Today, Park Lawn celebrates the retirement of Julie Grounds after 35 years of dedicates service! Julie is also a member of The Arc Board of Directors.The Arc has been asked to become a member of the Jacksonville Developmental Center Closure Advisory Committee which will hold its first meeting on August 8th, 1:30 at JDC. I am pleased that Director Casey has established this committee.
We have a very troubling situation here in Illinois. The author of this Chicago Tribune Op Ed, I think puts it into the proper perspective.
At wits’ end and unable to obtain services in Illinois, Eva Cameron, of Algonquin, abandoned her 19-year-old daughter with severe developmental disabilities in a Tennessee bar last month. Cameron was much criticized, if not condemned. After all, what kind of mother would do such a thing?
Perhaps one who tried for years — and waited patiently — for services to help her child. Any services. Services the law requires the state to provide. Services that never come, despite promises and waiting lists.
In Illinois there are more than 10,000, maybe close to 20,000, Eva Camerons waiting for help for their children. Some of the Eva Camerons are old, in their 80s, having cared for their profoundly mentally disabled children in their homes for more than 50 years.
With no help.
In some cases, these mothers are essentially caring for an infant for 50 years. Afraid to die for only one reason: because they fear what will become of their “child.” Ticktock.
Frankly, Cameron’s strategy was successful. When her daughter was returned to Illinois, she was deemed “abandoned” and considered to be in “crisis.” You see, once in crisis, then you may actually get services in Illinois.
And Cameron’s daughter has now gotten services in Illinois at an unnamed “residential facility.” It only took abandoning her in a bar nearly 500 miles away.
To be sure, Cameron is probably not blameless, but what do we as a society, as a culture, take from this?
Most only throw daggers at Cameron. State bureaucrats, rather than looking inward and acknowledging a broke, underfunded system, instead seek to punish Cameron. In commenting on the case, an Illinois official said the state hopes to “hold the mother accountable.”
But kind of telling, only when Cameron abandoned her daughter hundreds of miles away was the state held accountable.
William Choslovsky, a Chicago lawyer who has worked pro bono on disability cases, has a profoundly developmentally disabled sister.
Tony Paulauski Executive Director
The Arc of Illinois
20901 S. LaGrange Rd. Suite 209
Frankfort, IL 60423