The Honorable Pat Quinn
State of Illinois
Springfield, Illinois 62706
Dear Governor Quinn,
The undersigned met recently to discuss an issue that is vitally important to the success of the rebalancing initiative being championed by your Administration. Our goal is to increase wages of all staff who work directly with individuals with intellectual/developmental disabilities in the community.
As you finalize your FY14 budget, we urge you to make the essential investment in these workers – workers whose hands support persons with disabilities who see their future in the community.
Last February (2012) when you announced your intentions to rebalance the system to community care, we were heartened by a Governor who finally exercised the power of his office to value the wishes of so many to live, work and recreate in the community where they live or choose. The closure of Jacksonville Developmental Center – despite the rigors of a closure – showed individuals and families that their wishes would be prioritized. Additionally, your administration’s pledge to see the Ligas consent decree implemented sends another strong statement about your commitment to community-based supports and services.
As organizations that represent providers, families and advocates we commend your commitment to rebalancing and we stand ready to continue to do all that we can to support the wishes of individuals and families who are choosing community settings. But as you have acknowledged and as you have been advised by your key staff, the community system is underfunded. The significance of rebalancing the resources along with the placement of individuals is key to the long-term success of state facility closures and consent decree implementations.
There is no more important investment than in the wages of staff who work directly with individuals. They have received little – if any – increases in their wages for five years. And yet they nobly continue to support individuals – some with very difficult behaviors and others with the increased needs that happen with change. They should not live on wages at or below the poverty level.
We are currently working on a specific proposal to bring those wages to a level that will sustain the DSP workforce and allow the recruitment of well-trained and motivated individuals to work in residential, day and support settings. We are reviewing the authorizing provisions for wages increases for Personal Attendants working with through the Home Services waiver to guide our two-year proposal.
We look forward to meeting with you before the March 6th Budget Address and will send our proposal soon.
Janet S. Stover                                   Don Moss                                            Tony Paulauski
Illinois Association of                           The Institute on Public Policy              The Arc of Illinois
Rehabilitation Facilities (IARF)               for Persons with Disabilities
                                                            United Cerebral Palsy of IL
Carl M. La Mell                                                Art Dykstra                                          Kim Zoeller
Clearbrook                                          Trinity Services                                   Ray Graham Association
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)