Developmental Disabilities in Illinois- news and interests

Did you Know you could be Eligible for Services NOW?   

Did you know that you could be eligible for services for yourself or a loved one with developmental disabilities, now?    If you have started the screening process by contacting your local PAS agency then you have already got the ball rolling.  The next step is a PAS agent will complete a PUNS with you to determine the urgency for needs and services.  Once the PUNS is complete, many families are told they will need to wait for an award letter from DHS, and until that letter is received, the PUNS will be updated annually.  So, families sit and wait...and wait... and wait...  There is an alternative!  If you or your loved one meet the criteria provided by the State of Illinois for developmental disability, you could be receiving services now - through an ICF/DD provider.  If you are seeking residential services, you could have immediate access to an ICF/DD.  This is because the ICF/DD is funded differently than other DHS programs.  An ICF/DD has the funding secured to the facility, there is no waiting- there is no annual PUNS updates-  You could have services, including residential services, active treatment, and day training tomorrow.  To find out more, contact your PAS agency and request information about ICF/DD openings in your area.  OR you can contact a representative with our agency and we will assist you, answer your questions, and provide you information about our current ICF/DD openings.  Contact us at or by telephone at 217/873-5266 or 217/620-2055.


Ligas- Outreach- what now?

What is Ligas?

Ligas was a lawsuit which resulted in a state wide effort to identify individuals that were placed in residential facilities prior to July 1, 2011, who may not have been informed of their choices for residential settings.  Basically, the goal is to find and communicate with individuals who were placed in residential settings before July 2011 and determine if the individual was provided information about smaller settings such as CILA's.  The individuals that would possibly be included in the Ligas group, are referred to as Potential class members.  Once these potential class members are identified, the state has contracted with an objective agency to provide information to the potential class members about the options of residential services.  A potential class member does not have to move from their current setting if they are happy in that setting.   If the individual would like to move to a different setting, the state contracted agency will provide the potential class member with the information on the process.

Some facts about the Identification Process:

Over the past year, I have had guardians and family members contact me with questions and concerns.  In many situations, these family members had been approached by CILA providers or other residential service providers and told about the Ligas process.  Likely these providers were attempting to market their services, but, the guardians did not understand the information or how it applied to their individual's residential services.  I wanted to ensure that guardians have the facts and the resources to objectively explore all possibilities and opportunities for their individual.

Here are some basic facts:

1.  An individual who is identified as  a Potential Class member DOES not have to move from their current residential setting - it is the family/guardian's choice of what residential setting is appropriate for their individual.
2.  The State of Illinois is NOT closing all ICF/DD facilities and forcing individuals into CILA settings.  
3.  Not all ICF/DD facilities are large, institutional type settings.  Many ICF/DD settings are 16 beds or less.  For example, our agency has the following residential settings:
1- 16 bed facility
2- 6 bed facilities
1- 4 bed facility
4.  Individuals, guardians, and family members do not have to make an immediate choice about the residential setting once they are identified as potential class members.    An individual identified as a class member can remain in their current setting for as long as they desire, and then in the future, if they choose to move to CILA, they can.  They will not lose their status of Identified Class member.  You do not have to RUSH into a choice.  

**(To ensure you are receiving factual information and not being "marketed", you should discuss the Ligas lawsuit, Potential class member status, and identification process with the agency contracted by the State of Illinois/Department of Human Services - The agency contracted for this purpose is :  

     The Council on Quality and Leadership - or CQL for short.  CQL is a not-for-profit organization that works with organizations all over the country, to assure that they are providing safe and quality supports to people with disabilities. The CQL  office is in Maryland, but people who work for CQL live in many different states. Some live here in Illinois. Information about CQL can be found at the website:

These representatives have been trained to remain objective and provide only the facts related to the process, thus you can ensure you are receiving correct information, not biased opinions.  For more information on the Ligas Lawsuit and Identification Process see the resources below:

What is the best setting?  ICF/DD vs. CILA


     Obviously, we all believe that the individuals we serve should have the greatest opportunity for independence and "normalization".  Our organization believes we provide that in our ICF/DD facilities- unfortunately, to the much of the unfamiliar general public and our elected officials, the ICF/DD facilities in the community (like Moultrie County Community Center, 44th St Place, Hickory Street Place, and Beacon St. Place) are being lumped together with the state ops.  One HUGE difference is- most community ICF/DD facilities are 16 beds or less (compared to a state op with 60+ beds).  That size difference is the key factor that is being overlooked.

16 beds may seem large to many people, also.  I agree, it does.  Our 16 bed ICF/DD, however, operates as 3 individual units.  We are able to provide 4 staff during waking hours, thus, we are able to offer 3 group choices for the individuals and have 1 staff cook.  Most individuals participate in a group which offers the activities, leisure choices, and outings that are appropriate for their functioning level and meet their individual interests.  These groups engage in separate activities and outings from the other individuals in the house, thus, at most times our system provides a staff to client ratio of 1: 4-5 (which is a smaller ratio than most CILA's).  The staff can spend more time with the individual and provide active treatment because a staff interacting with the individuals does not have to stop engaging in active treatment to cook for an hour.  The active treatment staff are providing consistent interaction and assistance to the individuals throughout the duration of their shift. 

Our company is also unique as we are able to offer a choice of facility sizes, ranging from our 4 bed facility, to our 2 6-bed facilities, or our 16 bed facility.  All of our facilities are ICF/DD facilities and overseen by the Illinois Department of Public Health.  A benefit to the regulation is that guardians and families of our residents can be assured that their individual is being provided a high level standard of care and support, and our facilities are routinely inspected, our staff are routinely monitored, and our policies reviewed by the Illinois Department of Public Health to ensure that our service meets the standard set by the  IDPH.

Need Residential services?  Where do you start?

Sadly, many families and guardians are not provided information about the ICF/DD facilities in their area.  Typically, a family member or guardian faces the decision to seek out residential placement for their loved one when it becomes apparent that the current setting is no longer working for the the developmentally disabled person, or the family is experiencing factors which make it difficult for the developmentally disabled person to remain in the home setting.  These factors include financial hardships, the aging parent, declining health of the caregiver, or desire of the caregiver to have the individual experience independence, peer groups, increased socialization, etc.

The family member or caregiver usually contacts a local PAS agency to request assistance in exploring residential service providers.  Once the PAS agency completes the screening, the individual is then placed on the PUNS list.   The PUNS can be very confusing for those unfamiliar with the process.  Family members who need assistance and residential services in the immediate future are often informed that they could wait years on the PUNS list before the individual will receive funding for residential services.  However, the PUNS list and award letter describing the funding are the process for CILA only.

 Family members and caregivers can explore residential services provided in ICF/DD settings immediately after the screening process.  In the ICF/DD setting, the funding is approved for the facility, and if the facility has an opening, the funding is automatically provided upon the individual's admission to the facility.  Thus, families and caregivers in need of services and assistance quickly, should ask the PAS agency to explore the ICF/DD facilities in the area.    

If you have further questions or need assistance in locating an ICF/DD facility in your area, please contact us at :


by phone:

by fax:

Need residential services for a family member- loved one?  See our openings here

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