enforcement, families and youth, schools, community mental health centers, and child-serving agencies. Parties must be committed to ensuring that youth in a mental health crisis are identified and referred to appropriate mental health services, rather than being thrust into the courts and juvenile justice systems.
Hoskins is the best prepared state representative candidate when it comes to social services policy-making because he understands the issues, and has extensive experience working in the field.
Hoskins Will Work to Improve Operations at the Department of Human Services
Rory recently volunteered as an administrative law fellow for the Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS), discussing policy and methods for more efficient service delivery with management in the agency's bureau for Human Capital Development. IDHS has approximately 14,000 employees statewide and accounts for nearly 20% of the state's annual budget. The agency is rapidly losing institutional knowledge as the result of retirements, and is in danger of a "brain drain" because a significant number of individuals may soon retire. The impact of looming retirements will be more severe if adequate investment is not made to modernize the agency's operations. Hoskins has directly observed that a significant portion of DHS personnel is within 7-10 years of retirement.
Although it is 2011, many of the agency's appeals hearings are conducted by telephone. Advocates who work with people receiving services from IDHS report that while the current system is getting better, it is far from acceptable. As your Representative, Hoskins will work with DHS officials to advocate for the purchase of new technologies such as video conferencing equipment to enhance delivery of services. Hoskins will also conduct regular site visits to DHS offices located in the district. Hoskins believes that the agency's mission is too important for the next state representative to not be actively engaged in making sure that consumers receive services in the most efficient manner that is economically feasible.
Hoskins believes that the Illinois Department of Human Service would function much more efficiently if service providers and advocates could file requests on line, and that staff would benefit if the state made certain technology upgrades. He is committed to working with the Administration and stakeholders who rely on the Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS) to affect these changes.