Disabled Illinoisans and their advocates celebrated the state’s decision to close three large-scale developmental facilities in favor of a community model. A rally for “Going Home Illinois” included a former Jacksonville Developmental Center resident, Eddie Fleming, saying, “No way!” when asked if he’d want to go back to the now-closed facility.
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Gov. Pat Quinn addressed the crowd, saying the former residents of Jacksonville and Howe, and the soon-to-be-former residents of Murray Developmental Center, have freedoms many of us take for granted: being able to eat what and when we want; and in Eddie’s case, to play the guitar on the front porch. “We didn’t have enough community care,” said the governor. “We believe in the community.”
Quinn called the developmental centers “outdated” and said the state is moving to a “person-centered” treatment, even considering some loved ones of the institutions’ residents would rather they stay where they were. Howe Developmental Center was in Tinley Park and is closed. The state has recently closed Jacksonville and has begun moving residents out of Murray Developmental Center in Centralia.