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Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Reforms to safeguard disabled kids in Illinois become law on June 28, 2011

Chicago Tribune : June 28, 2011

Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn on Tuesday signed into law sweeping reforms designed to safeguard thousands of children and adults with developmental disabilities who live in nursing facilities.

The new laws, sparked by a Tribune investigation, call for stiffer fines for poor care, fewer roadblocks to closing facilities, stricter rules on the use of psychotropic medications and increased reporting requirements in cases of death.

State officials and some advocates described the legislation, passed by the General Assembly in May, as the most significant effort in a generation to help the developmentally disabled in Illinois nursing homes.

In October, a Tribune series (available at chicagotribune.com/neglect) documented a 10-year pattern of death and neglect at a North Side nursing facility now called Alden Village North. The newspaper found that 13 children and young adults had died in cases that resulted in state citations for neglect or failure to investigate.

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