Thank you to all who participated in the 68th Annual Arc Convention this week.  We have more than 300 people attending and additional vendors, speakers and sponsors.  It was two great days of laughs, networking and learning.  Here are some photos to provide it!  Congratulations to all the award winners!

May 3 – Don’t forget we are continuing the training with a May 3 DSP Shortage: Know Your Options.  It is free for families and CEUs are offered for professionals.
Click here for the full brochureClick here to register online

State Legislative Session

Thanks also to all those who have spoken up, sent witness slips, call their legislators this session.  It has been a busy one and it isn’t over.

With the deadline this week, there are a number of bills that moved this week out of their respective houses.

  • SB2424 – Diversion from Facilities
  • SB3237 – OIG appeal rights for people with disabilities, families and providers
  • SB3504 – Wage increase (here are the votes – Please thank your legislator if they voted yes!)
  • SB 3041 and HB 5163 – Expansion of DD boards
  • SB2427 – Expansion of dental care
  • HB4736 – Exempting from managed care Medically Fragile Technology Dependent kids

SB201 – Dignity in Pay Act – Although Senator Biss on Wednesday and the Labor Committee discussed the bill, Senator Biss decided not to call the bill because it did not have enough votes to move out of committee.  As I mentioned earlier this week, the Arc of Illinois board, working with the public policy committee, decided to support the bill in principle.  We continue to be committed to work with both proponents and opponents to talk about how Illinois needs to build capacity in the community system to help people get jobs and have a meaningful day.  Here is our testimony that we submitted on Wednesday.  I appreciate all those who have reached out to me to let me know your position on the bill.  I look forward to talking with you further to move this issue forward in a productive way that best supports people with I/DD with all abilities.

Monday, April 30, the House Human Services Appropriation Committee is holding a hearing on Medicaid and the IT roll out.  The Arc’s Shirley Perez will be testifying about both her personal experience with these issues and the concerns that many individuals, parents and providers have also expressed.  You can email me if you are an individual and family member who also had issues and want to testify or submit testimony at

New Member/Key Stakeholder Survey – Please fill out today. 
On Wednesday, the Arc released an individual member survey for those who are members of the Arc or key stakeholders to hear from YOU about what more the Arc can do.  We want to hear from you about what you want to see.  Please fill it out today – it takes 7 minutes or less!  Here is a word document for those who need greater accessibility.  We have tried to improve the survey to be easier to read.

Dental/Oral Health Survey

The Shriver Center is asking people to fill out this dental needs survey to better understand the issues facing people trying to access dental care.

Mark Your Calendar for This Exciting Event
Parent Advocacy Training for Legislative Change

Your participation in this training will build your advocacy skills and provide important feedback that can help guide, expand, and strengthen special education policy.

Family Resource Center on Disabilities (FRCD) and the University of Illinois at UrbanaChampaign are offering a FREE training to parents and family members of children with disabilities. Please CLICK for flyer.

In addition to attending the training, participants will be required to:
• Participate in a focus group to share concerns about special education legislation. • Complete three surveys to document the effectiveness of the training.
• Be videotaped (less than three minutes) to share your concerns about special education legislation. Your participation is voluntary and your responses will be kept confidential.

To participate, please complete the registration and survey at this link:
After completing the survey, you will be notified of your training date.
Training Dates: May 10 and 17, 2018 or September 18 and 20, 2018 Location: Dr. Martin Luther King Service Center/Resource Center for Autism and Developmental Delays, 4314 S. Cottage Grove, Chicago, IL 60653 Time: 10am to 1pm on both dates

Please sign up by April 20, 2018 Food and parking will be provided and each participant will receive two $10 gift cards. If you have questions or want to complete the survey over the phone or via hard copy, please contact: Meghan Burke, or 217-300-1226.

Meg Cooch Signature
Meg Cooch
Executive Director
The Arc of Illinois
20901 S. LaGrange Rd. Suite 209
Frankfort, IL 60423
815-464-1832 (OFFICE)