State grants $6.5 million to
200 adult wards with developmental disabilities into
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[OCT. 12, 2006]
CHICAGO -- On Wednesday, The Illinois Department
of Human Services announced a $6.5 million grant to help as many as
200 Illinois Department of Children and Family Services 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," said
Department of Human Services Secretary Carol L. Adams, Ph.D.
"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. 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."
The Department of Children and Family Services will identify
candidates for the program, and agencies funded by the Department of
Human Services will screen for eligibility for Medicaid-funded
services. Individuals who are clinically eligible will then have the
choice of moving into a variety of community options. This will help
ensure continuous, coordinated support to these young people as they
transition to adult care. Housing options include a
community-integrated living arrangement, a home with eight or fewer
beds; an intermediate care facility for developmentally disabled,
many of which have 16 or fewer beds; or other settings.
The Department of Human Services will also provide support
services for people selected for the initiative. Services may
include personal support, day programs, therapies, nursing,
transportation and other services.
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"Older adolescents with emotional problems used to fall through the
cracks in the system," said Don Moss, a lifelong 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 Division of Developmental Disabilities in the Department of
Human Services 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, Gov. Blagojevich's administration unveiled a new
multimedia effort to improve services for people with developmental
disabilities. The outreach plan developed by the Department of Human
Services includes a website, a toll-free number, and posters,
brochures and flyers in English and Spanish. The goal is to ensure
that people with developmental disabilities and their families get
enrolled in a special cross-disabilities database operated by the
Department of Human Services news release]