This story on cuts to respite care was all over the news yesterday. Arc is quoted in this
AID, Democrats upset over proposed state budget cuts
Published: Monday, March 16, 2015 7:44 p.m. CDT
The Association for Individual Development on Monday reported volunteers raised
$83,000 at the annual fundraising telethon over the weekend.
“These funds will be used to enrich AID’s services to the more than 5,000 children and
adults with developmental disabilities and mental health needs throughout the Fox
Valley area,” Executive Director Lynn O’Shea wrote in an email about the fundraiser.
But the organization also hosted a news conference Monday regarding program cuts to
respite care in Gov. Bruce Rauner’s proposed state budget. O’Shea and other
advocates said the proposed state budget would eliminate respite services to all 136
families the agency serves in Kane and Kendall counties.
“We urge voters to contact their state senator and representative, asking them to
restore the respite program in the current and future years’ state budgets,” O’Shea
stated in an email. Last month, Rauner presented what he called a “turnaround budget”
that reduces spending while funding essential government services.
The proposed budget still is under debate. Rauner’s proposed budget would cut $16
million from the state’s respite care services, according to Senate Democrats’ budget
advisers. AID’s respite program is funded by a $142,944 grant from the Department of
Human Services, Division of Developmental Disabilities.
It provides 80 percent of the program cost, with 20 percent paid by the family, officials
said. Respite services per family is limited to 120 hours or $960 a year. If a family has
more than one member for whom respite is needed, an additional 60 hours, or $480 a
year, will be allocated, officials said. Carrie Abbs, 41, of St. Charles said she relies on
the respite program for assistance with her son, Teddy, 11, who has autism. Abbs spoke
at the news conference about receiving the services.
“Respite help allows my family and I to … attend to our older child’s musical events
without having to worry about the process overwhelming her brother,” Abbs said.
“We also use it for him to attend Fox Valley Special Recreation in a typical class with an
aide or a special recreation class.” State Sen. Linda Holmes, D-Aurora, spoke at the
news conference in support of keeping the 3/17/2015 AID, Democrats upset over
proposed state budget cuts |
“If the cuts went through, AID would have to cut three programs and 37 staff,” Holmes
said. “So many cuts are the ones affecting working families and those who need the
services. [Rauner] still needs 60 votes in the House and 30 in the Senate.
And I’m not the only one speaking up and speaking out for it.” Rauner spokeswoman
Catherine Kelly expressed sympathy for families, such as Abbs’, in a statement.
“Family members who care for a loved one with disabilities have a difficult job, and we
appreciate the care they provide,” Kelly said in the statement.
“Unfortunately, for years, majority-party legislators, like Sen. Holmes, pushed through
irresponsible budgets, and we are now facing a $6 billion deficit,” she said in the
“The governor had to make some very difficult decisions to put the state back on a
fiscally sustainable path.” Tony Paulauski, executive director of the Arc of Illinois, said
Rauner’s budget “zeros out” what amounts to an important safety net for families.
“It needs to be fully restored, no doubt about that,” Paulauski said. “I’m doing this 23
years, and it’s been in place that long. It’s a longstanding program.”
Tony Paulauski Executive Director
The Arc of Illinois
20901 S. LaGrange Rd. Suite 209
Frankfort, IL 60423