WREX : By Rebecca Klopf : June 23, 2011
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DIXON (WREX) - Parents of children with severe disabilities say if Illinois does not pay up, their kids could end up homeless. That's because funding is running out for state run institutions. An advocacy group for developmentally disabled people says without some sort of help, these homes could close as early as next week.
One mom tells 13 News without these institutions she worries about how her two adults sons will survive. Since they've already tried to live in more than a half dozen community facilities.
"Michael lived in a community placement but they could not handle is behaviors so they placed him in a psychiatric ward. And they drugged him so bad that he had to go through withdrawal, he almost died," Barbara Achino.
Barbara has two severely disabled adult sons, Michael and Bob. They both have fragile X syndrome and need constant care. The 38 and 41 year old men live at the state-run Jack Mabley Center in Dixon. Their condition puts them on a mental level of a 3 and 7 year old. The Illinois League of Advocates for the Developmentally Disabled (IL-ADD) Says without more funding from the state by July 1, the Mabley Center and 6 others like it could close. If that happens community facilities like Kreider Services, a community run non-profit center, might have to take them in.
"Kreider has about 230 people in residential beds throughout 26 group homes throughout northern Illinois. Of that number, probably 80 percent spent 6 months or more in state institutions," says Arlan McClain, CEO of Kreider Services, Inc.
McClain says his facility could handle extra patients, but not quickly. He would need addition state funding and time to build more homes and even then he's not sure if every should live a state facility.
"Michael beat himself enough to make himself blind. He will beat himself enough to make him die. I want to know who will take on that responsibility," says Achino.
The Human Services Department says it will make a decision about closing some state institutions by July 1st.