House Proposal Would Move Money From Institutions To Community;
Governor-Elect Wants It The Other Way Around
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
January 8, 2003
SPRINGFIELD, ILLINOIS--The state of Illinois ranks 47th out the 50 states in the amount of money it spends on services for people with developmental disabilities. It is ranked 50th in including students with disabilities in the classroom.
Those statistics prompted state House Republican Leader Lee Daniels to propose legislation Tuesday that would shift funding away from institutions and toward community-based services, according to the Springfield Daily Journal.
"If (Abraham) Lincoln were here today, he would be terribly, terribly disappointed that we're falling horribly short of providing adequate care for our most vulnerable citizens,'' said Daniels, who is the father of a woman that has a mental disability.
Daniels went on to ask the General Assembly to "stand up and be counted" as "caring and compassionate".'
The bills would create a fund to be used to expand the disability service system, along with an oversight committee to ensure individuals receive proper services, and would connect money to the individual no matter where the person is in the service system. The proposals would also guarantee that money saved in the mental health and developmental disabilities service systems remains within those systems instead of going into the state's general fund.
Daniels said the measures would mark a push away from placing people with disabilities in state institutions and toward more individualized, neighborhood-based care.
Unfortunately for the measures, Daniels stepped down from his leadership position later on Tuesday to join rank and file lawmakers.
Also, Governor-elect Rod Blagojevich has promised to reopen Lincoln Development Center at a cost of $30 million, and Zeller Mental Health facility at a cost of $5.7 million.