Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Federal Appeals Court rules that Illinois may close Murray Developmental Center

This is from the ARC’s newsletter Capitol Insider for the week of October 26th, 2015:

Rights/Long Term Services and Supports -- Court Rules That Illinois Can Close Murray Developmental Center: Citing a nation-wide trend to increase home and community based services (HCBS) for people with I/DD, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit recently ruled on the contested closure of Murray Developmental Center (Murray DC). The court held that Illinois could move forward with closing the facility. The ruling cited a growing number of studies that show that people with disabilities experience a higher quality of life in community-based settings as opposed to facility-based care. The ruling in its entirely may be viewed here.

Here is the rest of the story:

Despite the ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals, the Rauner administration has already determined that Murray Center is not closing and all seven of the state’s developmental centers are in the 2016 budget, according to a report from WJBD News, 5/20/15.  Rita Winkler, President of the Murray Parents Association also reported in May that a new Director of Nursing was being hired for Murray and the process was underway to hire a new Assistant Director and Director of the facility.

While focusing on the relatively small number of residents living in developmental centers for people with intellectual disabilities, The ARC and other federally-funded disability rights advocates divert attention from the larger issue, the overall failure of Illinois to adequately serve people with DD. 

The Court decision of 10/15/15 includes these disturbing statistics: The State Developmental Centers have about 1800 residents, while roughly 10,000 people with severe developmental disabilities live in community-based facilities housing 1 to 8 individuals. The Illinois Department of Human Services provides services to approximately 25,000 people with DD. Another 23,000 are on a waiting list to receive services, of whom 6,000 are considered to be in emergency situations, yet do not receive even essential services from the State of Illinois. 

For all the talk about trends in delivering services in community settings, the huge waiting list and failure to provide even basic services to so many people with severe developmental disabilities is the real story that cannot be solved and may even be exacerbated by closing the state’s developmental centers.

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