* Press release…
JUDICIAL INTERVENTION SOUGHT TO FORCE ILLINOIS TO PROVIDE CRITICAL RESOURSES FOR PEOPLE WITH DEVELOPMENTAL DISABILITIES
The State of Illinois is failing to fulfill its promise to people with disabilities to provide opportunities to live integrated in the community, according to a recent filing in federal court. The filing in Ligas v. Norwood asks a federal judge to compel the State to provide the resources necessary to comply with the Consent Decree in the case. The action on behalf of people with developmental disabilities specifically notes that low wages being paid by the State to disability service professionals prevent people with developmental disabilities from living meaningful lives in the community. The Americans with Disabilities Act requires the State to assure that people with disabilities can live in the most integrated setting possible. The filing makes clear that Illinois is failing this test.
Funding for people with developmental disabilities has been continued at past levels during the current budget impasse because of court orders. But that funding, as the filing shows, has been woefully inadequate to accomplish the mandates of the Consent Decree. As a result, an Independent Monitor in Ligas has found the State out of compliance with the Decree for the last two years. […]
The court filing details troubling reports from family members of people with disabilities and their service providers documenting the real human suffering and impact of the insufficient resources provided by the State.
Community reimbursement rates have been frozen for nearly a decade, while costs continue to escalate. The low rates have created crisis conditions in the staffing of these services. With insufficient staff, services to people with developmental disabilities are cut short. People—who are supposed to be integrated into the community—are instead finding themselves increasing isolated and segregated. The homes and facilities have been forced to decrease staff ratios, frequently to only one staff for 4-8 residents. This means that staff cannot regularly take the residents out of the house and they cannot work on building skills and independence. They are left with simply trying to maintain safety. Instead of living full integrated lives, many of these class members are suffering enormous hardships, including social isolation, a dearth of meaningful activities, a lack of skill development (and, for some skill regression), and, in many instances, anxiety and depression.
Background is here. The new legal filing is here.
* The AP has the administration’s response…
…Meredith Krantz of the state’s Department of Human Services said the state disagrees with the monitor’s findings, saying that Illinois has and “will continue to follow every court order” regarding the care of those with disabilities. Further, she said the state has “submitted all payments in question and look to the (state) comptroller’s office to ensure they’re processed.”
“The (Bruce) Rauner administration remains committed to moving individuals with developmental disabilities, mental illness, or physical disabilities out of institutional care and into community settings while ensuring those individuals receive the best care possible,” she wrote.