The Arc of Illinois held its 73rd Annual Convention last week and it was wonderful to be together under one roof! I got to meet one of my team members in person for the first time. Thank you to our sponsors, vendors, speakers, and attendees! We will be sharing more Convention news and photos over the coming weeks.

Thank you to everyone who participated in the 21st Annual Art Exhibit. There were almost 300 votes and 52 talented artists this year! All artists will receive their designated ribbon including honorable mention ribbon and a certificate. Congratulations to our artists! We look forward to next year.

Action Alert!

Illinois legislators will hold a hearing on Wednesday to discuss state funding for human services over the next few years. This includes funding for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, including SB 2026 which is a bill to increase DSP wages by $4 per hour. Please fill out a witness slip and tell this committee to prioritize people with disabilities. 


Electronic Visit Verification (EVV)

There is one last Electronic Visit Verification (EVV) listening session being held this week:

Feedback Session 4 
Date: Friday, April 28, 2023  
Time: 9:00 a.m. – 10:00 a.m. 
Registration: Cisco Webex Meetings - Register Meeting  

The Arc of Illinois is pleased that DDD is providing an opportunity for families to provide feedback on how EVV will impact them. States have the option to choose how to implement EVV and several states have chosen to use a live-in caregiver exemption. We are strongly requesting that consideration to a live-in caregiver exemption be used in Illinois so that families are not unnecessarily burdened by clocking in and out to provide support to a loved one who also resides in the home. Learn more about EVV and read our statement here.

Families are encouraged to attend a listening session and send an email to to share any comments, questions, or to share specific examples of how EVV may impact your family.


IDD Roundtable

Recently, I was able to participate in an IDD Roundtable focused on helping Families of Children with Disabilities hosted by state Senator Laura Ellman (D, 21st), Rep. Tara Costa Howard (D, 42nd), Rep. Janet Yang Rohr (D, 41st). The gathering allowed discussion around five major areas: PUNS; Issues surrounding Workforce and Service Providers; Respite and Caregiver Support; Education, Training, and Opportunities; and Access to Therapy and Insurance Coverage. I was happy to see many parents (and a sibling!) there to share their perspectives. Families are the backbone of the IDD system in IL - 72% of Illinoisians with IDD live with a family caregiver - we need to listen to them.

Image description: (R-L) Rep. Costa Howard, Rep. Yang Rohr, and Rep. Blair-Sherlock standing in a large meeting room addressing the participants. Rep. Costa Howard is a woman with shoulder length blonde hair, a light pink jacket, dark pants, and sneakers. Rep. Yang Rohr has shoulder length black hair and is wearing a bright pink dress, black jacket, and black flats. Rep. Blair-Sherlock has her hair pulled back, is wearing glasses, an olive green dress and is holding a metal walking cane.

Image description: Amie Lulinski on the left smiling with short hair, glasses, and a black and ivory blouse and black cardigan. Rep. Costa Howard is on the right also smiling with shoulder length blonde hair wearing a pink jacket over a black and pink blouse.

Image description: Rep. Yang Rohr is on the left smiling with shoulder length dark brown hair, wearing a black jacket over a pink dress. Amie Lulinski on the right is also smiling with short hair, glasses, and a black and ivory blouse and black cardigan.


Welcome to The Arc of Illinois team, Diane Sotiros, CPA, MA

We are delighted to welcome Diane Sotiros, CPA, MA to The Arc of Illinois team as our Finance Director. Today is her first day. Diane, a CPA, brings with her over 20 years of experience serving as the lead finance and accounting professional for small nonprofit organizations in the Chicagoland area. She has worked on the foundation side as well as the program delivery side of philanthropy, and in leadership positions overseeing finance and operations. She noted, “I am committed to working in the nonprofit sector, and am interested in joining an organization whose focus has more of a focus on direct service to individuals”. Diane obtained her BS from Illinois State University with a major in accounting and a minor in political science. She also has an MA in History, Latin America, and the Caribbean from the University of Illinois Chicago. She is a member of the Illinois CPA Society and the CFO Roundtable of Chicago.


Welcome Marie Newman!

Congratulations to Marie Newman, who was recently announced as the new Chief Executive Officer of Little City in Palatine (Little City is an organizational affiliate of The Arc of IL).  Ms. Newman assumed this role on April 17th upon the retirement of long-time CEO Shawn Jeffers. 
A former U.S Congressional Representative, Ms. Newman stated, "My personal dedication to Little City's mission dates to when I first volunteered with my family in my formative years for the organization and when two of my cousins received Little City's services," she said. "These memories are still vibrant and guide me today."

The Arc of Illinois extends a warm welcome to Marie and hearty congratulations to Shawn on his retirement!


Update from Sabrina Wyman, Legislative Advocacy Coordinator

The final four weeks of the scheduled legislative session is here! The House and Senate return tomorrow at noon.

The table below lists some bills related to people with disabilities in Illinois that we are watching. For a more complete list, click here.

Bill Number




HB 3569

$4.00/hour wage increase for DSPs by 1/1/24

Assigned to Medicaid & Managed Care Subcommittee


HB 3811

Allows any entity to make contributions to an ABLE account. The program may also be referred to as the “Senator Scott Bennett ABLE Program”

Assigned to Executive Committee


SB 1558

Develops a model program of study for DSPs

Passed House Higher Education Committee. Placed on Calendar 2nd Reading


SB 1674

Provides that DHS must establish short and long-term stabilization homes programs

Assigned to Mental Health & Addiction Committee


SB 2026

$4.00/hour wage increase for DSPs by 1/1/24

Re-referred to Assignments


SB 2039

PUNS information provided at annual review IEP meetings

Assigned to Human Services Committee


If you have any notes on what you’d like to hear about in this column, or have questions about legislation, please email me at!

If you wish to learn more about our advocacy efforts, I highly recommend you join our advocacy network.

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.


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!

Edit this section of copy to tell your supporters how their action will help ignite change. Use stories, quotes, data, and other inspiring content to capture their attention and get them to act.

Opportunity to Attend Training: 


Two Locations (select one)

TRAINING DATES & TIMES 8:30 AM - 4:30 PM May 16 - 18, 2023 (Springfield) or June 13 - 15, 2023 (Chicago)

Training is limited to 25 attendees for each training so register today!

What is it? During this FREE in-person training event you will learn how to provide financial wellness information and education to people with disabilities and/or their supporters. No hybrid option is available. 

Why learn to train others? Financial wellness creates enhanced opportunities for inclusion, community participation, employment, and builds confidence in making choices.

Who can participate in the training event? Partners in Policymaking participants and graduates, special education staff, provider agency staff, self-advocates and financial advisors, among others, who can commit to the full training and beyond. Please note: There are limited spaces available. Only 25 people will be accepted to participate in the training. This opportunity is open to Illinois residents only.

What is included in the training? 

  • Training materials and supplies with online access to curriculum and PowerPoints upon successful completion of the three-day training
  • Light lunch, coffee and bottled water for each training day
  • Follow-up and access through the NDI Trainer Support Network after training
  • Opportunity to network with fellow trainers for this in-person training

What's not included?

  • Travel and overnight accommodations

Where will the 3-day trainings take place

  • The May 16-18 session takes place at the Illinois Council on Developmental Disabilities office in Springfield (830 S. Spring Street)
  • The June 13-15 session in Chicago will be announced shortly

What are the requirements to participate? 

  • Attend the training for all three days
  • Complete the final training assessment with a minimum score of 75%
  • Provide at least 1 virtual/or in-person training within 6 weeks of completing the training
  • Attend monthly Trainer Support Network conference calls
  • Participate fully and interact with your trainers 
  • Have authorization from a supervisor or leadership to participate in the training and to use the training materials with audiences, as needed

The training curriculum includes activities designed to enhance participants' knowledge of financial empowerment strategies and teaches trainers how to apply the information from the training into presentations throughout the community.

Applicants do not need to be financial experts to apply or participate. However, they should have an interest in supporting people with disabilities and their families as they pursue employment, money management, asset building and increased financial self-sufficiency to their fullest capability. 

Questions? Please send an email to 

There are LIMITED SPOTS, so act quickly!



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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