Letter to the editor: State must resolve under-funding of disabilities services

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With recent news coverage in the Springfield area highlighting the importance of adequate funding for people with disabilities, I want to encourage policymakers to make this funding a priority as they craft a budget this month.

Illinois’ budget woes are nothing new and the impact on services for people with disabilities stretches back a decade or more. As a result of this under-funding, Illinois ranks 47th in the nation in spending on care for people with developmental disabilities. This is despite ranking fifth in Gross Domestic Product.

Under-funding has also made it difficult for providers like us to serve all of the people that need services. Today, 17,000 people are waiting for services statewide. While they wait, people with disabilities and their families may feel isolated and lose independence. Communities fail to benefit from the contributions they could otherwise make.

We must do better.

The good news is we know how to fix the system and the federal government will help provide funding. An independent state-commissioned study was published late in 2020 that details the specific funding that would most help people with disabilities thrive in Illinois. And, the federal government’s match for every state dollar spent on these services has been temporarily increased.

Now is the time to make a change.

David Pennell

Jacksonville

David Pennell is president/CEO of Elm City Center.

via Jacksonville Journal-Courier

May 18, 2021 at 07:14AM

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