4/9/2020 DDD COVID 19 Communication

Thursday, April 9, 2020

Good Afternoon,

Thanks to all who have sent Stories of Good my way. They really brighten my day. They are a reminder that amidst this pandemic it is still a beautiful world. Please remember to complete a release so I'm able to share them! You can find it on our DDD COVID-19 webpage: https://www.dhs.state.il.us/page.aspx?item=123451


A notice went out earlier this week that all CDS sites will be closed through at least April 30th and will not resume until official notice is provided by the Division. Again, while CDS sites remain closed for providing services to individuals, CDS providers may choose to employ staff in other activities, including remote engagement with individuals, readiness activities for reopening or being re-deployed to other parts of the organization, including residential services. In addition, there is a statewide shortage of Direct Support Professionals. We ask that CDS providers reach out to residential providers to collaborate on staffing if you have not already done so. I want to continue to emphasize this!


I would like to remind our providers of notification protocols around cases of COVID-19 positives. Please report to the Division if an individual you support (community based and/or in ICF/DDs) becomes COVID-19 positive. You can send an email to Jennifer.Gentile@illinois.gov. Note that one of our nursing staff will follow up with additional questions. In addition, for those individuals that have an assigned State Guardian please notify them as well.


The Division understands that some families have decided to bring their loved one(s) home from their residential services provider until the crisis is over. Effective immediately, we are announcing that we are suspending the requirements in our Voucher Respite program that restricts these services to people enrolled in DDD funded residential services. This includes individuals previously receiving residential services provided in a Child Group Home, a CILA or an ICF/DD. NOTE: This is a temporary action and this requirement will be reinstated when the COVID-19 emergency is over.

Here is how it works:

Voucher Respite provides short term support, on an individual basis, to children and adults with developmental disabilities, because of the need for relief of the primary caregiver (person responsible for the daily care and supervision of the individual). Voucher Respite Program providers will now be able to issue a voucher to participating families that have chosen to bring a loved one home from their residential provider. The Vouchers can be used to purchase, or to otherwise provide for, allowable services and activities. People who receive respite must still have a developmental disability to be eligible.

There are five providers statewide that can issue vouchers for respite services. However, families that would like to access voucher respite must go through their Individual Service Coordination (ISC) Agency for referral.


I was heartened by this story from Envision in Chicago. They have thoughtfully re-deployed their Community Day Services (CDS) staff in multiple ways across their organization. Again, I encourage all of our CDS providers see how they can help during these unprecedented times.

From Angela at Envision:

As an agency we have all really come together and so many departments and staff are stepping up and leaping in. All our CDS training counselors are currently working in CILA during the day with our members and this alone was a huge shift, and they are flourishing! They're in the homes every day now (which they had never been in prior) and even though it was a scary transition, they're enjoying themselves and having great interactions with our members. Q level staff are still working out of the day programs and they are calling, and doing checks with our members, who live at home with their families. They are also calling and talking to members that live in our CILAs just to touch base and see how they're doing and make sure they have the supports and items they need.

Thanks to Angela and all who submitted. Keep sending them to Emily Hughes, BQM: Emily.Hughes@illinois.gov

Be well. We know you're doing your best. Hang in there. We're in this together.


Allison Stark, Director

Division of Developmental Disabilities