It is not to late to join us May 3 in Alsip for the DSP Crisis: Know Your Options – Register here!

Tomorrow – May 2 – The Going Home Coalition is holding a state call in day to Governor Rauner to demand a discussion of rebalancing.  Here is some information and a script.

Shirley Perez and Jenny Moss Kick off a Moving Hearing about the Impact of Medicaid Changes and Tech Problems
Chairman Harris, chairman of the House Human Services Appropriations Committee, highlighted that this will be the first of a number of hearings on this issue.  Shirley Perez, Arc program director and mom spoke about her personal and professional experience and Jenny and Katie Moss reviewed the impact of the Medicaid issues on their entire family.  Representatives Harris, Willis, Ford, Harper and Olsen attended.  Rep Willis commented that next hearing needed to require the attendance of HFS and DHS.  Both departments decided not to attend but submitted letters to the committee.

The Arc is working on another update presentation, but if you have issues, please call our office -815-464-1832.  We are also collecting names of families who would be willing to share their stories so please email if you are.

Finally, we would recommend at this point, call your legislators if you have issues.  We are finding that many legislators have staff who are trying to help individual constituents with their issues with HFS/DHS.  You can call your district offices for your state house and senator and ask that they help you with your issues.  This will both hopefully increase your individual advocacy support AND will make sure they know there are big issues related to Medicaid.  If you aren’t sure who your legislator are, click here.

Housing – HUD Proposes Legislation Raising Rents in Affordable Housing

On April 25, U.S. Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Ben Carson released proposed legislation that would raise rents and allow new work requirements for millions of low-income people who receive basic housing assistance from HUD. Combined, the bill’s proposals would make it harder for millions of renters – including people with disabilities – to access affordable housing in their community. The HUD bill includes a number of proposals put forward by Representative Dennis Ross (R-FL) in draft legislation and discussed in a hearing last week by the House Committee on Financial Services. To learn more, read The Arc’s statement on this proposal.


Autism – Autism Prevalence Estimates Increase by Nearly 16%

Last week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released new data showing that the estimated prevalence of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) continues to rise. The new rate of 1 in 59 is based on data collected in 2014 and reflects a nearly 16% increase from two years ago; CDC data from 2012 showed that an estimated 1 in 68 children had ASD. Peter Berns, CEO of The Arc, stated: “The new prevalence rates underscore the need to reauthorize the Autism Collaboration, Accountability, Research, Education, and Support (CARES) Act which expires next year. This law is the primary vehicle for federal funding for surveillance, autism research, screening and diagnostic services, and professional training.” Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ), one of the lead sponsors of the Autism CARES Act issued this statement. Read The Arc’s statement on the new prevalence rates.

Education – New Civil Rights Data Show Continuing Disparities for Students with Disabilities

On April 24, the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR) released data it collected during the 2015-2016 school year. These data were collected from 17,300 public school districts and 96,400 public schools and education programs across the country. The report contains data on school and district characteristics, discipline, criminal offenses, harassment and bullying, restraint and seclusion, single-sex interscholastic athletics, early childhood education, pathways to college and career, school finance, and teachers and other personnel. The data show that there continue to be disparities in discipline for students of color and students with disabilities. Notable findings for students with disabilities in grades K-12 include disproportionate rates of arrest and referral to law enforcement, suspension, and restraint and seclusion. While students with disabilities served by the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) are 12% of enrolled students, they are 28% of students arrested or referred to law enforcement, 26% of students receiving out-of-school suspensions, 24% of expelled students, 71% of students restrained, and 66% of students subjected to seclusion. Read OCR’s press release here

Meg Cooch Signature

Meg Cooch
Executive Director
The Arc of Illinois
20901 S. LaGrange Rd. Suite 209
Frankfort, IL 60423
815-464-1832 (OFFICE)