Choate Developmental Center

The past two weeks have been a whirlwind of advocacy in Illinois. On 3/7/2023, the Going Home Coalition, of which The Arc of IL is a member, submitted a letter to the Governor calling on the closure of Choate Developmental Center. Thirty-four organizations signed on, including ten chapters/organizational affiliates of The Arc of Illinois. We are grateful for the Going Home Coalition’s leadership and partnership. Learn more about the Going Home Coalition here.

On 3/8/2023, Governor Pritzker announced a systems transformation initiative beginning with the repurposing of Choate Developmental Center and relocating its residents to other settings.

The plan includes:

  • Repurposing the Choate Mental Health and Developmental Center ("Choate") over three years in partnership with the SIU School of Medicine;
  • Implementing new safety enhancements at Choate and across all State-Operated Developmental Centers including appointing a Chief Resident Safety Officer; and
  • Expanding support for families and individuals to pursue opportunities for community-based living while continuing to invest in provider capacity.

The Arc of Illinois’s response to this announcement can be found here. It reads, in part, “The Arc of Illinois looks forward to partnering with DDD/DHS to support the safe and thoughtful transition of Choate residents into the most appropriate and least restrictive settings. Further, we continue to support increased funding to assure that the community system has the capacity to support all people with IDD in the communities of their choosing, particularly those with high medical and behavioral/mental support needs. This increased funding is especially critical as we continue to manage the current staffing crisis which has resulted in a 25% direct support professional vacancy rate, closure of residential settings, an inability for community-based agencies to support new admissions, and additional stress on people with IDD and their families.”

CILA Rate Calculator

The Arc of Illinois was also engaged in advocacy efforts related to the new CILA rate calculator that was to be implemented January 1, 2023 as a result of Guidehouse recommendations. The impact of the calculations to CILA rates, discussed at a webinar from the Division (slides are available here), would result in a nearly 3.8 million decrease in direct support professional hours for this year. The Arc of Illinois, along with the Center for Developmental Disabilities Advocacy and Community Supports, IARF, and The Institute for Public Policy for People with Disabilities formally requested a delay in implementation due to the unexpected impact on service hours. Initially, DDD/DHS responded that they would pause implementation until 3/31/23, but in a correspondence released 3/10/23 they announced that the pause will continue until the end of the fiscal year (6/30/23). The Arc of Illinois is grateful that DDD is taking the community’s concerns seriously by taking the time to examine the issue further. It is critical that service disruptions are kept to a minimum, particularly in light of the recent Choate announcement.  

Garrison Alternative School

Last week, the Chicago Tribune reported that The US Department of Education has opened a civil rights investigation into Garrison Alternative School located in Jacksonville, IL “…to determine whether children enrolled there have been denied an appropriate education because of the ‘practice of referring students to law enforcement for misbehaviors.’” An earlier article from ProPublica revealed that Garrison School has the highest arrest rate than any other district in the US. According to ProPublica, Garrison School educates students from first grade to graduation who “have severe emotional or behavioral disabilities that kept them from succeeding at previous schools. Some also have been diagnosed with autism, ADHD or other disorders.”

Remembering Judy Heumann

We were stunned to learn that Judith “Judy” Ellen Heumann died on March 4, 2023 in Washington, DC at age 75. Judy, considered the Mother of the Disability Rights Movement, became disabled after contracting polio as a young child. The Arc US noted, “Judy was the trailblazer of the disability rights movement. Her contributions as an activist, spokesperson, and federal official on the national and international stages created huge changes for people with all kinds of disabilities, impacting so many aspects of life and society.” Julie Ward, Senior Executive Officer for Public Policy at The Arc US stated, “Her legacy will live on for generations to come, partly because she nurtured future leaders of the movement so that the civil rights work would always move forward.” Rest in power Judy.

Update from Sabrina Wyman, Policy & Advocacy Coordinator

After a non-stop week of hitting deadlines, the Senate is session but the House is out this week. Here is state legislation we are watching:

HB 3811 (Rep. Burke) - SUPPORT: Provides that any entity may make contributions to an ABLE account. Provides that the ABLE Account Program may also be referred to as the “Senator Scott Bennett ABLE Program.”

Status: Passed State Government Administration Committee as amended. Placed on Calendar for 2nd Reading.

SB 339 (Sen. Joyce) - SUPPORT: An initiative of The Arc of Illinois that removes the 14(c) requirement for State Use Programs.

Status: Re-referred to Assignments. Expect to see this in an omnibus bill.

SB 1558 (Sen. Murphy) - SUPPORT: Develops a model program of study for DSPs. 

Status: Passed Higher Education Committee unanimously. Senate Floor Amendment 1 has been filed and referred back to the Higher Education Committee.

SB 1674 (Sen. Fine) - SUPPORT: Provides that DHS must establish Short and Long-term Stabilization Homes Programs.

Status: Passed Behavioral and Mental Health. Placed on Calendar for 3rd Reading March 21, 2023. 

SB 2026 (Sen. Murphy) - SUPPORT: IARF initiative that provides for a $4/hr DSP Wage Rate Increase

Status: Re-referred to Assignments.


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The Arc of Illinois 73rd Annual Convention

The Arc of Illinois 73rd Annual Convention is open for registration and will be presented in a hybrid format! Join us April 19 - 20 either in person or virtually for two days of presentations.

In-Person: The Convention will be held at the DoubleTree by Hilton in Lisle, IL. As an in-person attendee, you'll be able to hear from speakers in person, visit with our sponsors and exhibitors, view the silent auction items and art exhibit, and meet your fellow attendees. You have the option to attend the breakout session of your choice. 

Virtual: The Convention will be presented using Zoom Webinar. As a virtual attendee, you'll be able to join the live stream of the keynote and plenary presentations and have access to the Convention website with information on the sponsors, exhibitors, silent auction, and art exhibit. Only two breakout sessions per time slot will be available to Zoom attendees. 

NEW this year! A track of breakout sessions will be presented in Spanish. 

We have a dedicated site on our website for additional information, including our virtual Silent Auction, Art Exhibit, and Exhibitor Hall. 


Founded in 1957 and led by CEO Clint Paul, CPA, MPA, Hope provides educational, residential, and clinical services across Illinois, Missouri, Tennessee, Alabama, Massachusetts, and Texas, as well as community education and training. Annually, they impact over 5,000 individuals through their vast network of services. Their mission is to cultivate change in the most inclusive environments to encourage each person with intellectual and developmental disabilities to fulfill their individual potential through evidence-based treatment, advocacy and community education. 

Hope Behavorial Consulting (HBC) is Hope's newest program. HBC strives to improves of the lives of individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities by providing the services and support needed for them to be successful. HBC also provides consultative services to individuals diagnosed with intellectual and developmental disabilities. The assigned behavioral technician will serve as part of the interdisciplinary team providing services to encourage independence, decrease behavior problems, teach new skills, and provide training to all team members. The team of skilled clinicians bring a wealth of expertise to the field; providing a level of quality that is unmatched.

Detailed information about Hope can be found through their website.


We’re participating in the myWalgreens donation program!

You can donate your myWalgreens cash rewards to The Arc of Illinois through July 31, 2023. At Walgreens, you’ll earn unlimited 1% Walgreens Cash rewards when you shop and you can choose how much to donate. It’s that easy. Whether you’d like to contribute $1, $5, or more of your Walgreens Cash rewards you’ll be making a big difference. It really adds up!

Opportunity to Attend Virtual Webinar: 


FREE Virtual Conference on the Future of the Field
Thursday, March 16th

10 am - 12 pm and 1 - 3 pm CT

The National Leadership Consortium on Developmental Disabilities, funded by the Illinois Council on Developmental Disabilities (ICDD), is pleased to offer a FREE Virtual Conference on the future of the Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities field.
This conference is open to Illinois disability service providers, legislators, ICDD Council members, people with developmental disabilities and self-advocates, family members and anyone else in the intellectual/developmental disabilities field. Join us for this free event with presentations by national disability sector leaders.

Attendees will leave the training with:

  • Increased knowledge related to current trends and directions in the intellectual/developmental disabilities field nationally.
  • An understanding of how these trends affect the future of the services that providers offer.
  • Examples of strategies and resources that will be helpful to improve the quality of services offered in Illinois. 

Register soon to secure your spot! For more information, click here.


Access Living is hosting a Home and Community Based Services (HCBS) Town Hall

Wednesday, March 22 from 1-4 pm

Register for the event at The event will be hybrid and will also be held in the the Town Hall on the fourth-floor event space at Access Living.

They would like for consumers and PAs to come contribute to the conversation, as they are going to be touching on crucial subjects like the impacts of the PA shortage, standards of care, and barriers to accessing HCBS.

To see the event on their website you can go to

Email or 312-640-2125 if you have questions or for more information.


 2023 TAP Autism Symposium

April 5, 2023 from 9 am - 3 pm

What a great line up of presentations for #TAPSymposium23! Get all of the details on the presentations and speakers at

The keynote speaker at this year's Autism Symposium is Connie Kasari, Ph.D., presenting "An Early Intervention Model for Children with Autism: JASPER core domains, evidence, and implementation."

This talk will focus on an early intervention model, JASPER, that has been tested using randomized controlled trials across multiple implementers (therapists, teachers, parents) with children at different ages and developmental levels. New research approaches to personalizing interventions will be addressed, emphasizing what research can contribute to clinical practice.

And don't forget to register! BCBA CEU’s will be provided by the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. Additional CEU’s will be provided by the Institute on Disability and Human Development at the University of Illinois Chicago.

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. 


Northern Illinois University Research Study

Northern Illinois University is seeking Latino/a caregivers & infants/toddlers 6-months to 36- months of age and their speech therapists to participate in a study of how they like their services. You will receive $25 gift card as a thank you gift for participating.

Estamos buscando madres, padres, padrastros latinos y bebés/niños pequeños de 6 meses a 36 meses de edad y sus terapeutas del habla y lenguaje para participar en un estudio de cómo les gustan sus servicios. Recibirá una tarjeta de regalo por $25 de agradecimiento por participar en el estudio.

Marisol Perez, M.H.S., CCC-SLP | 773-536-9464

Dr. Janet Olson, Ph.D., CCC-A/SLP | 815-753-1484 |



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


Thank you to our 2023 Annual Convention Sponsors!





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

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