Caregivers in Illinois of those with disabilities
deserve a living wage
This past week’s news cycles have included a series of heartbreaking articles about services for people with disabilities in Illinois. The first one, published Nov. 18 in the Chicago Tribune, was entitled “Suffering in Secret: Illinois hides abuse and neglect of adults with disabilities.”
My son Daniel has disabilities. He can’t talk to me, write or type. He has behavioral challenges and a plethora of other developmental challenges. He has huge blue eyes and a smile that will melt your heart. He is tall, handsome and strong. When his world goes wrong, he is a force to be reckoned with.
Eleven years ago, a local agency tried to force my family to institutionalize him. They said the institution would “fix” him. Two hours from my home, how often would I see him? How would I monitor his care? He was in crisis and I was supposed to abandon him to strangers?
Trinity Services, Inc. stepped in and “saved” his life. They did what others could not or would not do. Today Daniel is happy. He lives 10 minutes from my home, and joins us for church and lunch on Sundays. I often see him during the week. He is amazingly happy. The staff and leadership at Trinity Services work miracles every day with devastatingly meager resources.
Last week state lawmakers decided, by not overriding the governor’s veto of HB 5931, that his caregivers were not worth being paid a living wage, not even half a living wage. Keep that in mind while reading these painful articles.
The Arc of Illinois
20901 S. LaGrange Rd. Suite 209
Frankfort, IL 60423