Arc of Illinois Legislative Alert

Fall Veto Session Legislative Alert

We need you to communicate with your State Senator and Representative about rebalancing the disability system and closing state institutions in Dixon and Jacksonville.

You can send or fax a letter (preferred), call the local office or send an email. See message below and legislative ask. The legislative ask is the specific action you want your State Senator and Representative to take.

They will be going back to Springfield for the Fall Veto Session on October 25, 26, 27 and November 8, 9, 10, 2011.

Go here to find your state legislators


What do we want?

1. Close the state institutions in Dixon and Jacksonville.
2. Ensure a safe transition to community living.
3. Invest in new capacity for community-based living.
4. Re-balance the Illinois system.

Your Legislative Ask:

Are you willing to be our advocate in Springfield and support a re-allocation of funds during the veto session that increases the transition appropriation for closure?

Will you work on our behalf to ensure that the funds saved by closing the institutions follow the individuals into the community services appropriation?

Talking Points

Everyone can live in the community. People with disabilities should not be removed from society. Community living is best.

Independent research studies have shown that everyone can benefit from community-living. The people who benefit the most are those labeled with the most “severe” disabilities.

FACT – There are now 220,000 infants, children and adults with intellectual and other developmental disabilities in Illinois living good lives with their families.

FACT- There are now fourteen states that have closed all of their institutions: New Hampshire, District of Columbia, Vermont, Rhode Island, Alaska, New Mexico, West Virginia, Hawaii, Maine, Michigan, Oregon, Alabama, Minnesota and Indiana.

We need a 21st Century approach to this issue. The status quo is no longer acceptable. The better way is community living. Community living enables people to receive all the care they need while living in a neighborhood of their choosing, as opposed to a large institution.

FACT – Illinois institutionalizes more people with intellectual and other developmental disabilities than 48 other states with 2,027 individuals.

FACT – When Mabley and Jacksonville close, there will still be six other state institutions in Illinois with 1,687 individuals segregated from society, and we will continue to institutionalize more people with intellectual and other developmental disabilities than 47 other states.

FACT – Other states are closing their state institutions; Illinois should do the same. Nationally in 1968 there were 194,650 individuals living in state institutions. As of 2009, there are 33,732 individuals in state institutions in the entire United States. Clearly those institutions are obsolete and being phased out. (See Graph Institutional Residents 1848-2009.)


Parental Attitudes Toward Deinstitutionalization

Numerous studies have been done on this issue. A summary of those studies by Lynda Anderson and Sheryl Larson at the University of Minnesota indicate:

1. The vast majority of parents were satisfied with their family member’s public institution placement.
2. The vast majority of parents changed their attitudes about community living after their family member had moved to the community.
3. After experiencing community living, parents viewed the institution less positively than they did when their family member lived there.
4. Parents observed improved quality of life and relationships for their family member after the move out of the institution.

Not only is community living better for people with disabilities, it is more efficient and cost effective as well, saving millions of dollars every year for the Illinois taxpayer.

FACT – The average costs of an Illinois state institution is $181,700 per person per year. The average Community Integrated Living Arrangement (CILA) cost is $52,454.

FACT – Illinois ranks 50th in small community living settings.

FACT – Illinois ranks 47th in community spending.

FACT – All of the national studies performed on the Illinois Developmental Disability System clearly state the need to move away from institutional spending and to invest in community-based services.

FACT – Six major newspaper editorial boards support investing in community-based services as opposed to institutional spending.