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Friday, April 19, 2024

Little Friends: Community Services for Children & Adults with Intellectual and other types of Developmental Disabilities


It struck me after participating in an update for our legislators with several other providers that some of the information we shared that day as “informational” would be useful for those in our community as well. Some things that you may find of interest regarding the Illinois Community System include:

  • The Illinois Community System services nearly 40,000 children and adults with intellectual and other types of developmental disabilities (I/DD), such as autism, Down Syndrome, and cerebral palsy.
  • Nearly every dollar the State spends on community-based services is matched; therefore, any reductions in funding results in less federal dollars made available for programs.
  • Unlike hospitals and nursing homes, nonprofit community service providers for adult services rely almost exclusively on state funding, specifically Medicaid.
  • For many years, the State of Illinois lagged significantly behind other States with funding support. During the past two years, the State has made some very positive strides that have helped providers increase wages for those workers providing these key services.

When one thinks of the kinds of services this represents, the following is a quick snapshot of the work being done throughout the State. The work includes:

  • Early intervention support that involves services for babies and young children born with developmental delays and disabilities.
  • Educational services that help children and adolescents with both life skills and academics.
  • Residential support services, which focuses on promoting independence for adults requiring support, keeping them safe and healthy.
  • Employment supports, intended to help individuals secure and retain real job with competitive wages.
  • Community Day Services which help teach adults life skills after school support has ended.

While the list covers a great deal provided to individuals served, it fails to recognize the breadth of capabilities also put in place to support families trying to determine and navigate the challenges that come with gaining access to what is needed, not to mention the help available that involves advocating for unmet needs and monitoring the quality of services.

Big picture, there are a lot of options available at times when you might need assistance. The size and scope of support is something I suspect most people don’t realize is there. What is important is that you know this community of support exists in Illinois, and we are here to be of help to you and your families as a resource when needed.

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Mike Briggs
Mike Briggshttp://littlefriendsinc.org
Mike Briggs is the President and CEO of Little Friends. Little Friends empowers clients with autism and other developmental disabilities to thrive in our community. Their groundbreaking programs and nationally-renowned staff provide lifelong opportunities for growth, so their clients can work, learn, play and experience the joy of life’s everyday moments.


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