Today I head to Chicago to meet with Director Fenton and Shirley Perez.
This letter to the editor was in the State Journal Register. The timing of this opinion could
not have been better as the budget talks continue with only two weeks remaining in the
Close antiquated Illinois developmental centers to save money
The Arc of Illinois congratulates Gov. Bruce Rauner’s decision to do the right thing and
restore important state grants to disability services, including The Autism Program and
The Arc’s Illinois Life Span Program.
The Life Span Program, known as the “411” of disability services, has been in existence
to families for over 14 years. Last year we assisted more than 15,000 requests from
families seeking advocacy and information resources.
The disability system in Illinois is extremely institutionalized and costly. Illinois spends
$428 million a year segregating 1,730 individuals in seven fully operational state
developmental centers. That works out to about $250,000 per year per person. The Arc
is calling for the closure of six of the seven developmental centers.
It is time to reinvest into our community system to support infants, children and adults
with intellectual and developmental disabilities, allowing them to keep their families intact
and, as they age, supporting them to remain close to family and friends.
There is waste in the disability system, but it is not in community services. We call upon
Rauner to continue to do the right thing for people with intellectual and other
developmental disabilities, as well as for Illinois taxpayers. He should close those six
antiquated state institutions.
Everyone can live a rich and fulfilling life in the community with proper supports.
The writer is executive director of The Arc of Illinois.
Tony Paulauski Executive Director
The Arc of Illinois
20901 S. LaGrange Rd. Suite 209
Frankfort, IL 60423