Arc Testimony on the Closing of Jacksonville Developmental Center

The Commission on Governmental Forecasting and Accountability

October 24, 2011

The Arc represents infants, children and adults with intellectual and other developmental disabilities.

The Arc believes it is imperative that state institutions be closed in Illinois. In Illinois, thousands of individuals have successfully transitioned from institutions to community living. We believe that many of the current individuals now living  in CILA have successfully transitioned from state institutions and nursing homes. We know how to do this.

Community living offers people with disabilities a safer way of living with quality, independence and equality.

Let’s to a review what state and national experts on intellectual disability systems have to say about Illinois. All of their reports state that Illinois needs to be re-balanced by closing state institutions and supporting community living. (See handout)

  1. A Quest for Equality: Breaking The Barriers For People With Disabilities, A Call for Action For Illinois Leaders, The Chicago Community Trust, 2011.
  2. The Blueprint for System Redesign in Illinois, Human Services Research Institute, 2008.
  3. State Funding of Community Agencies for Services Provided to Illinois Residents with Mental Illness and/or Developmental Disabilities: Final Report to the Illinois General Assembly, Elizabeth T. Powers, Ph.D., University of Illinois, 2006.
  4. Financing Service to Individuals with Developmental Disabilities in the State of Illinois, Robert Gettings, National Association of State Directors of Developmental Disabilities Services, 2003.

There are also two recent Legislative Resolutions calling for re-balancing the Developmental Disability System in Illinois. (See Handout)

  1. Senate & House Joint Resolution 15 – 2011
  2. House Joint Resolution 28 – 2009

There is also a tremendous editorial support for re-balancing the disability system by closing state institutions. Including most recently the Chicago Tribune’s, Sept 30, 2011 editorial, Moving to Community Care – State-Run Centers for Developmentally Disabled Finally on the Way Out! (See Handout).

Other editorial boards supporting re-balancing (See Handout):

  1. Chicago Sun Times – June 15, 2011
  2. Chicago Tribune –  May 23, 2011
  3. State Journal Register – May 22, 2011
  4. Pantagraph – May 22, 2011
  5. Rockford Register Star – April 27, 2011

There are now 14 states without state institutions including our neighbors (See Handout)

  1. Minnesota – 2000
  2. Indiana – 2007
  3. Michigan – 2009

Nationally, the trend is very dramatic in states closing their state institutions from a high of 194,650 individuals in state institutions to 33,732 in 2009. See the chart in your handouts and for view right here. Ask yourself, “Is this where we as public servants should be investing scarce resources for our state?”

The national research of outcomes of closures and deinstitutionalization is extensive dating back to 1982 through 2011. The findings are quite conclusive on outcomes regarding quality of life, adaptive behaviors, and health of individuals and satisfaction of families:

  1. Improved quality of life, including more choice-making opportunities, more friends, greater community participation, and greater residential satisfaction.[i]
  2. Improved adaptive behaviors, including social skills, self-care, and domestic skills and inconsistent results regarding challenging behaviors.[ii]
  3. Similar or improved health status and health care access, with some difficulty in accessing some types of health care such as dental services, and less  polypharmacy.[iii],i
  4. Greater satisfaction of families  with community placement versus the previous institutions, despite the fact that many families initially opposed deinstitutionalization.1,iv

Illinois has a “Blueprint” to re-balance the disability system. It was developed in 2008 as a seven year guide to move to an integrated community system. It is time to implement the “Blueprint for System Redesign in Illinois.”

Everyone can live in the community with the proper supports.

It is imperative that the individuals at both Jacksonville and Mabley be properly supported for a successful transition to community living.

We already know how to do this.

What we need now is the political will to do the right thing and move this antiquated institutional system into a community system that supports everyone based upon their individual needs.

Click on here for Tony’s fact sheets on this testimony.


[i]Kozma, A., Mansell, J., and Beadle-Brown, J. (2009) Outcomes in Different Residential Settings for People With Intellectual Disability: A Systematic Review. American Journal of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities 114(3) 193–222.
[ii]Lakin, K.C., Larson Kim, S.A., and Kim, S., (2011). Behavioral Outcomes of Deinstitutionalization for People with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities: A Review of Studies Conducted Between 1977- and 2010. Policy Research Brief, April 2011, Vol.2, No. 2, pp. 1-12.
[iii]Hayden, M., Kim, S.H., and DePaepe, P. (2005) Health Status, Utilization Patterns, and Outcomes of Persons with Intellectual Disabilities:  Review of the Literature. Mental Retardation: June 2005, Vol. 43, No. 3, pp. 175-195.
ivLarson, A.  and Lakin, C. (1991), Parental Attitudes about Residential Placement before and after Deinstituitionalization: A Research Synthesis. JASH, 25-38.


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)