A few good notes from Director Allison Stark of the Division of Developmental Disabilities before the holidays!

Good Afternoon!

As the new year fast approaches I wanted to take this opportunity to communicate some exciting happenings within the Division.


Since 2016, DDD has funded four Short-Term Stabilization Homes (SSH) operated by Envision Unlimited and Individual Advocacy Group (IAG). The goal of the SSH program is to stabilize adults with developmental disabilities who may be in jeopardy of losing their community placement. The program works to stabilize the individual in the short-term stabilization home and then have them return to a community-based placement. Since inception, 70 individuals have participated in the SSH program and over 93% have successfully returned to community providers.

We are pleased to announce the expansion of the SSH program with our current providers. Both Individual Advocacy Group and Envision Unlimited will each open an additional two Short-Term Stabilization Homes. IAG will expand in the Springfield area and Envision will expand in the Chicagoland area. They will be able to build on their existing infrastructure to quickly expand in the second half of FY20. We are incredibly pleased to build on this impactful program that works to keep individuals in the community!


I am pleased to announce that Jennifer Gentile, LCSW, will be joining the Division as the new Deputy Director of Clinical Services. Jen is a licensed clinical social worker and has a master’s degree from Loyola University in social work, with a special focus on administration. She most recently served as the Vice President of Programs and Interim Co-CEO at Orchard Village. Jen will oversee nursing, behavior and medical services and staff. She will also take a lead role in developing therapeutically sound policies, practices and procedures to better meet the needs of individuals receiving waiver funded services.

  • Kathy Ward, Assistant Director & Chief of Staff
  • Tiffany Bailey, Acting Deputy Director of SODC Operations
  • Bobby Gilmore, Bureau Chief, Reimbursements & Program Support
  • Maureen Haugh-Stover, Bureau Chief, Community Services
  • Mike Vespa, Supervisor, Program Development
  • Andrea Medley, Supervisor, Strategic Planning
  • Derek Hedges, Supervisor, Medicaid Waiver Unit

We hope to have the announcement of our Bureau Chief, Quality Management soon!


The State Employment Leadership Network team was on the ground here in Illinois December 4th and 5th. We had several great listening sessions that included feedback from our associations & advocacy groups, our ISC Agencies, governmental leaders, 14c/CDS providers & employment providers. SELN will now take this information, coupled with information the Division has relayed and work by Employment & Training Subcommittee of the Ligas Rates Committee, to create a report in the next 60 days with recommendations on ways to expand competitive integrated employment. To reiterate, the Division’s goal is to expand opportunities for individuals with I/DD who want employment as well as support community providers with resources and tools to help develop supported employment programs. We also hope to increase our collection and use of employment data!

Still Time to call in to Support MFP Reauthorization

Act Now:  Call your Members of Congress and ask them to permanently reauthorize MFP.

The Money Follows the Person Program (MFP) helps people with disabilities and older adults move from institutions and nursing homes back to their homes and communities. There’s a lot of things on Congress’s plate right now, but funds for MFP will run out at the END OF THIS MONTH

ACT NOW. Call your Members of Congress and urge them to pass a permanent reuthorization of MFP. The Capitol Switchboard can connect you with your Senators’ offices: 202-224-3121, or 202-224-3091 (TTY). #FundMFP  Please note, sometimes it is easier to call their local offices to talk to someone.

 It’s always nice when an independent evaluation proves a program successful. Since 2005, the Money Follows the Person Program (MFP) has effectively helped older adults and people with disabilities move back home from care facilities. Now, we need your help encouraging Congress to MAKE IT PERMANENT

Your voice matters, so spread the word and get your friends and family to tell their Members of Congress to make this program permanent  #FundMFP

Check out and share this Facebook Event: https://www.facebook.com/events/810760156038149/

Support TN Advocates to Say NO to Block Grants

Many of you might have heard that TN is submitting a proposal to convert a portion of its Medicaid program (TennCare) to a block grant.  Otherwise known as Amendment 42, this proposal would not only be detrimental to Tennesseans with I/DD, it sets a danger precedent for other states if approved by CMS.  The CMS public comment period on Amendment 42 closes on December 27th. 

Please help us to lift up concerns around this by submitting a comment opposing this proposal by Dec 27.  

Here is some information that might help you if you choose to comment:

Please take a few moments to submit your own comments through the link below and help us put an end to Amendment 42 and any momentum towards block grants for the Medicaid programs.

CMS:  https://public.medicaid.gov/connect.ti/public.comments/answerQuestionnaire?qid=1903395

Seclusion and Restraint – Voices Needed

This week the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) released its proposed final rules on the use of seclusion and restraint in schools.  You can check it out here.  It is fairly similar to the amended emergency rules.  We need your help to make sure the rules are strong and clear in their statement of support for kids with disabilities in schools.  The Herald & Review did a summary at this link with a link to the text of the proposed rule (thanks Amber!).  The Arc will be submitting comments which I will share as well as comments from a number of other groups.  We continue to work with other advocates on a legislative strategy as well.  

Comments are due by February 4. Public comment may be made via email at rules@isbe.net, by phone at 217-782-4321 or by physical mail or to anyone in the agency. Its Springfield office is at 100 N. 1st St., zip code 62777.