CHICAGO - The Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS) today announced a $6.5 million grant to help as many as 200 Illinois Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) wards age 18 and over with developmental disabilities transition from institutions into less costly adult community living.
“As children in the child welfare system grow up, it is important to have an orderly and natural transition to adulthood. Additionally, a developmentally disabled person who has no family members or resources to support them still has every right to live independently and with dignity,” said IDHS Secretary Carol L. Adams, Ph.D. “Through this partnership of two state agencies, we are providing opportunities for some of our most vulnerable citizens to live in the community and, at the same time, we’re reducing the high cost of institutionalized care.”
DCFS will identify candidates for the program and IDHS-funded agencies will screen them for eligibility for Medicaid-funded services. Those who are clinically eligible will then have the choice of moving into a variety of community options, helping ensure continuous, coordinated support to these young people as they transition to adult care. Housing options include Community Integrated Living Arrangement (CILA), a home with eight or fewer beds; an Intermediate Care Facility for Developmentally Disabled (ICFDD), many of which have 16 or fewer beds; or other settings.
IDHS will also provide support services for persons selected for this initiative. These support services may include personal support, day programs, therapies, nursing, transportation, and other services.
“Older adolescents with emotional problems used to fall through the cracks in the system,” said Don Moss, a life-long advocate for children and adults with disabilities. “This cooperative relationship between two state agencies will ensure that wards of the state, as they age out of the DCFS system, will get the services they need under DHS.”
The DHS Division of Developmental Disabilities offers respite care, developmental training, and family support services designed to help developmentally disabled people become independent. Residential facilities help people with developmental disabilities live at home or in community settings.
Recently, Governor Blagojevich’s administration unveiled a new multi-media effort to improve services for people with developmental disabilities. The outreach plan developed by IDHS includes a website, a toll-free number and posters, brochures and flyers in English and Spanish. The goal is to ensure that persons with developmental disabilities and their families get enrolled in a special cross-disabilities database operated by the DHS.