IDHS ALL IN! Stakeholder Newsletter Issue 2

Message from the Secretary

Happy Summer!

Welcome to the second issue of our stakeholder newsletter. I hope that you will find these to be informative snapshots of all that is happening within our agency and to be relevant to your work.

As always, it is a busy time at IDHS. We are in the process of re-building this agency in all aspects. We are hiring staff at the front-lines, responding to federal corrective action plans, turning around consent decrees, recruiting strong managers, developing systems and process, and trying to boost staff morale. Simultaneously, we are in the process of advancing this agency towards increased access, equity, and quality. DHS' FY20 budget enables this re-building and advancing to occur, and we look forward to doing so in partnership with you.

In addition to effectively leading towards our mission, DHS has the privilege of administering $29 million in Census funds under the leadership of the Office of the Governor and a bi-partisan, bi-cameral Advisory Panel. We have sent a couple of messages out to you all as we want to ensure the broadest and deepest reach possible. Please be thoughtful about how your community can be a part of this important work.

With four months as Secretary under my belt, without a doubt, I can say that this is the hardest and most worthwhile challenge I have ever faced. While I did not realize the gravity of the problems present until I started, I have always known that this human service sector has great resiliency and strength that is derived from our passion and commitment to justice. This gives me hope.

It is truly an honor to hold this position and to work alongside my colleagues in the Governor's office, here at DHS, with my sister agency leaders, and all of you. I continue to be greatly motivated and inspired by our Governor who has already led our state into a new, brighter day.


Customer Success

Meet Michelle Henton, a true inspiration for all of us here at IDHS. After a car accident left her quadriplegic, Michelle's life dramatically changed. Through the Home Services Program (HSP), Michelle was able to get the help she needed with activities of daily living. Read the inspiring story of her journey of rehabilitation, going back to school, and getting into a career she loves!

Click to read more about Michelle's story.

Rebuilding Illinois: Legislative Updates

The following is a summary of legislation related to IDHS.

Public Acts:

  • PA 101-0002: Raises the age to 21 for buying tobacco and alternative nicotine products.
  • PA 101-0027: Legalizes cannabis for adult use.

Bills Awaiting the Governor's Signature:

  • HB 0907: Creating an online resource for students, parents, and teachers to address school violence and bullying issues.
  • HB 2118: Extending the sunset for providing state benefits to foreign-born victims of human trafficking, torture, or other serious crimes.
  • HB 2152: Establishing the Mental Health Early Action on Campus Act for every public college and university in the state.
  • HB 2154: Increasing insurance coverage for early treatment of serious mental illness in children and young adults.
  • HB 2247: Creating a community mental health awareness, education, and access pilot program.
  • HB 3069: Requiring community integrated living arrangements ("CILA"s) to notify IDHS whenever an emergency call is made from the residence.
  • HB 3196: Creating an Immigration Task Force within IDHS.
  • HB 3511: Increasing the availability and access to educational information for health care professionals and patients about maternal mental health conditions.
  • SB 1321: Providing several systematic improvements to the Medicaid process.
  • SB 1641: Increasing awareness of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program ("SNAP") among college students.
  • SB 1702: Expanding the use of teleconferencing for mental health services.
  • SB 1828: Increasing research, education, and linkages to substance use disorder services and expanding needle exchange programs.
  • SB 2087: Creating a Customized Employment Pilot Program for individuals with disabilities.

Executive Orders:

  • EO 19-07: Strengthening our commitment to immigrants, refugees, and asylum seekers.
  • EO 19-10: Cementing Illinois' comprehensive 2020 Census effort.

Rebuilding Illinois: Budget Highlights

While there are remaining budget implementation strategies to be developed, IDHS is pleased to share the first set of its plans that are supported by the FY20 enacted budget. We are grateful to the Governor and to the General Assembly for their commitment to those we serve and embrace the areas of growth and opportunity.

IDHS Budget implementation Highlights:

  1. 3.5% Reimbursement rate increase for providers of community-based services for individuals with developmental disabilities, effective July 1, 2019.
  2. 3.5% Reimbursement rate increase for Intermediate Care Facilities serving individuals with developmental disabilities, effective August 1, 2019.

In-Home Respite reimbursement rates will be increased 3.5%, effective July 1, 2019.

2.5% Reimbursement rate increase for community-based providers of mental health services and substance use services, effective July 1, 2019.

Mental Health and Substance Use Prevention & Recovery grants will receive a full year 2.5% cost of living adjustment.

Early Intervention Developmental Therapy rates will be increased 6% and all other Early Intervention direct services will be increased by 3%, effective July 1, 2019.

Additional funding for Centers for Independent Living will be used to provide a full year cost of living adjustment.

Effective July 1, 2019, reduce Co-Payments for the Child Care Assistance Program (CCAP) to no more than 9% of a family's gross income.

Effective July 1, 2019, implement a statewide marketing program to promote the availability of the Child Care Assistance Program, highlighting program and policy improvements that have been made.

Effective July 1, 2019, increased investment in the Gateways to Opportunity Scholarship Program.

Effective October 1, 2019, raise the income eligibility guidelines for CCAP to 200% of the federal poverty level and create an exit ramp at 225% of the federal poverty level.

The Division of Family & Community Services has several programs that received funding to support a full year 2.5% cost of living adjustment, the Division will be communicating with impacted programs directly.

As implementation plans continue to be finalized, we will share further as appropriate.

New Notice of Funding Opportunities (NOFOs)

Get the latest information on Notice of Funding Opportunities (NOFO) for grants offered through IDHS at our IDHS Grant Opportunities web page.

Here is our newest opportunity:

Soon we will be posting our NOFO for the 2020 Census. You can watch for the posting on our 2020 Census website. If you are interested in either submitting an application for the NOFO or in being a sub-recipient to a Regional Intermediary chosen through the NOFO and are not already pre-qualified for GATA, click the "Pre-Award Eligibility Requirements" link which will provide guidance on how to become pre-qualified.

New! Grant Timeline Tool

IDHS has created an infographic to identify the components of the grant lifecycle. This timeline is a linear lifecycle that includes milestones for creating the funding opportunity, Grantees applying for the award, making award decisions and successfully implementing the award. Each milestone will take you through the grant making process here at IDHS. To view and download on this new infographic, visit our Grant Opportunities webpage.

Staff Recognition 

On July 10, 2019 Ira Collins, a recognized leader of Shapiro Center and IDHS, was honored with the re-naming of Shapiro Center's Administration Building as the Ira L. Collins Administration Building. State Senator, Toi Hutchinson presented Mr. Collins with a United States flag that had been flown over the Capitol of Illinois on the State's Bicentennial Anniversary. Mr. Collins was also presented with a framed copy of the State of Illinois' proclamation re-naming the Administration Building.

Mr. Collins began his employment at Shapiro Center in 1972. During his tenure, he worked tirelessly to acquire and maintain the Center's Illinois Department of Public Health certification. After 43 years as the Center director of Shapiro, Mr. Collins retired in July of 2016. He dedicated his life to serving people with intellectual disabilities, not only at the Center but throughout the State of Illinois.

Census 2020: Everyone Counts!

Governor Pritzker and his administration are committed to ensuring that Illinoisans get their fair share of federal resources and Congressional representation by encouraging the full participation of all Illinoisans in Census2020 Census Everyone Counts 2020.

The US Constitution requires that every person living in the United States is counted every ten years for the purpose of ensuring fair representation and distribution of resources. The U.S. Census Bureau will carry out the census in the spring, and the next Census Day is April 1, 2020. The decennial census provides foundational information that will be used to make policy decisions for ten years. Given how much is at stake in Illinois, the Illinois General Assembly appropriated $29 million of General Revenue Funds for census outreach, education and mobilization. That work is being launched now to prepare for a fair and accurate count.

IDHS will be administering a statewide Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) to issue grants to community providers and local governments to encourage full participation in the 2020 census. Efforts will focus on populations and geographies deemed "Hard to Count" by the U.S. Census Bureau. "Hard to Count" areas are defined as a geography where the self-response rate in the 2010 decennial census was 73% or less. There are also populations that have been historically undercounted, including young children, immigrants, low-income households, people of color, and rural residents to name a few.

Check out our Census 2020 website at and expect more updates to come in the upcoming weeks!

Consent Decree Updates

IDHS plays a pivotal role ensuring the state's compliance with Olmstead Consent Decrees, under which individuals in institutional care settings who wish to live in the community are supported in transitioning and provided with appropriate supportive services.

We're pleased to share a number of important updates about our work on the Consent Decrees in FY20:

  • The administration of the Colbert consent decree is moving from the Department on Aging to its new home here at IDHS.
  • When the move is complete later in the fiscal year, IDHS will be responsible for administering all three of the state's Olmstead consent decrees.
  • We will continue to work in collaboration with the other state agencies responsible for implementing the consent decrees, including the Department of Healthcare and Family Services, the Department on Aging, the Department of Public Health, and the Illinois Housing Development Authority.
  • The FY 20 Implementation Plans for the Colbert and Williams Consent Decrees have been filed with the court.
  • These documents will serve as our road map for safely transitioning as many class members to the community as possible.

Moving forward, our Olmstead work with be led by Ali Johnson, our agency's new Olmstead Compliance Officer. Ali joined IDHS a few weeks ago after providing years of service to consent decree class members at Trilogy Behavioral Healthcare.

We're Committed to Doing Better

We've been making progress on both our Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) timeliness and our Medicaid backlog! Currently our statewide SNAP timeliness rate is 88% which is up from 63% from January 2019. We, along with the Department of Healthcare and Family Services, just announced our new hiring initiative to resolve our Medicaid backlog issues. For more information, read our joint press release. Stay tuned for more SNAP and Medicaid related updates.

In the Spotlight

For this month's edition of In the Spotlight, we had the pleasure of interviewing the Assistant Secretary of Operations, Dulce Quintero.

What three words describe your role?

  • 1. Relationship-building
  • 2. Accountability
  • 3. Streamlining

What do you like most about your job?

Helping our staff to succeed at what they do best to serve our customers! The people we serve are one of my top priorities. It is also a great joy to meet the staff here at DHS and it's clear they are committed to improving our processes. I enjoy problem solving and the busy work that comes with it! Connecting with stakeholders is always great too. I find that we get good input and ideas on how we are doing, which is very helpful as we complete our transitions.

Many of our stakeholders are excited about the new culture of intentional engagement, and our Secretary's call to work toward a rebuilding of trust across the board. What do you feel is one of the best ways to begin this process?

One of the best ways to build pathways to trust is transparency. As I've shared with different staff I've spoken with, we need to keep open lines of communication. What are the top three attributes of a good team?

  1. Inclusion: Everyone having a voice at the table.
  2. Shared purpose: Values-driven mission.
  3. Appreciation: Showing gratitude to one another.

What's your favorite line from a film?

Ernesto de la Cruz: [to Miguel] "One cannot deny who one is meant to be."

What advice would you give yourself if you had a time machine and could visit yourself on the first day of your first job?

Even though people may say you do not belong or that your ideas are too out of the box, remind yourself that you are here for a reason and your voice matters.

What message would you like to share with our stakeholders?

Your collaboration and feedback matters. I have an open-door policy and am committed to developing the capacity of my team to ensure we're on point with our commitment to high quality service. My goal is to be in a position where we can work together in ways that lead to the building up of lives and communities in Illinois.

We are hiring!

Efforts are currently underway to increase our staff to improve services and meet the needs of our customers. There are various opportunities within IDHS. The search is on for finding great people to fill these roles!

Click the links below for open positions at IDHS and please send them to anyone who may be interested.

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