State Strategic Plan

The Illinois Department of Human Services/Division of Developmental Disabilities has put out a new Strategic Plan.  The link is here.  The vision is good:  an adequately funded, person centered service system where direct care employees are paid an adequate wage for the important work they do and where there is no waiting list.  The current economic and funding environment is not conducive to easily reaching this vision, but it is important to have a goal in mind as you make the best of your choices in a difficult situation.

International Sibs Conference

A good article about the International Sibs Conference.  Having a sibling with a disability has a pretty unique impact on a person’s life.  This ranges from childhood to school years to the current generation of siblings with aging parents who will be assuming responsibilities for their brother or sister, and of course siblings who have already done so.

There is an Illinois group for siblings.  It has an active and useful message board through Yahoo groups.

Safety Net

A good letter to the editor on the human services safety net.  These services make cold-blooded economic sense, and when you have limited resources  you have to make them go as far as possible.  On top of the economic impact, stating the obvious:  the impact on quality of life on so many people and their families is immense.  Yet somehow it seems we keep inching towards a dark age in the societal safety net.

Chords for Careers

We all had a great time at Chords for Careers this past Saturday.  The event raised over $1,500 to support our services to adults with developmental disabilities. People are already expressing interest in doing it again next  year.  We’re grateful to everyone who helped make the day so pleasant and to the musicians for donating their talents.  For our part, we were thrilled the way the decorations and t-shirts came out and had a great time making them.

State Budget News

Governor Quinn is making more cuts.  The state will save money  by increasing payment delays even more.  All human service grants will be cut:  32 people at SU are served under these grants.  More cuts to our main funder, the Department of Human Services.  We still don’t know how much our funding will be this year, though we have gone to the expense of providing those services since July 1.  While community services suffer, state institutional capacity will not be reduced–more expensive, lower quality services will receive resources ahead of lower cost, higher quality services that allow people to live in their own communities.

Other agencies may be helping to fill the void, but the closing of ODC in Bloomington was a tragic loss in the lives of so many.  Many other agencies have closed around the state, and conditions continue to worsen.  It’s a simple reality that Illinois must reduce its spending, but that means resources should be directed toward the most critical services. The scariest thing I’ve seen is a plan the state is preparing on how to deal with group home residents when the agency serving them has to close due to state funding.

I wish that I had put things into words so well.