Living in the Community
Meet Eddie Jeff and Bobby
Former Jacksonville Developmental Center (JDC) resident Eddie says he couldn't be happier now that he has his own place with his two roommates. He can help cook, play his guitar and sing Johnny Cash songs, and go outside and smoke whenever he feels like it. Eddie, who turns 50 this year, moved into his new home in August 2012 after living at JDC for many years. His roommates, 44-year-old Jeff and 50-year-old Bobby, also lived at JDC.
Life has changed dramatically for the three men who have spent much of their adult lives in institutions. Now they live in a two-story rented house with assistance from the Individual Advocacy Group (IAG). Staff from IAG are on hand 24 hours a day to help the men with their daily needs.
The men attend day training where they have jobs and take part in a variety of activities. They also go out to eat and attend local sports events with IAG staff.
Ed enjoys working a part-time job at a local church.
"I'm happy here, I don't want to go back to JDC. I like it here. I got my own life," said Eddie.
The moves are part of Governor Quinn's Rebalancing Initiative that will increase community care options for people with developmental disabilities and mental illness and reduce the number of outdated and expensive institutions in the state.
"We are working closely with families and guardians using a person-centered planning process to ensure safe transitions for residents of developmental center," said IDHS Division of Developmental Disabilities Director Kevin Casey. "We developed a comprehensive, well thought out plan to transition center residents safely into the community. All residents will undergo a thorough planning process, including assessment, consultation with families and guardians, and planning sessions with providers to determine specific needs and ensure safe transitions."
In addition, each and every person moving into the community will visit their potential new home and have a transition meeting prior to discharge. Residents will only be transitioned to licensed programs. The process of transitioning individuals out of SODCs has been and will continue to be careful and deliberate.
"We do not place individuals in settings until they are properly equipped to handle their specialized needs. Before being transitioned, the department also ensures that providers are knowledgeable and well equipped to handle those specialized needs," added Kevin Casey, Director of IDHS Division of Developmental Disabilities.
Dr. Charlene Bennett, CEO and Executive Director of IAG, says it's important to have choices, dignity and respect. "These are three great guys who live in a house in the community. This is their home, living their life and they are happy here."
View a Transition Success Video: Eddie, Jeff & Bobby