Next week is Thanksgiving and I would be remiss if I did not express my deep gratitude for everything our service system is doing to support individuals with I/DD. Thank you. The impact of COVID-19 on all of our lives in indescribable but I am hearted by our community of individuals, families, providers, Division staff and stakeholders.
I also want to remind everyone to be safe on Thanksgiving. The CDC has provided guidance that I ask you to review. As cases continue to increase rapidly across the United States, the safest way to celebrate Thanksgiving is to celebrate at home with the people you live with. We must do everything that we can to keep ourselves, our families, coworkers and the individuals we support safe and healthy. Following this guidance will make the holiday different but help so much in our efforts to battle COVID-19.
Finally, I want to say a special thanks to Meg Cooch, Executive Director of the Arc of Illinois. Meg presented at our Division All Staff/Town Hall meeting yesterday. I asked her to share the "impact of COVID-19 on our system" and her presentation was a highlight of our meeting. Her presentation was incredibly positive and future oriented. It really lifted everyone's spirits. Thank you, Meg.
VDS TECHNOLOGY SUPPORT FOR INDIVIDUALS
As many of you know, the Division's response to the Illinois Care Connections grant was astounding. Over 1,400 referrals for tablets were made by our Independent Service Coordination agencies (ISCs). I am very pleased to announce that we will be able to fulfill all of the original Illinois Care Connections requests!
With that being said, we know the need and demand far exceeds supply. In particular, the Division has come to understand that some individuals would like to participate in Virtual Day Services (VDS), as a way to alleviate social isolation due to the pandemic, but do not have access to the technology to participate. The Division has been able to identify a small amount of CARES funds to provide this technology. We believe we have the means to provide up to 200 tablets for those who would like to participate. The funding must be expended by December 31, 2020.
We are still working out the final logistics with our partners at Illinois Assistive Technology Program (IATP) as to the number of devices and the mechanism for making the referrals. Please do not reach out to IATP directly as the Division will lead this initiative. We also want to thank our sister division, Division of Rehabilitation Services (DRS) for agreeing to serve as the fiscal agent for this project. We are letting you know now, so those providers providing VDS can identify individuals who would be able to participate in VDS if the technology were available to them. We hope to have the final details shortly and will advise you of them immediately thereafter. If you have questions, please contact Kathy Ward (Kathy.email@example.com).
BUSINESS INTERRUPTION GRANT PROGRAM
We want to confirm that providers are able to apply to the Business Interruption Grant program. We have been in contact with DCEO staff and the highly impacted/priority industries does not mean that human service nonprofits are ineligible. We cannot, unfortunately, assure any organization that a grant application will be awarded. DCEO is expecting applications from organizations we support.
LIGAS COMPLIANCE TOOL ACTION PLANS
We've received questions from our ISCs and providers about receiving feedback on their Action Plans.
- The process for ISCs is this: ISCs must submit their Action Plans to the Division by November 30, 2020. The Division then has until December 4, 2020 to transmit the Action Plans to Ronnie Cohn, Court Monitor, and her team. All ISC plans must be approved by Ronnie by January 1, 2021. If there are issues with the plans ISCs will be notified between December 4 and January 1 in order to meet the January 1, 2021 deadline.
- The process for providers is this: Providers must submit their plans to their ISC agency or agencies by December 31, 2020. The ISCs then must transmit the plans to DDD by January 7, 2021. The Division then has until January 21, 2021. All provider plans must be approved by the Court Monitor by April 1, 2021. Providers would be contacted between January 21 and April 1, 2021 if there are issues with their plan, in order to meet the April 1, 2021 deadline.
Also, please be advised that the Division and the Ligas Court Monitor's team has added additional office hours on Monday, November 23, at 1:00 p.m. This will be another opportunity to give ISCs and providers an overview of the process as well as an opportunity to ask questions specific to the individual scorecards the agency received or regarding development of their Plans. Agencies who were part of the review should have received invites to the office hours. If your agency did not, please contact Emily Hughes at Emily.firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you for all you do.
Allison V. Stark
Director, Division of Developmental Disabilities
Illinois Department of Human Services
600 East Ash-Building 400, Springfield, IL 62703
Tel: (217) 782 -6803
The information contained herein should not be considered a substitute for the appropriate official statutes, rules, regulations, or the advice of legal counsel.
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