Rehabilitation Services Annual Report 2011

State of Illinois
Department of Human Services

Message from the Chair

The State Rehabilitation Council (SRC) partners with the Illinois Department of Human Services' Division of Rehabilitation Services (IDHS/DRS) to develop the State Plan for Vocational Rehabilitation programs and services; ensure customer input into the process; and coordinate activities with other councils and stakeholders.

As chair, it is my privilege to present the IDHS/DRS Annual Report for Fiscal Year 2011. The report highlights the Division's programs and provides outcome data to illustrate the continued success of vocational rehabilitation in Illinois.

It is important to understand that 'SUCCESS' can be measured in many ways and cumulative statistics are not always able to tell the entire story. For "Success is piece of mind which is a direct result of self-satisfaction in knowing you made the effort to become the best of which you are capable" (John R. Wooden, Head Basketball Coach, Emertus, UCLA).

Working together, individuals with disabilities are continuing to reach new heights and achieve their goals in education, employment, and self-sufficiency! I invite you to visit the DRS SUCCESS website at and read success stories related to our customers, community and business partners, view videos, and locate helpful resources. There is also a link to the SRC homepage where you can view the State Plan for VR programs and services and obtain additional information regarding the role and responsibilities of the council.


Greg Polman
Illinois State Rehabilitation Council

Message from the Secretary and Director

In Fiscal Year 2011 we continued to struggle in this stagnate economic climate and have worked diligently to ward off budget cuts to vital programs and services--many of which directly impact our most vulnerable Illinois citizens.

We have stayed consistent with our values and continuously strive to partner with the community as we deliver integrated services in the most efficient manner to individuals and families that need our programs/services the most while working within our budget constraints.

In terms of employment initiatives and successful outcomes, we were fortunate to be awarded funds through the American Recovery & Reinvestment Act (ARRA) and designed and implemented programs aimed directly at creating employment opportunities for individuals with disabilities.

As a result, we realize that we cannot do this alone and we want to increase our efforts in assisting our customers in obtaining meaningful employment. For Fiscal Year 2012, we are looking to increase and re-energize our relationships with employers and community partners and have set a goal of 6,000 job placements!

As a Department and Division we look forward to this challenge and are committed to providing Platinum Customer Service and making dreams come to fruition one individual at a time.


Michelle R.B. Saddler
Illinois Department of Human Services

Kristine Smith
Acting Director
Division of Rehabilitation Services

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Program Highlights

Vocational Rehabilitation Services

We assist people with disabilities in preparing for, finding, and maintaining quality employment that pays a living wage and offers opportunities for advancement. Our staff work closely with state, regional, and local employers, offering individualized placement services that bring employers and qualified employees together.

Home Services

We provide services to people with the most significant disabilities so they can remain in their homes and live as independently as possible. Our customers are empowered to live self-directed lives, to be actively involved in their communities, and to retain control over the services they receive.

Educational Services

DRS operates three residential schools for children with disabilities:

  • Illinois School for the Deaf (Jacksonville)
  • Illinois School for the Visually Impaired (Jacksonville)
  • Illinois Center for Rehabilitation and Education-Roosevelt (Chicago)

We offer information and transition training to parents of children with disabilities and professionals through our NEXT STEPS program.

Our staff work closely with high school students with disabilities, empowering them to successfully transition from high school to post-secondary education and employment.

Specialized Services

Our specialized services are designed for:

  • Persons who are Blind or Visually Impaired.

    We empower adults who are blind or visually impaired to rediscover their independence and freedom. Our customers find and maintain employment and achieve their education, training, and independent living goals.

    The Illinois Center for Rehabilitation and Education-Wood in Chicago also offers a 12-week residential vocational and independent skills training program.

  • Persons who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing.

    We help people who are deaf, hard of hearing, late deafened, or deaf/blind find employment, attend education and training programs, and learn about other community resources.

  • Persons with disabilities who are Hispanic/Latino.

    Our bilingual staff assist Hispanic/Latino people with disabilities in obtaining and maintaining employment, applying for DHS/DRS programs, and connecting with community services.

Independent Living Services

We empower people with disabilities to make informed choices by funding Centers for Independent Living (CILs) throughout Illinois. These CILs offer advocacy, peer counseling, independent living skills training, and information & referral.

Disability Determination Services

We determine the eligibility of people to receive benefits from Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI).

Client Assistance Program

The Client Assistance Program (CAP) helps people with disabilities who have questions or problems with DRS services. For more information, call 1-800-641-3929 (Voice/TTY).

Information and Referral Services

Our staff share information about programs and services available through DHS/DRS and other state agencies. We also connect individuals and their families with services they need in the community.

You can find the closest office using the DHS online office locator at: or by calling toll free:

1-877-761-9780 (Voice) or

1-866-264-2149 (TTY) or

1-866-588-0401 (VP)

Programs, activities and employment opportunities in the Illinois Department of Human Services are open and accessible to any individual or group without regard to age, sex, race, sexual orientation, disability, ethnic origin or religion. The department is an equal opportunity employer and practices affirmative action and reasonable accommodation programs.

Printed by the authority of the State of Illinois 250 copies (1/12)