"Even in decent economic times, Illinois was not a state that funded people with developmental disabilities to the extent that other states have," says Lilia Teninty, director of the state's Division of Developmental Disabilities.This crisis is made even more acute by the advances in medical care that have permitted children with severe developmental disabilities to outlive their parents, forcing many to receive care in larger institutional settings far from their own communities.
Illinois came in dead last -- 51st -- among all states and the District of Columbia in providing small residential settings for people with developmental disabilities. In terms of overall spending for community programs, it ranked 43rd.
Community Link hasn't been paid by the state since July for many services. Mr. Foppe and his staff whittled budgets, eliminating small bonuses, rug cleaning and renovation plans.
But there always seems to be money to build big buildings in our state. Especially big hospital buildings. One only needs to look down the road at SIU's SimmonsCooper Cancer Center in Springfield, IL which opened to great fanfare in July of this year, but:
"... the facility will not begin serving patients until late fall or early next year because of money cut from the state budget proposal for fiscal year 2009."With such an 8-year construction albatross sitting empty in one of the more economically-depressed areas of the state, one wonders how deep the state is into construction of marble-lobbied health care facilities and political giveaways instead of funding critical basic health care and social needs in smaller, more meaningful venues.