I know some of our CDS providers opened on Monday to individuals. I'm hopeful that things are going well. Feel free to reach out and let me know how things are faring!
NEW EMPLOYMENT SUPPORT
I am very pleased to report that on August 3, 2020, Casey Burke joined the Division in a part-time contractual role, focused on expanding and promoting our employment initiatives.
Casey began his career of service to individuals with disabilities as Direct Support Professional at a rural Illinois ID/DD provider during his time as an undergraduate at Northern Illinois University (NIU). After receiving his BA from NIU, Casey remained in the field, engaged in roles such as Life Skill Instructor, QIDP, Administrator and, eventually, as a Director overseeing Community Day Services and Employment programs at several large Chicagoland organizations. Casey continues to be a champion of Employment First, is a Certified Employment Support Professional (CESP), and is part of several efforts to enhance the availability, quality and scope of employment related supports for individuals with disabilities. We're so glad he'll be joining the team.
THE ALLIANCE RELEASES NEW CDS RESOURCE
The Illinois Self-Advocacy Alliance, Inc (The Alliance) developed a resource to support individuals considering returning to CDS and help them understand their options. Check it out here: http://selfadvocacyalliance.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/07/Advocacy-Resource-Re-Opening-of-CDS-July-2020.pdf
ILLINOIS CARE CONNECTIONS UPDATE
Since we first announced receipt of this $1.7 million grant from the federal Administration for Community Living (ACL) for the purchase of tablets and connectivity support through Illinois Assistive Technology Program (IATP), the response has been overwhelming. DDD, in partnership with the Illinois Department on Aging and the IDHS Division of Rehabilitation Services partnered to secure the grant to provide support to older adults and individuals with disabilities who are socially isolated as result of the COVID-19 pandemic. I'm very pleased to report that well over 1,000 referrals were made by our Independent Service Coordination agencies for the purchase of tablets or iPads. As a result, the program can no longer accept referrals from DDD.
Clearly there is a demand for using technology devices to address feelings of social isolation. The Division is committed to exploring other options to employ technology to improve the lives of individuals we serve.
Thank you for all you do!