Governor George H. Ryan today released the state’s first-ever comprehensive plan to give people with disabilities a greater say in the services they receive and to help them successfully integrate into communities throughout Illinois.
The state’s plan is the product of more than two years worth of work by representatives from the disabled community, family members, private organizations and all state agencies working with the disabled.
“People with disabilities deserve to have the opportunity to be able to participate in community life,” Ryan said. “This new plan is another tool that we can use to help ensure that more people with disabilities will be able to live, work and thrive in their communities.”
Ryan noted that the plan is a “work in progress” that will be updated and revised as often as is necessary to ensure that it continues to reflect changes in the delivery of services and other challenges that face people with disabilities. Ryan issued an executive order creating a permanent Disabilities Services Advisory Committee that will provide “ongoing oversight” of the plan and its implementation.
The plan reflects the state’s commitment to following the Americans with Disabilities Act as required by the U.S. Supreme Court’s landmark 1999 ruling in Olmstead v. L.C.
The new plan sets up guidelines for a wide range of care that responds to the needs and choices of each individual. The goal is to develop a system that is flexible, seamless and easy to access for persons with disabilities. The document calls on state agencies to create “person-centered” care plans that include case-by-case input from various sources, a wide array of service options and an evaluation process.
The array of services offered includes community integrated living arrangements, the use of personal attendants in private homes, other community-based services and traditional state institutions.
Over the last three years the governor has increased state funding for Illinois’ disabled community and expanded placement options to give people more of a say in the services they receive.
During the Governor’s administration, wages for home service personal attendants have increased by 25 percent to $7-an-hour. Funding for programs that help the disabled live in their own homes has been increased by 82 percent. There has been an almost $100 million increase in funding for the number of Community Integrated Living Arrangements throughout Illinois, a move that lowers the number of people in state institutions. The governor wants to create 310 new CILAs in Fiscal Year 2003.
As a result of the governor’s efforts since 1999, the number of persons in CILAs has increased by 23 percent. Meanwhile, the number of persons served in state operated developmental centers has declined by 11 percent.
“This plan is great step forward for persons with disabilities,” Ryan said.