New Supporter!

I would like to extend a warm welcome to Envision Unlimited who recently re-engaged with The Arc of Illinois as an organizational affiliate. If your organization is interested in supporting the work of The Arc of Illinois, please feel free to reach out to me at  

Update on Choate

Another disturbing article about the conditions at Choate Mental Health and Developmental Center was released last week. The article includes instances of cruelty and abuse of people who have mental illnesses and developmental disabilities and may be triggering to some readers. The Arc of Illinois continues to advocate for a safe and thoughtful transition of Choate residents into community settings. Further, we support increased funding to assure that the community system has the capacity to support all people with IDD in the communities of their choosing.

Ending of PHE

Recently, the Biden Administration announced that the COVID-19 public health emergency (PHE) will end on May 11, 2023. Due to the Congressional package passed December 2023 that ended the requirement for continuous Medicaid coverage, as many as 700,000 Illinoisians may lose Medicaid coverage on March 31st. Every Medicaid beneficiary will need to go through a redetermination process and it is very important that Illinois Healthcare and Family Services, the Illinois Medicaid agency, has current addresses of beneficiaries to ensure that they receive correspondence related to redetermination.

Don’t risk losing your health insurance. Please update your address with Illinois Medicaid. It’s easy, fast, and free: Call 877-805-5312 from 7:45am–4:30pm or visit If you use a TTY, call 1-877-204-1012.


Join Us as an Individual/Family Member!

Discover all the benefits, training opportunities, and networking with other families, members and professionals.

Join Us as a Chapter or Organizational Sponsor!

Partner with us to receive many benefits, training, and support of our mission through ongoing advocacy efforts.

Looking for ways to give?

Your donation helps The Arc bring together advocates, connect people and families, train and educate, and provide resources and support.


Policy and Advocacy Update

Sabrina Wyman, Policy and Advocacy Coordinator, The Arc of IL

Governor JB Pritzker will kick off his second term with his fifth annual State of The State address this Wednesday, February 15th, at noon. It will be presented in-person for the first time in two years. It will be livestreamed on Following his budget proposal, the Illinois Health and Human Services Agencies will be holding a briefing from 2:00-4:00pm to discuss the proposed budget and answer questions. 

State Senator Laura Murphy has filed SB1558 and SB2026; SB1558 focuses on providing necessary training to serve as a direct support professional (DSP) at a junior college level while SB2026 provides a minimum $4 per hour wage increase for DSPs. State Senator Laura Fine has filed SB1674, which expands the Long-Term Care Pilot statute to include both long-term and short-term stabilization homes. Additionally, the Illinois Time To Care Coalition are proposing to give Illinois workers 26 weeks of paid leave to recover from an illness, domestic or sexual violence, or take care of a new child or sick family member - see HB1530 and SB1234. 

Federally, the Better Care Better Jobs Act (BCBJA) has been refiled in Congress. This outlines what would be the most significant federal investment into disability and senior services in our history. You can read the fact sheet here. The Arc of Illinois is thankful that both Illinois Senators, Richard Durbin and Tammy Duckworth, are co-sponsoring this bill. 

Opportunity to Attend Virtual Webinar: 



Register for the COVID-19 Webinar on February 28th

Join us for an informative discussion about COVID-19 for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and the ones who love them.


Supporting the Health of People with Intellectual and Developmental Disability by Improving Health Literacy of Caregivers

Join the February 28th webinar for the Spring/Winter 2023 Healthy Brain Webinar Series for People with IDD.

February 28th, 2023 (9am-10am CT)

Rachel Skoss, PhD, Senior Research Fellow, The University of Notre Dame Australia

People with IDD often have complex health concerns with a need for health services, caregiver support to access health services and healthy living options, and to manage chronic health conditions. A recent program of research focused on how people living in supported accommodation settings are supported with their health, and how health literacy of caregivers influences their confidence to support health of people with IDD in Australia. Following the research, a ‘health literacy guide’ was written from the perspective of ‘what would be useful for a caregiver to know about supporting the health of a person with IDD’ using a strength-based model of health literacy. The webinar will address how an improvement of health literacy of caregivers can improve health outcomes of people with IDD.



From Chicagoland Disabled People of Color Coalition (DPOCC): 

Chicagoland DPOCC (Disabled People of Color Coalition) kicks off the new year with the first public meeting in 2023!! 

For now on, between now and April, public meetings will be virtual and take place every last Wednesday of the month from 4 to 5:30 pm. 

For this meeting, come with ideas for events, webinars, or campaigns that you would like to see DPOCC plan or join. 

Meeting link:

From Envision Illinois: 

The Peer to Peer: Bridging the Gap through Self-Advocacy curriculum

This curriculum was designed to provide self-advocates with the information and tools needed to support survivors and to act as a bridge between the survivor and the programs in the community designed to serve them.

Self-advocates will learn peer support skills and information through in person learning labs and online virtual tracks: Basic (4 classes), Domestic Violence (3 classes), Sexual Assault (3 classes), and Justice (3 classes)

Leslie Myers, one of the Peer to Peer authors, presented a webinar in December 2022 about the curriculum and how it is designed for interactivity, both online and in person.

Check out the webinar recording here. Check out the Peer to Peer: Bridging the Gap through Self-Advocacy curriculum here.

For more information or to register for the class, please contact Mary Hettel at or Leslie Myers at You can complete the fillable registration form here.

Registration ends Friday, February 17, 2023 so don’t delay…register today!

From The Arc of US:


Share Your Experience as a Family Caregiver To Improve Future Policy and Supports!

Caregivers of people with disabilities have unique experiences and needs in their roles compared to caregivers of other populations, and the Family and Individual Needs for Disability Supports (FINDS) survey seeks to understand these perspectives to better support families like yours. The online survey is available in several languages and those who complete it will be entered into a drawing to win one of six $250 gift cards. Your experience is important and can help create a future of better supports and opportunities for families!

From the Sibling Leadership Network and The Arc of Illinois:


In-Home COVID Vaccinations and Boosters

Schedule your in-home vaccination and flu shot today! If you live in Suburban Cook County – Call 833-308-1988. If you live in the City of Chicago - Call 312-746-4835. 

Opportunities to Provide Input:


The Arc of Illinois is accepting nominations for the 2023 Awards Program until February 17th. Get yours in today!



Award Nominations are for the following awards which will be presented at the Annual Convention April 19 - 20, 2023.

  • Direct Support Professional Award
  • Distinguished Service Award
  • Leadership Award
  • Outstanding Family Member Advocate Award
  • QIDP/Case Manager Award
  • Self-Advocacy Award
  • Volunteer of Year Award

Please use the forms below for all nominations. If you wish, attach any other materials which you feel would help the Convention Committee in their decision. 

Please send the form along with other materials no later than February 17, 2023 to The Arc of Illinois Convention Planning Committee. 

The 21st Annual Convention Art Exhibit and Contest

During the Annual Convention, The Arc of Illinois hosts an Art Exhibit and Contest. This year, the Annual Convention will be hybrid with both virtual and in-person attendees.

All Artists must submit a picture of their artwork for the virtual exhibit. Artists are welcome to have their work displayed at the Convention, if able, but is not a requirement to participate in the contest.

Click on the link below for the complete contest rules. Artwork is due to by March 24, 2023. 


Virtual Learning Is Now Research Study Opportunity

Has your family member with intellectual and/or developmental disability (IDD) talked about what they want for their future? Not sure on how to prepare your family and loved one with IDD for their future? 

If yes, you might be eligible to join the VFIN research study, which consists of an online & interactive training program offered by the Department of Disability and Human Development at the University of Illinois Chicago. The VFIN training program is for adults with IDD & their family members residing in Illinois to help them initiate the future planning process. This training will consist of weekly 1-hour Live Zoom classes and self-paced materials on Google Classroom for 8 weeks in Winter 2023. To know more, visit:   

For screening your eligibility, please visit: or contact us at phone: 312-996-1002 or E-mail at


The National Council on Disability (NCD) is gathering feedback from the public, through three online listening sessions in March, to learn how public benefits programs (like SSI, SSDI, Medicaid and vocational rehabilitation) are working (or failing) to support people with disabilities. Join us to share your ideas about policy reforms in the areas of health and employment, as critical for establishing and maintaining financial stability for working-age adults with disabilities.

These online listening sessions will inform NCD's upcoming progress report, including policy recommendations for disability-related policies at the federal and state level.

Registration is required to participate in any of the three listening sessions.

Listening Session #1

Thursday, March 2, 3:00-4:30 p.m. ET

For policy makers and advocates

REGISTER: Session #1

Listening Session #2

Thursday, March 16, 3:00-4:30 p.m. ET

For service providers or advocates for people with disabilities and small business owners or self-employed people with disabilities who participate in public benefits programs.

REGISTER: Session #2

Listening Session #3

Thursday, March 30, 3:00-4:30 p.m. ET

For people with disabilities 18-64 and family members or caregivers of people with disabilities. To compensate for your time and efforts, a $100 gift card will be provided to each person who stays for the entire duration of the March 30 session.

REGISTER: Session #3


UIC's Co-Op Program

Our application is now LIVE! This application is for admission for the Fall 2023 semester.  If you are interested in applying for Fall 2023, we encourage you to look over our application materials and attend/watch our community webinar for more information. 

Here’s how you can learn more about the application process:

  • Application link & details
  • Sign-up for our webinar on the application and admissions information in early February.
  • Application drop-in support hours: Chat with us to determine if the program is the right fit for you, and learn how to navigate the application portal.

Application deadline: Friday, February 17 at 11:59 PM

You can find more information, apply to our program, and learn more about us through our UIC website here:


The IRS’s Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) and Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE) offers free basic tax return preparation to qualified individuals. 

Free Tax Return Preparation for Qualifying Taxpayers | Internal Revenue Service (

To find free tax preparation assistance through VITA and TCE, click here: Get Free Tax Prep Help (

Ladder Up offers a free, in-person Tax Assistance Program in Chicago, Aurora and Plainfield.  Tax Assistance Program (TAP) - Ladder Up (

AARP provides in-person and virtual tax assistance to anyone, free of charge, with a focus on taxpayers who are over 50 and have low to moderate income. AARP Foundation Tax-Aide Service


Beginning 03/01/2023, all active SNAP households will only receive their regular monthly benefit amount.  

The extra SNAP Emergency Allotments issued during the COVID-19 Pandemic Health Emergency will be eliminated. The Arc of Illinois has compiled a list of resources that may help families dealing with the high cost of food. For a list of resources in English click here, for a list in Spanish click here.


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The Arc of Illinois
9980 190th St, Suite C  | Mokena, Illinois 60448
815.464.1832 |

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