Two state-run facilities for the mentally and physically disabled are scheduled to close, even though a state panel voted against a similar move a few months ago. The Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability is still unimpressed. The commission heard testimony Tuesday in Springfield on a plan to close the Jacksonville Developmental Center and Tinley Park Mental Health Center that proponents admit is the same as what was rejected last year, except now it’s more detailed.
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State Sen. Jeff Schoenberg (D-Evanston), one of the commission’s co-chairmen, says it’s still too hazy. For example, the costs to transition hundreds of residents to community care settings and shutter facilities are not outlined. "We have no idea how much that’s going to cost over the next several years,” he says. “I asked for you to come in before the budget address, hoping we’d see some numbers.” The commission started its hearing a half hour late, and took testimony from just a couple of opponents to the state’s plan in the last 10 minutes. Sharon Pfeiffer was one who didn’t get a chance to testify. “It felt a little one sided,” she said. Pfeiffer’s daughter, Karen, lives at the Jacksonville Developmental Center. Pfeiffer isn’t sure her daughter can be cared for in a community setting.
“The governor, [advocacy groups] ARC of Illinois, Equip for Equality… [they’re] not the guardian of my daughter. I am. It’s up to me to see where she goes. That’s my job,” she said. Schoenberg announced the commission would reconvene for further testimony in both Jacksonville and Tinley Park, but dates haven’t been set.