There’s a lifeline, albeit a short one, for social service providers in Illinois. State Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka says she has enough flexibility in issuing checks, she hopes, to keep agencies from shutting down. She is on a statewide tour with a banner declaring,“Illinois Has Heart.”

Topinka, recognizing the months-long, billions-deep backlog of bills, says providers should call her office before declaring bankruptcy or missing payroll.

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She made her announcement at the Family Service Center in Springfield, where executive director Erin Predmore said she was able to keep a program for teenage mothers going a little longer before suspending it.

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