Survey Request!  The Arc of Illinois wants to hear from you about the experience people and families are having during this unprecedented times.  This is a very brief survey but it will help us in our advocacy going forward.

Speak Up and Speak Out Webinar with Director Stark – May 8 from 2-3 pm – Register HereSubmit a question here.

Action Alert: We Are Essential!

Keep up the pressure – Yesterday more than 15,000 emails were sent to the state legislature.  We need to keep it up. Please send emails to Working Group members , urging them to keep people with disabilities, the caregivers who support them and the providers who employ them in mind when they get back to work on the state budget, now with an enormous pandemic-sized hole.

Direct support professionals (DSPs) are among the unsung heroes of this crisis. As they risk their health every day, it’s more important than ever that they’re paid a living wage.

Don’t let Illinois legislators forget about their obligations to people with disabilities – send an email now!

SUBJECT: May 2020, DDD Communication

Good Afternoon,

In case you missed it, Governor Pritzker and Lieutenant Governor Stratton filmed special messages for our IDHS community providers! You can find Governor Pritzker’s message here: And, Lieutenant Governor Stratton’s message here: Thank you to all our providers!


I wanted to draw our community providers attention to guidance issued by the Centers for Disease Control for supporting individuals with I/DD in small congregate settings. The Division believe this guidance is consistent with guidance issued previously, as well as guidance provided by IDPH.


Please note the Division has asked our Independent Service Coordination (ISC) agencies to reach out to all community provider CEOs (assigned to ISCs based on the zip code of the provider’s headquarters) to request information on positive COVID-19 cases. The Division is concerned that it is possible that all cases have not been reported. The CEO can designate an alternative contact person with broad knowledge of all program operations and positive COVID-19 cases for reporting ongoing. Moving forward, providers must report any positive cases to their ISCs within 24 hours of notification of a positive case. The Division no longer asks you report positive COVID-19 cases directly to the Division, although you should continue to document CIRAS incidents as always.


As a reminder, as of May 1, 2020, the wearing of face masks outside the home is required per Governor’s Office Stay at Home Order. As to how this applies in provider settings, a mask is required any time staff are within 6 feet of clients – or each other.  In most situations, a cloth mask is adequate; however, additional precautions should be taken in settings where there are individuals who are COVID-19 positive.


You should have received updated guidance on the Paycheck Protection Program from Secretary Hou yesterday and will receive another message today. The Division would like to clarify those programs and/or services that have been impacted, either in whole or in part, by the COVID-19 pandemic. If you provide one of these programs or services below, and are requesting a retention payment based on services you did not provide, we would ask that you apply for the PPP.

They include:

  • Fee-for-Service (FFS) Community Day Services
  • FFS Agency Based Personal Support Workers
  • FFS Waiver Funded Supported Employment
  • FFS Bogard Specialized Services – Agency Based
  • Grant-funded Group Respite
  • Grant-funded Latino Outreach
  • Grant-funded Best Buddies
  • Grant-funded Epilepsy Services
  • Grant-funded Dental Services
  • Grant-funded Autism Services

Providers whose ability to perform has not been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic (i.e. providers who are able to fully perform and to be paid for that performance which includes 60D/CILA and all other fee-for-service and/or grant funded programs) are not required by IDHS to apply but must make their own determination as to whether they choose to do so and are responsible for meeting the PPP’s eligibility and expenditure requirements and limitations.  For further questions please reach out to


Many providers have been asking for an update in regard to HRST implementation. We continue to anticipate that starting July 1, all new HRST scores will be done electronically. We are asking that agencies continue working towards transitioning to the electronic version.  If you haven’t done so already, now is the time to enter in your person served and rater information. If you need assistance, please reach out to Your information can be loaded quickly, and you could be up and running in just a few days!

The HRST also has a couple of resource videos on COVID-19 that can be found on their webpage:


Illinois Life Span Program (ILS)

Funded by a grant through IDHS, the Illinois Life Span Program (ILS) of The Arc of Illinois provides information and resources related to disability advocacy, supports, and services across the life span! ILS staff members are family members of people with disabilities themselves and understand the importance of knowing there is someone to call when there’s a question.

Weekly WOW Meeting

Leanne Mull, from Blue Cap Solutions, as well as self-advocates Richard Hollenbeck, Carl Nave and Karen McCombs, host fun weekly Zoom meetings for individuals with I/DD.  These 30 minute meetings are scheduled for 1:30 pm and 3:00 pm most Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays until CDS resumes. This week’s topic… “You Talk, We Listen!” To get the zoom link, please email Leanne Mull at All are welcome! Join them!


From Gerry from Garden Center Services in Chicago, IL

I’m including a poem that was written for our staff:

Who was your hero when you were a child.

A parent, a teacher, or someone more wild.

The longer I’ve lived, the loss that I’ve known.

It’s helped me to realize, we don’t walk alone.

It’s not the number of likes on your page.

Or the show you put on when you walk on this stage.

At the end of the day, at the end of your life.

It is who you have helped, through your toil and your strife.

Please never make small, the good that you do.

Helping others find meaning, brings meaning to you.

The respect that you show, and how deeply you care.

Empowering others, so they have the courage to dare.

I want to be open and speak from the heart.

Bring you back round, to where this poem had its’ start.

I feel safe in these waters, ‘cause we’ve got a raft.

It is you, the heroes, and you are our staff!

Keep sending Stories of Good to Emily Hughes, BQM:

Be well. We know you’re doing your best. Hang in there. We’re in this together.

Warmly,  Allison

Disability Service Providers Struggling To Stay Afloat Amid COVID-19

Disability Scoop, 05.04.20

Service providers nationwide are contending with lost revenues, higher costs and new challenges as they work to support people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. A survey of 689 provider organizations across the country finds that 68 percent have been forced to close one or more of their offerings due to government shelter-in-place orders in response to the coronavirus pandemic. The closures account for an average of 32 percent of annual revenue.