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October 25, 2001

Governor Announces State Agencies to Receive Federal Grants Assisting Persons with Developmental Disabilities

SPRINGFIELD -- Governor George H. Ryan today announced the Illinois Department on Aging and the Illinois Department of Human Services (DHS) each has been awarded grants to supplement existing efforts to help persons with disabilities. The Department on Aging has been awarded a $174,684 grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to help elderly parents of adult children with developmental disabilities better plan for their current and future needs. DHS was awarded an $800,000 grant to help persons with disabilities and long term illnesses remain in their communities.

"We have a number of programs in Illinois designed to assist persons with disabilities live productive, independent lives," Governor Ryan said. "Receiving these grants is an indication that we are on the right track in having state agencies work in partnership with each other to provide the most comprehensive services available."

"We're very enthused about receiving this grant because it will allow us to better prepare families for the inevitable changes that come with age," Department on Aging Director Margo Schreiber said. "Decisions involving the care of adult children with developmental disabilities need to be planned with forethought and good information."

Schreiber said the grant is geared toward seniors age 60 and older and is designed to help them with such needs as estate planning. Through the grant, the Illinois Department on Aging will collaborate with the Illinois Department of Human Services, the Illinois Council on Developmental Disabilities, researchers at the University of Illinois, Chicago and local service providers to identify families in need. The Illinois Department on Aging will then assist them with home and community-based services and case management, as well as refer them to support groups.

The grant is a component of the new National Family Caregiver Support Program established as part of the Older Americans Act. The state of Illinois is matching the grant in the amount of $58,228. Other federal grants designed to help caregivers were awarded to Mather Lifeways in Evanston, the Healthcare Consortium in Dolton, and Easter Seals in Chicago.

The grant to DHS was one of thirty-seven awarded nationally by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to assist those with disabilities continue to live within their communities.

The funds will be used for the Systems Change Project, which will create more effective strategies for developing, locating and maintaining affordable, accessible housing. It will further integrate community programs and increase communication between the various State agencies and community service delivery agents. The project will identify and develop tools for consumers and community services to assist people who choose to move from institutional settings to appropriate community settings.

"One of the goals in the DHS strategic plan is to promote the development of an independent living services system and this grant will help us achieve that goal," said DHS Secretary Linda ReneƩ Baker. "One of the advantages of having a comprehensive human services agency like DHS is that all of us can work together with other stakeholders to address our strategic priorities.

"This grant will allow DHS to build on existing partnerships to increase the numbers of persons who can live independently and contribute to our State in meaningful ways."

Grant funds will be used to strengthen the partnership between DHS and its community delivery agencies to develop, locate and maintain affordable housing options, along with necessary community-based supports, for persons with disabilities. A State Inter-Agency Team will serve as the primary coordination vehicle among and between government partners and consumers. Joining DHS on the State Inter-Agency Team will be representatives from the Departments on Aging, Commerce and Community Affairs and Public Aid as well as the Illinois Housing Development Authority and the State's Medicaid Funding Authority.


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