Hope everyone had a great weekend celebrating June and the passage of a new state budget.
Today the Governor is expected to sign the $38.5 billion dollar budget into law. We are thankful that much has been included in the new budget – restoration of funding for DD grants, restoration of preventative dental care under Medicaid, a $0.50 wage increase for direct support professionals and frontline staff and much more.
We also know that legislators had to make some tough decisions. While we appreciate the $0.50 wage increase, we all know that this does not fully fix the staffing crisis across the state. In July, Cook County is raising its minimum wage to $12. We must continue to advocate for more investment in community living and a rebalancing of the system to provide more opportunities and flexibility for individuals and families to access the services they need. We also know the waiting list for services is growing. We look forward to working with families, providers and allies to continue to build on the advocacy work done already to fight for improved access to employment, housing and services.
Here is an article from the Daily Herald this weekend, that further highlights the struggles that individuals and families have to get the services they need.
Please thank your legislators by emailing, calling or tagging them on facebook and twitter. You can also write a brief letter to the editor in your local paper. You can tell them:
“Thank you for supporting people with disabilities through the FY19 budget.
I especially appreciate that you included a wage increase, dental care, a restoration of funding for Life Span, The Autism Program and other DD grants, etc. (Add any additional programs you were thankful were included.)
We want to work with you next legislative session to further build on this funding to ensure access to employment, services and housing for people with disabilities.”
Add #ILdisabilityadvocates and/or @arcillinois so that we can track the thank yous.
SUPPORTED EMPLOYMENT ACTION TEAM
A huge thanks to those who have participated thus far in a webinar and four in person listening sessions as well as have filled out the supported employment barriers survey. More than 150 individuals, families and providers have attended a listening session. The SEAT leadership team is pulling all of the information we have received about barriers and will create a set of recommendations which will be released in September at a summit. More details to follow.
If you haven’t yet filled out the supported employment survey, please do so here.
The Arc of Illinois
20901 S. LaGrange Rd. Suite 209
Frankfort, IL 60423