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Operation Welcome Home

A Program of The Arc of Illinois Family Transition Project | Made possible by a generous grant from The Aigner Foundation, Inc

Operation Welcome Home was created specifically to assist individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) and their families who are transitioning into community-based living from state operated developmental centers (SODCs). We want to be of service to you by providing a place to come for helpful resources, a chance to meet with other families in the same situation, and the opportunity to receive a small tangible form of support.

Operation Welcome Home Toolkit

Listed below are resources you may find helpful before, during and after the transition process. We will continue to add to this list.

Key Resources

Operation Welcome Home Stipend

OWH offers a small stipend to individuals transitioning out of SODCs to use for something they choose to make the transition more comfortable and celebrate their journey into community living. Check out the Stipend Brochure and Application.

Operation Welcome Home Meetings

Meetings for anyone interested will take place at least quarterly and will feature speakers with professional expertise in areas of interest to individuals transitioning from SODCs and their families/guardians. Meetings are virtual in order to reach statewide. Please contact the Family Transition Project Director, Katherine Hamann, if you are interested in registering for upcoming meetings at or 708.465.2827. 

  • May 16, 2022, 4:00-5:00pm: “Waiver Support and Service Options in the Community” presented by Meg Cooch, IDHS/DDD Deputy Director/Ligas Consent Decree and Dereck Hedges, IDHS/DDD Medicaid Waiver Manager
  • June 27, 2022, 4:00-5:00pm: “The Role of the Independent Service Coordination Agencies” presented by Joy Decker, IDHS/DDD Deupty Director of Community Services Programs
  • September 19, 2022, 4:00-5:00pm: presented by Kim Shontz, Director of Illinois Crisis Prevention Network on Support Service Teams (SSTs)

Katherine Hamann

Family Transition Project Director


Katherine is a veteran of developmental disability services, thanks to her sister, Margaret, who has lived 63 of her 77 years in Illinois state operated developmental centers. Because of Margaret, Katherine volunteered at the Howe Developmental Center in Tinley Park and then worked there for 11 years as an employee in various departments. Margaret’s transition to a CILA home was Katherine’s transition to The Arc of Illinois and the opportunity to connect with individuals and their families who wanted to explore moving from SODC’s to the community. She is Director of the Family Transition Project and proud to facilitate The Arc Transition Mentors.