Mike was putting the kitchen at Kent Street CILA to good use last night for a tasty supper for him and his housemates.
Spring is a busy time here at SU…among many other things today:
John got a long and arduous grant request for a new vehicle off his desk;
These nice days are letting everyone get out into the garden. We’d like to get some shelter and shade for back there, so purchased a few trees.
The annual State of the States report is out. There is an extraordinary amount of information available in it. If you go to the “State Profiles” you can see Illinois. The most encouraging fact on the sheet is the way that Illinois’ spending on state institutions has started going down. There’s still a long ways to go, but we like to find positives wherever we can. By far the saddest part of the Illinois profile is the drop in number of persons served in day/work and supported employment programs from 28,266 in 2009 to 20,167 in 2011. We remember that very painful time when the funding for our sheltered workshop and others was eliminated by the state.
Clicking over to the “create a chart” tab on the website, it gets a bit fun. You can click on the data you want to see and what you want to compare it to. Here’s the most basic of the charts, showing Illinois’ effort towards community-based services. Proud as we are of our state, it is sad to see us not being a leader, not even being middle of the pack, but lagging near the bottom. There are signs of hope, and when the report begins reflecting the gradual change in Illinois away from institutional care and towards community care, we will begin to shine as we support our citizens with developmental disabilities to lead fuller lives in their home communities.
The State of Illinois is in the process of closing Murray Developmental Center in Centralia. We are excited about this and the already-completed closure of Jacksonville Developmental Center. We have always advocated closing state institutions in favor of services based in the person’s home community. It is much better in terms of quality of life. Incredibly, it is also less expensive. It’s a great opportunity for a state with limited financial resources to both improve the system and reduce expenses at the same time.
That said, we’re not insensitive to the impact on the communities where these institutions are located. These institutions employ a lot of people and have a big economic impact on their communities. This gives rise to a lot of fear and animosity regarding the closure. We’ve felt that fear ourselves when Pontiac prison was slated for closure in the past, and with the closure of the prison in Dwight in the present. We can empathize with these communities in terms of the economic impact and human cost in losing the jobs, but we know the state must move forward in providing better services for people with developmental disabilities and leave the outmoded institutional model of the past behind.
There are point and counter-point editorials out today. Though SU didn’t serve anyone coming out of Jacksonville, we were a participant in the process and felt the state was taking a great, person-centered approach. We will also be involved in the process of the Murray closure, and will look at serving anyone whose needs we can do a good job of meeting and who is interested in living in the Streator area. Thus, we believe Division of Developmental Disabilities Director Kevin Casey has done a good and accurate job of outlining the process in his editorial today. We do understand the community concerns at the heart of the opposition though, in whatever form they may be expressed.
There is still a long ways to go before Illinois ends its institutional service system and puts its full focus on person-centered, community-based services.
Below is an analysis by Don Moss & Associates of how state funding for agencies like SU has failed to keep up with inflation. It is mush worse than it appears, because there are no dollar amounts attached to the grant funding that was eliminated nor the impact of being paid six months later than appropriate. Don Moss is a tireless advocate for people with developmental disabilities and we appreciate his efforts. We are truly grateful, in the absence of adequate funding from our state, for the support of the Streator community.
Comparison of inflation rates and cost of living adjustments (COLA) for
agencies serving people with developmental disabilities
Provided by Don Moss & Associates
*Consumer Price Index-Bureau of Labor Statistics
**Total not compounded which would make it even higher
DON MOSS & ASSOCIATES
310 EAST ADAMS
SPRINGFIELD, IL 62701
Here are a few jobs running today: