Things are moving forward as individuals transition out of Jacksonville into community living. Last week some of our staff were meeting with CRA and staff at the Jacksonville Developmental Center. We were very pleased with the cooperation and progress being made. The stories that are being shared are remarkable; life-changing does not even begin to describe what is occurring daily for the individuals who have already moved out of JDC!Plans are now being made to begin the transition process at the Murray Developmental Center.

Here is a newer story –
A 58 year old woman who has only lived in either foster homes or state operated facilities is now living in a home with one other woman.  She loves to go for walks in her new community.  She communicates that she wants to go for a walk and her staff accompanies her, there’s no schedule!  While walking to the community center of her complex she stops to kick pieces of bark off the sidewalk – exhibiting a potential vocational skill.  She loves getting a glass of iced tea, sitting and relaxing in her new community.   On our return to her home, she decided to sit down on a patio with a small table and chairs.  While this was not her building, she motioned to us that we are at the same number as her apartment!  She already knows and recognizes her apartment number!   At menu planning time, her roommate will read options and ask for her opinion on what to have for meals for the upcoming week.  For the first time in her life she can ask for, and receive a drink, whenever she wants.  She can ask for and go out on walks.  She can move furniture (another vocational skill) around in her own home, as she likes, when she wants.  She is also choosing the furniture for her own home.  Her roommate looks forward to teaching her how to do crafts.  She is already loved and cared for as a family member.
Everyone can live a full life in the community!

Here is a story on Murray.

Independent Living Advocates Ready To See Murray Center Close


By Fanna Haile-Selassie
By Randy Livingston

Story Created: Jul 19, 2012 at 5:15 PM CDT
Story Updated: Jul 19, 2012 at 8:57 PM CDT

MT. VERNON — Not everyone is against Governor Pat Quinn’s decision to close state facilities. Some advocates for independent living say residents at the Murray Center in Centralia will be better served by living in the community after that institution shuts down.

Michael Egbert, executive director for Opportunities For Access (OFA), says allowing people with developmental disabilities to live outside state institutions would give them a better quality of life, while saving the state money. But he says many family members of those residents don’t know all of their options.

Nancy Tipper has spent almost two years living independently in her senior apartment in Mt. Vernon, eating when she wants and doing what she wants in her own space.

“It was crowded in the nursing home,” Tipper explains.

Previously, she spent five years in a nursing home. It was the OFA that spent a year trying to get her out.

“I don’t always agree with Governor Quinn, but on this issue, he is moving forward,” says Egbert.

He says everyone should have the chance to live in their communities and not in state institutions like the Murray Center, so he applauds Governor Quinn for slowly closing developmental centers around the state.

“I truly believe that once they’re in the community, there’ll be a lot of parents and loved ones that will be much happier.”

Egbert says the governor’s plan will set up individual evaluations for those with developmental disabilities, then provide appropriate care, whether it’s around-the-clock care or assistants that check in a couple of times a day, like in Nancy’s case.

Not everyone, though, is so optimistic the state will come through with the funding.

“What the state is going to give them would only pay for staff, paying $8.25 an hour. It wouldn’t pay for food, it wouldn’t pay for housing. I mean, there is not enough money,” explains Rita Winkeler. 

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)