During our Leadership Conference I was working on getting this letter printed in the Chicago Tribune. I believe it will run any day!

The conference was a huge success!


I commend the Tribune for its January 27th editorial, “A change for better treatment; no reason to fear community care.”

Governor Pat Quinn is showing unprecedented leadership by beginning the closure of dangerous and antiquated state institutions. The easy thing to do is keep state institutions open and pretend that people with disabilities and compromised mental health are getting quality treatment. Unfortunately, that is not the case.  Only two states warehouse more people in public institutions and 14 states have closed all public institutions. There have been countless reports of neglect, abuse and injuries in these facilities. Don’t just take my word for it. Listen to the thousands of people who have safety and happily transitioned from an institution to community living. It has changed their lives, it can be done and we are here to help them through the process.

This historic change in public policy embraces freedom, independence and choice. Community living offers around the clock care and unlike institutions it allows people with disabilities a personalized care plan where they can live close to family and friends and be part of a community. This is about making sure people with disabilities enjoy the same freedoms and opportunities as everyone else.  All people, regardless of disability, deserve the opportunity for a full life in their community where they can live, learn, work and play alongside each other through all stages of life. 

About half of those currently living in a community setting came from an institution or nursing home. They are proud, happy and productive members of their communities and proof that it can be done.

The Governor is making all of the right moves with his Rebalancing Initiative. This is about providing opportunity for everyone to live life with independence, equality and freedom. Illinois is on its way.

Tony Paulauski
Executive Director
The Arc of Illinois
The Arc of Illinois represents more than 220,000 people with disabilities and their families. The Arc is committed to empowering persons with disabilities to achieve full participation in community life through informed choices.

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