A couple of women smilingDescription automatically generated with low confidenceLast week I had the pleasure of visiting with Jillian Gonzalez, Esq., Senior Vice President and In-House Counsel at El Valor, one of the associate member organizations of The Arc of Illinois. Additionally, I got to meet several participants in El Valor’s Community Day Services.


Image description: Two smiling women with glasses, Jillian Gonzalez (L) and Amie Lulinski (R) standing in front of an award-winning art piece that had been submitted to the annual art contest.

Image description: Six smiling people standing in front of a white wall..

Update from Springfield

Last week, Governor JB Pritzker was sworn in for his second term on January 9, 2023. In his remarks, he highlighted his policy priorities, which included improving and expanding access to education through preschool and college, as well as increasing the availability of mental health and substance abuse treatment. The Arc of Illinois remains hopeful that the FY24 proposed budget, to be delivered February 15, 2023, will include at least the amount recommended by the Guidehouse Study for FY24 as well as $152M that was missing from FY23.

Before the lame duck session of the 102nd General Assembly ended, lawmakers secured $12.5M in a supplemental bill to address the Direct Support Professional workforce crisis through financial incentives for recruitment and retention. While the $12.5M falls far short of the $56M requested, we are grateful for the Members who supported this measure.  

Members of the Illinois 103rd General Assembly were sworn in on January 11,2023. Democrats have the majority in both the House (78-40) and Senate (40-19). Senate President Don Harmon (39th) and House Speaker Emanuel “Chris” Welch (7th) both retained their leadership positions. Republican State Senator John Curran (41st) was elected Senate minority leader and Representative Tony McCombie (89th) was elected House minority leader and the first woman to hold this title.

Additionally, Speaker Welch announced his leadership team:

•       State Rep. Robyn Gabel (18th) – Majority Leader

•       State Rep. Jehan Gordon-Booth (92nd) – Speaker Pro Tempore /Chief Budgeteer

•       State Rep. Mary E. Flowers (31st) – Deputy Majority Leader / Dean of the Caucus

•       State Rep. Elizabeth Hernandez (2nd) – Deputy Majority Leader

•       State Rep. Jay Hoffman (113th) – Assistant Majority Leader

•       State Rep. Natalie Manley (98th) – Assistant Majority Leader

•       State Rep. Kambium Buckner (26th) – Assistant Majority Leader

•       State Rep. Aaron Ortiz (1st) – Assistant Majority Leader

•       State Rep. Barbara Hernandez (50th) – Assistant Majority Leader

•       State Rep. Marcus Evans, Jr. (33rd) – Assistant Majority Leader

•       State Rep. Robert Rita (28th) – Assistant Majority Leader

•       State Rep. Kelly Burke (36th) – Assistant Majority Leader

•       State Rep. Theresa Mah (24th) – Majority Conference Chair

•       State Rep. Nicholas K. Smith (34th) – Majority Officer / Sergeant at Arms


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

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


Opportunity to Attend Virtual Webinar: 

21st Annual QIDP Leadership Conference

Registration is now open for the virtual QIDP Leadership Conference, which will be taking place on January 24, 2023 using Zoom Webinar. This educational conference targeting QIDP's will cover topics including Person Centered Thinking, Spiritual Health, Retirement and End of Life for People with IDD, and Seeking Joy.

From The Arc of US:

Share Your Experience in the FINDS Survey

Caregivers of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) have unique experiences and needs in their roles compared to caregivers of other populations. Now is your chance to share your input. The Family and Individual Needs for Disability Supports (FINDS) survey seeks to understand these experiences and perspectives to better support families like yours.

The FINDS survey is conducted by the Research and Training Center on Community Living (RTC/CL) at the University of Minnesota and uses insights of family caregivers to shape better public policy and service delivery systems.

The survey can be completed online and is available in English, Spanish, and French.

Those who complete the survey will be entered into a drawing to win one of six $250 gift cards.

Your perspective is important and can help create a future of better supports and opportunities for people with IDD and their 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. 

From The University of Illinois (UIC) Institute on Disability and Human Development (IDHD):

Visiting Research Specialist Position Open at UIC and IDHD

The University of Illinois Chicago (UIC) Institute on Disability and Human Development (IDHD) is searching for a visiting research specializes to support the Direct Support Professional (DSP) Training project. The position is for a curriculum developer/webmaster. Please see the link below for more information.

Curriculum Developer/Webmasterhttps://uic.csod.com/ux/ats/careersite/1/home/requisition/2540?c=uic

Opportunities to Provide Input:

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. 


Focus Group Opportunity

The Arc of Illinois Family to Family Health Information Center has partnered with Family Voices to offer an opportunity to participate in a focus group.

The focus group will meet by Zoom for 90 minutes and participants will receive $175.00.

If interested -> https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/XJJYQZB


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: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1SDwbtfEXFP3WdGDVKJm5Hm4gU0cXlWlZ/view?usp=share_link   

For screening your eligibility, please visit: https://uic.ca1.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_9p0UElW9Ovsk63A or contact us at phone: 312-996-1002 or E-mail at kkeiling@uic.edu


Work in Human Services? Have 5 Minutes to spare? Help us with research!

The Council on Quality and Leadership wants to learn more about the views of people working in human services! In this research study, they are asking people working in human services to complete a 5-minute online survey where they read a short story about human services and answer some brief questions about their thoughts and opinions. All responses and opinions are anonymous.

Your opinion has a huge impact!

Your opinions and experiences as a person in human services are valuable. Through this study, you will help us provide deeper insight into the human services field.




The IDHS Division of Mental Health is pleased to provide a new resource!

Illinois 988 Myth Busters Fact Sheet 

While most information online and in the news has shared the helpful and life-saving aspects of 988, there has also been some incorrect information being shared. Attached is an Illinois fact sheet with some of the myths that have been circulating on social media about 988, along with correct information.

For more information about 988 resources, please visit: IDHS: 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline (state.il.us)

To learn more about Illinois’ 988 planning activities and meetings visit: IDHS: 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline Planning Page (state.il.us)

To ask a question about 988, please complete and submit this request from to the Division of Mental Health: https://forms.office.com/g/K82GhbRgKJ

To sign up for Communications from the Division of Mental Health regarding 988, please complete this request form: https://forms.office.com/g/Da9MEQE8Hb .


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The Arc of Illinois
9980 190th St, Suite C  | Mokena, Illinois 60448
815.464.1832 | info@thearcofil.org

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