* Illinois Review…
Parents and loved ones of profoundly disabled residents of the Downstate Murray Center failed to prove their family members would suffer irreparable harm if the facility closed, federal Judge Marvin Aspen ruled Monday.
The state’s emphasis is on downsizing, but parents fighting the Murray Center closing warn that if Murray Center closes, all the state’s other similar facilities will close as well.
Murray Center families represent the most organized opposition to disability centers closing statewide. With that obstacle out of the way, all of the state’s five remaining centers are likely to close.
The state argued that putting the disabled in group settings would save the state $100,000 per person annually, part of their argument that the state budget could potentially improve if the center closed.
This has become quite a major cause down there. One of my own aunts is involved with keeping the facility open. Bruce Rauner has sided with AFSCME, local GOP lawmakers and the parents and said he’d keep the facility open if elected.
Judge Marvin Aspen, in a 55-page ruling, said the plaintiffs did not prove they would suffer irreparable harm if Murray Center closes. Aspen said the state, in closing Murray Center, is trying to “improve efficiency by serving more citizens, to effectuate public policy favoring the integration of the disabled when feasible, and to potentially improve the state budget.”
He added: “We are not unsympathetic to the real human concerns raised by plaintiffs in their diligent and highly professional advocacy as guardians, on behalf of their loved ones as well as other families facing this predicament. We recognize that Murray’s closure may cause distress and disruption for plaintiffs, their wards, and their families. In the end, however, we cannot grant them legal relief on the record before us, which does not permit us to conclude that plaintiffs’ interests outweigh defendants’ interests…” […]
Aspen, in his ruling, noted that 11 states have quit operating institutions for people who have developmental disabiltiies. “Community programs have been developing for at least 50 years and are not a fad,” the judge wrote.
Aspen also noted that Illinois currently serves about 1,800 residents in institutional developmental centers, and about 22,000 people in community-based settings such as group homes. But, the judge added, “an estimated 23,000 people with developmental disabilities in Illinois are on a waiting list to receive services, of whom 6,000 are considered to be in emergency situations. The (state) lacks funding to offer services to these individuals.”