If there’s one thing Tony Paulauski can say about state institutions like the Jacksonville Development Center, it’s that the state isn’t getting rid of them fast enough. Paulauski is executive director of The Arc of Illinois, which – through 55 regional agencies – serves and supports the developmentally disabled and their families. He realizes that the families of those moving out of Jacksonville are focused on their own loved ones, not on broader policies and philosophies.
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“Well, this is a difficult time for them,” he says. “Some family members have been through unsuccessful transitions in the past … but the plan that the governor has put in place is so much more person-centered and thoughtful.”
An advocacy group called the Committee to Protect the Residents of the Jacksonville Developmental Center alleges a “secret” plan to hustle out the remaining residents, some of them to other state facilities. That, says a state spokeswoman, is because those residents’ families would not consent to a group home placement.
Paulauski says no fewer than 14 states have done away with institutions for the developmentally disabled altogether, and he says the number is sure to go up.