In addition to the building opposition to the Governor’s Rebalancing Initiative, Senators Jones and Cultra have introduced SB 2533 which would create yet another legislative panel to examine the closing of state facilities!Here is a link to SB 2533 and a story from The Southern which quotes The Arc: http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/97/SB/PDF/09700SB2533lv.pdf .
Tony Facility closures debate hardly over State may shutter half its developmentally disabled centers
BY KURT ERICKSON, The Southern Springfield Bureau thesouthern.com | Posted: Thursday, December 1, 2011 7:00 am | No Comments Posted
.SPRINGFIELD – Illinois lawmakers approved a revamped budget deal Tuesday to block the closure of seven state facilities, but a similar fight could erupt again in just a few months.
Under a plan floated by Gov. Pat Quinn on Nov. 9, the state would close four of eight centers for residents with developmental disabilities by moving 600 residents into privately operated facilities over the next 2 ½ years.
Documents outlining the process show the governor wants to move an estimated 120 residents into group homes in order to shutter one of the institutions by the end of 2012.
A spokesman for the Illinois Department of Human Services said the screening process to determine which residents could move into community-based settings has already begun.
“This is very much an ongoing, long-term process and there will be much more work to be done in the coming months, but it is underway,” Claffey said.
The state’s eight developmental centers are in Anna, Dwight, Jacksonville, Waukegan, Park Forest, Dixon, Centralia and Kankakee.
It remains unclear which of the eight facilities is being targeted for next year’s closure, but some groups are gearing up for a fight.
When news of the four potential closures first surfaced, Rita Burke, president of the Illinois League of Advocates for the Developmentally Disabled, sent out an urgent note to families who have relatives living in state facilities.
“I am sick about what lies ahead. This is the most shameful plan I have ever heard,” wrote Burke, whose son is a resident of the Choate Developmental Center in Anna.
On Wednesday, Burke said families are concerned the state will rush to move residents into settings that aren’t suitable.
“Everyone is worried,” Burke said. “We don’t know what they have in store for us.”
A Department of Human Services study of residents who were moved out of state facilities between 2001 and 2008 found that 44.5 percent went into group homes, 22.3 percent went into another state facility, 9.3 percent went into a nursing home and 5.2 percent went to live with family members. The report showed that 3.8 percent of the residents ended up in jail.
Advocates who support closing large state institutions say Quinn’s decision to make changes over a 2 1/2-year time period gives all interested parties adequate time to prepare for a positive transition.
Anthony Paulauski, executive director of the ARC of Illinois, said his organization is working to ensure there are enough trained workers to staff the group homes.
In addition, he said the state needs to make sure reimbursement rates are adequate and lengthy payment delays are reduced.
“We’re working with the administration on a plan,” Paulauski said.
Even with the closure of four facilities, Paulauski said Illinois will still have one of the highest rates of institutionalization in the nation.