It was a very thought-provoking hearing on the Dept. of Human Services Budget in the Senate Appropriations Committee yesterday. There was a lot of worthy discussion between the Secretary and members of the Senate. I encourage you to view some to the hearing at this link, DHS Budget Hearing. You will see how well Secretary Dimas handles the pressure and many of the positions he strongly believes in. My testimony is right at the end of the hearing if you care to hear my comments. Here is my testimony.
A few important take a ways from the hearing:
- There are about 826 community providers who have contracts with the state but because they are not covered by consent decrees, they are not being paid.
- Payments to those 826 community providers amount to $168 million and will probably reach $200,000 by the end of the fiscal year.
The Secretary has committed to those providers he homes to make them whole when a new state budget for Fiscal Year 2016 is approved.
It was quite obvious that everyone is frustrated by the lack of a state budget for the past nine months with no end in sight.
At this time, the House Appropriations Human Services Committee has not scheduled a hearing on the Dept. of Human Services Budget.
The State Associations are meeting this morning on the DSP Crisis and I head to Chicago to meet with Director Kris Smith of the Dept of Rehabilitation Services.
Other items of interest.
DSP Hearing. The Senate Human Services Committee will hold a hearing on the Direct Support Professionals Crisis on Wednesday, April 13th. I encourage you to ask your Senator(s) and House Members to become a Co-Sponsor of our Direct Support Professional legislation to increase starting wages to $15.00. Here are the Fact Sheets for Senate Bill 2952 and House Bill 5931 you can use with your legislators.
PUNS. We expect another 500 individuals to be offered community services/supports very soon. The movement of another 500 individuals is required by the Ligas Consent Decree.
Ligas Non-Compliance. The State disagrees with the Federal Court Monitors finding of non-compliance. This means providers, individuals and families will be needed to share their stories about the:
- Inability to hire and retain DSPs
- The inability of families to get services of their choice live CILA, Supported Living, employment or day services.
- Other issues related to retaining and/or recruiting DSPs
We are developing some guidance on this to collect hard data and possible testimony when the Federal Court meets again in 60 days to discuss the non-compliance. I will let you know when the guidance document is available.
Day in the Capitol. Going Home Coalition and The Arc will be holding our Annual Day in the Capitol on Wednesday, May 11th. Funding is available for expenses to participate in this event. Contact The Arc of more information. Register here.
The Arc of Illinois
20901 S. LaGrange Rd. Suite 209
Frankfort, IL 60423