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Posted by Avenues in News on 7/21/2018

The issues outlined in your reporting “Audit rips Illinois’ oversight of group homes for adults with disabilities” continue to highlight shortcomings in our state’s funding of community intellectual and developmental disability services.

In their 2017 “State of the States in Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities,” Coleman Institute researchers rank Illinois at 47th in its fiscal effort funding of community disability services. The lack of resources shows up in the United Cerebral Palsy’s “Case for Inclusion,” which also puts Illinois at a painfully low 47th in important quality-of-life measurements.

The auditor general excoriated the Illinois’ Department of Human Services for its nearly 50 percent vacancy rate in staff who oversee and investigate disability system abuse and neglect. Similarly, community disability organizations are dealing with a workforce crisis (as the Tribune has reported) that significantly affects our ability to support individuals with disabilities who require important support services every day.

Both the community and state staffing issues are a direct result of Illinois’ financial neglect of disability services. The auditor general’s report highlights what disability advocates have been warning the state about for over 20 years. Today, the long-term underfunding of disability services is hurting the well-being of individuals with autism, cerebral palsy, Down syndrome and other intellectual, physical and developmental disabilities across Illinois.

Regulations and oversight alone are not solutions to these problems. Illinois must improve its financial investment in disability and human service systems in order to make a real difference. Advocates across Illinois are ready and willing to work with the governor, legislature and state human services professionals to ensure that we have the best disability system possible.

— Robert Okazaki, executive director, Avenues to Independence


Tags: illinois department of human services , developmental disability services , state of illinois , community

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