Learn About the Value of Human Services

Report cover and key findings from Worker Well-Being report.

Worker Well-Being Is Community

Why the Human Service Workforce Needs a Living Wage

“Worker Well-Being is Community Well-Being: Why the Human Services Workforce Needs a Living Wage” presents research through an entirely new and different lens, one rooted in the broader social and fiscal issues that shape our economy, but framed by the voices and experiences of people working on the frontline of service. More than 850 of these workers shared salary and personal information so that this report could offer a new perspective on the impact of underinvestment from the state by revealing the real-life and everyday implications of chronic underfunding for frontline workers and their families. The numerical data is both significant and disheartening, but it is the words of the workers themselves that constitute the heart and soul of this research.


Report cover and key findings from Gauging the Gap report.

Gauging the Gap:

Do Community-based Providers Have the Capacity to Meet the True Demand for Human Services in Illinois?
Illinois Partners for Human Service conducted statewide research to explore the central questions:

  • What is the true demand for services providers are seeing?
  • Do human service organizations have the capacity to meet this demand?
  • How is demand expected to change in the next 5 years?

This research aims to provide insight into the actual gap between capacity and demand and to build upon previous recommendations to stabilize the sector so that all Illinoisans have access to the services they need to reach their full potential.


More Essential Than Ever:

Rebuilding the Illinois Health and Human Services Workforce in the Wake of the COVID-19 Pandemic
Illinois Partners for Human Service conducted statewide research to identify what factors are most affecting the health and human services workforce in the wake of the pandemic.  This research addresses the following questions:

  • What factors impact the stability of the health and human services workforce in Illinois?
  • What are the ongoing challenges facing the health and human services sector?
  • What is needed to stabilize and strengthen the health and human services workforce in the future?

More Than Essential:

Reimbursement Rates and the True Value of Human Services
Illinois Partners for Human Service conducted an updated study comparing reimbursement rates to the consumer price index (CPI) across key human services to form a comprehensive picture of how state-funded human service reimbursement rates are measuring up in Illinois.  It asks three primary questions:

  • How have rates changed in the past two decades?
  • How do current rates compare to the cost of living?
  • How do rates impact community human service providers?

The report finds that reimbursement rates often fail to account for the actual costs of services, and inadequate reimbursement rates inhibit capacity for expansions to meet increasing needs.

Health and Human Service Sector Priorities in Response to COVID-19

Illinois Partners Conducted a survey to understand the impact of COVID-19 on our coalition partners throughout the state.  The attached report includes key takeaways from the 177 organizations that responded.


It is Time to Fully Fund Human Services in Illinois

To serve Illinoisans well, the human service sector must be funded appropriately and human service professionals paid fairly. This infographic (with links to supporting research) shows that to keep up with the rising costs and greater demand for human services, state government must stabilize the sector through a fully funded budget. Learn more about funding shortages over the past 20 years, how the sector drives job growth, the impact of the new minimum wage law, and what must be done to stabilize human services in Illinois.


The Relationship Between Low Wages, Employee Turnover and Community Well-Being

Organizations benefit from some employee turnover, including adding talent with new ideas and skills. Yet high employee attrition and high employee turnover have serious and lasting implications on organizational effectiveness and community well-being. This study illustrates that the connection between low pay and employee turnover in human services has reached a critical juncture in Illinois, and offers solutions for providing a continuum of reliable services in the state.


The Impact of Illinois’ New Minimum Wage Law

Illinois Partners, in collaboration with human service trade associations, conducted a survey of organizations throughout Illinois to demonstrate the financial impact of the state’s new minimum wage law on the sector.
The results:
→ Mandated wage increases by 2025: $1.3 billion
→ Wage increases, including the cost to offset wage compression: $4.6 billion


Create a Better Illinois:

National Analysis Makes Case for Reassessing Human Service Reimbursement Rates

A strong and stable human services infrastructure fosters potential and builds strong, thriving communities. This new report makes the case for further exploring how paying Illinois providers too little for what they do affects community well-being and challenges policymakers to adequately fund human services.


Government is the Foundation of

Why Philanthropy Cannot Replace Government in Helping Illinois Communities Reach Their Potential

Historically, government and the philanthropic community have stepped up to promote the wellbeing of its citizens, each fulfilling an essential and critical role. This research demonstrates why philanthropy should not, and cannot, fill the resource gaps created by lack of government support.


Failing to Keep Pace:

An Analysis of the Declining Value of Illinois Human Services Reimbursement Rates

Several human services programs receive state funding through reimbursement rates, which are intended to cover the costs of providing services. Service providers in many fields report that current rates fail to keep up with actual costs, which include staff wages and benefits, facility costs, and transportation costs. Most providers have little choice but to accept contracts that end up forcing them to cover the difference between what the State of Illinois will pay for a service and the actual cost of providing the service.


Lean as Anyone Else:

How Operational Efficiency of Human Services Compares Among Illinois Industries

The ongoing budget and financial issues in our state have put tremendous pressure on human service, education, and health care providers to operate as efficiently as possible as slowed payment or nonpayment for services places unprecedented pressure on cash flow. How efficiently do nonprofits run? How do human service enterprises and industries compare organizationally to other industries where few observers advocate for shakeouts or mergers? This study shows that on average, Illinois human service organizations operate as efficiently, and in some cases more efficiently, than other Illinois industries. 


Damage of Illinois Budget Impasse:

Community by Community Heat Map

Illinois’ budget impasse caused lasting damage on human service organizations as many are still being forced to cancel programs, lay off staff, and close their doors while others continue to experience delays in payments, as well as uncertainty on whether their contracts will be issued.

As fewer people have access to services, the well-being of our community declines. Our report, released in August 2016, provides a full and clear picture – community by community – of the damage and impact of the recent budget crisis.


Human Services as an Economic Engine

What is the impact of human services to the vitality of communities in our state? Providers in counties throughout Illinois make a major contribution to the state economy generating $4.5 billion a year in spending – economic activity that generates some $597 million in state and local taxes, as our May 2016 report demonstrates. It is an industry full of small businesses serving as an important job creator. Contrary to public perception many human services workers are well educated: 36% have a college degree yet they are poorly paid earning less than two-thirds of what workers overall with similar education earn in Illinois.


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Human services matter to ALL of us.