Program Narrative

Division of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse

Addictions remain a pressing social problem nationally and in Illinois. Left untreated, addictions can cause debilitating consequences to individuals, families and communities. This results in dramatic costs to society. The Division of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse (DASA) is the designated lead agency to address recovery from addiction issues in Illinois. DASA and the Office of Prevention work together to provide a comprehensive prevention, intervention, treatment and recovery support system for the citizens of Illinois.

Alcoholism & Substance Abuse All Funds (dollars in millions) - FY10: $236.9; FY11: $235.6

DASA's responsibilities are to license, develop, maintain, monitor and evaluate a comprehensive statewide intervention, treatment and recovery support system. System components include: screening, assessment, referral, intervention, treatment and recovery for individuals with limited or no financial resources. Intervention and treatment services include: community and early intervention, detoxification, outpatient, intensive outpatient, residential rehabilitation and extended aftercare services. DASA contracts with community-based treatment and recovery support organizations to operate the system according to the needs of various communities and their populations.

FY11 Highlights

  • Full implementation of Performance Based Contracting
  • Development of Utilization Management for Medicaid services
  • Strengthen services to National Guard and Veterans
  • Enhancement of a Recovery Oriented System of Care
  • The FY11 proposed budget includes an 8% overall reduction to general revenue funded, non-Medicaid addiction treatment services.

Division of Community Health & Prevention

The Division of Community Health and Prevention (DCHP) improves the health and well-being of families and individuals through partnerships and services that build community competence.

To accomplish this mission, the Division of Community Health and Prevention is structured into seven program bureaus and five geographic regions. This structure allows the Division to lead the state in improving community health and building the capacity of communities to identify and address the problems that are keeping families from reaching their full potential.

Community Health & Prevention All Fund (dollars in millions) - ARRA funds not reflected below - FY10: $836.1; FY11: $818.4

The breadth of the division's services include:

  • Services to help men and women choose the number and spacing of their children.
  • Services to improve the health of pregnant women, infants and new parents through outreach and case management (to ensure access to health and social services).
  • Targeted initiatives to reduce racial and ethnic disparities in infant mortality.
  • Home visiting to reduce the risk of child abuse and neglect.
  • Nutrition education and supplemental foods for pregnant women, infants, young children and breast feeding mothers to ensure health growth and development.
  • Targeted initiatives to coordinate the delivery of services to families with young children.
  • Training and technical assistance to improve the health and safety of child care settings.
  • Services to help children with developmental delays or disabilities achieve the greatest degree of functioning possible.
  • Support for coordinated school health programs and continuing education for school health personnel.
  • Structured activities during out-of-school time for youth 6 to 17, to prevent involvement in risk-taking behavior and to promote and encourage academic achievement and healthy lifestyles.
  • School-based health services.
  • Prevention efforts that focus on the development of positive lifestyles and the reduction of substance abuse through outcome-based planning and programming.
  • Services to improve the health of adolescents, including services to reduce teen pregnancy and services to help teen parents become self-sufficient.
  • Diversion and intervention services for youth to stabilize families in crisis; prevent juvenile delinquency; and divert at-risk youth from involvement in the child welfare or juvenile justice systems.
  • Housing and case management services for homeless youth to help them transition from homelessness to self-sufficient living and/or to reunify the youth with his/her family.
  • Volunteerism and community service programs and activities that strengthen Illinois' communities.
  • Comprehensive services to meet the immediate and long-term needs of victims of domestic and/or sexual violence and their children, as well as outreach and prevention education and training in the area of domestic violence.
  • Distribution of supplemental commodity foods and fresh produce to low income seniors.
  • Activities to prevent and control Diabetes.

FY11 Highlights

  • The Community Health & Prevention FY11 proposed budget reflects a 10% reduction on the majority of the general revenue funded grant lines. The exception is Family Case Management which is reduced by 4.5%.
  • The FY11 budget proposed reflects line consolidations for Community Youth Services. The Community Services, Delinquency Prevention and Juvenile Justice Reform lines have been combined with the Comprehensive Community Based Youth Services appropriation line. Combining the appropriation lines will facilitate the Department's ability to use these limited resources in a more coordinated manner.

Division of Developmental Disabilities

The Division of Developmental Disabilities administers the design and delivery of person centered services for individuals who have developmental disabilities throughout the State. These services include pre admission screening, service linkage and coordination, in-home support services, residential services, day and supported employment services, therapies, and other support services.

The Division is committed to implementing a system in full partnership with people with developmental disabilities. To accomplish this goal the Division actively seeks ideas regarding its policies and operations from many other partners, including families, friends, advisory councils, community providers, state-operated developmental center staff, central division staff, and other advocates throughout the system.

Division of Developmental Disabilities All Funds (dollars in millions) - FY10: $1,448.9; FY11: $1,353.3

The Division has designed the service delivery system around three basic themes: putting people who have developmental disabilities first; supporting choice; and managing as one system. These themes are reflected in the Division's vision and mission statements.

Vision Statement: People who have developmental disabilities are able to enjoy meaningful relationships with family, friends and others in their lives; to experience personal growth and development; and to fully participate in activities of their choice in communities of their choice.

Mission Statement: The Illinois Department of Human Services, Division of Developmental Disabilities provides leadership for an effective management of the design and delivery of quality outcome-based, person-centered services and supports for individuals who have developmental disabilities. These services and supports will be appropriate to their needs, gifts, talents and strengths; accessible; life-spanning; based on informed choice; and monitored to ensure individual progress, quality of life and safety.

To ensure both progress in the developmental disability system and the overall health and well-being of those we serve, the Division commits to the following guiding principles:

  • People with developmental disabilities will be actively involved in policy discussions and decisions and will be respected as partners in the process, making informed choices and decisions in order to support productive and fulfilling lives.
  • Families and guardians will be listened to and respected, we will strive to earn and keep their trust along with the trust of the public.
  • As small, home and community-based options are increased and enhanced, we will look at new and creative ways to utilize resources across the service delivery system.
  • Public resources will be used effectively and efficiently to help those we serve achieve their goals.
  • The integration of habilitation, social and clinical supports will be considered paramount when enhancing and developing services throughout the delivery systems.
  • We will establish goals, monitor our progress and ensure quality for those we serve.

FY11 Highlights

  • The budget proposed supports the transition of an additional 125 individuals out of state-operated developmental centers to community-based settings. In addition, $5.9M is included to fund the annualization of the FY10 SODC transitions to the community.
  • The budget request also includes $4.5M to annualize the cost of services for the individuals that transitioned as wards of the Department of Children and Family Services in FY10 and to support an additional 93 wards in FY11.
  • The FY11 budget proposal restores $15.6M of GRF costs shifted in FY10 to one-time funding sources.
  • The community funding for DD services will see an extension of the long-term care payment cycle ($15.9M) and the implementation of a 1 1/2 month payment cycle for residential and day program services ($48.3M).
  • In addition, non-Medicaid grant program funding of ($28.2M) will be eliminated.
  • Rate reductions of 2.5% for all community based programs will be implemented in FY11 saving ($25.9M).

Division of Human Capital Development

The Division of Human Capital Development (HCD) administers Illinois' public assistance programs through 102 Family Community Resource Centers statewide. These programs include cash assistance, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (Food Stamps), Medical, Child Care, Employment and Training, Homeless Services, Refugee and Immigrant Services, and other social services programs. The Division also develops policy for these programs, designs new programs, and evaluates new and existing programs for improvement.

Human Capital Development - Operations All Funds (dollars in millions) - FY10: $227.1; FY11: $261.9

The Division also works cooperatively with various state and local partners in the Illinois Work Net programs (previously called One Stop Career Centers) and in gathering information to facilitate Illinois child support enforcement and collections efforts.

In FY2011, DHS will continue to administer the myriad of public assistance and various supportive services programs, including the federal welfare reform program Temporary Assistance For Needy Families (TANF) reauthorized through September 2010 and anticipated to be extended and the Child Care Assistance Program. Since implementation of TANF in July 1997, 240,833 families have worked their way off cash assistance. Cash assistance continues to be provided to persons qualifying for other state programs such as Aid to the Aged, Blind or Disabled (AABD), General Assistance and Refugee Assistance.

Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)

The federally funded Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) is administered through the Department of Human Services, providing help to purchase food for families and individuals in Illinois. Working under the strict guidance of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Food and Nutrition Service, Illinois makes this benefit available to low income households. When combined with the family's other income, SNAP benefits can help a family purchase a nutritionally adequate diet. Individuals do not have to receive other public assistance to receive SNAP benefits.

During the month of December 2009, 760,630 SNAP households were served in Illinois. This is an increase of 126,707 households, or 20.0% over the 633,923 households Illinois served in December 2008.

A priority for DHS has been the expanded outreach efforts to make SNAP benefits more accessible to the people who need assistance. The department has developed methods for Illinois residents to apply using new technology and on-line systems.

Illinois residents are now able to apply on-line for cash, medical and SNAP benefits and have their application electronically transmitted to the correct office for processing. Since January 2009, over 167,000 applications were received through this new technology.

Human Capital Development - Grants All Funds (dollars in millions) - FY10: $1,163.0; FY11: $1,110.0

The automated phone reapplication project, known as the Phone System Interview (PSI), was implemented in July 2007 and as a result of its success has been expanded twice since then, most recently in February 2010. This allows households to reapply to continue getting SNAP benefits via a scripted automated phone system. For the month of January 2010, over 16,000 reapplications were received through this system and an increase in usage is anticipated as a result of the February expansion to additional households.

In partnership with the Food and Nutrition Services, Northern Illinois Food Bank and the Greater Chicago Food Depository, DHS is testing a new way to apply for SNAP in food pantries, called Express Stamps. This project seeks to reach an underserved population that visit food pantries but are not receiving SNAP. Express Stamps started in October 2006 in just 4 pantries and currently operates in ten food pantries in DuPage, Kane, Lake, and Will counties and 2 pantries in Cook County. Persons visiting their local food pantry can apply for SNAP, find out if they are eligible and how much they will receive, and leave the pantry with a Link card to access their benefits. As of February 2010, this project has brought SNAP to more than 3,600 households.

Management has focused on performance outcomes and has stepped up efforts that have helped to improve accuracy levels in administering benefits. This provides Illinois' citizens the correct benefits and ensures that the state not be subjected to financial penalties.

SNAP Employment and Training Services

SNAP Employment and Training (E&T) is a statewide program committed to helping able-bodied adults without dependents (ABAWDs) who receive SNAP benefits become self-sufficient. This program is funded with Federal and State monies.

SNAP E&T offers pre-employment/employment services to this population. DHS staff in the Family Community Resource Centers and contractors in the communities provide employment and training services to ABAWDs. Contractual services include the Earnfare Program and the SNAP E&T Job Placement Program of which Earnfare is an activity component. Earnfare and Job Placement contracts are continued in the FY2011 budget request. Also included in the FY2011 request are funds for support service payments, including transportation, for SNAP E&T customers participating in employment and training activities and those entering employment.


DHS Family Community Resource Centers (FCRCs) administer Medicaid cases consistent with eligibility rules promulgated by the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services. The FCRCs also manage ongoing case eligibility for KidCare and Parent Assist programs that provide medical coverage for Illinois citizens with income above the federal poverty level. In December 2009, medical cases totaled 1,251,238, including Medicaid, KidCare and Parent Assist cases. The medical cases are up 73,530 from December 2008 levels of 1,177,708, a 6.2% increase.

Child Care Program

The DHS Child Care Program is an income-based program primarily for working families that need help paying for child care. Bolstering welfare-to-work efforts, the program serves families receiving TANF whose personal responsibility and services plans document a need for child care. Additionally, non-TANF families in specified education and training activities and teen parents pursuing a high school diploma or its equivalent are able to receive child care provided they are income eligible.

Eligibility is set at 200% of the Federal Poverty Level. Eligible families participate in the program without time limits and choose the type of care they prefer, (e.g. child care center, private home, etc.), provided it meets all state and local requirements. Parents share the cost of care based on co-payments assessed according to a sliding scale.

DHS works to improve the quality of child care services through a number of initiatives including the Gateways to Opportunity Professional Development System, the Quality Rating System, the Gateways Scholarship Program and the Great START Program. These initiatives provide support to increase the education and training of the child care workforce and to improve the overall quality of child care programs.

The Child Care Program is administered through a network of 16 Child Care Resource & Referral Agencies (CCR&R's) as well as contracts with site-administered providers.


The Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) Program provides financial income assistance to eligible families, which contain a related child under age 18. A child age 18 may also qualify if attending high school full time.

TANF is designed to temporarily provide help while a family moves to self sufficiency. The Illinois TANF Program is designed to help needy families become self supporting, strengthen family life, and reduce the instances of economic need in Illinois families. Through a variety of intensive casework methods, Illinois, to date, has been extremely successful helping families move from welfare to work.

Generally, families are limited to 60 months of TANF benefits. All months of TANF benefits, with some exceptions, are counted against the 60-month limit including those received in other states. Some families who have received 60 months of TANF may qualify for an exception and continue receiving benefits.

TANF Reauthorization

The Deficit Reduction Act of 2005 was signed into law in February 2006. It reauthorized the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program through September 2010. It is anticipated to be extended.

In June 2006, the federal government issued an interim final regulation for implementing the reauthorized TANF. The regulation tightened the definitions of countable activities, added additional categories of individuals who must be included in the work participation rate, and required submittal of a Work Verification Plan. State accountability was tightened to:

  • Count only actual hours of participation for non-paid work activities.
  • Require all activities used to satisfy work requirements must be supervised.
  • Require states to establish and maintain work participation verification procedures in a Work Verification Plan that must be reviewed and approved by Health & Human Services (HHS). States are subject to a new penalty of 1 to 5% of the federal TANF Block Grant for failure to establish or comply with these procedures.

TANF Employment and Training Services

The DHS focus for TANF addresses the barriers to employment, providing the needed support services and work experience. Contractual services, designed to address the specific barriers to employment faced by the remaining TANF/TANF-eligible customers, will continue in the FY2011 budget. In addition, TANF Reauthorization work participation requirements must be met through countable activities managed by and recorded by employment and training contractors. Included in the FY2011 request are funds for employment and training resources to meet TANF Reauthorization requirements as well as support services payments, including transportation, for TANF/TANF-eligible customers in employment and training activities and those entering employment.

Aid to The Aged, Blind or Disabled (AABD)

The federal Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program pays a monthly grant to persons with low income who are certified as aged, blind or disabled. In December 2009, the AABD program provided a state supplemental payment to 29,328 cases, a decrease of 198 cases, or -0.7% from December 2008 cases of 29,526.

General Assistance

General Assistance (GA) is mandated by State law and provides basic income and medical assistance to persons who are not eligible for TANF or AABD. It has two components: the State Family and Children Assistance Program and the State Transitional Assistance Program. The State Family and Children Assistance Program covers needy families who do not meet the requirements to receive TANF such as caretakers who are not related. The State Transitional Assistance Program covers adults without dependent children who have barriers to employment.

The Department administers the GA program in the city of Chicago. It also helps fund some downstate GA units, which are then required to follow Department rules including the Department's payment level. Local governmental units, such as township governments that do not receive State funds, administer their own program, establish their own rules, and set their own payment levels. The State Transitional Assistance Program served 8,488 cases in December 2009, up 687 from the 7,801 cases served in December 2008. The State Family and Children Assistance Program served 876 cases in December 2009, up by 30 cases from the 846 cases served in December 2008.

Refugee & Immigrant Services

Illinois is home to more than 1.8 million immigrants, which when including their children (659,000), are 19% of the state's population. An average of 35,000 new immigrants arrive each year. Since 1975, the state has received more than 130,000 refugees from more than 60 countries. Services to immigrants include English as a Second Language, civics, and U.S. History instruction, as well as citizenship application services to 13,000 students each year. The Outreach and Interpretation Project provides community education, translation, and interpreter services for 50,000 Department of Human Services (DHS) customers each quarter. Refugee resettlement entails a comprehensive array of mainly 100% federally funded services for individuals entering as refugees or granted political asylum, including adjustment counseling, orientation, English as a Second Language, vocational training, and job placement as well as bilingual health and mental health services.

Title XX Social Services Block Grant (SSBG)

The federal Block Grant provides 23 separate categories of social services through a network of four state agencies and community-based organizations making the Block Grant program one of the main sources of funds for providing social services to families. Service categories range from services for the elderly, people with developmental disabilities or mental illness, neglected children and adults, ex-offenders, victims of domestic violence, families in need of health services, and the unemployed or under-employed. Services will be provided to over 120,000 adults and children. The State's allocation from the Block Grant is currently estimated at $72 million for FFY10 with an additional $40 million (estimated) to be transferred to the Social Services Block Grant from the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families Block Grant.

Included within the Block Grant is the State's Donated Funds Initiative. This collaborative social service delivery effort between the state and public, private, and faith-based agencies allows for the expansion of service funding without an additional commitment of state/federal funds through a local match requirement. $22.3 million is allocated from the Block Grant for the Donated Funds Initiative.

Homeless Services and Supportive Housing Services

The Bureau of Homeless Services and Supportive Housing operates Food Assistance, Homeless Prevention, Supportive Housing, Emergency Food and Shelter (i.e., Homeless Assistance) and Tax Write-In Programs. The bureau serves as the Department's liaison on legislative and community issues relating to homelessness, supportive housing, homeless prevention and emergency food assistance. Also, the bureau provides extensive technical assistance to community providers.

FY11 Highlights

  • The request includes increased funding in the income assistance lines to maintain caseloads.
  • New federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) administration funding in the amount of $16.6M is available to Illinois. These dollars are available through 9-30-2010 with potential for reallocation of unexpended dollars through 9-30-2011.
  • Rate increases for home and center child care providers are included within the FY11 budget.

Division of Mental Health

The Division of Mental Health (DMH), as the federally designated State Mental Health Authority (SMHA), is responsible for assuring that children, adolescents and adults throughout Illinois, have the availability of, and access to, recovery-oriented, evidence-based and community-focused publicly-funded mental health services. Service delivery in the DMH is provided through five geographically organized service Regions, specifically Metropolitan Chicago (North, West and South) and Greater Illinois (Suburban, North Central, Central and South). Within these five service Regions, service delivery is provided by 149 contracted community mental health centers/agencies and nine DMH-operated psychiatric hospitals, the latter containing both civil and forensic beds.

The DMH also provides statutorily required treatment services for sexually violent persons through its Treatment and Detention Facility. Children and Adolescents and Mental Health and Justice (forensic) Services are organized centrally and also delivered through the DMH service Regions.

Division of Mental Health All Funds (dollars in millions) - FY10: $700.6; FY11: $631.2

Working within the framework of the six major goals and recommendations of the New Freedom Commission Report on Mental Health (Report), the DMH, the SMHA, has as its Vision, that 'The Expectation is Recovery!' The corollary here is that all persons who experience mental illnesses will recover and that effective treatment and supports, essential for full participation in one's community, will be accessible and available at all stages of a person's life. The Mission of the Division is to assure that recovery-oriented, evidence-based and community-focused treatment and supports are accessible, through fiscally efficient use of public funds, to children, adolescents and adults who are most in need of mental health services, in order that they may be empowered in their recovery.

Toward the actualization of its vision, the DMH is in the midst of fundamentally significant initiatives to move the community mental health system toward transformation. The DMH continues its transition to a fee-for-service payment system. The DMH implemented an advance and reallocation strategy, with full implementation of a new fiscal system projected for FY11. In addition, the DMH continues to be a full partner, with the Departments of Healthcare and Family Services and Children and Family Services in the Screening, Assessment and Support Services (SASS) initiative. This collaborative structure has made possible the expansion of youth mental health services by creating synergies and more effective leveraging of resources. Further, the DMH continues to expand services to youth through initiatives in early intervention services, transitional services, and services for children under the age of five.

The DMH 'Say It Out Loud' public awareness campaign has received national recognition and has served to reduce stigma and raise awareness about the importance of mental health and its role in overall health for both children and adults. The DMH continues to collaborate with the Division of Rehabilitation Services in the Brand New Day Initiative, which has increased capacity for supported employment throughout the system and has improved employment outcomes for persons with psychiatric disabilities. The DMH also is working with the Division of Alcohol and Substance Abuse to implement an action plan for improving access to integrated treatment services for individuals with co-occurring substance use disorders and mental illnesses. And finally, while working to expand housing opportunities and support services to assist persons transitioning from institutional settings to community settings, the DMH is collaborating with the Department of Healthcare and Family services and other agencies to continue implementation of the Money Follows the Person demonstration initiative.

Although transforming our system to be both consumer and family-driven and recovery/resiliency-oriented presents invigorating challenges, the DMH is confident that it is prepared to face those challenges toward the achievement of a transformed mental health delivery system. With the increased collaboration of its system partners, it is expected that system challenges to be faced will ultimately result in system opportunities that are realized. Persons with mental illnesses deserve no less than the realization of those opportunities.

Mental Health State Hospitals

Hospital care and treatment is a vital component in the continuum of treatment services provided to persons with mental illnesses. The DMH-operated psychiatric hospitals, administered by the DMH, serve unique functions in the system. One function is to provide an excellent, comprehensive treatment environment to meet the needs of persons who, due to a psychiatric disorder, present a danger to themselves or others at the time of their acute condition, and cannot be successfully treated in community hospitals. Another hospital function is to offer inpatient psychiatric treatment that is not available in community-operated hospitals because consumers have little or no capacity to pay for the service, either directly or through an insurance plan (including Medicaid or Medicare). A third function is to provide court-ordered treatment in forensic units for persons who are found Unfit to Stand Trial (UST) or Not Guilty By Reason of Insanity (NGRI) and statutorily required treatment services for Sexually Violent Persons. The DMH strives in each of these functions to assure that evidence-based/emerging best practices are offered in our state-operated hospitals, including trauma-informed care. Two of the state-operated hospitals in Illinois have been recognized for excellence by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

FY11 Highlights

  • The FY11 proposed budget includes a $4.3M increase to support the Money Follows the Person federal grant program.
  • Also, the FY11 introduced budget includes $1.2M for the cost of the population expansion at TDF.
  • Reduction to Community Services ($90.7M) - (Results in a 32.5% reduction to GRF Community Grants and an estimated impact of 40% -42% reduction to Community Contracts)
  • DMH will receive over $24M in Federal monies over the next six years to support such initiatives as Veterans Reintegration, and multiple Child & Adolescent serving programs that greatly enhance the care in Illinois for these important populations.

Division of Rehabilitation Services

The Division of Rehabilitation Services (DRS) is the state's lead agency serving individuals with disabilities, impacting the lives of more than 240,000 individuals with disabilities in Illinois. The Division administers an array of disability-related programs and services to assist individuals with disabilities and their families in making informed choices to achieve full community participation through employment, education, and independent living opportunities. Illinois continues to be recognized as a national leader in Vocational Rehabilitation with 29,093 DRS customers entering competitive employment in the past five years. Furthermore, DRS' federally-funded Work Incentive Planning and Assistance Program provides benefits planning services to individuals with the most significant disabilities who receive Social Security benefits and want to work, enabling them to anticipate and plan for changes that may occur in their benefits when they obtain employment. The Home Services Program (HSP) is the largest single General Revenue Funded program in DRS. The program promotes independence by offering an individualized, family centered approach for individuals with the most significant disabilities who are at risk of institutionalization. In addition to preventing institutionalization, the program provides services through Community Reintegration. DRS partners with staff from Centers for Independent Living to help people with disabilities transition from nursing homes into the community. Since the inception of this innovative program, more than 1,650 individuals with disabilities have moved from nursing homes back into the community.

Division of Rehabilitation Services All Funds (dollars in millions) - ARRA funds not reflected below - FY10: $814.1; FY11: $894.7

Home Services Program

The DHS Division of Rehabilitation Services administers the Home Services Program (HSP), a Medicaid waiver program, which offers individuals with disabilities who are at risk of premature or unnecessary institutionalization, the alternative of in-home care when the cost of home care does not exceed the cost of a health care facility. The HSP provides the following major services: (1) Personal Assistants (PA), who are selected, employed and supervised by the individual and who help with household tasks and personal care; (2) Homemaker Services that offer personal care by trained and professionally supervised personnel for customers unable to direct a PA; and (3) Home Health Services such as nursing care and physical therapy prescribed by a physician and typically provided by a private home health agency. Other services provided include: home delivered meals, adult day care, assistive equipment, home remodeling, electronic home response, respite, diagnostic services, and case management.

Children's Residential And Educational Services

The Department provides residential and educational services to children with disabilities between the ages of 3 and 21 at three state-operated schools, one in Chicago and two in Jacksonville.

The Illinois Center for Rehabilitation and Education (ICRE-R) in Chicago provides educational and related programs in a residential setting for 44 students age 5 to 21 who: (1) have severe physical disabilities and associated chronic health conditions; and (2) through the application and evaluation process are determined to be able to benefit from very specialized programming. Most of the students are also enrolled in special education programs in Chicago schools near the facility. Other services include: occupational, physical and activity therapies; vocational evaluation and training; job and life coaching; 24-hour nursing; medical services; social work services; psychological evaluations; and recreational therapies.

The Illinois School for the Visually Impaired (ISVI) in Jacksonville provides a comprehensive educational program with emphasis on the development of independence and pre-vocational skills for just over 100 students ages 3 to 21 for whom (1) a severe visual impairment is identified; (2) the local district recommends ISVI because the district believes the student would be better served or parents directly request admission; and (3) ISVI can provide an appropriate program to serve the student. ISVI also provides early intervention services for children from birth to three years and has a transitional living center through which older students are receiving hands-on independent living skill training as well as orientation and mobility training.

The Illinois School for the Deaf (ISD), also in Jacksonville, provides elementary and secondary educational programs to nearly 290 students ages 3 to 21 for whom: (1) a severe hearing impairment is identified; (2) the local school district recommends ISD as the most appropriate and least restrictive option or parents directly request admission; and (3) ISD can provide an appropriate program to serve the student. Programs emphasize total communication and include academic and vocational training programs, social and health services, and recreational activities. ISD also provides early intervention services for children from birth to three years and assessments and evaluations for adults through its evaluation center.

Centers for Independent Living

Centers for Independent Living (CILs) are non-residential, consumer-controlled, community-based, not-for-profit organizations that provide systems advocacy to create options and choices for independent living. CILs provide services to individuals to help them in increasing skills and abilities for independent living and provide public awareness. Core services provided by all CILs include advocacy, peer counseling, skills training, information and referral.

Vocational Rehabilitation Services - General/Blind

The Vocational Rehabilitation Program (VR) employs Rehabilitation Counselors, Coordinators and other rehabilitation professionals in more than 40 local offices throughout the state to provide direct services to VR customers. Counselors determine eligibility, work closely with customers to establish suitable vocational goals and develop Individualized Plans for Employment to carry out the appropriate array of services. An individual is eligible for the VR program if he or she has a physical or mental disability that results in a substantial impediment to employment, and needs vocational rehabilitation services to prepare for, enter, engage in or retain gainful employment. Services include: training; medical services; physical and/or mental restoration; assistive technology devices and services; counseling and guidance; evaluation and diagnostics; basic adaptive skills; placement; follow-up and post employment services.

DHS DRS has a special focus on services to customers who have visual impairments. Besides the services described above, the VR Blind program offers adaptive skills for blind and visually impaired persons, mobility instruction, and Braille with an emphasis on Older Blind individuals. Approximately 2,600 individuals receive services each year. In addition, the Small Business Enterprise Program, also known as the Vending Facility Program, provides training to prepare individuals with the skills needed to manage a small business. Blind individuals who have passed a seven-month training program provided by VR Blind staff are served by this program. The Small Business Enterprise program carries out the federal Randolph/Shepard Act and is a component of the federal VR program allotment. During the past fiscal year, the program operated 98 primary vending facilities and 356 satellite locations.

A growing program within the Vocational Rehabilitation Program is the Supported Employment Program which provides competitive work in an integrated work setting for individuals with severe disabilities who: 1) have not worked, or have worked intermittently in competitive employment; 2) have been determined by a Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor to have a reasonable expectation of achieving employment with services; 3) need ongoing support services; and 4) can work in a supported employment setting. Federal funds provide intensive training for the first 18 months to achieve stability and then General Revenue funds provide extended support services if and as needed. Approximately 2,600 individuals receive the short-term federally funded services each year while nearly 150 individuals are served by the State-funded long-term program.

Another major VR-related program is the Client Assistance Program (CAP) which is federally mandated to serve any individuals with disabilities who want, or who are receiving, services from the Division of Rehabilitation Services. CAP works autonomously so that it can work most effectively to resolve differences between customers seeking services and the staff administering the programs. More than 2,000 customers are assisted by CAP each year.

Community & Residential Services for the Blind & Visually Impaired (CRSBVI)

This program provides services to newly blinded adults to enhance their ability to live independently and reduce their risk of need for long term care. Rehabilitation Teachers and Orientation and Mobility Instructors teach independent living skills to customers in their own homes. Blind individuals who are not eligible to receive vocational rehabilitation services are served by this program. In addition to offering counseling and support groups, the program provides training in: activities of daily living (cooking, caring for household and clothing, managing financial affairs, shopping, etc.); orientation and mobility; technology access including computer access; Braille; and communication skills.

A short-term residential training program for individuals with visual impairments is also available at the Illinois Center for Rehabilitation and Education-Wood. The services provided at ICRE-Wood are similar to those provided to individuals in the community. However, most customers served by this facility are newly blinded and the intensive training and concentrated residential experience enables them to return to the community with the necessary skills to live independently. The training costs associated with ICRE-Wood are included in the CRSBVI budget. Approximately 300 individuals are served by this program annually.

Disability Determination Services

The Bureau of Disability Determination Services (BDDS) determines the eligibility of applicants for benefits under the Social Security Administration's (SSA) two disability programs: Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) under Title II of the Social Security Act, and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) under Title XVI of the Social Security Act. Title II (SSDI) provides for payment of disability benefits to individuals who are "insured" under the Act by virtue of their contributions to the Social Security Trust Fund. Title XVI (SSI) provides for payments to individuals who are disabled and have limited income and resources.

BDDS is responsible for developing medical evidence and rendering eligibility determinations about whether an applicant is considered disabled or blind under the law. It also screens claimants for eligibility for vocational rehabilitation and refers them to VR, if appropriate. Approximately 158,000 eligibility determinations for SSDI and SSI benefits are projected to be completed in FY10.

The SSI Advocacy Program provides management of the Client Assessment Unit which annually provides over 50,000 medical determinations of employability for Transitional Assistance and Medicaid based on a disability. SSI Advocacy also provides services to individuals applying for Supplemental Security Income to assist them in obtaining federal benefits. DRS has contracted with Legal Assistance Foundation of Chicago (LAF-C) to provide this service in Chicago.

FY11 Highlights

  • The FY11 proposed budget includes a $69.3M net increase for the Home Services Program. An estimated $36.3M is to support the personal assistant and homemaker wage and health insurance increases. In addition, $49.5M is needed to fund program annualizations and new growth in FY11.
  • The Home Services Program will be implementing services parameters in the five instrumental activities of daily living to standardize the number of hours available for housekeeping, laundry, meal preparation, money management and activities outside the home. In addition, the asset limit test for eligibility for new customers will be reduced from $11.5K to $2.0K (current Medicaid level). Estimated savings of ($19.5M) from these changes.
  • As a result of the Fletcher arbitration decision, $3M is included to convert contractual staff to state employees.