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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 15, 2007

Gov. Blagojevich announces new funding to expand services for children with developmental disabilities
State to receive federal matching funds for programs that prevent or delay the need for institutional care for up to 800 children

SPRINGFIELD – Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today announced Illinois will receive $8.6 million in federal matching funds to provide a range of specialized services to almost 800 children with developmental disabilities. The funds, administered through the Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS) Home and Community Based Services (HCBS) program, will allow more families to keep their children at home and still be able to provide them the specialized care they need. By establishing Medicaid waivers, Illinois is able to waive regular Medicaid rules and create this new funding source for Fiscal Year 2008.

The approval of the waivers was announced by Deputy Governor Louanner Peters at a joint videoconference of the Developmental Disabilities Waiver Committee, the Autism Task Force, legislators and other developmental disability advocates.

"It is often a struggle for families who have children with special needs to make sure their kids have the best care possible," said Gov. Blagojevich. "These two new programs will give hundreds more families access to support and services so they can care for their kids at home."

The new waiver programs, approved by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, will serve young people age three to 21 who meet the Intermediate Care Facility for Developmental Disability (ICF-DD) level of care. Children with developmental disabilities include those with mental retardation and other related conditions such as Cerebral Palsy, Autism Spectrum Disorder, and Epilepsy.

The children’s support services waiver will prevent or delay the need for out-of-home care for 600 people and the residential services waiver will provide services for approximately 175 to 200 families whose children need out-of-home residential services.

"Through Medicaid waivers such as these, Illinois is able to provide assistance to even more children and adults in need of long term health care services," said Illinois Healthcare and Family Services Director Barry Maram. "Under Governor Blagojevich we have made great strides in furthering the growth of our Medicaid system and have found more ways to extend these critical health benefits to more individuals."

The children’s support waiver will offer a range of services including personal support such as training, respite and personal care; home and vehicle accessibility and modifications; adaptive equipment and assistive technology; training and counseling services for unpaid caregivers; behavior intervention and treatment; and service facilitation.

The children’s support waiver is very flexible for families. Parents may use a monthly allocation of funds to purchase services from the list of covered services. They may purchase these services from traditional developmental disabilities providers or may purchase them from individuals in the local community who wish to provide personal support.

"We appreciate the support of the legislators, advocates and families who helped obtain the new waivers. They will enable more young people with developmental disabilities to enjoy meaningful relationships with family and friends and others in their lives and experience personal growth and development," said IDHS Secretary Carol L. Adams, Ph.D. "The array of services will provide opportunities for the young people to have more choice in their services and how they live their lives."

The new waivers are approved for a three-year period beginning July 1, 2007 and can be renewed at the end of that time.

The IDHS Division of Developmental Disabilities administers the Illinois system of programs and services for person with developmental disabilities.



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