Governor Quinn Honored for Work to Improve Life for People with Developmental Disabilities in Illinois

Receives The Arc of Illinois "2012 President's Award" for Rebalancing Initiative That Expands Community Care

 CHICAGO - April 26, 2012. Governor Pat Quinn today received The Arc of Illinois 2012 President's Award for his leadership to improve life for people with developmental disabilities by rebalancing Illinois' approach to providing care. The Governor's Rebalancing Initiative uses a person-centered approach to increase the number of people with disabilities living in communities across Illinois. The Arc of Illinois, a non-profit statewide advocacy organization representing over 220,000 individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families, presented the award to Governor Quinn at its 62nd Annual Convention. Governor Quinn is the only Illinois governor to ever receive the award.

"I am committed to improving the quality of life for people with developmental disabilities and their families in Illinois," Governor Quinn said. "For far too long, Illinois has relied on an outdated system of care for people with developmental disabilities. Today, as we continue to increase community care options and safely transition our citizens to community care settings, we can all be proud that Illinois is moving forward to empower all people to reach their full potential."

In November, Governor Quinn announced his intention to rebalance Illinois' use of institutionalization for the care of people with developmental disabilities. Illinois lags behind the rest of the nation in the utilization of person-centered, community-based care. Community-based care has been proven to empower people with developmental disabilities to lead more active, dynamic lives.

Community settings allow individuals to receive the care they need - including 24-hour care - in their hometowns and even their family homes. Community care is also significantly less costly than institution-based care. The rebalancing initiative dovetails with the administration's recent settlement of a series of court cases related to the Americans with Disabilities Act, requiring the expansion of community care settings.

"We are honoring Governor Quinn for his leadership in rebalancing the disability system in Illinois," Tony Paulauski, executive director of The Arc of Illinois said. "This Governor, by far, has created the largest system change that I have seen under any governor in my career, and we are proud to honor Governor Quinn for his important work on behalf of individuals with disabilities and their families."

The rebalancing initiative calls for a "person-centered approach," meaning individuals and their families will be a significant part of designing the program that best fits their needs and desires. As part of the "money follows the person approach" to rebalancing, each transitioning resident will be evaluated to receive an individualized budget based on their particular support needs.

Working with parents and guardians, individuals will be evaluated to determine their needs, desires and the best community care setting. Unlike state institutions, which may be hundreds of miles from an individual's hometown, individuals and families will choose the community in which their care options are developed. Options will also be available for community care at home, if the individual and their family desires.

A total of 600 individuals with developmental disabilities will transition into community settings over the next two years. As a result, the Department of Human Services will close up to four state institutions over the next two and a half years, beginning with the Jacksonville Developmental Center in Jacksonville and the Murray Developmental Center in Centralia.