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Citing lack of state funding, Easterseals to shutter two programs for DD adults

Tuesday, Jan 30, 2018

* Mark Brown

Rick Bruno was in another room last fall when his wife Jean shrieked “Oh, my God, no” in a way that led him to think there must have been a death in the family.

Instead, Jean had just opened a letter from Easterseals informing them that the agency would soon be closing the program that for the past decade has been a lifeline for their autistic 32-year-old son Danny.

“It was like getting punched in the gut,” said Bruno, 62, a retired Tinley Park police officer who now works stadium security part-time.

The closing becomes final on Wednesday, when Easterseals finishes winding down two adult day programs that previously served 44 individuals with developmental disabilities.

The day programs — one in Chicago and the other in Tinley Park — have provided an intimate, structured environment in a school-like setting for adults 22 and over who face a variety of intellectual challenges.

Easterseals says it could no longer afford to operate the programs because of the low reimbursement rate paid by the state of Illinois, which has resulted in a statewide shortage of frontline caregivers to staff such facilities.

For the Brunos, the closing of the Tinley Park program set off a desperate search for another that can fill the special needs of their son. So far, they haven’t found anything.

Go read the rest.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

23 Comments
  1. - BucknIrish - Tuesday, Jan 30, 18 @ 11:51 am:

    I normally hate it when people say they are embarrassed by Illinois, but this is definitely one of those times.


  2. - 100 miles west - Tuesday, Jan 30, 18 @ 11:56 am:

    This is no surprise, Will County’s largest employer is now Amazon with 7000 employees. These jobs pay better than working with people with disabilities and are the major force raising wages in the area. Even with the $0.75 increase for DSPs last year, state-funded non-profit employers can’t keep up with the regions wages.


  3. - Oswego Willy - Tuesday, Jan 30, 18 @ 11:58 am:

    ===Easterseals says it could no longer afford to operate the programs because of the low reimbursement rate paid by the state of Illinois, which has resulted in a statewide shortage of frontline caregivers to staff such facilities.===

    “I’m frustrated 2 but taking steps to reform Illinois is more important than a short term budget stalemate.”

    Rauner’s former floor leader, explaining… “oh well”

    Rauner wanted pain. Here are other victims.

    Rauner doesn’t care.


  4. - Jocko - Tuesday, Jan 30, 18 @ 12:10 pm:

    It’s a shame Danny is over 5 years of age. Ounce of Prevention is flush with cash. /s


  5. - Aldyth - Tuesday, Jan 30, 18 @ 12:14 pm:

    Because of a combination of devastating funding cuts and failure to raise rates to keep up with costs, most agencies teeter closer to the edge than they like to think about. Agencies have consolidated down because the state approves so few people to enter services. This means that when half a dozen residents pass away or move elsewhere, you shut down a group home and sell the building. That means capacity is lost. We don’t have many open spaces anymore, even for emergency placements.

    When the money left, flexibility in services left with it. Especially for families who have a family member with a lot of needs and/or behavioral issues. You can’t afford to serve someone whose services will cost you a third to twice as much as the state pays.


  6. - Perrid - Tuesday, Jan 30, 18 @ 12:25 pm:

    I guess the $0.75 rate increase last year came too late. http://www.dhs.state.il.us/page.aspx?item=97779


  7. - Anonymous - Tuesday, Jan 30, 18 @ 12:37 pm:

    Could some of the $107 billion in bond proceeds be used for this kind of stuff?


  8. - Arthur Andersen - Tuesday, Jan 30, 18 @ 12:48 pm:

    Anon 12:37, no, it can’t and besides, that bond issue ain’t gonna happen.


  9. - retired guy - Tuesday, Jan 30, 18 @ 1:17 pm:

    .75 raise for DSP’s is woefully inadequate to compete with Amazon, etc. It is not a priority for Illinois to fix this system. And aside from entry level wages, agencies themselves have not had an increase in over 10 years.


  10. - wordslinger - Tuesday, Jan 30, 18 @ 1:34 pm:

    Privatizing these services with the likes of Easter Seals used to be considered a good thing in conservative circles.

    Under Rauner, the state has been moving to just eliminating the services completely.


  11. - Skeptic - Tuesday, Jan 30, 18 @ 1:55 pm:

    For every single one of you complaining that your taxes are too high, this is on you.


  12. - City Zen - Tuesday, Jan 30, 18 @ 2:27 pm:

    ==For every single one of you complaining that your taxes are too high, this is on you.==

    Are you referring to our un-taxed retirees? How many retirees paying tax would it take to save Easterseals or any of the other social services shut down? Maybe this is on you.


  13. - Skeptic - Tuesday, Jan 30, 18 @ 2:28 pm:

    “Are you referring to our un-taxed retirees?” Are they the ones complaining about their taxes already being too high?


  14. - mama - Tuesday, Jan 30, 18 @ 2:49 pm:

    The money Rauner is giving away to Amazon could be put to better use.

    Does anyone have any idea how many adults and children have developmental disabilities?


  15. - Jake From Elwood - Tuesday, Jan 30, 18 @ 2:55 pm:

    I worry for my autistic son’s future in the State of Illinois. We are already resigned to the fact that he will not be college-bound and that he likely to live with us until we die. Now all of the day programs are either closing or unable to accept additional participants. If we move from Illinois, this is the number one reason.


  16. - Dr X - Tuesday, Jan 30, 18 @ 3:39 pm:

    Rauner loves his wedges…but can’t blame him anymore cuz he’s not in charge.


  17. - City Zen - Tuesday, Jan 30, 18 @ 4:27 pm:

    ==Are they the ones complaining about their taxes already being too high?==

    So the guy paying $3,000 in state taxes who doesn’t want to pay $3,500 is more to blame than someone of equal means paying zero taxes? That’s some criteria for assigning blame you have there.


  18. - Last Bull Moose - Tuesday, Jan 30, 18 @ 4:42 pm:

    Economics and demographics are working against us. Taking care of the elderly and DD is labor intensive and not easy to automate. So the relative cost of care keeps going up while the cost of computers falls. At the same time there are more elderly and DD living longer. The math is troubling.


  19. - Skeptic - Tuesday, Jan 30, 18 @ 4:54 pm:

    “So the guy paying $3,000 in state taxes who doesn’t want to pay $3,500 is more to blame..”

    Read what I said. “Are they the ones complaining about their taxes already being too high?” Of course not. If you tax them and *then* they complain, then yes, they would be equally to blame. Until then, it’s on you.


  20. - Anonymous - Tuesday, Jan 30, 18 @ 8:45 pm:

    « Are you referring to our un-taxed retirees? How many retirees paying tax would it take to save Easterseals or any of the other social services shut down? Maybe this is on you.« 

    Would’t they have been paying taxes up until retirement? 40-50 years worth?

    Wouldn’t that mean they were paying taxes longer than you have?

    In some cases decades more?

    Just sayin’


  21. - Morty - Tuesday, Jan 30, 18 @ 8:45 pm:

    That was me


  22. - Lynn S. - Wednesday, Jan 31, 18 @ 2:26 am:

    @Morty:

    In how many American States is retirement income taxed?


  23. - Morty - Wednesday, Jan 31, 18 @ 10:52 am:

    -In how many American States is retirement income taxed—

    I don‘t know. Probably most.

    Not really my point however.

    I‘m not against taxing retirement income. In fact I probably lean towards it.

    My point was Zen was implying he was overtaxed while these programs have shut down, thereby further implying it was the fault of non-taxed retirees that the programs no longer exist

    My point was those retirees (of whom I am not) have paid taxes longer than zen (or I) have, so implying they´re to blame is a poor argument


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